The Importance of Pre-Match Warm Up and Post-Match Cool-Down Skip to main content

It is never a good idea skipping the warm-up before play even if it’s just a friendly fun 5-aside football game with your mates.

Unfortunately, many 5-Aside players tend to put insufficient effort into pre-match warm-ups, and some don’t even bother at all.

Players dodging a few goals and booting a few just won’t cut it. Neither will a few half-hearted attempts at stretching either, so make sure you do a proper warm-up before you cause yourself some serious injury. Injuries which will not only keep you off the field it may have damaging effects on your every day to day life too.

We need to warm our bodies to help to decrease the chance of an injury as well as gearing up mentally to prepare us for the game.

Warm the body!

Any form of exercise requires some type of body warming techniques prior. The aim is to raise our heart rates and allow it to slow down again, and we need to do this continuously for a short period of time so that when the game begins, we don’t shock our systems at the first sprint.

Power boost!

Warm-up those muscles and tendons will make you feel stronger and fit; think of it as being ‘Red-bull ready,’ ok it doesn’t give you wings, but it certainly gives you the power you need to perform your best.

How to warm up, what to do, what not to do!

  • Static no

These days a couple of laps of the pitch, the odd goal shoot, and little stretch doesn’t quite fit the bill, ok ten years ago it was all that players did, but due to advances in science, we’ve quickly learned that some of those methods are actually pointless. Take, for instance, the Static stretch, ever heard of that one? Well for those who haven’t it’s the stretches you tend to do while at rest, I’m sure if I said it was the firm favourite at school where we all stood in a circle following someone’s made up manoeuvres, yes that’s the one, you get it now- right? Science reckons it’s pointless in fact, it’s even considered to do more harm than good -so forget that!

  • Dynamic yes

It’s all about the Dynamic stretching process these days, sounds rather technological, right? But no, it’s actually quite simple; it just has a posh name. Basically, all it involves is stretching whilst performing some gentle movements, rather than doing it stationary. We can all manage that, right? Easy!

Ok, what next?

So, the recommended method of warming up for a 5-a-side match or any other game is to follow FIFA’s own programme. FIFA’S warm-up is called the 11+, and it’s straightforward to follow, anyone can do it. Basically, it consists of interspersing movements and jogging that target specific muscle groups, and there are nine exercises to complete the warm-up routine, and each one intensifies, enabling the body to be readily prepared for exercise. Take a look online for a more in-depth look at the FIFA programme and take that knowledge to pitch to teach your pals your new warm-up routine.

Warm-up Dos and Don’ts!


Allow enough time to do a warm-up before you begin a 5-Aside match. The warm-up is a vital part of any sports game, so make sure you include enough time when sending out the schedule to your mates.

Make the routine manageable for all players, no fancy tricks!


Be tempted to go straight into a game without doing any kind of warm-up first. If time is limited, make sure to do some exercises to warm the muscles, even if it’s not the ideal because doing nothing at all, is far worse.

Never overexert yourself to the point of pain during a warm-up!

Just as important as pre-game warm-ups is to Cool-Down After A 5-A Side Game.

Trouble is many of us rarely do it, unless you’re a professional player, of course. The problem that people often face with 5-a-side is that because they’re hiring a time slot on a five a side pitch, most players don’t want to lose any valuable gameplay by warming up and cooling down at the end.

Ok so let’s say, at a push, you and bunch of mates may do a few stretches and a couple of laps of the pitch to get you geared up, ready for action; however realistically the cool down phase generally entails a rapid boot off the pitch, maybe a reflective gossip by the car and a plan of who’s coming along for a quick pint! Now all well and good as it is, but it’s not the best course of action to take when it comes to keeping your body in top form.

So, although you may not regard a cool down as a significant part of gameplay, you may think otherwise when you discover how beneficial it actually is.

The benefits of a cool down after a game.

After any sport, it’s important to get the body back to its natural form, pre-exercise state, and cooling down is the only way this can be achieved effectively. Playing a game of 5-A-side, like most active sports, raises the heart rate significantly and cooling down afterwards helps to bring it back down gradually, rather than rapidly. If we don’t cool down after playing sports it’s putting pressure on the heart to go from 100-0 basically, and that’s not good for anyone’s health, the safe way to reduce our heart rates is to do it gradually, and that is why we can’t emphasise enough the importance of a cool down.

Don’t take the risk!

  • Skipping the cool-down and lowering heart rates rapidly can lead to dizziness; this is generally caused by the lack of oxygen and nutrients with reduced circulation. However, cooling down encourages blood-circulation around the body.
  • 5-Aside can be tough on our limbs, and we may experience some soreness after a game; a cool down encourages the much-needed repair process decreasing the risk of any long-term damage or injury.
  • It’s so much easier to stretch our muscles when the body is warm, and you are less likely to pull any muscles too, so it’s the perfect time to throw in a few extra at the end of the game, your body will thank you for it later on!

So, you may be wondering what a cool down actually entails, right? Well, you may be surprised to know it literally will only take 5-10 minutes, so in that case, it’s really not worth risking the skip, right?

Here’s a suggested routine:

These can be done off the pitch, so there is no excuse, you can even do them by the car whilst bantering with your pals!

  • Jog on the spot, rather fast with a gradual reduction in pace.
  • Now do some static stretching, static means holding a stretch in one position, try to focus on lower limbs, especially if time is of the essence and try to do a few back stretches too.
  • Try to do around five stretches and hold for around 30 seconds each time; you will no doubt get used to your cool-down routine if you practice it regularly after each game, and before you know it, it’ll become second nature.
  • Don’t forget to breathe nice big breaths in and out as you perform each stretch.

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