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This checklist aims to prepare youth soccer players physically and mentally for the upcoming training session or match. Ensure each component of the warm-up is tailored to the age group's abilities and progressively increases in intensity.


Before a youth soccer match, a coach plays a pivotal role in preparing players physically and mentally for optimal performance. A comprehensive pre-match routine ensures players are mentally focused, physically ready, and aware of their tactical responsibilities.

Firstly, a brief team meeting should be conducted approximately 30 minutes before kick-off. During this time, the coach can address tactical aspects, emphasizing the team's strategy and individual roles. This discussion fosters a shared understanding of the game plan and boosts players' confidence.

A short warm-up, lasting around 15 minutes, is essential to prepare players' bodies for the physical demands of the match. Incorporating dynamic stretches, light jogging, and ball work helps improve flexibility, increases blood flow, and sharpens technical skills.

Fitness and agility drills are crucial elements in the pre-match routine, focusing on explosive movements, quick changes of direction, and acceleration. These exercises, lasting 10-15 minutes, enhance players' overall athleticism and readiness for the dynamic nature of the game.

Lastly, creating a mentally focused atmosphere is vital. Coaches should encourage players to visualize success, instilling a positive mindset. Reminders of individual and team goals, combined with words of encouragement, contribute to a confident and motivated squad.

Dynamic Stretching:

  • Begin with light jogging to increase heart rate.

  • Incorporate dynamic stretches for major muscle groups, such as leg swings, high knees, and butt kicks.

Circles and Rotations:

  • Engage players in circular movements to warm up joints, including arm circles and ankle rotations.

  • Encourage both clockwise and counterclockwise rotations for balance.

Agility Ladder Drills:

  • Set up an agility ladder for footwork exercises.

  • Include drills like quick steps, lateral movements, and high knees to enhance agility and coordination.

Ball Work:

  • Integrate the ball into warm-up routines to familiarize players with their touch.

  • Simple passing and receiving drills in pairs can help players get a feel for the ball.

Cone Dribbling:

  • Use cones to create a small dribbling course.

  • Players navigate through the cones, emphasizing close ball control and quick changes of direction.

Light Plyometrics:

  • Include low-impact plyometric exercises like jumping jacks or skipping.

  • This helps activate muscles and improve overall power.

Shuttle Runs:

  • Set up markers at varying distances for shuttle runs.

  • Players sprint back and forth, gradually increasing the intensity to elevate heart rate.

Bodyweight Exercises:

  • Incorporate bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, and push-ups.

  • This adds strength training elements to the warm-up.

Small-Sided Games:

  • Conclude the warm-up with a small-sided game to integrate skills into a more dynamic and game-like environment.

  • Focus on quick passing and movement.

Hydration Reminder:

  • Emphasize the importance of staying hydrated during the warm-up.

  • Encourage players to have water readily available and take short water breaks as needed.