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Pre game warm ups before the Youth Football Game

There are two main schools of thought regarding how and how long to warm up your team before their youth football game.  I have coached on teams that would arrive 2 ½ hours before kick-off and other teams, that would show up 15 minutes before the game started.

I do not agree with either of these positions as I feel they are too extreme.  Two and one half hours is longer than the game.  I can remember sitting in the rain wondering what we were doing.  I felt the same way for the cold or extreme heat weather days.  I believe that almost all of the youth football players got bored and lost focus.

On the other side, one team I helped coach the players did not show up until 15 minutes before the game started.  This is nuts since you have no time for pre game preparation.

I like to have the team arrive about one hour ahead of time.  I will not even think of warming them up until I can gauge where the game ahead of us is.  If that game is running late or destined for OT, I will wait on the warm ups.

There will probably be a weigh in time before the game so please make sure you are aware of the rules and have the entire team there on time.

As far as the actual warm ups, I have seen some nuts run an actual practice before the game.  WOW!  That is crazy.  I have also seen teams that do not stretch, exercise or run any plays.  I think this is also nuts.

I like to wait until about 30 minutes pre game and then run the same warm up and stretch routine I use during practice.  The players are familiar with it and should be relaxed and comfortable before the game starts.  I do not run the agility drills through the pads but I do like to review the defense, reinforce what we learned from the scouting report and run a few offensive plays.  If I kick extra points I make sure the kicker goes out and puts a few through the uprights.

I will then have the players do our blocking and tackling drills that we usually do on the pads during practice live on a teammate.  We do this for form purposes and we are not trying to kill each other.


The last thing I do about five minutes before kick off is run some limited contact.  We have the youth football players “pop pads” by kneeling on all four across from a teammate about six inches away from each other’s shoulder pads and on the whistle thru two players jam the pads into each other making a popping sound.  We do a few hits and then switch shoulders.  We are no ready for the youth football game to begin!


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