Warm Up Activities


Youth Soccer Coaching Manual for an Instructional Soccer Program

 © CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®

Introduction to the grid, marked by corner flags, discs. For first demonstrations, one can place parents around the perimeter. Explain that, in general, everything takes place inside the grid. Coaches can use the parents to constrict the grid during some drills.  For really young players, the grid may be first introduced as the “play-yard.”


  • Walk around the perimeter of the grid; move to the inside, move to the perimeter; Find a line – everyone to the left, everyone to the right, jump to the left, jump to the right.
  • From one end, run to the other end; run backward to the first end. Run sideways, left, then right.
  • Slide sideways, all the way left, all the way right
  • High kicks soldier march, up and back
  • “Run around/freeze.” (Or “go/stop.” Or “green light/red light.”)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Helicopters, arms out swing with twist at waist
  • Jogging “In-Place” (can add high-knees and alternating thigh slap; alternating elbows to thighs)
  • Kangaroo Hop (Rabbit Hop/Bunny Hop), forward, backward, left and right
  • Skipping; Skipping Backward
  • Tip-toes, toe raisers, walk on toes (balls of the feet)
  • Jumping around using one leg, then the other
  • “All fall down,” get up as fast as possible, jogging in between; Forward-roll. (Don’t use with wet grounds.)
  • Run to parent, give high five (low five, side-to-side, fist bump), run back
  • Back-forth through THEIR OWN parents’ legs (for surprise effect, you can add a “fanny pat” by telling the parents only); figure “8” through legs with instruction/directions from parent.
  • Knee Bends (both legs, down to 90-degrees only)
  • “Make-A-Circle” around a disc, cone, or parent. Left (counter-clockwise) and right (clockwise).
  • While stationary, balance standing on one leg, then the other
  • Hokey-Pokey. (See www.kidsongs.com/lyrics/the-hokey-pokey.html) Use right foot, left foot, right hand, left hand, and whole-self.
  • Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes.
  • Duck, Duck, Goose – small groups, approximately five each
  • Run in pairs – two players holding hands
  • Challenge – “How Many Fingers?” – During any of the appropriate exercises, coach holds up fingers on one or both hands and at the end of the exercise asks how many fingers were displayed.
  • Challenge – “Crab Walk.”


While standing…  (not recommended for really young players first learning to not use their hands).

  • Toss in air, catch with hands; toss in air- clap – catch with hands; toss in air – clap as many times as possible – catch with hands; toss in air – close and re-open eyes – catch with hands; (challenge – toss in air – spin 360 degrees – catch with hands).
  • Push ball around with right hand. Push ball around with left hand. (Challenge: With feet spread, push ball around feet in a figure “8” with hands).
  • Push ball with both hands from front, between legs, to back; turn; repeat.
  • Hold ball with both hands, twist from side-to-side; hold ball with both hands, touch to back of neck, touch to toes; repeat. Knee bends while holding ball out in front.
  • Still ball – step over, turn around, step over one foot then the other (from front-to-back); repeat side-to-side.
  • Forward roll while holding ball.

While sitting…

  • Touch ball to left hip, touch ball to right hip; twist left, twist right; lie back and touch ball to ground above head; sit up and touch ball to toes.
  • Start in sitting position: place ball between feet/ankles and “hold”/lock ball in place; brace with hands or lie back; bend legs to bring ball back to fanny, extend; move legs left and right; point legs to the sky; try to take the legs/ball and touch the toes/ball to the ground above the head.
  • Name Game. Establish a small circle with discs. Half of the players have ball. Players stand around the circle and are to pass the ball across the circle to a player who does not have a ball. Before making a pass, however, the player must call out the name of the person to whom they are going to pass. (Before using this game, everyone should sit in a tight circle and introduce themselves by first name.) (Variations: Include yourself as “coach.” Add more balls if success rate is high.)

© Copyright, John C. Harves