Tag Archives for " Warm-up "

How to Warm Up For a Training Session

By Mike Saif

QuestionHow do you warm up for a training session? Does it change depending on what the training session topic is?

One of the most important things for me with training sessions is to get them active right away. Although I would set up different warm-ups sometimes depending on the topic of the session, most of my warm-ups were small-sided possession games. I did these for a number of reasons.

• They were designed so that all players were moving and active
• No matter the topic of the session, playing soccer always includes passing and possession
• It was a great way to make the warm up competitive and fun

My favorite warm-up was to simply divide the players into two teams with 1 or more neutral players. So it could be 7v7+2, 6v6+3, 8v8+2, etc. This made it really easy regardless of how many players were at practice that night.

I would make the space nice and big which would make it easier to be successful stringing passes and so that the players had more space to cover and run in. Depending on the number of players, it could be a half of a field or from the half line to the penalty area, etc. I would also stipulate that once you had made a pass, you had to run into a different area of the field to make sure players didn’t stay in the same spot all the time.

Making the warm-up competitive ensured a good effort and also made it fun. I would set targets like, 10 consecutive passes or 6 consecutive one-touch passes to get a point. I would sometimes limit players to two-touch or even one-touch with three neutral players. The losing team would have to give the winning team a piggy back ride or have to pick up the cones and balls at the end of practice, etc.

Another active possession warm-up is to play 5v5v5 in the same area with the same rules as above. This time the players would be split into three teams, each with a different color bib. Two teams would combine to keep the ball away from the other team. When the defending team won possession of the ball, the team that was responsible for losing possession, would now become the defending team. In the diagram below, the dark team and white team are combining to keep the ball away from the red team.

Give these a try and experiment with others, but making sure your players are active and having fun, is always a good start to a training session.

By Mike Saif
Founder and President of WORLD CLASS COACHING, Mike has coached 12 State Championship teams and coached the 87G Dynamos to a USYS National Championship.

Session Specific Warm Up

By Steven Smith

Warming up our players often happens separate from the actual skills of soccer and is viewed by many coaches as unrelated to the theme of training in the main series.

This activity emphasizes a gradual warm up using the skills that will be needed during the main series when working on passing and receiving and possession skills. The activities described should be intermittent with range of motion and active stretching when transitioning from one step to another in the described activities. All stretching should last at least one minute per stretch with any static stretching. Coaches must lead the stretch so that the duration of the stretch is not cut short. Each of the activities described can last around 3-4 minutes for a long gradual warm-up leading toward a main series workout.

All players should have vests at the start of this activity and split into two different color groups. For this activity they will be described as wearing yellow or black.

Activity 1: Players are grouped into twos while passing and receiving with their designated partner in the grid space provided (for groups of 18 or more the grid should be quite large to encourage lots of movement covering all portions of the grid). Give instruction to keep the head up and avoid touching any other players.


Activity 2: Play continues with one ball per two people but instead of a designated partner, the players with the ball must find any person in the grid and pass to the person who actively calls for the ball. Players must not pass the ball to anyone who does not actively show for the ball by communicating their desire for the ball through their voice, their posture or clear eye contact. Coach must emphasize those three methods of communication.


Activity 3: Players continue play but yellow may only pass and receive with yellow and black may only pass and receive with black. This will force players to think ahead and pick out their “team” in the midst of the chaos of the ball movements and player movements.


Activity 4: All players remove their vests and tuck them into their waist bands. Reduce the number of balls for passing and receiving and restart the activity with passing and receiving to anyone in the grid (same restriction on passing only after appropriate communication as earlier). As coach determines he/she instructs a player to put on his or her vest and that player then becomes a defender who seeks to intercept passes and knock the ball out of the grid. Balls knocked out of the grid can be retrieved by a player and then resume the passing and receiving. Coach adds the number of defenders based on preference and desire for pressure on the warm-up. Coach may also reduce the number of balls allowed for passing and receiving.


Activity 5: Coach reduces the number of balls to three for passing and receiving. As the number of players builds up the defending players with vests on no longer attempt to knock the ball out of play but instead try to keep possession inside the grid. The other players attempt to win the ball back for their passing and receiving with non-vest wearing players. It basically becomes a game of keep away.


Activity 6: Coach controls the numbers leading to even sided play with both teams attempting to maintain possession. The coach closely monitors play and challenges each team to attempt to possess all three balls at the same time. When one team possesses all three of the balls then play is stopped and the losing team makes a sprint to the end line and back. Then play is resumed with the same challenge until the coach calls conclusion of the warm-up.

By Steve Smith
Steve Smith has been a men’s college coach that holds an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a Doctorate in Physical Education.