EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

No space to warm up on match day?

We played a match last week at a ground that had crammed a couple of pitches into a very small area. The pitches themselves were fine, a good size and in good condition, it was the area around them that was almost non-existent.

Arsenal training

Arsenal keep it tight in training

The problem was that both pitches were being used, with a smattering of parents watching the games, so there was barely a blade of grass visible. We were crammed up against the fence with the players raring to go, but there was over half an hour before the match and I was eager to get a warm up under way.

I asked one of the parents watching if the matches were nearly over but they hadn’t reached half time in either match so there was not going to be a free pitch to warm up on.

So this means you have to make use of any space available. Try the five warm ups below that I always keep at the back of my mind in case I turn up and there is very little space to warm up in.

Get to the opposite group
Great if you have a small square to work with – make the squares any size you can to fit into the area for a great passing and receiving warm up that gets players used to the pace of the pitch

One touch passing
Use this if you have a thin area – this works on first touch and passing and is excellent because players can just join in as they arrive for the match without having to stop the session

Get goalies stretching for the ball
You can set this up to warm up your goalkeeper and strikers. Doesn’t need much space and your keeper doing the right stretching before the game kicks off

The triangle drill
Simple ball control and pressing. Split your players into groups of four and get them to find some space and work on keep ball with one player pressing – an ideal way to get players ready for games

Heading knock off
Warm the older age groups up U12 and above with this simple game that takes up little space to get players heading the ball by jumping high and heading down

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