Warming up before playing any sport is important. In soccer, it could be the difference between a great game and causing yourself an injury. Warming up gradually allows players to raise their heart rates and ease their muscles and joints.

A good warm up will help prevent muscle strain and injury and allow players to push themselves during the game. You should start every soccer warm up with some light jogging. This will enable you to warm up your muscles and get your heart pumping. Soccer players should warm up by jogging forward, backwards and side to side. While running straight, gradually increase your speed until you are close to a sprint. Remember; do not start sprinting when your muscles are cold.

Stretching increases flexibility which then determines the motion of your joints and muscle groups. The more flexible you are the better as you can prevent yourself from suffering an injury. At some point in your warm up, stop and stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and groin muscles as well as your arms and back. Be careful not to overextend your muscles when stretching.

Many soccer coaches use dynamic stretching. This is a combination of aerobic movements and stretching. This type of stretching includes movements like leg swings, high kicks, jumping, high knees and back kicks. These moves isolate specific muscles and muscle groups. Focus on exaggerating these moves: pump your arms while skipping or do high skips, take long strides, swing your arms while running. Be sure to do a basic warm up for a few minutes; don’t just jump into dynamic stretching when your muscles are cold.

Try to avoid too much repetition, not only will you be bored but you won’t warm up properly. Try to always work on basic skills such as passing, one touch ball movement, one on one challenges and controlling the ball with both feet but do not do the same exercises every day. By switching up different warm ups and drills you can learn which one is most effective and which are not as effective.

Mental preparation is extremely important on game day. You must be focused and concentrate purely on the game and your competition. Go through your warm ups with precision and focus. Don’t push yourself too hard, but also don’t get lazy and slack off.

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