Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

-John Wooden

Playing your best doesn’t just begin at the opening kickoff, it lies in your physical and mental preparation before the game even begins. 

Designing a unique and effective soccer pregame warmup routine can help you prevent injury, elevate your performance, and ensure you’re mentally prepared to dominate the game.

Here is a 5-step Pregame Warmup routine you can use before your next soccer match:

1. Start with light cardiovascular exercise

Begin your warm-up with light jogging or skipping to raise your heart rate and blood flow to your muscles. As you get warm, you can proceed to side shuffling, backpedaling, high knees, heel kicks, and Carioca. This can help prepare your body for the more intense exercise to come.

2. Dynamic stretching

The next step in the warmup is to include "movement-based" or dynamic stretching to improve flexibility and mobility. Focus on stretching the major muscle groups used in soccer such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Some exercises to include during this stage or warmup include walking lunges, leg swings, high knees, hip rotations, and heel flicks.

3. Speed and Agility

At this point the focus will be on coordination, quickness, and change of direction, as you prepare to meet the demands of the upcoming match. Speed and agility exercises can include sprinting, bounding, as well as various cone, ladder, and/or reaction drills. Begin slowly and work your way up to full intensity.

4. Technical Drills

Step 4 introduces the soccer ball into your routine. You can begin with simple dribbling and ball work exercises and work up to passing drills, shooting drills, and even small sided games. These drills can help improve your technique and build confidence before the match.

5. mental preparation

Now that your body is ready, let's focus on your mindset. The final step of your pregame routine is visualizing your performance. What does it mean to visualize your performance? It means to play the game out step-by-step, or watch it like a movie in your mind.

Take a few moments to visualize the following:

  • What does your perfect performance look like? 
  • What does your perfect performance feel like? (What emotions do you feel as you envision you watch the game in your mind?)

Think about what you want to accomplish and how you will make it happen once the game begins! 

1-2 minutes of focused visualization can help skyrocket your performance.

So there it is, a simple 5-step warmup routine that covers all the bases and prepares you to play your best. Remember to listen to your body and adjust your warm-up routine as needed based on how you feel before each match.

What does your current warmup routine look like, and what would you like to add? Let us know in the comments.


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