Quick and easy warm up games for younger players

Use these warm up activities to engage your players at the start of a session, plus activate their minds and bodies.


Set up

Any area, but best if you have a defined box to work in, so the players don’t move too far away from you.

How to play

Call out a movement and the players have to replicate it.

The key is to match the movement to what interests your age group and players. For example, younger players love animals, slightly older ones, movie characters.

You can also change the speed of movement. “Slow monkeys…slow frogs…fast monkeys…fast frogs…”


Link two movements together. They then have to move one way for one step or two steps and then change.

You can add in a “Simon Says” element. You say: “Coach says: Roll like a log” and the players “Roll like a log”. If you don’t proceed the call with a “Coach says”, then they should continue with the previous action.

I like to use visual as well as voice signals. Perhaps putting up a hand, or putting it on my head.


Set up

Set up a small box, perhaps a 7m square. Play 3 v 2, with a ball for the three.

How to play

Three attacking players aim to pass the ball 10 times without dropping or losing it or being touched in possession. The attackers can run with the ball.

Defenders aim to intercept or knock away the ball or touch the attacker in possession.

When the attacking or defensive team achieve their aims the game restarts with two new defenders in the middle.

With older players, I like to add in a warm up exercise in between each transition. For example, use ones from the World Rugby ACTIVATE programme. 


Change the size of the playing area or add in more attackers and defenders.

For even more chaos, have two groups playing in the same area.


Set up

A larger box with clearly marked scoring zones.

How to play

Play touch rugby, but the players can run and pass in any direction. When the ball carrier is touched, they have five seconds to pass or it’s a turnover. 

Dropped passes are also turnovers (though you might be lenient with younger players).

The attacking team aim to score in the scoring zones which are on the edges of the pitch.


To stretch the attack, look at constraining the pass type, for example: one handed offloads, below head height, push pass only.

Or swap in different types of balls: this could be a different size rugby ball or even a tennis ball.

For the defenders you could add a two-touch rule (they get a turnover if two players touch the ball carrier at the same time), overload the defence or even challenge them to intercept the ball to gain playing bonuses, like instant touch turnover.

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