Practicing sports or performing any kind of physical exercise without a proper warm-up is a recipe for disaster, you need to get the blood pumping and your body warm in order to reduce the risk of injuries and achieve peak performance.
The same applies to soccer, which is a highly demanding sport that requires a lot of training and preparation. In this article, you’ll get acquainted with a series of soccer warm up drills that’ll help you to perform at maximum intensity and mentally prepare for the match.
Running Straight Ahead
A simple yet important exercise. For this drill, 6 to 10 cones are needed, which must be located at a distance of 5 to 6 meters in the same direction in which the person will move, after that, the player will begin to jog slowly in a straight line until reaching the end of the route and then, will turn around and return to the starting point.
Depending on your physical state, you can progressively increase the speed in order to prepare the body little by little to the physical demands of a real match. Keep in mind that you should not use 100% of your strength, it is recommended to employ 50-60% of your physical capabilities. But remember, you are barely getting warm up, don’t overdo it.
As an additional note, you can practice with a partner to stimulate healthy competition.
Jogging Or Running With Knees Up
In this training, the athlete will jog or run in a straight line at the same time that he or she raises the knees to the height of the chest. This warm-up allows the player to correctly synchronize times and improve rhythm. It also helps to stretch all the muscles and ligaments of the legs.
As for the execution time, it can be performed for around 4 minutes and the intensity of the speed depends on the player’s energy. As long as it does not exceed 60% of their capacity, it’s ok. In addition, it can also be practiced in groups to encourage sportsmanship.
Running Butt Kicks
It’s recommended to perform this exercise after the later (jogging or running with knees up). In this drill, depending on the demands of the trainer, the player will jog or run, but this time instead of bringing the knees to the chest, he or she must raise the heels in the opposite direction, they must touch the buttocks every time.
The execution time of this warm-up can be of a couple of minutes, and then again, the athlete must put moderate effort while doing so. It should be noted that it can be practiced alone or in a group.
Running Circling Partner
This drill requires more concentration and team effort than the others. It’s like a choreography that must be strictly followed. For starters, 2 sets of cones with 10 or 6 units each are needed, they have to be placed in parallel forming two straight lines (5 to 6 meters of spacing between the cones).
Once everything is set, two athletes, each one in their respective line of cones, should start jogging in unison and each time they reach a cone, they will move in the direction of their partner laterally without turning the torso and before making contact, one of them will pass in front of the other, making a small circle around him/her at the same time that the partner does the same. And after that, they will return to the cone from where they left and continue jogging until the next one. The procedure will be repeated the same number of times that there are cones.
Running Jumping With Shoulder Contact
As well as in the previous drill, two sets of cones (6-10 units) and two participants are needed.
The cones will be placed in parallel straight lines and two players will start running/jogging at the same time until reaching their respective cones.
Then the participants will move towards each other without turning the torso and once they are within reach of the other, they will jump and clash their shoulders mid-air simulating the struggle against a rival player. Once they hit the ground, they will return to their respective cones and continue with the same routine until reaching the last cone.
Please be gentle with your partner when performing this exercise, you don’t want to get hurt before the match even begins.
It’s also worth pointing out that you can increase the speed as the drill progresses, but always simultaneously, since both athletes must jump at the same time.
Running Quick Forwards & Backward Sprints
For this training, you shall need again the same line of cones with a separation of 5-6 meters between them. The participant has to run/jog until reaching the first cone.
Once there, return to the starting point by jogging backwards, then jog to the second cone. Once again, go back to the first cone by running backwards and repeat the process until reaching the last one.
Be sure to be swift but careful during the exercise, you don’t want to fall flat on your back. Some trainers recommend performing the drill on couples to boost the morale and develop a competitive spirit among the members of the team.
Hamstrings For Beginners
For this exercise, it is necessary to have a partner. To start, the athlete who will perform the exercise will kneel on the ground, preferably on grass to avoid getting hurt, after that, the companion who will assist the practitioner shall hold the legs at the level of the calf.
The practitioner will be positioned at a 90-degree angle, keeping the legs, torso, and head firm, the arms should be crossed over the chest touching the shoulders, like an X.
Once all the conditions are met, the athlete must lean their body forward slowly, progressively increasing the speed. And when they are at a safe distance stretch the arms to stop the fall, for this you must apply the same principle as the shock absorbers, this in order to lessen the impact on your arms and hands.
After the hands are touching the ground, the practitioner has to perform a flex and at the end, push up again until reaching the starting position to repeat all the training as many times as necessary. As a tip, the partner has to be firmly holding the legs in order to avoid an accident.
Running Across The Pitch
This training should be done after the muscles are properly warmed up since it will require a lot of strength and endurance when practicing it. To begin, 4 cones are needed, 2 at the starting point and 2 at the end point, these must be located in parallel and indicate the starting position and the end goal.
In the beginning, they will start with 70% or 80% of their capacities, after having completed half the route, they can increase the speed up to 100%. And when they reach the cone that indicates the end, they will turn around and return more calmly.
It is suggested to practice it alongside a partner to have a rival to compete with. The idea of this warming is that players can measure their speeds over short distances. As for the number of times that can be done in a row, it is recommended that it be a maximum of 2 times, after that, the athletes must rest.
Running: Plant And Cut
The principle of this exercise is based on the later, since the athletes will run in couples. To begin, they will have a series of cones that will be placed in distances of between 5 to 6 meters, simulating a pair of straight lines, which will be guiding the players across the training area.
Both athletes will run in a diagonal direction and after a series of 5 to 7 steps, they will stop while keeping the balance in the leg that is facing the direction that they are moving, after that, they will run in the opposite direction the same number of steps and again they will stop leaning on the corresponding leg.
This exercise will be carried out the same number of times as the number of cones located in the field. It is highly recommended not to perform more than 2 series on a row; this type of warm-up drill can prove to be exhausting.
Shot On Goal
As the name suggests, this specific warm-up consists of accustoming the player to shoot on goal, although it is also suitable for practicing the passes and improving the reflexes of the goalkeeper.
In the first place, the player who will shoot at the goal will slowly move towards it, then pass the ball to the teammate who will be outside the goalkeeper’s area and they must return the ball so that the first one shoots at the goal. While this happens, the goalkeeper has to be actively trying to deflect the incoming ball.
This warm-up is quite usual before the start of a match, as it allows players to release anxiety and be calm for the big game.
So, there you have it, ten soccer warm-up drills that will not only help you to get your body in shape before a match, but also to deliver peak performance and improve the dynamic and bond with your teammates.
All these warm-up recommendations are endorsed by the FIFA Federation and you should consider adding them to your training routine if you aspire to become a good soccer player and a better athlete as a whole.