11 Soccer Warm Up Drills 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 need to ensure that the warms ups you have them do not only get their bodies ready to play, but also sharpen their skills and get theirs minds in the game.
Warm up drills don’t need to be boring or repetitive. If you can utilize a series of drill that engage your players and introduce a level of competition, you will quickly see greater results. More players will feel inclined to participate and will push themselves just a little harder. This extra effort will ensure they are properly warmed up and ready to play in the game ahead.
Clean Your Room
This is an ideal warm up drill that asks players to practice attacking and defending. The drill starts by designating a 15×15 yard area.
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 the ball, and remove it 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 skill that could be used for U5 through U8 players.
3 vs. 1 Rotating Defenders
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.
Knock Out Drill
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 pass.
Once a player shoots, 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.
Dribbling Warm Up
For this drill you will designate a 20×20 area for gameplay. Each player in the square gets a ball and is told to begin jogging around the square dribbling the ball. At equal intervals the coach will tell all players to only dribble using only a designated skill.
Examples could be: right foot only, left foot only, step over, stop and dribble 10 times. This drill is ideal for players of all ages.
3 Line Warm Up Drill
This drill splits teams into three groups organized in a line. Each line follows the lead of a captain who is in charge of calling out the skill to be practiced. Each line must jog down a predetermined route roughly 10-15 yards long. Skills that can be practiced are high knees, shuffle steps, and jogging backwards.
Once players reach the end of the line, they just quickly spring back to the starting point and line back up.
Circle Warm Up
This goal starts by designating a circle of around 7-10 yards in diameter. One player is put in the center as a defender while the remaining 7 are placed outside the circle. The goal is for players on the outside of the circle to pass the ball between one another without the center defender gaining control of the ball.
All passes are meant to be on the ground and each passing player is limited to two touches per turn.
If the center player gains control or if a passing player requires more than two touches, they lose their position and switch with the center defender. This is a skill designed for all levels of players. You can find a drill progression of this here.
Soccer Passing Warm Up Drill
This drill pairs players up into groups of two. Each player must run the length of a designated area. The “A” player runs forward with the goal of passing the ball to the “B” player. The “B” player is tasked with running backwards for this drill.
Each player is encouraged to use 1-2 touches per pass.
Once each player reaches the end, they reverse roles and repeat the drill.
Arrowhead Soccer Warm Up Drill
This drill splits the team into two lines. 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.
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Alternative Triangle Warm Up Drill
This drill starts by setting up a triangle 4x4x4 using cones to mark the points. Three passers are assigned to each side of the triangle with one defender in the middle.
The goal is for the passers to move the ball from one to the next without the defender intercepting it.
The passers earn one point for three successful passes while the defender earns one point for two successful blocks. The game continues for 5 minutes with the players with the most points at the end declared the winner.
One Touch Speed Drill
For this drill, you must designate two teams of 5 players. The players one Team One 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 One must one touch pass the ball from one player to the next as quickly as possible as many times as possible in a given span. If they two touch or miss a pass, the ball must be returned to the starting point. While Team One does this, Team Two must run along the outside of the square in a relay fashion.
Once all of Team Two’s players make it around the square, they are to sit down. Team One will count how many successful times they were able to one touch the ball in that time period. This becomes the number of times Team Two must surpass once the teams switch positions and the game starts again.
Crossing Technique Drill
This drill asks you to set up four cones ten yards apart and five yards wide. One player stands on each side.
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.