Pre-Match Warm Up

Do you have a structure to your pre-match warm up?  This essential preparation is often over looked - especially at grassroots.  Managers end up completing match cards or stand about talking to parents leaving the players to their own device.  It's amazing how many players run out the changing room with a ball & what is the first thing they do?  Have a shot at goal!  Adapt your warm up to suit the age that you are working with & the conditions.

Here is my pre-match warm up.  I have taken this from my online coaching resource website, TrainingSoccer.Org.  You can join here!

Pre-Match Warm Up

Pre-Match Warm Up


Ideal warm up before matches.

I believe it is important for players to have a routine each week before matches. I think it is silly to try & introduce something new as players will be mentally focusing in for games & there is no point trying to get them to listen to new intructions.

The basics is to get them moving & start to get their body temperature up. Obviously adapt this to suit the climate & time of year. With younger players I like them all to have a ball but ensure they don't start bad habits like shooting at goal straight away! They should dribble around a grid, performing skills & turns. I also let them have some time for keepie ups.

Once the body & muscles start to warm introduce some stretching & light ball work. I always like introducing a small sided possession game to start getting them up to match speed.

It is very important you don't ignore your goalkeeper. At this point I let them break off from the group & have one of my assistants warm them up. If you don't have the luxury of an assistant have one or two of your subs warm them up or the sub goalkeeper if you have one. Although it is important they know a routine so it doesn't turn into 'passie-shootie in' (although most keepers will tell them what exactly they want to do.)

Make sure players stop in between for fluids. I then introduce some S.A.Q. sessions before developing into some explosive sprints.

It's then important to let players have some free time to complete the warm up. Some may prefer to perform some more stretching while others may wish to shoot at goal or pass in groups of 2 or 3.


Start with all players lined up along the throw-in line.

Set up a 25 x 25 yard area. This is for the possession game & you can also use one of the lines for the explosive sprints.

Also organise the S.A.Q. area (as shown.)


The coach (or possibly the captain) is at the front of the group & sets the rhythm & tempo of each exercise. The rest of the team is in line & starts along the throw-in line.

Start off at a slow jog pace, & then undertakes the following sequence;

  • Jogs forwards to the opposite by-line of the pitch.
  • Jogs backwards back.
  • Shuffle side to side working on foot work going forward (2 to the left, 2 to the right.)
  • Shuffle side to side working on foot work going backwards.
  • Increase the pace, start skipping, & do the following exercises;
  • Open extension stretch - Head up elbows slightly bent, push back, & then forwards to clap hands. X 10.
  • Salute stretch - Head up elbows slightly bent, reach up, push back, & then come forwards to thigh level to clap hands. X 10.
  • Parallel rotations - Head up, turn the head, & twist both arms to the rear (parallel to the ground) then return to the front. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • High knee lifts - Head up, bring the right knee up as close to the right shoulder (touch if possible), then return to the ground. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • Outside crescent kicks - Head up, high knee & subscribe an outside crescent kick (away from the centre line of the body) then return to the floor. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • Inside ankle touches - Head up bring your right foot up to touch your left hand & then return to the floor. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • Outside heel touches - Head up bring your right foot up to touch your right hand & then return to the floor. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • Rear heel touches - Head up bring your right foot up & touch your left hand behind you. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • On each of the exercises it is crucially important that each player works to their own limits. All of the exercises are done whilst moving across the pitch & back again, the coach or the captain setting the tempo, & rhythm at all times. After this phase is done then the players then work in groups of 2, for the rhythmic dynamic stretches.

This series of dynamic stretches are known as 'pendulum stretches'. When working in pairs balance must be worked upon, as the one player swings to the front, the other swings to the back, in balance. This applies to the left & right also.

  • Front & rear pendulum - With the players facing each other, left hand on each others shoulder for support, swing to the front & then to the rear, emphasise the height has to be equal. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • Left & right pendulum stretch - With the players facing each other, left hand to left hand for support, swing to the left & then to the right, emphasise the height has to be equal. X 10 left & X 10 right.
  • Half pendulum stretch - With the players facing each other, hand to left hand for support, swing to the left & then as the leg swings to the right bend the knee up to the side. X 10 left & X 10 right.

Pre-Match Warm UpPlayers now come into the grid to play keep ball. I generally overload the attack & play 8 v 4 (I select the back 4 to start & try & win the ball, then the midfield 4). Make sure you have a number of balls to feed in when a ball leaves the grid. Players should concentrate on their work rate on / off the ball & how they receive the ball. Encourage them to 'keep the ball' & play 'easy pass'.

Break up the possession game with some static stretching.

After rotating players finish off the warm up with some S.A.Q. & sprints. I would have 3 reps for the S.A.Q.;

  • 1 foot in between each cone.
  • 2 feet in between each cone.
  • Shuffle in between the cones.

After completing the S.A.Q., finish off with some explosive sprints, work in pairs using the outside of the grid (see diagram.);

  • Both players facing to front, on coaches command, run 3/4 pace to first cone then sprint to last cone & then slowly jog back to the end of the line. Have players carry these exercises out at a steady place so you don't have too long a line.
  • Both players facing to front, on coaches command, jump up & shout their name (like they are going to head the ball), then sprint to last cone. Make sure players behind don't stand too close, so they don't land on their toes!
  • Both players face each other & perform quick feet to first cone before turning & sprinting to last cone.
  • Both players face each other & side shuffle to first cone before performing high fives, change lanes & sprint to last cone.
  • Like before but instead of giving high fives they jump up & shoulder charge each other.
  • Finally, players sprint forwards to first cone, then backwards to start, before sprinting to last cone.

Let players finish off the warm up with whatever they feel necessary. As each player has their own traditions, never interfere with this crucial period, as the players psychological well-being is at risk.

This is the last activity to be done before the players either return to the dressing room, or the match is about to start. I like to remind players the last important instructions & then they get into a huddle themselves. I like this as I feel it really helps to create a bond between the players.


  1. Adjust the length of your warm up depending on weather conditions.
  2. Make sure you allow players time for them to complete their own warm up at the end.


  • It is your job to ensure that players are physically & mentally ready for kick off.

2010 Review

Happy New Year!  Now 2011 has arrived I thought I would review 2010 at the TWSports.Org Group.  From attracting Benfica to Belfast to travelling to Holland and Portugal it has been another action packed year.  I published my first book in March, celebrated 5 years of operating TWSports.Org in July and got married!

Of course I couldn't do this without your fantastic level of support and friendship.  I continue to re-invest to help continue to make our product the most innovative around along with offering the latest in technology with our websites, social media my new blog to help communicate and make ourselves available to you.

January - TWAcademy.Org announced a tour to Holland for August 2010.  Tour highlights included a game against PSV Eindhoven, a tour of PSV training complex, stadium tour and to watch a PSV first team game at the Philips Stadium.  Players involved in the Academy come together from Irish League sides and boys clubs.  Currently we have players from Glentoran, Cliftonville, Dungoyne, Larne Youth, Lisburn Youth, Ridgeway, Abbey Villa, Carryduff Colts and Lower Maze.

The Academy is open to all elite players that want access to additional elite training that focuses on technical training and game understanding.  To get your child involved contact myself by email or by phone, 07740120788.

February - The TWSports.Org Group increase their presence on the social media sites of Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.  Simply search for 'twsportsgroup' or click on the logos at the top of our web page and follow us for the latest news.  We have also made it easy to share pages from our websites by clicking the link button at the bottom of each page!

March - I published my first book, 'Toddler Soccer the Essential Guide'.  You can get a FREE download and your copy by clicking here.

You can listen to the BBC Radio Ulster interview on Tim's new book by following this link.

April - SL Benfica accepted TWSports.Org invitation to fly to Belfast to offer Coaching Clinics and Player Development Clinics.  Hugo Vicente & Edgar Cardosa led the clinics that attracted a number of local coaches, parents and children.  A family also flew in from New York to attend!  They spent the week in Northern Ireland and attended the TWSports.Org Easter Camp in Dundonald.

Over 60 children enjoyed the Easter Camp along with a SoccerSixes.Org tournament being played by a host of local clubs.  We catered for all boys and girls aged 2-13 along with an open age for children, young adults and coaches at the Benfica events!

May - 'Toddler Soccer the Essential Guide' book by Tim Wareing has now sold in 18 different countries!  This stretches from the UK and Ireland, across Europe to USA and Canada, the Far East and Australia!

You can order the paperback version or the e-book by clicking here!

June - Amazon and are now selling Tim Wareing's new book!  Tim has done a telephone interview by his publisher to be used as a case study and offered another publishing deal to write a second book! have also requested that Tim writes a book based on elite coaching using his sessions as Academy Director at Distillery and his visits to FC Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax.

July - What a special month!  TWSports.Org celebrated its 5th birthday!  Our Summer Camps offered over 14 venues across Northern Ireland and open to all boys and girls aged 2-13.

Director & Head Coach, Tim Wareing, married to his partner, Leanne.

August - 25 parents, children and coaches travelled to Holland for an unbelievable tour.  From start to finish everything was a huge success from our direct flights from Belfast to the 4* Hotel & luxury coach.

TWAcademy drew 4-4 with PSV Eindhoven's feeder team and then recorded a fine 9-1 victory over Helmond Sport.  Everyone enjoyed the tour of the PSV Eindhoven training complex along with the penalty shoot out with Hans Segars!  A game at the Philips Stadium topped the weekend off!

You can read a full report from our tour by clicking here & view our video by following this link.

September - We kicked off another new season - our biggest yet!  From offering 8 great products that cater for children aged 2 years +; to our web based products that have coaches registered from all over the world!

Along with the likes of Toddler Soccer, Mini Soccer & elite training through TW Academy we also offer other great packages to!  From 1-on-1 coaching and organising birthday parties to coaching in schools and at local clubs we offer the most inclusive and innovative product around!

October - A successful Halloween Camp is held which offers affordable day care solution for parents while children are off school.  Helping children get active, have fun and learn new skills from only £2 per hour!  A party is held for all children and parents at the end of the week.

We base all our Fun Camps on a normal school day from 10am-3pm with an early drop off service available from 9am.  For more information contact me by email or phone, 07740120788.

November - Tim Wareing organised a European Club visit to Braga, Portugal for his staff.  They studied the training methods of SC Braga along with taking in the Champions League game against Arsenal.

You can read a full report from our tour by clicking here & view our video by following this link.

December - We made developments to the layout of our websites.  We have free downloads of books, training sessions and videos!  Simply visit our sites and subscribe to our newsletters.  Along with our FREE chat facility (top left hand corner of each website) we launched a new blog, CoachTim.Org.

We continue to grow & have a huge following around the world that have registered to our web based sites & coach resource information.  The TWSports.Org Group has a number of exciting new features & opportunities as we enter 2011.  We will bring these to you & your child!

Thanks for the support in 2010.  Good just got better for 2011 & we look forward to sharing it with you all!