Fun Games to Use For Warmups and Ball Touch Work

Young children (and even older ones) will work harder, and have more fun, when they can practice these skills in the context of a game or contest. Here are some time-honored games which workvery well for warmup games, and can be used to practice all sorts of ball touch work and dribbling moves which you have introduced.

  1. Red light - Green light
  2. This game is similar to Simon Says. When the coach shouts „Green light¾, everyone moves. When the coach shouts „Red light¾, everyone must stop. This is a good game to use to practice checking (magic hops), aswell as simply stopping the ball by putting the foot on top of it. It is also useful for working on any type of ball control moves or fast footwork drills.

  3. Queen or King of the dribbling
  4. This game is similar to Sharks, except that no player is „it¾. Instead, everyone tries to keep their own ball safe, while kicking out the ball of anyone else in the grid. The last person in the grid is crowned „King¾ or „Queen.¾ To keep players busy once they have been ousted from the grid, make a rule that they must do a series of some fastfoot work drills as „penance¾. A variation of this drill is to allow the player to come back into the grid after doing some type of extra work, like „around the world¾ ball taps.

  5. Freeze tag
  6. One or two players are the „Ice Monsters¾ or „Ice Maidens¾. The rest of the players dribble in a large grid, and try to avoid being tapped by one of the freezers. If they are tapped, then they become frozen and have to stay in one place until an unfrozen player does something to unfreeze them. Ways in which they can be unfrozen include: a tap on the arm; or, when a ball is passed thru the legs of the frozen player; or as soon as they do X taps on top of their ball (or an „around the world¾ or box the ball for X times). Play for about 1-2 minutes and count how many players are frozen, then switch taggers until all have been it. They will be exhausted - so a good warmup when the rest of the practicewill be less tiring.

  7. Follow the Leader
  8. You can do with the whole team or several groups. The leader does a move, and the follower(s) must mimic the move while also trying to watch to see what the next move will be - AND trying to get close enough to the player in front to tag him. They have to start off at least 4 steps behind on another. Once tagged, they move ahead of the next player until they become Leader (and the old Leader goes to the back of the line). This is an excellent warmup to work on keeping your head up.

  9. Amoeba tag
  10. The bacteria have to get by the Amoeba before they get eaten (ball tagged). If they are eaten, they link arms with the amoeba. If the amoeba gets to be 4 players in size, it can divide into smaller amoebas of 2 players each. Last bacteria left gets to be the new amoeba.

  11. Sharks and minnows
  12. Same as above, but each shark acts independently.

  13. Relay races
  14. Keep each team small to allow lots of action. There are plenty of things to do in a relay race which are silly or fun (and, sometimes, this is the best approach to get the blood moving and get them ready for a practice session). Some silly ideas include getting balls to balance in the middle of a flat cone by rolling or juggling or whatever; dribbling the ball between 2 flags using their heads; dribbling the ball doing a duck waddle; and so forth (ask the kids for ideas - they will have plenty).

    Relay races also can be used to practice skills. For instance, after working on doing cuts in dribbling, you could have a relay race where players cut around a series of cones, then have to put their noses or rears on theball before coming back and tagging the hand of the next runner on the team. Likewise, if you had worked on circle turns, your race could involve staggered cones where you turned one direction at all cones on the left side and another direction for allcones on the right (or used inside of the foot for one set and outside of the foot for the other).

    These games also make fun warmups to reinforce some skills which you worked on in the last practice (or to do some before/after comparisons). For instance, before doing a finishing drill, you might do a relay race involving shots on goal - and then have another round or two at the end of practice to see if they have improved.

Updated 21 November 1998