Why do soccer players do a warm-up? (fully explained)

If you play soccer yourself you probably always do a warm-up with your team before the game. The same goes for professional soccer players. So just like any other sport, a warm-up is also done in soccer. In this blog, we explain why soccer players do this.

This is why soccer players do a warm-up:
Soccer players do a warm-up to warm up the muscles and joints. This reduces their risk of injury during the match. It also allows them to exert higher effort early in the match. A warm-up also helps a player gain focus, confidence and motivation for a match.

When you read on, we will discuss this topic in more detail. In addition, we explain whether or not it is necessary to do a warm-up, whether it is mandatory and whether soccer players enjoy doing it.

Detailed explanation of why soccer players do warm-ups

In the intro you have already briefly read about the reason why soccer players do a warm-up. Below we go into this in more detail.

Less chance of injury

During a warm-up, muscles and joints are warmed up. This is important because it reduces a player's risk of injury

Muscles and joints that are warmed up are more supple and flexible. As a result, they are better capable of performing at high intensity. 

Soccer players often have to react in a split-second. For example, to dribble past a opponent or just to stop a player with the ball. This requires muscles and joints to react extremely quickly. When muscles are warm this is much easier. 

When muscles are cold, the player runs a greater risk of injury. The hamstrings are particularly susceptible to injury. When a player sprints and unexpectedly stops and grabs the back of his thigh, you already know what's going on. In this case, the player in question has strained or perhaps even torn his hamstring.

Greater flexibility and range of motion

For a soccer player, it is important to be flexible and have a high range of motion. Muscles that are flexible move better and more easily. 

This allows them, for example, to turn more easily, jump higher, react faster to unexpected actions of the opponent and stretch a leg forward better to initiate a slide. 

To create more flexibility and range of motion in the muscles, a warm-up includes stretching exercises. 

Learn more about stretching exercises in our blog 15 good stretches every soccer player should do.

Being able to perform better and quicker

When a player warms up before a game, he can perform optimally from the start. Muscles and joints that are warm can respond faster and deliver higher intensity.

A warm-up improves blood circulation in the muscles. In addition, oxygenation to the muscles is more optimal. Both contribute to delivering better performance. 

A player who cannot perform quickly and well right away falls behind early in the game. This is because his opponents, who have done a warm-up, can. It is then easier for them, for example, to stop or dribble past the player.

Increased concentration and focus

A warm-up not only makes a player less vulnerable to injury, more flexible and able to perform faster and better. It also increases concentration and focus during the game. 

In fact, a warm-up is not only for making the muscles and joints flexible. It also increases concentration and focus. 

During a warm-up, exercises are also done with the ball. Players pass the ball to each other, practice long passes, short passes, shoot at goal and more. This allows the players to get a feeling for the ball and prepare for the upcoming game.

It is important for a player to be on top of their concentration during a game. A high focus and concentration make it easier, for example to make crosses or for a defender to get the ball away.

More confidence

A warm-up can also increase a soccer player's confidence. 

When a soccer player knows that his muscles and joints are properly warmed up, he also knows that he can perform better and longer. 

When a soccer player has confidence in his body he is more likely to take on a sprint, outplay a player or make a tackle on the ball. 

If a player constantly has to think that he might suffer an injury it will not be good for his confidence. This may cause him to make other decisions that are not beneficial to his game. As a result, this may cause him to disadvantage his team.

More motivation

A good warm-up can also provide more motivation. If a player has had a good warm-up he will feel better about himself. This makes it more likely that he will perform better on the field.

A warm-up is usually done as a team. This is important for the group dynamic. Players can motivate each other during the warm-up and possibly discuss tactics among themselves. 

All of this provides more motivation. Motivation is necessary to get the best out of yourself during a soccer match.

Is it necessary to do a warm-up as a soccer player?

Now we know why soccer players do a warm-up but is it necessary. The answer to that is no. It is not necessary to do this. 

It is not the case that a soccer player cannot play soccer if he would not do a warm-up. We now know what positive effects a warm-up has on a soccer player. However, he can play better soccer and have less risk of getting an injury.

Is a warm-up mandatory for a soccer player?

There is no rule stating that a soccer player is required to do a warm-up. There are no specific rules on the subject on the IFAB website

The IFAB stands for International Football Association Board and determines what rules must be observed by amateur and professional soccer players. 

However, we always see professional footballers doing a warm-up. Would this be required by the club they play for? We cannot answer this. In fact, it may vary from club to club what rules they have established on this.

Whether there are specific rules in clubs' contracts about a warm-up is not known. However, it is true that if a player does not want to do a warm-up the club can take action against this. For example, they could not select the player in question for a match.

This is because a club benefits from ensuring that all players who are drafted do a proper warm-up. They want to reduce the risk of injury and want players to perform at their best.

Soccer clubs have often paid millions for a player. When a player cannot play due to injury, it affects the club's performance. For this reason, clubs also invest an awful lot of money in the overall health of their players. This applies to both physical and mental health.

You may also find this blog interesting 
Do soccer players go to a sports psychologist?

Do soccer players enjoy warm-ups?

When you watch a soccer game on television, you often see footage of the players before the game. In this case, they are often warming up. During the warm-up there are often many smiling faces. From this we can conclude that soccer players enjoy a warm-up. Especially during a rondo the players look relaxed and there is a lot of laughter. Especially warm-ups where the players are busy with the ball often lead to smiling faces.

Because there are so many different soccer players, there are bound to be plenty who don't like warm-ups. They will only do it because it is asked of them or because they know that the risk of injury is greater otherwise.


Here are once again the three main reasons why a soccer player does a warm-up:

  • Soccer players are less likely to suffer an injury
  • Soccer players have more flexibility and range of motion
  • Soccer players can perform faster and better
  • Soccer players are more concentrated and have more focus
  • Players are more confident
  • Players are more motivated

A warm-up provides the above from which we can conclude that it is important for a soccer player to do it. 

Do you like to do a warm-up or not? Looking for inspiration for a good warm-up? Then read our blog What is a good warm-up for soccer players? Want to read more blogs about warming-ups? Then click here.

February 12, 2023
Published: February 12, 2023