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Top 3 Football Warm Up Drills For Kids

When it comes to children's football training, warm-up drills play a crucial role in setting the stage for a successful and injury-free game.

As parents and coaches, we understand the importance of preparing young players both mentally and physically before they step onto the field. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of warm-up drills specifically tailored for kids and the numerous benefits they offer.

From injury prevention to improved performance, these essential warm-up exercises will kickstart your child's performance and ensure they are ready to give their best in every game.

Benefits of Football Warm-Up Drills

Engaging in proper football warm-up drills before a football game offers a multitude of benefits for kids. These exercises are not merely a formality but play a vital role in enhancing their performance on the field. Let's explore some specific benefits of football warm-up drills for young players:

Increased Blood Flow: Warm-up drills get the heart pumping, increasing blood flow to the muscles. This heightened circulation delivers oxygen and essential nutrients, preparing the muscles for optimal performance.

Enhanced Flexibility: Dynamic stretching exercises during warm-up drills help improve flexibility in young players. This increased range of motion allows for fluid movements on the field, reducing the risk of strains or pulls.

Improved Coordination: Football warm-up drills involving agility exercises and footwork drills enhance coordination skills. These drills challenge players to coordinate their movements, improving their ability to control the ball, change direction, and react swiftly during gameplay.

Mental Readiness: Warm-up drills provide an opportunity for young players to mentally prepare for the game. They can focus on their objectives, visualise successful plays, and cultivate a positive mindset. This mental readiness enhances concentration, decision-making, and overall performance.

Injury Prevention: One of the primary benefits of football warm-up drills is injury prevention. By gradually increasing the intensity of physical activity, warm-up drills help prepare the muscles, tendons, and ligaments for the demands of the game. This reduces the risk of potential injuries such as muscle strains, sprains, or tears.

By incorporating these football warm-up drills into their routine, young footballers can experience these benefits first hand, translating into improved performance on the field. A well-prepared body and mind set the stage for success, ensuring that your child can give their best effort and enjoy the game to the fullest.

Football Warm-Up Drill 1: Jogging and Dynamic Stretching

The first warm-up drill focuses on getting the body moving and preparing the major muscle groups for the upcoming football session. It consists of a combination of light jogging to raise the heart rate and dynamic stretching exercises to increase flexibility. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of the stretching routine, emphasising proper form and safety:

Light Jogging:

Begin the warm-up by having the kids engage in a light jog around the field or a designated area.

Encourage them to maintain a steady pace, gradually increasing their speed to raise their heart rate and warm up their muscles.

Remind them to maintain proper running form, including upright posture and a relaxed stride.

Leg Swings:

  • Stand next to a wall or a sturdy object for support.

  • Swing one leg forward and backward in a controlled motion, keeping the leg straight.

  • Repeat this swinging motion for 10-15 times with each leg.

  • This exercise is a quadriceps warm up and hamstring warm up

Arm Circles:

  • Extend the arms straight out to the sides, parallel to the ground.

  • Begin making small circles with the arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.

  • After 10-15 seconds, reverse the direction of the circles.

  • This exercise is a shoulder warm up and arm muscles warm up.

Walking Lunges:

  • Take a step forward with the right foot and lower the body into a lunge position, ensuring the front knee doesn't extend past the toes.

  • Push off with the back foot and bring it forward, stepping into the next lunge with the opposite leg.

  • Repeat this walking lunge motion for a distance of 10-15 metres.

  • Walking lunges engage the quadriceps, hip flexors, and are a great glute activation warm up.

High Knees:

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart.

  • Lift one knee towards the chest while hopping slightly on the opposite foot.

  • Alternate legs and continue lifting the knees as high as possible for 20-30 seconds.

  • This exercise activates the hip flexors and improves coordination.

  • Heel-to-Toe Walk:

  • Walk forward, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the opposite foot with each step.

  • Maintain a slow and controlled pace, focusing on balance and stability.

  • Continue this heel-to-toe walking pattern for 10-15 metres.

  • This exercise promotes ankle mobility.

Side Shuffles:

  • Assume a slightly crouched position with the feet hip-width apart.

  • Shuffle laterally to the right for a few steps, then shuffle back to the left.

  • Repeat this side-to-side shuffling motion for 10-15 seconds.

  • The way how to stretch hip abductors and improve lateral movement.

Remember, safety is paramount during warm-up drills. Encourage the kids to listen to their bodies, avoid overstretching, and perform the exercises within their comfort level. Remind them to breathe deeply and stay hydrated throughout the warm-up routine. By incorporating this jogging and dynamic stretching routine, you'll ensure that the players' muscles are primed for the challenges ahead and help reduce the risk of injury.

Warm-Up Drill 2: Shuttle Runs and Agility Ladder

The second warm-up drill is designed to enhance speed, agility, and footwork, essential attributes for any young football player. This drill incorporates shuttle runs and agility ladder exercises to improve quickness, coordination, and reaction time. Let's dive into how these exercises benefit young players and explore variations based on age and skill level:

Shuttle Runs:

  • Set up two cones or markers about 10-15 metres apart.

  • Instruct the kids to start at one cone and sprint to the other cone as fast as possible.

  • Upon reaching the second cone, they should immediately change direction and sprint back to the starting cone.

  • Repeat this shuttle run pattern for 5-10 repetitions.

  • Shuttle runs develop speed, acceleration, and change of direction abilities.


  • For younger or less experienced players, you can reduce the distance between the cones and emphasise proper running form and technique.

  • To challenge more advanced players, you can increase the distance, introduce lateral shuttle runs, or incorporate additional cones for complex running patterns.

Agility Ladder Drills:

  • Set up an agility ladder on the ground or use markers to create a ladder-like pattern.

  • Instruct the kids to perform various footwork exercises while moving through the ladder.

  • Common agility ladder exercises include high knees, lateral step ups, quick feet, in-and-outs, and crossover steps.

  • Encourage them to perform each exercise with quickness, precision, and coordination.

  • Repeat each exercise for 20-30 seconds before moving on to the next one.

  • Agility ladder drills improve foot speed, coordination, and agility.


  • For younger children, start with simpler ladder exercises and gradually introduce more complex patterns as they progress.

  • Modify the intensity and speed of the drills based on the age and skill level of the players.

  • You can also add competition by timing the kids or creating relay races with multiple agility ladder stations.

By incorporating shuttle runs and agility ladder drills into the warm-up routine, young footballers can develop their speed, agility, and footwork skills. These exercises not only improve physical attributes but also help players become more responsive and coordinated on the field.

Remember to adapt the drills to suit the age and skill level of the kids, ensuring they are appropriately challenged while maintaining a positive and enjoyable experience.

Warm-Up Drill 3: Passing and Ball Control Drills

The third warm-up drill focuses on passing and ball control exercises, which are fundamental skills for any young football player. These drills not only help improve passing technique and ball control but also emphasise the importance of communication and teamwork. Let's explore some drills that encourage proper passing, control, and first touch:

Two-Person Passing:

  • Pair up the players and have them stand about 5-10 metres apart.

  • Instruct them to pass the ball back and forth using various surfaces of the feet (inside, outside, and instep).

  • Encourage players to focus on accuracy, weight of the pass, and receiving the ball with a controlled touch.

  • Gradually increase the intensity and speed of the passing as the warm-up progresses.

  • Emphasise the importance of good communication and teamwork during this drill.

Triangle Passing:

  • Form groups of three players and create a triangle shape with cones or markers.

  • Each player stands at a corner of the triangle, with one player in the middle.

  • The players on the corners pass the ball back and forth, while the player in the middle tries to intercept the passes.

  • Encourage quick, one-touch passing and sharp movements to create angles for better passing options.

  • Rotate players in the middle, allowing each player to have a turn.

  • This drill improves passing accuracy, awareness, and decision-making skills.

Wall Passes:

  • Set up a wall or use a solid surface such as a fence or rebounder.

  • Have the players stand a few metres away from the wall.

  • Instruct them to pass the ball against the wall using different techniques (inside of the foot, laces, or one-touch passing).

  • Encourage players to receive the ball after each pass, focusing on controlling the ball and maintaining a good rhythm.

  • Emphasise the importance of using proper technique and adjusting their body position for accurate passes and controlled touches.

  • This drill enhances passing accuracy, ball control, and the ability to receive and react quickly.

Throughout these passing and ball control drills, stress the significance of good communication between players. Encourage them to call for the ball, provide clear instructions, and support each other.

Emphasise the importance of teamwork, as effective passing and ball control rely on understanding and connecting with teammates.

By incorporating these passing and ball control drills into the warm-up routine, young footballers can develop their technical skills, enhance their ability to control the ball, and foster teamwork and communication on the field.

These exercises set the stage for improved passing accuracy and promote a strong foundation for successful gameplay.

Top 3 football warm up drills


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