Pre-match soccer warm-ups do more than just enhance the player’s performance and reduce the risks of injury. According to FIFA website, warming up prepares the muscles and nervous system for the physical activity and encourage the psychological stimulation of the players. This allows them to achieve the level of concentration needed to ensure optimal performance.
As a coach, it is your responsibility to manage the time carefully and create a positive state of mind for each player. SoccerTutor.com notes that it is important to give team members the opportunity to increase their pulse rate and get them ready for the match.
Ball Touches for Players
Your pre-match warm-ups should offer many ball touches for every player. It is a good idea to have one ball per player or one ball for two players. The latter arrangement works well in practices, as players can try different kinds of touches, settles and kills. With plenty of ball touches before the match, players will be more ready for the actual game.
Warm Up Then Stretch
Stretching exercises help increase flexibility and agility, helping players perform quick changes in direction and run faster. Players need to warm-up before stretching, which must be at least 60 seconds to be effective. Warming up with walking or running in place for about five minutes should be followed with low and gentle stretching.
Provide Variety in Routines
If your team plays several matches a year, you will also have several warm-up routines every practice game or match day. Make sure that your routines are not the same every day. Provide some variety to make it fun and interesting, especially for kids. You can include relays, ball tag and other games.
The effects of the warm-up can be seen within just five minutes, but the routine should last for more than 30 minutes. Make sure to consider the physical condition of the player, and other factors like the weather. It is advisable to spend less time on hot days and wear appropriate clothing to combat heat or cold.
Apart from warming up before the matches, players also need do it before training sessions. The intensity of the routines should increase gradually, but coaches should not wear the players out by forcing them to warm up excessively.