Soccer or Football warm up is a must to session before the match. It is a game that involves long time activities having high intensities. At any time Soccer players need rapid movement of their body. For performing high intense activities in a game, your body need a good warm-up before the game starts.
When we talk about football, few names come to our mind automatically. Like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Renaldo, Neymar, Wayne Rooney and many more. These are fittest players and great performers too. And fitness plays an important role in every game. Soccer players do different types of exercises to keep themselves fit and active during the game. And warm up before any game is also an important part of their performance and fitness. A good warm up will help soccer players to stay away from different types of injuries.
What is Warm-Up?
A warm up is a session which is done before doing any physical activity or in terms of Soccer, when players do few types of exercises before playing any game
10 Things to remember when warming up for Soccer:
- Make it fun.
- Make sure the players understand the reasons why he./she is doing warming up.
- Make it relative to the activity you are about to undertake.
- You can work with or without the ball.
- Start gently and then slowly build up the intensity of warm up and heart rate.
- Provide sufficient time for stretching and ensure that the technique is correct (Do under coach supervision).
- Provide adequate rest periods and ensure that water is available
- Time management is important – don’t go on for too long (Maximum: 30 minutes).
- Distances covered and size of area – make sure these are correct
- Make allowances for the weather.
Importance of Warming Up in Football:
Some of the benefits of doing warm up are:
- Reduce Injury Chances
- Prepares the body for the physical activity
- Improves Practical Skills
- Mentally Prepares the player for the game ahead
- Increases Blood Flow of the muscles
- Boost performance and flexibility
How to Warm Up for Soccer:
- Skill Exercises like shooting, running, passing drills etc.
- Building Team Spirit
- Team Meeting lead by Captain
List of Soccer Warm Up Exercises
First Stage of Warm Up
- We do Jogging; Jogging will increase your pulse rate and body temperature.
- Or players play agility games, this also increases pulse rate (this is done when we do not go for jogging).
Second Stage of Warming Up for Football
- Now we do lunges. Put your one foot in front and one at the back. There should be a distance between the two legs. Now go down with the help of back foot such that the knee touches the ground. And the front knee should not go ahead the toe level. Do at least 2 minutes. This would help in elongation of muscles.
- Now perform High knees: Standing at a fixed position, lift your knees to your waist level and jog. Do it at least 30 times.
- Now we do Calf Raises; Stand on the edge of a small stool. Raise your heels a few inches above the edge so that you’re on your tiptoes. Hold the position for few seconds, and then lower your heels, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles.
- Now we do Agility Ladders; In this exercise we use a ladder of rope to warm up, as it is an excellent way to improve foot speed, coordination, agility, strength and overall quickness.
Static Stretching for Soccer
Static stretching is important there are no scientific studies that suggest it will help to improve the individual performance of a soccer player. It is very much down to personal opinion and peace of mind whether static stretching takes place in your team or individual warm-up. I like to use static stretching on the main leg/kicking muscles (hamstring, thigh, groin, calf) and use this stretching period as a time for calm and focus on the task ahead.
Static stretching is when the muscle is stretched to its maximum and held for a short period of time. You should feel the stretch on your muscle and then hold for a short period. The position should be comfortable and stretching should never be painful.
Examples of static stretching:
- Groin stretch –bring your feet together so that both soles are touching. Gently lean your body forward and pull your feet off from the floor. Now you should begin to feel the stretch in your groin area.
- Thigh stretch – lay on one side and bend you leg towards your hand. Hold the leg in this period for a set time period. If you are unable to feel the muscles stretching then extend the leg backwards to increase the intensity.
- Calf stretch – stands up; put one leg out in front of the other. Bend the front knee slightly whilst keeping the back leg straight and with the heel on the floor. Place you hands on your hips and lean forward to feel the stretch.
- Hamstring stretch – stand up and place your legs shoulder width apart. Keep your legs straight. Bend forward and attempt to touch the floor. Once in this position you can push your arms out in front, between your legs, to the left or to the right in order to stretch the muscles on both legs.
Dynamic Stretching for Football
Dynamic stretching is simply stretching on the move. This type of stretching should be specific to soccer and include various kicking, changing of direction and movement patterns. Although dynamic stretching will not increase flexibility it has been proven to enhance a player’s performance.
All dynamic stretching is performed to a rhythm and this makes it more difficult to perform correctly than static stretching.
Examples of dynamic stretching:
- Heel flicks – whilst jogging, put your hands behind your back and then with each stride bring your heel up to flick against the palms of your hands.
- High knees – whilst jogging, put your hands out in front of your body and then with each stride bring your knees up high to flick against the palm of your hands.
- High kicks – jogging with four steps (1, 2, 3, and 4) make alternate kicking motions keeping the leg straight as you follow through.
- Kick across body – jogging with four steps (1, 2, 3, and 4) make alternate kicking motions across your body.
- Groin opening – bend your leg and bring your knee up and in front of your body, slowly move the knee outwards in a circular motion and then back down to the floor.
List of drills to be done before playing a game of Soccer
- Bounce and Go:Tell your players to continuously bounce around in various directions. On your whistle, the players must react to whatever direction they are facing and then sprint to get past you first.
- Sprinting Cone React: The players must react to you calling a number. Get them to sprint to the number cone that you call. They must then jog on the spot until the next number is called. When you call “go”, the players sprint will past you. Make sure they always face forward during this practice otherwise there is a chance of getting injured. They will therefore have to use back pedaling movements if you were to call “2 then 1”.
- Huddle Movement: Nominate one player as the catcher. Nominate another player as the driver. The catcher goes out of the group. The driver must put a bib in the back of their shorts and then get the rest of the players to link arms and form a huddle.On your whistle, the catcher must try to pull the turnout out of the driver’s shorts.The driver must command the huddle to move either left or right in order to avoid being caught. Continue the practice for 30 seconds or until the bib is successfully pulled away.
- Stepping Mines: Four players must attempt to get across the coned area. The players must side step the other players and use quick feet to avoid touching the cones on their way across. The practice works continuously for a set period of time.
- Side Step Circuit: Both ends work at the same time. The players must complete a series of sprints and foot movements:
- Sprint to the first cone and side step to the left
- Sprint forward and side step to the left
- Back pedal and then side step to the left
- Sprint to the back of the opposite group.
Once all the players have completed three sets with movements to the left, the starting position is changed so that the players can now work on movements to the right.
- Cone Reaction: Lay out various colored bibs or cones inside a small area. Get your players to jog around the bibs and cones performing various warm-up movements. On your call of a color, the players must race to stand next to one of the bib/cones. Make sure that there is one less bib/cone of each color than there are players. If the players don’t react quickly enough they’re out!
10 Fast Feet Ladder Drills for Football Players
- One foot: The players sprint through the ladder putting one foot between each crossbar of the ladder.
- Two feet: The players sprint through the ladder putting two feet between each crossbar of the ladder.
- Three forward, one back: The players make three forward steps followed by one backwards step as they go through the ladder.
- Zig-zag: The players make quick side step movements in and out of the rungs in a zig zag motion. Tell your players to start to the right of the ladder and put their right foot into the first rung, then bring the left foot into the rung and the right foot out the opposite side. Continue this action. Tell your players to make three quick steps. It often helps if they count the steps as they go – “1,2,3”– “1,2,3”.
- In and out: Get your players to stand side-on to the ladder and have them put two feet into each rung in a forward and backwards motion. Next time, get them to face the opposite direction so that they get used to working to the right then left.
- Jumps: The players must make two footed jumps through the ladder.
- The hop: All the players must make one footed hops/jumps through the ladders. This can be the same leg all the way through the ladder or three crossbars on each leg.
Warm Up with the Ball
- Penny Soccer: You need one player and three balls. Get the player to cross the first ball between the other two balls. Before the first ball has stopped rolling, the player must pass a second ball between the other two balls. This is repeated with the player counting how many successful passes they make. If the previous ball stops rolling before the next ball is kicked or the passing ball does not go between the other two balls then the game is over.
- Dribble and Touch the ball: Get your players to dribble their balls around the area and complete various skills and turn movements. On your whistle the players must quickly touch three balls with their hands and then continue to dribble.
- Dribble and Jockey: The player in possession of the ball is the attacker. The player makes various dribbling movements, fakes and skills. The player not in possession must act as the defender. The defender must jockey the attacker and change position based on the attacker’s movements. On your whistle, the attacker and defender must switch roles that is now the attacker becomes the defender and defender becomes the attacker and continue the practice.
- React and Challenge: Both players must react to your serve and then challenge to win possession. Vary your serves: aerial, bouncing, along the floor. You should also serve the ball in a variety of directions. The players can use their body strength (arms, shoulders etc.) to hold off their opponent and win the ball but they must not commit a foul.
Group Drills for Football Players
- Dribble passes and Knock Off: Arrange your players into two teams. You and a helper act as ball collectors. The two teams compete against each other and try to be the first team to knock all the balls off the cones. The players dribble at top speed into the shooting box and then try to hit the cones with a pass to the other player of the team. The next player goes when the previous player has sprinted back to the group.
- Pass, Throw and Control: Arrange your players into two groups. The player in possession must dribble half way and then pass out to the opposite team.
The player receiving must make a pass to the dribbling player and wait for the return before repeating the practice in the opposite direction. The receiving players can:
- make a grounded pass in order to receive a grounded return
- throw a bouncing pass in order to receive a volleyed return
- throw an aerial pass in order to receive a headed pass.
Common Types of Injuries in Football:
Some Common injuries that happen during Soccer match are:
- Strain ( Side or intercostals strain)
- Sprains (Ankle Sprain)
- Rotator cuff injury
- Lower Back pain
Precautions to be taken to avoid above injuries are:
- Do proper Exercises includes Drills, stretches etc.
- Work on your passing techniques so that when you pass the ball, it doesn’t lead to any type of Injury.
- Play in a safe environment includes ground is smooth and clean , remove all the stones from the ground etc.
- Listen to your body