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Warm Up and Cool Down Exercises

Warm Up & Cool Down Booklet

Main topics to be covered in a Warm Up:

  • Movement - Slow Jog and a progression to Sprints
  • Individual Ball Touches & Movements
  • Stretching - whole body
  • Get players Mentally & Physically ready (Blood Pumping)

Warming up & Stretching
The Importance Of Warming Up & Stretching Before Playing

Players between the ages of 11-18 years old become more susceptible to muscle pulls and you should have all your team stretch before playing. Players ages 6-10 years should be taught the right way to stretch also, which is a great habit to start at an such an early age.

Stretch the following muscles: Front of thigh (Quad Muscle), back of thigh (hamstring), inside of thigh (Groin)& calf. Most injuries are to the hamstring and inside of thigh muscles. Each stretch should be done slowly & held for 10-15 seconds & repeated 1-2 times. Be sure they do not "over stretch". Stretching should not be painful.

Many coaches skip the "warm up" & go straight to stretching. This is a mistake.  The light warm up is important because it "warms up" the muscles which makes them  stretch easier & less likely to tear. If you think about it, this makes sense. Also many coaches promote post game stretching because it will improve flexibility & reduce muscle soreness.

Cooling Down

Cool Down should consist of: Light jogging and skipping and 3-5 minutes to stretch.

Warm Up activities for ages U12-U18 Years

The Cone/Ball & Head/Catch Games are great games to use while all the players are arriving to the field. This will get them ready mentally for the game.

Cone / Ball Game

Players are all in a straight line in behind each other facing the coach at the front. There is a ball 5 feet away on right, there is a cone 5 feet away on left. On the coaches demand the players run to the cone/ball and back to the middle line.

Coaching Point: develops reaction, timing & balance.

Head / Catch Game

Players stand in a circle around the coach who stands in the middle. The coach throws the ball to any player and says "Head or Catch" and they players needs to react and do the appropriate command by the coach. Progression is doing opposites. Players get it wrong they sit down and you will find a winner. Keep it fun and challenge them.

Brazilian Warm Up

Set cones out in rows of four with a space of five yards in between.

The cones are numbered 1-4. The players will do different movements around the cone: 

  • Side stride
  • Heels up
  • Knees up
  • Karaoke
  • Down touch one cone, Up and head at the next
  • Fast Feet 
  • Fast Feet
  • Backwards / 

 x = Players  /  0 = Cones  / S = Start

 S xxxxxx 0       0      0        0

 S xxxxxx 0       0      0        0  


Cones lay out in 20x20 area. Players run from cone to cone making their own path between them. The coach will give out different movements within the cones. Down-touch the cone/ Head-up in the air /Knees up /Heels up /Karioke/ Sidestride etc.

Coaching Point: Players should have their heads up and be aware what's around.


Dynamic Duo (Pairs)

Player 1 stands in a circle facing the middle.

Player 2 stands in the middle of the circle in a square facing out the way to their partner.

Player 2 moves around in the circle passing the ball back to Player 1 with the using different parts of the body.

  • Left / right foot
  • Volley then pass back with right /left foot
  • Thigh then volley back with right/ left foot
  • Chest then Volley back with the right /left foot
  • Head / Head then Volley back with the right / left foot

Then a combination of them all to challenge the players.

Coaching Point: Players should always have their heads up, and make eye contact with the player that is passing to them. Builds co-ordination, timing, balance.

Communication is big in this practice, the players have to make sure they talk to the person they are receiving the ball from to let them know when and where they want it.

DT&T - (Develop Touch and Technique)
Short sharp movements with the ball

  • Toe Taps - top of ball / Insides- touches in between feet. Inside of foot.
  • Outside of foot.
  • Heel Toe - roll ball with bottom of foot back and fore
  • Squeezy Push - Push inside of feet down on ball and push to middle.

Circle Skill

Circle with all the players about 20 yards. Player pass the ball and move in behind that player.Communication is key as the player with the ball has to look up and play the ball.

Progression: Add up to 5 balls depend what level, to challenge the players.

Coaching Point: Players have to be on their toes all the time and ready to receive ball.


Sequence Passing. One ball between three players, players pass from 1-2-3 between each other.

Variation - Two touch, change angle with first touch, One touch, Outside of feet.

Coaching Point: Make sure players are not stationary and are ready to receive ball.

Big Box Small Box

Big Box- 15x15 ft / Small Box- 5x5 ft. The small box is set inside the big box. On the command of the coach the players dribble around in the big box, on command "small box" all the players enter into the small box and keep dribbling. The players stay inside of the small box until the coach commands you to leave.

Coaching Point: This gets the players to dribble while moving in a large area and then in a small area. It develops the players' awareness of space and movement.

Possession Game

Square Grid 30 x 30 yards (8v8). Each team with 8 players. Variations of play - 5 consecutive passes equals one goal first to 5 goals / 1 touch. 2 touch / using only left / right foot / receive with right foot pass with left foot. (switch)

Coaching Point: players on their toes which develops better reactions & better passing.

Passing under Pressure (1 or 2 touch)

4 v 1 Small Grid. Pass to each other using any part of the foot. Defense tries to intercept.

Coaching points: Emphasize on precise passing, communication, good first touch and disguising intentions. Make sure the players are on their toes at all times.

Goalkeeper Warm Up
Individual Movements

Runs in a designated area with ball bouncing and catching in front of body.

  1. Runs with ball and bounces and catches above head.
  2. Throw's ball above head and they catch ball above head. High “W form” Catch
  3. In a figure of eight with ball between their legs.
  4. Puts ball on the ground and form a figure of eight with hand movement.
  5. Rotates the ball around their waist clockwise/anti-clockwise.
  6. Sits on ground bounces ball, gets up and catches before ball bounces twice.
  7. Bounces ball through legs and catches at the front of body.
  8. Rolls ball out in front of them and dives on the ball, rolls over and recovers.
  9. Rolls ball out to the side of body and dives to catch it, then recovers.

Gk Reaction Skill

  1. Gk sits on ground facing coach, coach throws ball to right/left/up/down/front.
  2. Gk stands facing away from coach, coach shouts "turn" and Gk turns and catches.

Shadow Goalkeeping

Players stand facing the coach about 5 yards away. The ball will be thrown right or left. On the coaches command the Gk will react as quick as possible and make the dive to save it.

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