This practice is designed to provide players an opportunity to warm-up in an enjoyable manner using a non football small-sided game. The game allows players to achieve a variety of movements to warm up in a fun, competitive setting with principles of football (attack, defence, transition) still present.

About the Video

In the video below, Dan will talk you through the structure of the practice, various outcomes and how you can adapt it for your players.

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Practice Overview

Topic: Warm-Up

No. of Players: 6 – 10

Goalkeepers: N/A

Practice Type: SSG

Offsides: N/A

Pitch Size: 26 x 16

Timing: 15 mins

Age Group: U9+

Interpreting the Diagrams

The key below outlines what the images mean on the diagrams.

If you have questions about the practices, contact the PDP Team or share your views on the Player Development Project Coaching Community.

Key For Diagrams
soccer training diagram


Area set up to accommodate 4v4 game with two end zones marked out for the teams to score in. Some rules of netball apply, further explained in the ‘organisation’ section.
This is an example of where the yellow team have moved the ball forwards and a yellow player has moved to catch the ball in the end zone. This would result in the yellow team scoring 1 point.
The scoring end zone sizes have been reduced to the marked boxes in the corners. This will likely increase the challenge point for the team in possession.
In this example we have created an overload for one team (5 players) and an underload for the other team (3 players).
In this example the football has been replaced with a tennis ball. This will likely afford players opportunities for different passing options. For example, the greater throwing distance shown in the figure. Also, this will likely increase the challenge point for players trying to catch the ball.


This practice is designed to provide players an opportunity to warm-up in an enjoyable manner using a non football small-sided game. The use of a netball game can provide players an opportunity to receive the benefits of a warm-up and include transferable skills to football such as creating / denying space, evading opponents, and collaborating with teammates to solve gamebased problems. Ideally you will see similar individual and team playing behaviours as you’d intend for them when playing football, for example, pressing, counter-attacking, quick combinations to move the ball forward.


Set up a small sided playing area with two end zones marked out. Two teams of four players play a small sided game against each other. Some rules of netball apply, specifically, the ball is moved by players using their hands to throw and catch the ball, once a player is in possession the ball they cannot travel across the ground. Teams aim to score by receiving the ball in the end zone. Play for a set time or to a score limit.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players running with the ball in their hands.

Actions you might take

  • Implement a turnover rule if more than 2-steps are taken after catching the ball. 


Is the session too easy?

  • Reduce the size of the end zone for scoring
  • Change the ball being used (e.g., tennis, rugby)
  • Challenge players to only have one foot on the ground when in contact with the ball

Is the session too hard?

  • Play with a larger ball 
  • Allow 3-steps to be taken after catching the ball.
  • Introduce a 1-step safe zone around the player in possession of the ball.

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