A good active warmup prevents injuries and gets players in the right mindset.
We highly recommend an active warmup over static stretching. Static stretching may increase injuries.
We know you want to start playing as soon as possible, but warming up is worthwhile. Your chances of getting injured will decrease and you will play better.
Here are 7 soccer warmup drills you should perform before each training session or game:
This drill helps you prepare to kick the ball.
Kick out as high as you can (without hurting yourself) with one leg then repeat with your other leg.
This drill helps you learn to follow through (vital to kicking a soccer ball effectively).
Skipping is a great way to loosen up.
Skip normally then do a power skip after you turn around.
To power skip, jump as high as you can each time you touch the ground.
3. Inside out/outside in
Most soccer players have tight hips. Good technique is difficult with tight hips. Tight hips can also lead to injuries.
This drill warm up the hip and improves flexibility.
To do an inside out, lift one of your legs up and across your body. Move your leg back across your body and move your other leg towards your leading leg. Repeat with your other leg.
To do an outside in, stand sideways. Lift your back leg and step and turn your body simultaneously (until you are sideways facing the opposite side). Repeat with the other leg.
Many players do this basic movement wrong. To do a lunge correctly lift one of your legs up and lung forward as far as you can go. Your other leg should collapse (but it shouldn’t touch the ground).
Try doing lunges backwards to hit muscles a little differently.
5. Side steps
Many players do side steps wrong.
To side step properly, stand sideways then move your leading leg forward. Your trailing leg should move a little towards your leading leg before you repeat the process.
Your trailing leg should NOT touch your leading leg. This is inefficient. Do side steps correctly and it will translate onto the pitch. You will move sideways quickly.
6. Jump for a header
Players should jump as high as they can and pretend they are heading the ball.
Imitating a header is important because players usually jump to head the ball during games.
Practice like you play. This drill makes jumping and winning a header second nature.
7. High Knees
You need to lift your knees to run, pass, dribble, shoot, etc.
It makes sense then, that you should practice knee movement before playing.
To perform high knees, skip on one leg while lifting up your knee on the opposite leg. Switch legs every step.