Look around most five a side pitches prior to kick-off and you will see that a lot of player’s warm-ups will consist of a few static stretches and the booting of a ball off the side hoardings (and the odd fag!). However, to get the blood flowing and moving into the right muscle groups, start your warm-up with some gentle running around the pitch, doing a couple of laps/widths at about forty percent intensity (100% is a full-on sprint for your life). Over a couple of minutes, start to increase the intensity until you feel your heart start pumping and your breathing rate increase. Then you can move onto stretches.

Dynamic Vs. Static Stretching

When you think of stretching, most people think of bending over and touching your toes, pulling your foot up to your backside to stretch your quads, and holding these for 5-10 seconds – this is static stretching. Although this form of stretching has its uses, I would recommend dynamic stretching, which more accurately replicates the types of movements you will be making during the game. This involves moving (tensing and releasing) specific muscle groups, rather than holding a stretch over a period of time. For example, I recommend performing some walking lunges, moving from one leg to the next, rather than holding a lunge on each leg. Try to perform a series of dynamic stretches focussing on your quads (thighs), hamstrings and groin muscles.

Ball Work

If after a few minutes jogging and dynamic stretching you still have time and you are itching to get a touch of the ball, introduce some movements with the ball to finish off your warm-up. Pass the ball between you and another couple of players, working your way up to longer and longer passes, and take a couple of strikes at your hapless goalkeeper. Try to replicate the types of moves you will make during the match, all the while increasing the intensity and speed of your movement.