Warm-ups are the physical exercises destined to prepare the body for a physical performance and focus the mind on the football training that lies ahead
Is warming up important ?
To illustrate the importance of a great warm-up session here are its benefits;
- Increasing the range of motion
- Increasing the body temperature
- Activation of the cardiovascular system
- Activation of the respiratory system
- Clearing the mind and improving the athletes focus on a task at hand
Warming up is an essential part of every physical activity. Without it a person will not reach his maximum performance and he would endanger his physical well-being leading him to serious injuries.
I think by now, you and I agree on the importance of warm-ups and you are ready to dive into the different exercises
Dynamic warm-ups are exercises mimicking the movements or the type of training your team will be doing.
The goal is to increase the blood-flow to the areas which will be functional in the different exercises awaiting the players. Also, a total body warm-up will wake up the nervous system and help the football player reach maximum focus before engaging in the soccer training.
You can choose between hundreds of exercises to activate your players body and perform a great dynamic warm-up session. This list below highlights my favourites :
- Forward and backward jogging
- Side shuffles
- Jumping jacks
- Inside touches
- High knees
- Butt Kickers
- Two foot jumps
- Knee to chest stretch
- Quad stretches
- Toe touches
Dynamic warm-ups can be performed in so many different patterns such as In lines , in a square , in a circle or in a figure eight pattern.
Dynamic Warm-Up In Lines
This basic warm-up’s goal is to get players ready and motivated for the training or the game that awaits them
You divide the players in two groups and every group form a line. Use cones to create two running lanes 30 yards apart.
The players should perform exercises to the cones and back. Depending on the intensity of the session you may opt for another variation where they perform the exercises to the cones and get back to their initial position jogging.
Dynamic Warm-Up In a square
This set up makes it easier for players to perform both forward and lateral movements.
You need to setup a square like grid and create even lines using cones.
The players should perform the locomotions around the square or you can variate it by implementing a new locomotion on each side of the square
Dynamic Warm-Up In a circle
In this variation the players rotate around a circle doing dynamic exercises
For this variation, you need to create even lanes starting from the cone in the centre to the cones forming the circle.
Moving in a clockwise rotation, the players will be performing locomotions to the centre and the back out to the next lane.
Dynamic Warm-Up In a figure eight pattern
Players will be performing dynamic warm up locomotions one after the other around the cone straights ahead of them and then diagonally to the opposite of the cone in the start line.
Players should keep their heads up to avoid colliding in the middle.
Warm-up Tag games
Warm-ups should be a fun activity for the players to guarantee their full cooperation. Many coaches lose their players attention in the warm-ups by imposing on them repetitive exercises with no imagination or fun part.
Tag games are a way of adding a touch of fun to the necessity of the warm-up exercises. The engaging aspect of the games provide a fun and competitive practice environment.
The coach sets up a grid and assign two players to be taggers with pinnies in their hands.
The players move inside the grid by doing a specific dynamic warm-up locomotion. Everyone moves only by doing the locomotion.
Taggers try to tag the free players and if one succeeds he is no more the tagger and gives his pinnie to the player tagged.
Rounds rang from 30 to 60 seconds and at the end of each round the players holding the pinnies perform an extra exercise like push-ups or sit-ups to motivate the players.
The coach starts a new dynamic locomotion to start each round.
Two yard tag
The coach divides the players into two teams and make them partner with a player from the opposing team
The coach gives out the signal by calling out one of the two teams. The team that is called are taggers and the other is the runner. Taggers earn points by tagging their opponent and runners do so by making it to the cones without being tagged.
This drill also help people coordinate their movements and thoughts and also teach them to be quick on their feet and fast decision making.
As a follow up to the dynamic locomotions, Relay warm-up are used to prepare players even more while enjoying the competitive aspect of the exercises.
Most of the time the dynamic warm-ups are performed in lines so the transition to the relay race in lines should be easier.This exercise is our entry to these warm-ups.
Relay race in lines
You start with some dynamic locomotions to get the players warmed up and then you have the teams compete in relay races doing different movement. Relay race warm-ups can also be performed using a ball to improve dribbling and passing skills
There are plenty of different variations coaches can use for this drill. In addition to different forward and lateral movements, players can perform body weight exercises when they get to the opposite end. A coach can have players perform things like 5 push-ups, 5 sit-ups, 5 body weight squats, 5 jumping jacks, 5 burpees, or 5 tuck jumps before returning. Encourage everyone to try their best. If one team is dominating, shuffle the teams to keep things close
On the ‘go’ signal, the first player in each line runs down to the tic-tac-toe grid and places their pinnie on a cone. The first player then runs back and tags the next player in line who runs down to put their pinnie in play. The objective is for one team to get three pinnies in a row. Once a team has all four pinnies in play, the players who run down must move one of their teams pinnies that is already on the grid to a new location. The game goes on until one of the teams wins.
Warm-ups for a lot of young soccer players are considered boring and not worth the time and it is understandable because all of us want to kick in the ball and score goals from the start.
It is the duty of the coach to make every second of the training session a fun one. In this article you’ll find an introduction to the warm-ups used around the world but you need to innovate and make it your own.
At the end of the day, they can’t be skipped so make them as enjoyable as possible