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Soccer Warm up Drills

Updated on September 20, 2015

A warm up should prepare your muscles and your brain

The warm up should prepare players for the training session - not only physically but also mentally. Modern soccer is based on players with good technique. Therefore you need modern warm up drills, that support the development of technical skills. As a rule of thumb you can consider five principles:

  1. use warm up as technique training
  2. use the time efficiently (waiting time is lost time)
  3. let players touch the ball as often as possible during the warm up
  4. standardize the warm up (reduce time for explanation)
  5. shooting on the goal shouldn't be part of the warm up (prevent injuries)

If you want to vary your warm up, you should only change one drill from time to time. Otherwise you unnecessarily lose time for explanations. Principle number five is only valid before training session. You should implement shots on the goal as a final warm up drill before a match starts.


1. Playmaker

Playmaker is a drill where three players run in one line from one site of the pitch to the other, while passing the ball from left to right. The player in the middle is the playmaker. He always gets the ball from the left and the right player. Neither the left and nor the right wing should pass the ball directly to each other. The pass distance can be adapted. 3-7 meters from player to player is a good value. After crossing the pitch players should switch their roles, until everybody played the middle part.

Players should try to pass as many times as possible while crossing the pitch.

Advanced version: In the advanced version players can switch roles while crossing the pitch.

2. Hunting Square

Hunting square is a warm up drill that espescially young players like. It contains a challenging aspect that motivates and brings fun to the warm up phase. But how does it work?

The coach builds a square with cones. A side length of 10 meters and two teams with 3-5 players each per square are ideal. Every player has a ball and the teams position oneself at diagonally opposite corners. As soon as the coach gives the starting signal the teams run with the ball around the square. The team mates have to stay close to each other. There shouldn't be more than a meter between them. The goal of each team is to catch the other one. The ball should be played with both feet.

In an advanced version the coach can specify how the ball has to be played and change it after every round or for every side of the square. Additionally he can implement changes in the direction players have to run. For example a change of direction or crossing diagonally without touching the other team members (very advanced version).

3. Five on Two

Five on two is a all time classic. Every player and coach should know this drill. In a predefined area five players are offensive and two are defensive players. The offensive ones are playing the ball to each other while the defensive ones try to get the ball. As soon as a defensive player gets the ball or provokes a misplaced pass that goes outside of the area the defensive player becomes a offensive player and the one who lost the ball goes to the inside and plays the defensive role.

Advanced version: In the advanced version every player is only allowed to touch the ball ones. Perfect training for one touch football.

4. Mixed up

Mixed up is a drill that trains overview and concentration. Two teams with 4-5 players each are in an area. Each team has a ball and plays the ball within their own team to each other. The two teams should mix up and move a lot within the area. The ball should be passed frequently and the coach can additionally give instructions. For example solo dribblings from one side to the other or changing the ball between the teams.

Which warm up drill do you like most?

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