17 Soccer Warm Up Drills for Kids [Soccer Warm up Drills and Games]

Soccer Warm Up Drills for Kids

17 Soccer Warm Up Drills for Kids 

Soccer Warm Ups for Kids

Warms ups are more than just running sprints and lining up to kick balls at an empty goal.  In order for your players to get the most out of each warm up, you’ll need to ensure that the warms ups you use not only prepare them physically, but also sharpen their skills and get them psychologically ready too.

Warm up drills don’t need to be boring or repetitive either.  If you can utilize a series of drills that engage your players and introduce a level of competition, you’ll quickly see better results – both in a technical sense AND in an energetic and fun way.  More players will feel inclined to participate and as a result you’ll see your player push themselves harder.  This extra effort will ensure they are properly warmed up and ready to train.

The Technical Quad

[Warm Up] The Technical Quad IMG

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You will need about half a pitch to get the Technical Warm Up Quad running smoothly. You will also need; a soccer tennis net, some cones and markers, a selection of goals and some free kick mannequins. I’d also recommend picking up a set of soccer goal targets too – they’ll work great for this type of warm up drill and can keep your players engaged for longer. Lastly, ensure there is enough room between each station.
To technically warm up players before training starts
The Technical Warm Up Quad can be used with most age groups ranging from 8-18 years old. You can adapt the individual stations if looking to use it with younger age groups.
Why not try using a soccer rebounder for one of your stations? This is a great warm up drill that can incorporate many ideas, equipment and players. It can also be used to engage players as soon as they walk onto the field so no-one is hanging about before training starts.

The Technical Warm Up Quad is the ideal warm up activity not only to help your players get ready for the next part of training, but it’s also tremendously useful to use if your group of players are prone to turning up in ‘dribs and drabs’ over a period of time.

Split your training area into 4 quarters – each quarter has a different activity;

  1. Free Kicks & Long Range Shooting
  2. Soccer Tennis
  3. 2 v 2
  4. 1 v 1

Of course you don’t need to use these specific activities and if you have a few coaches to hand you could assign each a quarter to ‘man’ and they can choose their own drill activity. In-fact, to take it even further, you could actually use some of the other drills listed on this page as your ‘quarter drills’.

However you decided to do it, make it it fun, engaging, realistic and simple to understand.

The Chase

[Warm Up] The Chase IMG2

Setup 2 teams that line up either side of each other. For this soccer warm up drill you’ll only need a set of cones or markers and some soccer balls. Ensure there is enough room between each set of players.
To catch the opposing player before they reach the intended target
This warm up drill can, and should be used will all age groups.
Change the stimulus or call to try and catch your players out! 

Coaching Points

  • Stay on your toes
  • Be aware
  • Keep your center of gravity low
  • Accelerate away

The Chase is a great warm up drill that not only physically warms your players up but more-so mentally prepares them for training.

This game requires quick thinking and reaction skills as well as an ability to respond to quick changes in instructions. There are different colored cones placed at the far end of each side. The direction in which the players sprint towards will depend on what color the coach calls.

The opposite player needs to catch the other player before they reach the cone.

If coach shouts ‘BLUE! or GREEN!’ the red player will try to tag the blue player before they reach the green cone and vise-versa.

A great to change this drills up a little is to call out opposites. So if you call out ‘BLUE’ again  – This time those in red run, and those in blue will have to tag them.

You don’t have to use colors either. You can use hand signals, word games or any other sort of riddle you can come up with.

The goal here is to prepare you players both physically and mentally for training so anything that keeps them on their toes is good!

Finally to progress the drill you can introduce a set of balls. Again, be aware of the space between each pair for health and safety reasons.

Pac Man

[Warm Up] Pac Man IMG

This game is best played indoors where you have court markings for various sports (Basketball / Tennis / Soccer). Other than that, it will help to have a set of pinnies and / or tag belts and some soccer balls.  
Pac Man: Must dribble round trying to tag other players. Other Players: Must dribble round and try avoid being tagged. ***All players must stay on pitch markings / court lines.
Suitable for 3-11 year olds depending on ability levels. 
Start without ball and progress to using balls

Coaching Points

  • Keep your head up
  • Keep the ball close
  • Keep your center of gravity low
  • Accelerate away quickly
  • Use the most efficient and effective turn if you need too

Pac Man is my own go-to game for younger age groups. It’s best played indoors where there are multi-sport markings on the floor. All players must stay on the pitch markings / courts lines. 1 player is ‘Pac Man’.

All other players dribble round while the nominated ‘Pac Man’ dribbles and tries to tag another player. Once a player has been tagged he too becomes a ‘Pac Man’. Last player to be tagged wins.

The first time you use this game – start with no balls. Get them familiar with staying on the court markings. Then progress to using a soccer ball. You can also further progress this game by adding specific ball familiarity techniques to increase the challenge.

King of the Ring

[Warm Up] King of the Ring IMG

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This is an adaptation of the hugely popular King of the Ring game. This version combines the original game of King of the Ring with a pre-competitive technical and physical warm up element. For this drill you will need; cone markers, soccer balls and few conditioning apparatus such as agility ladders and hurdles.  
TechnicalTo warm up players ready for the rest of the session Game: To kick an opponents ball outside of the ‘ring’ while protecting your own ball at the same time. Last person standing wins.  
Suitable for 5-18 year olds. 
Use the knock-out game at the end as an opportunity to coach some basic shielding techniques

Coaching Points

  • Keep your head up
  • Keep the ball close
  • Keep your center of gravity low
  • Stay sharp and focused
  • Protect your ball by getting between your opponents and the ball

Instead of going straight into a game of King of the Ring, what I like to do is add a pre-competitive technical and physical warm up to the drill.

To start with have your players dribbling around the area, using all parts of their feet, at different paces and using various different ball mastery skills.

To ‘wake them up’ and progress the drill further, I add in the conditioning exercises you see around the edge. What I might do is call a number or some sort of trigger word where each player will need to leave the ball, run to the outside of the area and complete a set of exercises.


As the players are dribbling around the area, using different turns and ball mastery skills I call ‘TEN!’ – this is the cue for each player to leave their ball and run and complete a set of; 5 hurdle jumps or twice through ladders. As they do this I’ll be counting down…’NINE’….’EIGHT’….’SEVEN’..and so on. The idea is to complete their set before I get to zero.

Then finally, to further progress this drill I move into a game of King of the Ring to end things off. King of the Ring involves everyone having a ball dribbling inside the area or ‘ring’. The aim of the game is to kick an opponents ball out of the ‘ring’ while protecting their ball at the same time. Last player standing wins.

Heads or Tails

[Warm Up] Heads or Tails IMG

Start by forming two teams either side of the ‘goal’ (agility poles, mannequins or cones can be used).
Warm up game that prepares players both technically and psychologically. Winners = ‘Header Champions’ / Losers = ‘Tails’ and must complete mini-conditioning exercise 
Suitable for 8-18 year olds. 
For the first game slow it down so your players can understand the process – after they’ve got the idea down then speed it up

Coaching Points

  • Use the front of your head for power
  • Aim for the corners
  • Aim downwards
  • Stay sharp and focused
  • + Continuous encouragement

The game starts when Player A throws the ball underarm to Player B. Player B must then head the ball past the ‘keeper’ to score a point for their team.

Once Player B has headed the ball (scored or not) he then replaces the ‘keeper’. As this happens, Player C then throws the ball to one of his team mates who tries to score past Player B. Player D then replaces Player B and the game continues. The team to score 6 goals first wins.

This is a pretty simple drill that can be set up using minimal amount amount of equipment and space.

For progressions:

  • First Round: Might slower as the players get used to the sequence
  • Second Round: Fast and energetic
  • Third Round: Winner takes all!

One way to add a little more to this warm up game is to play a game of ‘headers’. This is where you have a normal game setup (eg 6 a-side). Each team uses handball rules (see below) but to score a point for their team they must header the ball into the opposing teams goal. This little game can be added before or after a game of “Heads or Tails’.


[Warm Up] Handball IMG2

Start by forming two teams within a normal game setup. For equipment you don’t actually need a set of soccer goals although it would help. Essentially all you will need will be some pinnies, balls and cones or markers
Players need to pass and move, work as a team, create space and score by knocking the oppositions ball of their cone (located on the goal-line) 
Suitable for 8-16 year olds. 
A great adaption for this game would be to use soccer rebounders as your targets

Coaching Points

  • Pass and Move
  • Find space
  • Stay on your toes
  • Communicate
  • Make decisions quick

When our players are really young we’re worn thin telling them to ‘Stop using your hands!’ – in this game we’re encouraging them to use their hands!

There’s goood reason however. A game of Handball is a great warm up game that encourages cross-sports skills such as passing, moving into space, communication and of course some sort of target scoring system.

This is also a great game if you coach a group with varying abilities as hand-eye co-ordination tends to be more developed than foot-eye co-ordination among younger kids.

For this game, players must pass using their hands and move into space to receive the ball. Points are scored when a team successfully makes it down the pitch and knocks the oppositions ball off their cone. Players are not allowed to move with the ball – they are however allowed to pivot.

Fox Tails

[Warm Up] Fox Tails IMG

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You will need around a 25 x 25 squared area marked out using a set of cones and markers. Each player starts with a tag/bib or pinnie tucked into their shorts. 
The aim of the game is to take the tag or bib from another player. Players with the most bibs/tags when the whistle sounds wins.
Suitable for 8-12 year olds 
You could progress this game by introducing a ball 

Coaching Points

  • Stay on your toes
  • Lower your center of gravity
  • Accelerate away
  • Stay Focused and aware

This game has taken on many different names over the years – for sake of simplicity we’ll go with Fox Tails! For this warm up game, players must run, sprint, dodge and protect their bib or tag from being taken by another player. Players can only take 1 tag/bib/pinnie at a time.

The player to have to most amount of tags / pinnies at the end is the winner.

There’s a few ways to set rules for this game. Firstly you can have a straight knock-out. If you lose your pinnie or tag then you’re out of the game until the next round.

The second way, which I much prefer myself as it maximizes participation without having kids standing around is to have every player start with one tag / pinnie – if it gets taken by another player then they are allowed to continue to try and win it back.

As a progression to this warm up game you use introduce balls. This will slow the game down but force your players to think about keeping control of their ball at the same time.

If you want to go out a step further – you could combine this game with ‘King of the Ring’ above. One way to do it would be each player would have 2 lives. If they lose their tag, they only have one life left – their ball. If their ball gets kicked out of the area then they are out of the game.

Technical Dynamic Warm Up Circle

[Warm Up] Dynamic Warm Up Circle IMG2

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These types of portable soccer goals are perfect for these kinds of drills. They're super light, easy to setup and take seconds to pack away. If you do opt for these types of goals however, just make sure your players don't jump all over them!
If you’ve got access to a large center circle then I’d recommend using that. I’d also recommend smaller more portable soccer goals for the corners – although you could use cone markers . Just be aware that you’ll likely waste a bit of time chasing balls. Also a set of agility hurdles will work great for this drill and there’s nothing stopping you from adding other conditioning equipment such as; agility poles and ladders. 
This soccer warm up drill will involve a good bit of input from you as the coach. The objective is to obviously prepare players mentally and physically for training, but also to get players to be aware of their technique and completing exercises with full focus.  
Suitable for 8-18 year olds. 
Again, like I mentioned before, there’s nothing stopping your from adding additional equipment into this drill to make it your own. Just be sure not to confuse you players. So, keep it simple but engaging at the same time.

Coaching Points

  • Stay Sharp
  • Watch your technique
  • Jump / Sprint / Side to Sides
  • Keep ball close when dribbling
  • Push ball a little further away when running with the ball to cover distances quicker

The Technical Warm Up Circle is a great warm up drill that allows you to incorporate various different fundamental movement skills into your warm up. Don’t be afraid to use conditioning equipment such as; ladders, hurdles and hoops. To start, players must jog round completing various jumps, sprints and other conditioning exercises.

Then, on the coaches call players must sprint into the middle, get a ball, sprint towards goal and shoot

In regards to progression: All players start with 5 points. Put down less balls than there are players. Last player get to the square and not get a ball loses a point.

Shielding Game

Again, as before you can use a center circle for this game. If you haven’t got access to one for training this drill can be easily adapted for any playing surface / environment. In regards to equipment some cones and some balls is all you’ll need 
Defenders must try and knock the ball off the cone. If they succeed, then the shielding player becomes the new defender.
Suitable for 6-18 year olds. 
Be sure to coach a little bit on this one – see coaching points for some help

Coaching Points

  • Get you body between the player and the ball
  • Get your center of gravity low
  • Always be aware
  • Use your strength

Players in the middle represent the defenders. Everyone else on the outside must shield their ball from the defenders. If a defender manages to knock an ‘attackers’ ball off the cone then they swap positions. This game can played on a time limit. For example; you could play a 3 minute game and the players who are defenders by the end of those 3 minutes are the losers.

Simple game with an equally simple setup. Tis game would be ideal for the ‘Technical Quad’ drill I went into above.

The Dodge Quad

[Warm Up] The Dodge Quad IMG

The Dodge Quad takes on a slightly different approach to the Technical Quad. They both have the same setup with 4 quadrants, each one with it’s own activity. This time they all take on the form of some sort of dodgeball variation. I highly recommend you use a set of soft dodgeballs for this as footballs are going to cause you health and safety risk! Other than that some cones and that about it.  
Each quarter has a different Dodgeball variation. These games prepare your players both mentally and physically for training. They’re fun and work on core fundamental movements skills
Suitable for 6-18 year olds. 
There’s nothing stopping you from combing the technical aspects of the ‘Technical Quad’ and a dodgeball variant or two from the ‘Dodge Quad’

There are four activities that all take on a different dodgeball game variation.

  1. Dodge: 1 Player in the middle – everyone else around the outside. The player in the middle must dodge the incoming balls from the outside. Each player has 30s-1m to stay ‘immune’.
  2. 3v3: Normal dodgeball rules apply.
  3. Free For All: As name suggests. Players move around the area and target other players.
  4. Tunnel Dodge: 2 teams. One team = throwers [Outside] / other team dodgers [Tunnel Runners]. The tunnel runners must run through the tunnel and pick up a cone before returning ‘home’. While this happens throwers must throw the ball to get the player out. Each cone distance represents a different point score. The further away the cone they’ve collect is – the more points it’s worth.

If you want to progress these individual games further;

  1. Dodge: Introduce second ball
  2. 3v3: Condition the rules (eg: Play on one leg)
  3. Free For All: Balls must be dribbled using hands only. Balls stay low to the ground and you must hit your opponent below the knees.
  4. Tunnel Dodge: Team must aim to retrieve cones that help them towards a specific score count in a specific time frame eg. they have 1 minute to score exactly 23 points

For me personally, when I’m coaching soccer I like to have a good mix of technical warm ups and other sports. The Dodge Quad blends with this nicely. While I might not set it up exactly how I have above (eg: I might just use one game with the whole group) dodgeball variations are great ways to break the ice with new teams, settle down energetic kids ready training and can be used as a powerful tool when dealing with kids who have difficulties with behavior.

Check them out and see how your group gets on – just remember use soft balls. 

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Clean Your Room

[Warm Up] Clean Your Room

The drill starts by designating a 15×15 yard area (size of the area depends on the size of your group) Use a set of cones to set this up. Also, a pinnie would be useful for the designated ‘room cleaner’.
The goal is for the “cleaner” to attack, steal, and remove the ball from the designated “room” area. The goal for the other players is to protect their ball from being kicked out
Suitable for; Under 3’s, Under 4’s, Under 5’s and Under 6’s 
This warm up drill was inspired by this drill here found on Soccer Expert.

Coaching Points

  • Use your body to protect the ball
  • Keep the ball close to your feet
  • Accelerate away from the defender (or cleaner)
  • Use all parts of your feet
  • Keep the ball under control

This is an ideal warm up drill that asks players to practice attacking and defending.

One player is designated as a “cleaner” and the remaining players all receive balls.  The players with balls practice dribbling around in the designated “room” area.  The goal is for the “cleaner” to attack, steal, and remove the ball from the designated “room” area.

The player who lost the ball must go off to retrieve it and return to the “room” before all players have lost their balls.  Once all balls have been removed from the “room” the game ends.  This is a drill that could be used for U5 through U8 players.

A good progression for this game would ‘King of the Ring’.

3 vs. 1 Rotating Defenders

[Warm Up] 3 v 1 Rotating Defenders IMG

This drill starts by designating a 10×10 square.  
The goal is for the defenders to get as many passes among them before the attacker captures the ball or the ball is inadvertently knocked out of play.
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s   
Again, this drills was adapted from a drill on SoccerExpert.  

Coaching Points

  • Keep your head up
  • Move to create space for the pass
  • Communicate with each other
  • Control the ball away from the attacker
  • Be aware of the weight of your pass
  • Focus on the quality and accuracy of your pass

This drill starts by designating a 10×10 square.  Two teams of 3 are assigned roles of either 3 defenders or 3 attackers.  The defenders remain in the square the whole time while the attackers each take turns entering the square.

The goal is for the defenders to get as many passes among them before the attacker captures the ball or the ball is inadvertently knocked out of play.  This drill is good for players of all ages and can be adjusted to increase difficulty for more advanced players.

You could progress this drill by increasing the numbers; 3 defenders vs 2 attackers or 5 defenders and 3 attackers

Foot Bowling

[Warm Up] Foot Bowling IMG

This drill will work best if you have use of about half a pitch (age depending). You’ll need a set of cones, extra balls and some pinnies to clearly distinguish each team. 
Goal is for players to dribble the ball forward to the shooting area and then attempt to knock additional balls off of cones the other side. First team to knock all three balls down win
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s   
The inspiration for this session was found here. I’ve decided to remove the role of the coach and replace them with players. This is so you can get maximum participation from your players.  

Coaching Points

  • When running with the ball push the ball far enough in front of you to cover the distance quicker but not too far you lose control of the ball
  • Use the inside of your foot to strike the ball
  • Communicate with each other
  • Sprint back to the back of your line

This drill requires the team to be split into two.  You have a starting line for each team and a designated shooting area.  The goal is for players to dribble the ball forward to the shooting area and then attempt to knock additional balls off of cones using a passing technique.

Once a player has their go, they must sprint back to their team’s starting line before the next player can attempt to shoot.  The first team that is able to knock all the balls down wins.  This is a great drill for all skill levels.


[Warm Up] Figure 4 IMG

Split group into teams of 3. At the far end of the field, you set up two sets of three cones/ flag / poles, one for each line.  The markers are organized into an arrowhead shape. 
To physically, mentally and technically warm up your players before training.
Suitable for; Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s   
The inspiration for this session came from here 

Coaching Points

Coaching points will depend on the exact skill or ball skill undertaken but in general;

  • Stay sharp and focused
  • Keep the ball the close
  • Keep your head up
  • Be aware of cones position
  • Focus on your technique

This drill splits the group into teams of 3.  At the far end of the field, you set up two sets of three cones, one for each line.  The cones are organized into an arrowhead shape.  The objective is for players to run from the starting line straight to the farthest cone.

They must then pivot on their heel and move to the left hand cone and then side step to the right hand cone.

Once they reach the right hand cone, they are to sprint back to the starting line and rejoin their team.  Players will continue this drill alternating which cone they turn to following reaching the furthest cone first.

To further progress this drill introduce a ball and get your players to perform different ball mastery skills. End the drill off with a competitive race to the finish.

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Alternative Triangle Warm Up Drill

[Warm Up] Triangle Passing Drill IMG

This drill starts by setting up a triangle 4 x 4 x 4 using cones to mark the points.   
The goal is for the passers to pass the ball to each other without the defender intercepting it.
Suitable for; Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s   
Try making the triangle bigger or smaller depending on whether your want to regress or progress the session 

Coaching Points

  • Control the ball away from the defender
  • Position your body ready to receive the ball
  • Communicate
  • Move into the space
  • Be aware of the weight of the pace
  • Focus on the quality and accuracy of the pass

Three passers are assigned to each side of the triangle with one defender in the middle. The passers earn one point for three successful passes while the defender earns a point for for every successful block / interception.  The game continues for 5 minutes with the players with the most points at the end declared the winner.

One Touch Speed Drill

[Warm Up] One Touch Speed Drill IMG

For this drill, designate two teams of 5 players.  The players on Team B are organized in a zig zag pattern at the center of a square.  Set out cones about 10 meters apart to form the boundaries of the square  
Team A must run round the perimeter while Team B complete as many 1 touch passes as they can before Team A is finished. Teams swap – team with most points wins.
Suitable for; Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s   
This game can be played with more players if needed. Just be sure to open the area up a little to accommodate for the additional players 

Coaching Points

  • One touch passing
  • Be aware of the weight of pass
  • Use the inside of your foot to pass the ball
  • Communicate
  • Get your body into position to receive the pass
  • focus on your own objective

Team B must one touch pass the ball from one player to the next as quickly as possible and get to the end to score ‘1 round’.  If they two touch or miss a pass, the ball must be returned to the starting point.  While Team B does this, Team A must run along the outside of the square in a relay fashion.

Once all of Team A’s players make it around the square, they are to sit down.  Team B will count how many successful rounds they were able to one touch the ball in that time period.  This becomes the number of times Team A must surpass once the teams switch positions and the game starts again.


[Warm Up] Cross-Ball IMG

To setup this drill you’ll need 4 x cones in a 10 x 10 square.  One player stands on each side
Simple passing and receiving drill that technically prepares players for training
Suitable for; Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s   
This game can be played with more players if needed. Just be sure to open the area up a little to accommodate for the additional players 

Coaching Points

  • Control the ball out towards the cone
  • Get your body into position to receive the ball
  • Keep your head up
  • Play the ball across the area using the inside of your foot
  • Keep touches to a minimum

The goal of the first player is to pass the ball between the cones on the other end where the second player will receive it.

This player must then one touch the ball to the side and pass the ball between the cones on the opposite end where it will be received and returned in the same fashion.

In regards to progressions here’s a few I’ve tested out you can use;

  • Vary the angles of the passes
  • Use different types of passes
  • Introduce a defender (Passive and Active)

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