Before any football match, it is important to ensure that your child has done the correct warm-up exercises including stretching. This helps to prevent injury during the match or even if they are training. Doing a warm-up is essential to all footballers from all ages to all levels including the professionals. Therefore, we have listed our top 3 football warm-up exercises for kids that are exciting and enjoyable whilst focusing on getting them to match ready.
Also performing warm-ups also helps to better your child’s skill in the process as they work on different aspects of their game including passing, shooting and dribbling which are the 3 main components of becoming a good footballer. Therefore, we have listed the equipment required for the exercises and how to carry out these football warm-up exercises for kids below.
Please note that we have only listed exercises rather than the stretching side of a warm-up but this remains equally important and as such, all children must perform stretching after performing one of the exercises listed below.
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Equipment Needed For The Exercises Below
Our recommendation would be the Mitre Impel Training Football which is available on Amazon for a great price.
You will want to grab yourself a good quality football goal to carry out your football warm-up exercises for kids. The FORZA 6’ x 4’ is the perfect option and a great size to start with.
In my opinion, the Lusum Set of 20 Flat Rubber Disks is the best one out there to get. The flat cones make it easier to practice your drills without having to pick up the cones every 2 seconds if you knock one over. They also take away the tripping hazard that comes with buying normal cones, so you won’t have to worry about your child hurting themselves.
1) Dribbling Shuttle Runs
This football warm-up exercise for kids is challenging and competitive all at the same time. It’s very simple to set up and only requires cones and a football, plus participants of the course. It is an adaptation of the original shuttle runs that you will see many of the top athletes doing.
This is easily one of our favourite football exercises for kids. This is because children love this one as it includes a competitive nature where they have to race against the other team. Another great thing is this can be adjusted in many ways such as including a goal at the end of the line so the players dribble to the end of the cones and take a shot. Once the shot is taken, the next person in the line goes and for every goal scored they get an extra point.
The standard objective of the exercise is – Be the first team to get all players across the line.
Set up the 2 lots of 4 cones approximately 5m apart from one another in a straight line but don’t worry about making it precisely 5m as it is just a rough guide. This can be changed depending on the focus of the session whether it is improving dribbling shorter or longer distances.
Separate into two equal teams and line each team up in order behind their first cone with each person having a football at their feet.
When instructed to go, the first person at each line will dribble the ball to the first cone, dribble back and then to the second cone and so on. Until they reach the final cone where they will dribble the ball back again and once they have reached the start, the next person in line will do the same.
The winner of the race will be the first team back behind their starting cone, having all completed the dribble shuttle runs.
What Does This Exercise Achieve?
The idea of this exercise is to improve the kid’s fitness levels and dribbling skills. You can always adapt this exercise to using both feet, only outside of the foot and much more so it is a great way to constantly evolve into something more challenging for the kids. It also helps them to improve on both their short-range dribbling and long dribbling. Usually, this exercise is completed at club/school football training rather than on a field with friends. It also installs a great level of competition between them and other club players. This is what makes it such a great warm-up exercise for kids as it gets them moving whilst using the football so gives them good practice just before the match.
2) Pass & Shoot
This drill is very straightforward in the sense that it is exactly what it says on the tin in terms of passing the ball and then shooting. As a young child once, there was nothing more exciting than doing a shooting drill to warm up the legs and mind before a match. Every child loves to shoot and score goals when they are much younger. This drill is perfect for building their confidence each time they score a goal. Especially at a young age, the most important part of football is that they enjoy playing as this helps to keep them involved in the sport as a whole.
This step is about having everything all setup and ready to go and in order to do this you will need to have someone (either another player or a coach) on the penalty spot. The rest of the players lined up just outside of the box but split into two, one line on the left and one line on the right. You will also need a goalkeeper who again can either be one of the coaches or another player. We would usually recommend the goalkeeper of the team as it helps them improve their saving.
For step two you need to decide which side to go first, whether that be the left side or the right side. Once that has been done, the player at the front of the line will then pass the ball into the individual on the penalty spot. Once they have received the ball to feet, they will then lay off to the player passing, ready for them to take a shot at the goal. Depending on which line they are in, will depend on what foot they need to shoot with. For example, those on the left side will shoot with their left and those on the right will shoot with their right.
Once everyone has had a turn from both lines, switch them over so those that took a shot with their left will now be using their right foot instead. Also, if you have more than one goalkeeper on the team, now would be the time to swap them over to give them a chance of saving a few shots.
What Does This Warm-Up Exercise Achieve?
These football warm-up exercises for kids above all else helps to improve their confidence in front of a goal whilst also having a great level of fun. It also helps them to improve on their shooting with their right and left foot which is essential for all players to have the ability to use both feet. In fact, it is not even about them practising their shooting with both feet as this drill secretly helps them use both feet for more than just shooting. It will help improve their passing and dribbling skills the more they use both feet in practice.
Although the name may sound fancy and confusing, this football warm-up exercise for kids is actually very straightforward. It is basically another term for piggy in the middle so don’t let the name put you off from using it. The best thing about this is that it works on many factors of the child’s performance. Ranging from defending, passing, awareness, coordination and most importantly, it is enjoyable to all those participating.
Round your team up to form a small circle of around 6 players per circle, you may need to make a few circles. Or in some cases, you can split the circle’s out evenly depending on the number of players in the squad. So you start off with 6 on the outside circle with 2 players defending in the middle. The aim of this is to keep the ball with the outside players whilst the defenders try to intercept the ball from a pass.
Once one of the defenders has touched the ball then they automatically switch with the child that lost possession of the ball. After around 5-10 minutes, maybe switch the groups around as this helps with team bonding and creating a stronger team as a result.
Due to the simplicity of this exercise, there is only one step to follow which is why it is used so heavily when it comes to football warm-up exercises for kids.
The Purpose of This Exercise
The purpose of this exercise is to improve the passing ability of those on the outside of the circle whilst improving their awareness. With the defenders in the middle it creates a type of pressure on those performing the passes and as such, teaches them how to play a pass under pressure. This is extremely important because, in most football matches, each player is put under pressure many times throughout a match.
As for the defenders, this teaches them awareness and improves their reading of the game as they have to try and predict where the pass is going to go. Therefore, from that perspective, it helps resemble what it would be like in a match scenario.
Not only does this improve their skill but this exercise also helps them get game-ready due to the fast pace of the Rondos. It keeps the ball moving at all times which means the players have to be ready to receive the ball and as such, keep their legs warm and ready for kick-off. This is why it makes it into one of our top picks for football warm up exercises for kids.