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Preparing to Play Throughout the Game

There is always talk about warm-up prior to soccer practices and games but there is rarely a focus on re-warming up at half time or if you are coming off the bench to sub into a game.  It is important to re-warm up prior to entering a soccer game as you need to re-wake up the nervous system and prepare it to protect you while providing optimal output to muscles for coordination, strength, and balance during play.

Here are some simple ideas for re-warm up at halftime once your coach has concluded their first half re-cap and second half plan.

 Half time warm up (use half of the field width):

  • Jogging across field halfway forward/backward
  • Shuffle-turn-shuffle halfway across field and back
  • High knees out to middle of field, butt kicks back
  • Starting 5 ft away from sideline, side shuffle to sideline then quick turn and sprint about 10 yards (perform both directions away from the sideline 1-2 reps)
  • Leg swings with knee flexion (simulating kicking or shooting the ball) and slowly increase the speed of your leg swing so that it builds up to game speed- hold onto partner for balance if needed
  • 5 burpees or mountain climbers in plank position
  • Single leg hop sideways away from sideline 5 hops then turn to sprint back to sideline (perform each direction, on each leg)
  • Single leg hop backwards three hops from sideline then sprint forward towards sideline (perform on each leg)
  • Sprint backwards towards middle of field-then jog back to sideline
  • Coerver touch sequence with ball for speed and control 10-15 seconds or short 1 and 2 touch passing with a partner for 30 seconds
  • Team Star run or three 10-15 yard sprints as a team

If you did not start the game or you have substituted out of the game but are about to re-enter, here are some easy exercises to do to get you in game-mode after your rest break on the sideline.  If possible, it is suggested that coaches allow a player to re-warm up for at least 5 minutes prior to substituting them into the game.

Re-warm up (10-15 yard space along the sideline):

  • Jog forward/backward
  • Side-shuffle down and back
  • Shuffle turn, shuffle turn
  • Zig-zag forward then zig-zag backward
  • 5 burpees or mountain climbers in plank position
  • High knees, butt kicks increasing speed as you progress
  • Shuffle kicks (motion is like shooting the soccer ball)
  • Side shuffle 5 yards then turn and sprint (both sides)
  • Single leg hop sideways 3 times then turn and sprint back to where you started
  • Single leg hop backwards 3 times then sprint forward
  • Coerver touch sequence with ball for speed and control 10-15 seconds

Katie Cordery, PT – Former D-1 soccer player and youth soccer coach


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