Sunday, 5 July 2009

Practice: Warm-up & Drilling Sessions

Warm-Up (indivudual)

  1. Skip - Regular skip. Pumping the arms and driving the knees and toes up. 20 yds (18 m)
  2. March - Exaggerated skip. Keeping the elbow at a 90 degree angle and driving the knee and toes up. If your right arm goes forward, your left knee should go forward. 20 yds (18 m)
  3. Arm Swings - Shuffle laterally while swinging your arms side to side straight over head. 20 yds (18 m)
  4. Backward Run - Run backwards while maintaining a forward lean. Make sure you pump your arms and reach back with your feet. 20 yds (18 m)
  5. Bounding - Over-exaggerated skip. Try to get both height and distance. 20 yds (18 m)
  6. Butt kicks - While maintaining a slight forward lean, with your hands behind you, pull at the turf with your toes and kick your butt with your heels. 20 yds (18 m)
  7. Fast Carioca - Moving laterally, cross your right foot over your left and step laterally with your left. Bring your right foot behind the left, step laterally with your left and repeat. Keep your knees bent and shoulders and hips square. 20 yds (18 m). Start with your opposite foot on the way back.
  8. Fast Shuffle - Get in a good defensive position with your knees bent and shoulders slightly forward. Take a wide step laterally with your right foot and bring your left foot next to your right. Repeat quickly. 20 yds (18 m). Repeat in both directions.
  9. Low and Slow Shuffle - The same as Fast Shuffle only slower with longer and more exaggerated steps. 20 yds (18 m)
  10. Power Skips - High skip exaggerating the knee and arm action. 20 yds (18 m)
  11. Tin Soldiers - Slow march. Raise right leg straight up to face level while keeping left foot flat on the ground. Keep alternating for 20 yds (18 m).

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Group Drills

Group Drill #1
This is a good drill to start a session off and makes a change from simply running widths of the pitch.

1. Have the team make a circle about 20 yards in diameter (roughly the size of the center circle).
2. They should be be arms width apart from the player to their left and right. Place a cone in the center of the circle.
3. Have the players jog in together to the cone then jog backwards to the outer edge of the circle.
4. Vary the runs to the center - high knees, heel flicks, sidestepping, lunge strides, hop on one leg etc. Keep the intensity light.

Group Drill #2
This drill can be used in the middle or towards the end of the soccer warm up.

1. With a group of 6-8 players split them into 2 smaller groups of 3-4 players.
2. Both groups stand in a line facing each other about 10 yards apart (see below).
3. The player at the front of group A passes the ball and follows his/her pass to run to the back of group B.
4. The player at the front of group B who receives the ball then passes to the next player in group A and follows his/her pass to run to the back of group A and so on.
5. Each player should focus on a good first touch, an accurate pass and then an immediate sprint to the back of the opposite group.
6. Gradually close the gap between groups until it is just 1 yard apart. Players literally will have one touch and they must quickly get into position for the next pass.
7. You can also lengthen the gap to 20-30 yards and have the players run with ball half way before passing and sprinting to the back of the opposite group.

Group Drill #3
This drill is useful towards the end of a soccer warm up.

1. Have the team make a circle about 20 yards in diameter (roughly the size of the center circle).
2. Four players get into 2 pairs and stand in the center of the circle.
3. One pair is nominated attackers the other pair are defenders.
4. The attacking pair start with the ball. They must keep possession between themselves while the defending pair try to intercept the ball.
5. The attackers can use the outside players (who should be alert and ready to receive) to pass to.
6. The objective is for the 4 players in the center to work hard - moving and closing down for 90 seconds. Change to another 4 players every 60-90 seconds.

With a group of more than 12 players, it is better to split them in to 2 smaller groups. In this case only 2 players go in the center and must work together to dispossess the players on the outer edge of the circle who have the ball.

It's fairly easy to design your own soccer warm up. Be creative. Change the drills to keep it fresh.

Warming up before a game is as much about mental preparation and team spirit as the physical aspect.

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