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How to Warm Up Before a Soccer Match

It’s the day of the big game. You’ve got all of your soccer attire on and you’re ready to go.

Hold on. Have you warmed up yet?

Performing any exercise or physical activity without a proper warm-up is setting yourself up for failure—especially in the game of soccer.

If you’re looking for some tips on how to properly warm-up for soccer, we’ve got you covered. But first, let’s talk about why warming up is so important.

Why is Warming Up Important?

Warming up before playing soccer is essential if you want to play your best game. 

On a physical level, warming up helps prepare your body for the movements that you’ll be doing in the game itself, getting the muscles ready for effort. Not only does this help your body perform the way you want it to during the game, but it also helps prevent injuries to certain muscle groups.

Your cardiovascular system also benefits from warm-ups. It’s never good to dive into strenuous activities, such as soccer, without first elevating your heart rate with drills and other exercises. 

Lastly, an effective pre-game warm-up can help you concentrate on the task at hand. Performing some quick soccer drills and other related warm-ups can put you in the “zone” and ready to give your best effort.

How to Warm Up For Your Soccer Match 

Rotate your joints

Before any type of exercise, rotating your joints can help you get the body moving with lower intensity and impact. There are several different movements you should use to rotate your joints, including:

  • Side bends
  • Hip swings
  • Neck, shoulder, and ankle rolls
  • Trunk rotations
  • Hamstring and quad stretches

It’s crucial to take your time with these joint rotations. While you might just want to get to the game as quickly as possible, rotating your joints can be the difference between having a good game and injuring yourself. You’ll get the most out of joint rotations with slow, controlled movements.

Get the heart pumping

Activating your cardiovascular system is important before exercising since it helps your body get used to the aerobic or anaerobic activity that you’re about to perform—including a soccer match. 

You’ve got several options here. Jogging in place, skipping rope, jumping jacks, side shuffles, or high knees are all great ways to elevate your heart rate and prepare your body for the big game. 

Stretch it out

There are two types of stretching: Static stretching and dynamic stretching.

Static stretching is when you stretch a muscle as far as it can go without injury and hold the stretch for an extended period of time. Usually, this is anywhere from 10-20 seconds. With static stretching, you lengthen the muscles that you’re about to use and increase your overall flexibility before the game. 

For soccer, you’ll want to stretch your quads, inner thighs, hamstrings, ankles, and feet at the very least. You could also do some stretching for your shoulders as well. 

Dynamic stretching is stretching while on the move. Contrary to static stretching, you do not hold these stretches for an extended period of time. 

Dynamic stretching typically involves movements you might see during the game—side shuffles, backpedal jogging, straight leg kicks, and walking high knees are all great dynamic stretches to get you started. 

Both types of stretches are a crucial component of a complete soccer warm-up. Without them, you’ll be highly prone to injuries. 

Get in some drills

Drills specifically help you with soccer-related skills and help you get a feel for the ball. They’re relatively low-intensity but important for getting you focused on the task at hand. 

A few examples of pre-game soccer drills include:

  • Simple running or sprinting drills
  • Running with quick stops or changing direction
  • Passing drills 
  • Shooting on your goaltender (warming up you and your goaltender!)
  • Dribbling drills while running

The great thing about soccer drills is that you can pick the skills that you feel you need to work on just before the game to get ready. Have fun with them!

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