For soccer youngsters, they are naturally active so warm-up drills should not be too intensive. But warming up before any activities must be first and foremost.
I have listed 5 fun soccer warm-up drills below but bear in mind you can modify the drills to add more fun and interesting.
Warm up drills should be the first activity. Normally kids would not be physically and mentally ready for the activities ahead.
Who knows, he might still be dreaming of his superhero and is actually battling in another universe. The warm-up drills should bring him back to earth.
Anyway, for kids warm up you just have to find an activity to get them started. Just make sure it is fun, engaging, realistic and simple for you to understand. Every warm should start with the lowest intensity and build from there.
Here is my warm-up story, or lack of it thereof, I tore my right hamstring during a ball kicking warm up. The reason is that I should have warmed my muscles properly and start with something less intense such as a light jog around the field.
While my injury was very painful at that time, watching my teammates enjoying the day was totally unbearable for me!
So, warming up is VERY important. I cannot put more stress on it. It is a must before anything else and as a parent, you make sure your kid does that.
What are the Benefits of warming up?
- The warm-up prepares your mental and physical state for action
- It warms the muscles and increases blood circulation
- It helps to stretch the muscles
- It also prepares the heart for the game’s training
The main point is you do not want your kid to shock his system by jumping into an intense soccer drill. Warm up, warm up, and warm up.
Without boring you further, below is the list of warm up I am sure your kids will love.
1. Tagging, Catch Me If You Can.
As the name suggests your kid will try to tag you while you try to run away from him. This is good for young kids who still don’t grasp the importance of warming up because all they care about is running.
Please don’t make it difficult for your youngster and let him tag you after 30 seconds or a minute. Otherwise, you will kill the fun.
For older kids, they can play tag for as long for 3 minutes or so before they can switch to another warm-up drill.
2. Light Jogging
Jogging is another easy warm up as kids naturally run most of the day. You may partner with your kid to jog in a straight line before jogging back to the starting point. Or your kid can jog in a big circle.
For older kids, they can jog around the soccer field (or maybe half of the soccer field) for one or two laps. This is a great warm because the muscles in the body come into play, especially the leg muscles like the thighs and calves.
Another variation is to jog backward when returning to the starting point. Also, on the last set, you can increase the tempo to a run.
Jogging should not be confused with sprinting, because sprinting is an intense activity that can actually cause injury.
Yes, dribbling can be a warm-up drill, while doing the jogging your kid can dribble by slightly kicking the ball forward. Set up two cones, one as the starting point and the other as the turning point about 6 yards apart.
They can do this from the starting point and return when he reached the turning point. When he arrived at the starting point that’s 1 complete set.
It may be a slow drill for younger kids so you can shorten the distance. Or, your kid can run in any direction as long as he doesn’t go too far.
For older kids, they can do the sets with more speed as they can control the ball easily. They can dribble in a big circle clockwise and then anticlockwise.
4. Simon Says Do This!
Okay, you might have guessed this one. The drill starts with your kid standing with the ball or even without the ball.
You will give a command as “Simon says dribble the ball” and your kid will dribble the ball. Your kid will ignore your commands unless you said: “Simon says stop”.
You can command him to do the keepie-uppie or dribble sideways or jog with the ball or throw up the ball. There’s plenty of variation to choose from.
Make it fun for him and the main thing is to keep him in action. After a couple of commands, your kid should be warmed up already.
5. Do Not Ignore Warm Down!
After the training, do not just pack up and go home! The muscles are still fired up and you need to unwind the spring.
The muscles are fatigued and there’s a build-up lactic acid which can cause muscle soreness after training. Warming down is actually similar to warming up but at a slower tempo.
Light jog is a good warm down and gradually reduced to a walk.
Why is warm down important?
- It reduces the likelihood of muscle soreness
- Gradually reduces the heart rate to normal
- Improves your kid’s fitness
After warming down its time for light stretches. See my post on a stretch here.
Warm-up and warm-down are an important activity that you as a parent must make sure it is done properly. Like I said earlier you can modify the drills to suit your kid’s mood and capability.
It is not necessary to do all the drills in one training session. But as the kid grows older warm-up and warm-down will be more important.
All in all, the most important thing is fun and instilling the correct training habits when he is still young.
Do you have any comments or questions about this post? Please leave a comment below.