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10 Soccer Warm Up Drills to Get Your Players Locked In

Every time anyone does intense physical exercise, they should prepare themselves by warming up correctly. Warming up properly will help reduce the chances of sustaining injury and will prepare your body for optimum performance.

10 Soccer Warm Up Drills

The older you get, the more you will benefit from a solid warm up but it is useful to get kids into the routine. Warm ups for children should be fun and engaging in order to get them ready for action. The following 10 warm up drills are ideal for getting kids prepared for a training session or matchday.

  1. Turn and Chase

This drill is all about fast reactions and quick movements. Assign players into two different teams and line them up back to back in the middle of the playing area in pairs.

When one team is called, they must run to a set of cones directly in front of them whilst the opposing team aims to turn and catch them before they do so. The team with the most winners takes that round.

This is a good drill for sharpening up the senses and getting muscles warmed up.

  1. Tag

This drill is a well-known kids game and doesn’t need too much explaining. It works much in the same way as the above drill but is a bit less structured. One player starts off as ‘it’ and has the job of tagging another player. Once they have been tagged they are now ‘it’ and the game continues indefinitely.

This is another good drill for sharpening reactions and getting players to speed up and slow down.

soccer tag drill

  1. Zombies

Another variation on tag is zombies. This game starts off with a ‘zombie’ who must tag another player. Once tagged, that player joins the original zombie until there is only one person untagged.

Zombies has many of the same benefits as the previous two drills but also has an element of teamwork.

  1. Rondo

This warm up drill uses a ball and gets players used to passing it around. It features two teams with a passing team set up in a circle and a pressing team attempting to win the ball back.


For more information on the rondo, have a look at our detailed guide here.

  1. Random Dribble

Set up a grid with cones dotted around at random within the grid. Then ask players to dribble in and out of the cones with a ball. This is a simple and straightforward drill that will mimic match situations with the ‘randomness’ of directions and close ball control needed.

For more dribbling drills like this one, check out our dribbling drills article here. 

  1. Tails

If you’ve ever played tag rugby, this has a lot of similarities. Set up a grid in which players can dribble in and make sure each player has a shirt or bib that they can tuck into the back of their shorts to mimic a tail.

The aim of the game is to dribble with the ball and protect your tail whilst aiming to grab other players’ tails. If your tail is taken then you are out of the drill until only one player remains.

Tails is a great drill that incorporates fun with relatively high tempo dribbling.

  1. Bleep Test

This drill can be quite an arduous one so should be toned down when used for a warm up. The essence of a bleep test is to run from one marker to another within a given time limit. The intervals of time are marked with a ‘bleep’ sound which players must beat in order to remain in the game. The intervals become gradually smaller and the game ends when only one player remains.

bleep test

For a warm up, the goal isn’t to tire out the players. Here, the bleeps can be spaced with a decently large time interval with its only purpose to keep players from walking. The drill would end when the coach decides rather than when all but one of the players are eliminated.

  1. Shadows

Players are placed into pairs with one having possession of the ball and the other trying to win it. The aim is for the player in possession to lose their marker by changing direction often and using pace or skill to get away from them.

This drill is great for working various muscles in changing direction as well as frequently accelerating and decelerating.

  1. Round the Cones

This is a fairly basic drill but it does a good job of warming up players and is worth including even as a brief segment.

Pic of dribbling around cones

Ask players to line up at the start of a line of cones. They must then take it in turns to dribble in and out of the cones before sprinting to the back of the line once they have passed the final cone.

This drill can be mixed up by using only one foot or limiting the number of touches.

  1. One Twos

The final drill on our list doesn’t involve any running but does stretch muscles and get players prepped for a game. Simply ask players to pair off and position themselves facing each other at a distance determined by yourself. The distance between players will depend on their age and ability level.

Players must then pass a ball between them, taking a few steps to the side to collect stray balls. One twos is perfect for getting a feel for the ball without tiring anyone out.

The Bottom Line

These drills are a brilliant way to get warmed up and have fun whilst doing so. If your child wants to learn football the Brazilian way, why not consider Samba Soccer Schools?

For more information about Samba Soccer Schools, click here.

FAQs About Soccer Warm Up Drills

Is warming up important?

Yes, warming up is vital to reducing the risk of injuries and getting players ready to play.

What happens if I don’t warm up?

Not warming up increases your chances of straining muscles and will likely have a knock-on effect for your ball control and awareness when you start playing.

What are the best warm ups?

The above article details ten of the most engaging and useful warm ups especially tailored to kids and new beginners.

What is warming down?

Warming down is like warming up but takes place after vigorous exercise. It is also important and can reduce soreness and muscle ache.

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