Why do teams warm up like this!

How often do you turn up at a match and watch the players doing something that just isn’t a warm up or preparation for playing a game? Okay so I know how hard it is when you start out coaching to be able to do everything as it should be done and I have been the coach letting the players warm themselves up on many an occasion but they’ve always done something to help them get ready for a game.

But three weeks in a row I’ve turned up for a match only to see the opposition coach line his players up and have them shoot at the goalkeeper who is barely warmed up himself but is expected to save the hardest of shots from around the penalty spot.

Better ways to warm up

I’m not sure why this has become the default warm-up in grassroots – there are so many better ways to warm players up than just shooting from a pass by the coach. And that does have a place in warm-ups, for a couple of minutes you can get your strikers to hit a couple of hard shots at the goalkeeper but only when they are all warmed up.

I’m thinking here about starting with all the players in the centre circle with a ball each just moving around doing little skills, maybe a touch of keepy uppies all unopposed. Then getting players to suddenly sprint for a couple of seconds, then jog, then sprint, the actions they would be doing in a match. Maybe moving on to a game of keep ball or rondos adding a bit of a competitive edge to the play.

Play a team game

In the meantime I would have a player or a helper to get the goalkeeper stretching and moving from one side of the goal to the other, catching a ball, throwing balls and kicking them to get a feel for direction and pace.

Then have a team game – split your squad in two with substitutes as well taking part. Play a tag basketball style game where teams must pass the ball before they are tagged. You can use the penalty area of the pitch as an area they players have to stay in.

This kind of warm-up routine is not much harder than passing the ball to a line of players and having to retrieve the ones that miss the goal or trying to get the concentration of the players at the back of the queue. There is a reason they are not concentrating and that is because they are probably bored.

Warm–ups are important and with a little thought can get your team kicking off a game at full throttle.

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