Warm Up and Cool Down for Training and Match Situations

The following is an excerpt from The Ultimate Youth Coaches Training Guide; A Complete 6 to 10 Year Old Developmental Coaching and Training Program.

This program is perfect for youth coaches wanting practices to start their soccer coaching education and it is also for those more advanced and experienced coaches wanting to train their players as best they can at these wonderful open minded ages for development and education of both the mind and body. Our plan is to help all coaches at whatever level of experience they are at. Find Out More

Warm Up and Cool Down are both important parts of any coaching session or indeed any game situation and should be included at all times particularly at a young age where doing so reinforces good habits in players. Due to the great need for players to have as much contact on the ball as possible to aid technical development, I recommend coaches get away from warming up and cooling down without the ball and introduce its use at every session they do, be it at a game or at practice. I will include some practices you can use as a reference.


  1. Players standing in the same position have to use one foot to “pull” the ball back with the “sole” of the foot and “push” the ball forward with the “laces” of the same foot. Do the movement with their heads up.
  2. Do it in a circle facing North, South, East and West on the call of the coach or have for example ten pulls with the sole and pushes with the laces movements at each direction. Quarter turns on each call going around in a circle.
  3. Same idea but drag back with the sole, push forward with the side of the foot not the laces. Bounce on the non-kicking foot as they do it.
  4. Inside and outside of the foot, roll the ball to the outside (on top of the ball contact), cut it back with the inside and roll the ball to the inside and cut it back with the outside of the foot. Repeat 10 times either side.
  5. Using the inside and the outside of the feet and moving side to side. Move the ball with the inside of the foot then the outside to bring it back but with the same foot. Use a cutting motion. Repeat 10 times either side.
  6. Juggling and counting the number of juggles, using both feet and both thighs.
  7. Step-Over Turn
  8. Drag Back Turn
  9. The Cryuff Turn
  10. The Inside Hook Turn
  11. The Outside Hook Turn
  12. Twist Off Turn
  13. Matthews Dribble
  14. Beardsley Dribble (double Touch)
  15. Rivelino Dribble
  16. Scissors Dribble
  17. Double scissors Dribble
  18. Maradona Dribble and turn

For individual dribbles and turns do 10 each one on the calling of that number. It can be three separate routines, 1 to 6, 7 to 12 and 13 to 17. You can create your own routine from all these ideas that the players must do for a warm up at the beginning of every session.

  1. Divide into two teams to start (for the scrimmage later if it’s a coaching session). A Ball each dribbling, turning controlling the ball, practicing skills at a slower pace if it’s a warm up to build to full pace or slowing down if it’s a cool down
  2. Include changes of pace in this, switching balls between players, Coach can provide passive pressure and can condition the content; the players decide when and where to implement it.
  3. Stop on a regular basis to stretch, get them tuned into thinking for themselves and being concentrated early by asking the players to come up with stretches for you.

An example of effective use of a ball during warm up and cool down:

Five minute warm up = 3.5 minutes with the ball (1.5 minutes stretching) i.e. 1 touch / second means 210 extra touches.

Five-minute cool down: as above = 210 extra touches. Total is 420 extra touches on the ball per player by just incorporating the use of the ball (Ten minutes either side of the session would provide 820 extra touches if you have the time, and help to reinforce the awareness session).

Passing and Moving (A Fun Warm Up)

Two balls passing at the same time and across each other.

Player passes then goes to the back of their own line.

One touch passing if possible.

fun warm up

Here it shows the direction they go. Pass forward and check to the back.

Now they are passing the same way but running one place to the left. Now running two places to the left.

Simple exercise but good for one touch passing and movement off the ball and it keeps the players focused and moving.