Warm Up Soccer Drills (Before Games)

Warm up before a soccer game with these drills. We’ve put together a few drills for you and your team to use before a game.

It’s best to start with 1. gentle warm-ups 2. short runs 3. long runs 4. simple passing 5. possession, and then 6. shooting.

You can do 3-5 minutes each of these before you play to get fully ready. Once your team has a set routine, it’s best to keep to the same warm-up drills each week on game day.

There are also a couple of goalkeeping drills at the end.

Players Doing Warm Up Soccer Drills
Players doing warm up soccer drills ○ Soccer Blade
Contents show

Warm Up Soccer Drills (Before Games)

Warm-Up Dynamic Movements: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Warm-Up Dynamic Movements
  • Session Length: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (subs optional)
  • Skills learned: Stretching, warming up, quick dynamic movements
  • Equipment: 1 cone

Drill Setup

  • Outfield players gather in a tight circle around the coach
  • Subs and goalkeepers can join. However, they may be better off performing their own warm-up routine separately. 
  • This drill consists of a series of dynamic movements, preparing players’ bodies warm and getting them warm before an intense game. 
  • This drill shouldn’t be performed while players are totally cold. They should take a short run and loosen their body to relieve tightness beforehand. 
  • Each movement should be performed for approximately 10 seconds. 
  • Players should stay on their toes in between movements. 
Warm Up Dynamic Movements
Warm Up Dynamic Movements

Drill Instructions

  1. Hip rotations: players raise their elbows at a right angle to their body then rotate their hips from left to right. This should be an easy and gentle movement.
  2. Rapid jumping squats: players lower their center of gravity slightly into a shallow squat position before springing upward into a jump. The squat should not be deep. 
  3. Heeltap steps: players step forward diagonally with the right, then bring their left foot to the heel of their right. Next, players step forward diagonally with the left, then bring their right foot to the heel of their left. Repeat the same steps moving backward.
  4. High kicks: players kick their legs forward, one at a time while fully extended. Start lower, gradually kicking the legs to hip height or higher. 
  5. Knee ups: players raise their knees to hip height.
  6. Heel kicks: players kick their heels backward to their buttocks.
  7. Stretches: players stretch their core muscles to finish the warmup (calves, hamstrings, quads, groins, and hip flexors).  

Drill Variations

  • Introduce any additional dynamic movements that assist with warming players’ bodies. 
  • If the weather is cold, consider increasing the length of this warm-up session. 

Short Sprints: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Short Sprints
  • Session Length: 2 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (subs optional)
  • Skills learned: raise core temperature, break a sweat, muscle activation
  • Equipment: 4 cones

Drill Setup

  • Run this drill at the end of the pre-game warm-up to prepare the players for an intense start to the game. 
  • This drill can take place anywhere inside the warm-up area. 
  • Set up 1 cone as the starting point. 
  • Set up 1 cone 5 yards from the first. 
  • Set up 2 cones 2 to 3 yards right and left of the second cone. 
  • Divide the team into 2 groups. 
  • Each group lines up on either side of the first cone. 
Short Sprints
Short Sprints

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the first 2 players in each group jump and simulate performing a header. 
  2. As soon as they land, the players sprint to the second cone. 
  3. After reaching the cone, the players slow down, slip to their outside cone, then return to the starting point. 
  4. When the first players reach the second cone, the coach signal’s for the next pair to repeat the same steps. 
  5. Repeat the drill for 1 to 2 minutes.  

Drill Variations

  • Consider introducing different movements instead of the header, such as lateral steps, sideways shuffling, or a checked run.

Crossfield Runs: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Crossfield Runs
  • Session Length: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (subs optional)
  • Skills learned: Increase blood flow in leg muscles, raise core temperature, activate respiratory system
  • Equipment: multiple cones
See also  Soccer Workouts for Beginners (11 Proven Skill Drills)

Drill Setup

  • Use the entire width of the field for this drill. 
  • Place cones in a straight line parallel to the sideline, 5 yards infield on one side. 
  • All players line up on a sideline nearest to the cones. 
Crossfield Runs 2
Crossfield Runs

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, all players take a gentle job across the entire length of the field, before turning around and returning to the starting point. 
  2. For the next run, players accelerate slightly (50%) from the sideline to the infield cones before slowing down and jogging to the other side. Players then job back gently to the starting point. 
  3. For the next run, players accelerate a little more (75%) from the sideline to the infield cones, before completing the same route. 
  4. For the final run, players sprint (100%) to the infield cones before decelerating and jogging to the opposite side. Players walk back to the starting point to recover. 

Drill Variations

  • For younger players or more casual teams, reduce the running distance to preserve players’ energy. 
  • If the weather is cold, consider increasing the number of runs. 

Pass, Move, and Shuffle: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Pass, Move, and Shuffle
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Number of players: minimum of 2 as players work in pairs
  • Skills learned: first touch, passing, and quick feet
  • Equipment: 2 cones, 1 ball per pair

Drill Setup

  • Each pair of players needs 2 cones. 
  • Place 2 cones approximately 5 yards apart to create the passing lane. 
  • Create separate passing lanes parallel to these cones for each pair of players. 
  • Each pair requires 1 ball.
Pass Move And Shuffle
Pass Move and Shuffle

Drill Instructions

  • P1 stands 1 yard to the right and behind the cone, with the ball at their feet.
  • P2 stands in a mirrored position, 1 yard to the left and behind the cone, waiting to receive a pass.
  • P1 plays a firm, right-footed pass along the ground to P2. 
  • P1 then shuffles to the left side of the cone and waits for the return pass.
  • P2 takes one touch to shift the ball from the left to the right side of the cone, before playing return pass to P1.
  • P2 then shuffles back to the left side of the cone. 
  • P1  takes one touch to shift the ball from the left to the right side of the cone, before passing it to P2 
  • In the first and second rounds, allow 3 touches. In the third and fourth rounds, allow only 2.

Drill Variations

  • Switch starting positions to focus on opposite foot passing.
  • Increase the distance between players to improve passing accuracy, control, and range. For this drill, the maximum distance between players should be 15 yards.

Pass and Move Awareness: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Pass and move awareness drill
  • Session Length: 3 to 5 mins
  • Number of players: Minimum of 8 players broken into 4 groups
  • Skills learned: passing, quick movement, first touch, and awareness
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 2 balls

Drill Setup

  • Position 4 cones to create a tilted square. The 4 corners should be 10 yards apart from each other. 
  • Split the training squad into 4 even groups, with each group lining up at a separate cone. 
  • 3 to 4 players per group is optimal. There must be a minimum of 2 in each group.
Pass And Move Awareness
Pass and Move Awareness

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 and P3 start with the balls at their feet. 
  2. P1 plays a low, firm pass to P2. After playing the pass, the player jogs to the back of the line on their right. 
  3. Then, P3 passes the ball to P4. When the pass is played, the player joins the end of the line to their right. 
  4. P2 and P4 take one touch the control the ball, before playing a return pass to the next player in the group they received the ball from. 
  5. After playing the pass, the players jog to the back of the line to their right. 
  6. As the passing lanes intersect in the middle of the square, players must time their passes precisely to avoid the balls from accidentally colliding. 

Drill Variations

  • Introduce limits on the number of touches. Start out with no limits, then gradually reduce it to 2 touches. 
  • Instruct players to use their weaker foot for a certain number of passes. 
  • Set targets for successive completed passes.

Follow Your Pass: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Follow Your Pass
  • Session Length: 5 to 6 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (subs optional)
  • Skills learned: short passing, first touch, 1-touch passing 
  • Equipment: 8 cones

Drill Setup

  • Set up 2 small 4-cone grids approximately 5 yards apart. 
  • Divide the team into 2 even groups. 
  • Each group lines up behind a grid. 
  • The first player from each group stands inside their grid.
  • P1 begins with the ball.
Follow Your Pass
Follow Your Pass

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P1 plays a low hard pass to P2, ensuring they receive it inside their grid. 
  2. P1 then follows their pass and joins the end of the opposite line. 
  3. P2 takes a good first touch then plays a low hard pass to P3. 
  4. P2 then follows their pass and joins the end of the opposite line. 
  5. Players repeat the drill for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  6. Increase the distance between the grids to 10 yards. 
  7. Players repeat the drill for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  8. Increase the distance between the grids to 15 yards.
  9. Players repeat the drill for 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
See also  Agility and Coordination Drills (Speed Movement)

Drill Variations

  • Instruct players to make first-time passes for a certain amount of time. It’s generally a better idea to do this at shorter distances. 
  • Set consecutive passing targets and instruct the team to count passes aloud. 
  • Consider setting up multiple grids to accommodate all players (including subs).

4 vs 1 possession circles: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 4 vs 1 possession circles
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 5-10 starting outfield players 
  • Skills learned: first touch, 1-touch passing, movement, interceptions
  • Equipment: multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Divide the outfield 10 into 2 even groups. 
  • Designate 1 player in each group to begin as a defender (D1 & D2).
  • The 4 outfield players in each group form separate tight circles around the defenders. Ensure the distance between players is no more than 5 yards at all times. 
  • Each outfield group begins with 1 ball.
4 Vs 1 Possession Circles
4 Vs 1 Possession Circles

Drill Instructions

  • On the coach’s signal, the outfield players attempt to keep possession.
  • The defender’s press, tackle and attempt to intercept the ball.
  • When an outfield player loses possession, they switch roles with the defender. 
  • The coach should stand next to both circles with more balls, introducing them if the ball’s active balls stray from a circle. This keeps the intensity high and the games active. 
  • After 2 minutes, take a short rest. 
  • Restructure the groups then repeat the drill for another 2 minutes.
  • The main focus of this drill is to practice first-time, and sharp passes in tight spaces.

Drill Variations

  • Increase or reduce the size of the circle to practice passing within different distances.
  • Combine all players and play 8 vs 2 in a larger circle. 

4v4 to Mini-Goals (no GK): Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-10
  • Length of Session: 3 min games, up to 15 mins
  • Number of Players: 6,8,10
  • Skills to Learn: game decisions, passing vs dribbling, 1v1 situations
  • Equipment: regular cones, mini-goals/pug goals or large cones, pinnies, or different colored shirts. 

Description: Allow kids to compete in 4v4 small-sided games up to 3 mins long. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up the field based on the age of players. For younger players, 4-6, make a field about 15x 20 meters. For older groups, make the field a bit larger. 
  • Set up multiple fields if you have a large group. 
  • Use cones to create the outline of the field. 
  • Set up either mini-goals, pugg goals, or large cones as the goals. 
  • Split the players into even teams of 4, and give each team a color. 
4V4 Mini Goals Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com
4v4 Mini Goals Soccer Drill SoccerBlade.com

Drill Instructions:

  1. Play 3 min games to the mini-goals. 
  2. Define how players earn points. You can create unique rules to shift the focus and practice different things. For example, for older kids, you could make a 1-touch finish worth 2 points. 
  3. Keep the simple focus for kids 4-6, emphasizing taking the ball from the other team but not your team. Also, guide them to stay spread out and communicate. 
  4. For older kids, emphasize decision-making between passing and dribbling. 
  5. You can also use larger goals and add a GK for older kids, ages 9-10.

Long-Distance Passing Pairs: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Long-distance passing pairs
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (goalkeepers and subs optional)
  • Skills learned: range of passing, first touch, passing technique
  • Equipment: multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Use half of the field for this warm-up drill
  • Divide the team into pairs
  • 1 half of the players begin near the end line. 
  • The other half of the players begin near the halfway line.
  • 1 player in each pair begins with the ball.
Paired Long Passing 2
Paired Long Passing

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the players begin passing the ball back and forth in pairs. 
  2. If necessary, they can start closer together, gradually increasing the distance between players. 
  3. This drill is low-intensity with a focus on passing technique and finding a range of passing. 
  4. Players should practice low and hard passes, lofted passes, drilled passes, and other techniques they’re likely to use in-game. 
  5. Players should also focus on taking quality first touches. Encourage players to practice controlling the ball with different parts of the body, including the knees, chest, and both feet. 
  6. Occasionally rotate pairs. 

Drill Variations

  • Instruct players to shorten the distance between the pairs and practice headers. 
  • For advanced teams, instruct players to shorten the distance and practice the first touch, and high-intensity passing. 

5-a-side possession games: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 5-a-side possession games
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (goalkeepers and subs optional)
  • Skills learned: First touch, quick passing, pressing, intercepting, tackling
  • Equipment: 4 cones, multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Use the space between the penalty box and the sideline for this drill. 
  • Create a 4-cone mini field by placing 2 cones at the corners of the penalty box, 1 cone on the corner flag, and 1 cone on the sideline. 
  • Divide the team into 2 groups of 5. 
  • If you have a large squad, consider increasing the size of the teams or adding a 3rd team. 
  • Players occupy whatever positions they want on the field.
  • The coach begins with the ball. 
Possession Games 2
Possession Games

Drill Instructions

  1. The coach starts the drill by kicking the first ball onto the playing field. The coach can choose to play the ball into space, between 2 players, or in the air.
  2. Players compete to win possession of the ball. 
  3. The goal of this drill is for either team to keep possession for as long as possible. 
  4. There are no goalposts and there are no goals allowed. 
  5. The defensive team plays as normal, using tackles, blocks, and interceptions to regain possession. 
  6. If the ball goes out of play, the coach restarts the game by kicking the ball onto the field. 
See also  Short/Long Passing Drills and Receiving (Vision)

Drill Variations

  • Keep track of consecutive passes and set passing targets for each team. 
  • Create a competition where the first team to reach a certain number of passes wins. 
  • Consider adding mini goalposts, allowing teams to score after a certain number of passes. 

Give & go shooting: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Give & go shooting
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: Full squad, including the starting goalkeeper and subs
  • Skills learned: passing, dribbling, shooting, and saves
  • Equipment: 2 cones, 1 goal, multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box and the surrounding area for this drill.
  • Set up 1 full-size goal in the normal position on the end line. The goalkeeper takes their place in between the posts. 
  • Place 1 cone centrally on the edge of the penalty box. The coach begins at this cone, acting as the passer and defender.
  • Place 1 cone centrally 5 yards outside the box. 
  • P1 and the rest of the outfield players line up behind the cone on the outside of the penalty box. 
  • P1 and the outfield players begin with the balls.
Give And Go Shooting
Give and Go Shooting

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by playing a quick pass to the coach. 
  2. The coach lays the ball off to 1 side, then assumes the role of a defender. 
  3. P1 runs for the return pass, dribbles past the coach, then takes a shot on goal. 
  4. The coach doesn’t actively try to win possession. Instead, they shadow the attacker, allowing them to practice a game-like take-on. 
  5. P1 collects their ball and returns to the end of the line. 
  6. P2 and the rest of the outfield players repeat the drill.
  7. Outfield players should focus on accurate finishes, picking their spot before shooting. 
  8. This drill doubles as a goalkeeper warm-up. 

Drill Variations

  • If you have sub-goalkeepers, consider rotating them into the drill. 
  • The coach should play bobbled return passes or slightly elevated returns to simulate real game scenarios. 
  • Focus on weak foot shooting for a round. 

Goalkeeper crossing practice: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Goalkeeper crossing practice
  • Session Length: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: Starting goalkeeper and subs
  • Skills learned: catching, punching, throwing, judging the flight of the ball
  • Equipment: 1 goal, multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box for this drill. 
  • The starting goalkeeper (GK1) begins in the center of the 6-yard box, anticipating the cross.
  • P1 or multiple subs stand on the right side of the penalty box with multiple balls. 
Goalkeeper Crossing
Goalkeeper Crossing

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts by kicking or throwing the ball through the air toward the center of the penalty box, between the six-yard line and the penalty spot. 
  2. GK1 judges the flight of the ball and moves to catch the ball cleanly. 
  3. Gk1 then throws the ball back to P1. 
  4. Repeat this process 5 to 10 times from the same side. 
  5. P1 switches to the left side, allowing GK1 to practice catching crosses from the opposite angle. 
  6. Repeat the process 5 to 10 times from this side. 
  7. Instruct P1 to alter the flight pattern of the crosses, simulating in-game scenarios.

Drill Variations

  • Repeat the same steps but instead of catching the ball, GK1 punches it, making sure to send the ball as far away from the goal as possible. 
  • Add a player to contest the crosses with GK1, simulating a real game scenario. 

Goalkeeper Kicks and Throws: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Goalkeeper kicks and throws
  • Session Length: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: Starting goalkeeper and subs
  • Skills learned: long-range kicking, out-of-hands kicking, throwing
  • Equipment: 1 goal, multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Use half the length of the field (at least) for this drill. 
  • This drill consists of 3 separate rounds. 
  • GK1 stands inside their penalty box with multiple balls. 
  • P1 or multiple subs begin the first round along the halfway line. 
  • GK1 should warm up extensively before performing this drill to avoid a muscular injury. 
Halfway Line Goalkicks
Halfway Line Goalkicks

Drill Instructions

  1. Round 1: GK1 practices goal kicks from either side of the 6-yard box. GK1 instructs P1 where to stand, then takes 3 to 5 kicks toward that side. GK1 then practices 3 to 5 kicks aiming for another section of the field. P1 returns the ball to GK1.
  2. Round 2: GK1 practices kicking the ball out of their hands from various spots inside their penalty box. GK1 instructs P1 where to stand, then takes multiple kicks in that direction. P1 returns the ball to GK1.
  3. Round 3: GK1 practices throwing the ball from different points inside their penalty box. P1 where to stand, then throws the ball in that direction multiple. P1 returns the ball to GK1.

Drill Variations

  • If there is enough time, GK1 can practice kicking a rolling ball from a back pass. 
  • If the team’s tactical approach typically involves short kick outs, GK1 should practice the usual routine. 
  • If there are no subs, place cones at various points on the field to aim for. 

Soccer Blade has more than 100 drills – for more go to our soccer drills page. If you need equipment for your soccer drills, check out our soccer equipment page.

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