How to Use Ribbons To Warm Up Young Athletes

Try This Ribbon-Based Warm Up When Coaching Young Athletes

One of the staples of my equipment kit when coaching kids is a bag of colourful ribbons
A pile of colourful ribbons

Some of my ribbons

Ribbons are inexpensive, can be homemade (which is what I have done), add colour to a session and have a multitude of uses.

One of my favourite activities with very young athletes is a “ribbon-based” warm up.

Below is an example of some warm up activities that I will use when working with classes of young children (i.e. 5-7 years old) during a school session.

Warm Up Game

“Find a Ribbon”

Scatter ribbons on the ground around the playing area, enough so there that is one for each athlete. The athletes begin standing with one foot on a ribbon. To start the game, the athletes move about, performing an action of your choice e.g. walking, skipping, hopping, etc. When you give the signal (e.g. blowing a whistle) the kids have to quickly find a another ribbon and place their foot on it. You can add to the difficulty of the game by asking the kids have to find a different coloured ribbon each time. One thing that I like to do is to blow the whistle and then call out a part of the body. e.g. elbow, knee, etc. The kids then have to place that part of their body on the ribbon.
Ribbons spread out on the grass ready form the warm up

Ribbons spread out on the grass ready for the warm up

Individual Activities

1. Ask the athletes to stretch the ribbon out on the ground in front of them and:

  • Step forwards and backwards over the ribbon
  • Jump or hop forwards and backwards over the ribbon
  • Jump or hop side-to-side over the ribbon
  • Swap feet forwards and backwards over the ribbon.
  • Run around the ribbons

2. Instruct the athletes to hold the ribbon and:

  • Make big circles with the ribbon
  • Perform a helicopter action above their heads
  • Sweep the ground
  • Flap their arms (like a bird)
  • Touch it to their nose and mimic and elephant or make a “tail” and mimic a dog. (Very young kids love this – try it!)
  • With the ribbon held at each of its ends, step forwards and backwards over the ribbon without letting it go.

3. Make it “rain” ribbons

Instruct the kids to continuously throw their ribbons up into the air for a given time so that it “rains” ribbons.

If you work with very young athletes, I encourage you to make or buy a bag of ribbons and include them as part of your coaching kit.

A green ribbon lying on the grass

Ribbons are a very versatile item for coaches

Leave Me a Reply!

I would love to hear how these activities work for you or if you can suggest any other ribbon-based games or activities. You let me know by leaving a comment/reply or by using the contact details below.

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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One thought on “How to Use Ribbons To Warm Up Young Athletes

  1. […] How to Use Ribbons To Warm Up Young Athletes […]


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