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Central Georgia Soccer Association

Coaches Conversation

After two weeks of the season, what topics will you be working on iin practice over the next few weeks? (Dean Blain)

Boys will learning to speed up their play and winning balls out of the air. (Connor Terry)

u16B- Learning how to defend as a group.  Transition from offense to defense, and defense to offense. (Alex Baughman)
u11B-Learning possession, switching point of attack, speed of play.  (Alex Baughman)

u19B- Quicker transition from def to off and decision making(creativity) in the attacking 3rd. (Ozie Foster)

u19B - Possessing as a unit up the field, changing the point off attack and being patient to let play develop. (Ozie Foster)

What warm up routine do you feel best prepares your players for games? (Dean Blain)

      I believe that a good pregame routine should always start with some form of stretching. Every coach has different views when it comes to stretching. I personally like for my players to do what I call "walking" stretches rather than "static" stretches. Then I have them do some runthroughs. These include jogs, side shuffles, karaoke, short burst of speed, etc. After this, I think it is good to get their minds prepared for what the game has to come. I see a lot of coaches doing only keep away in their pregame (possession) and others doing drills that only focus on shooting. While both are good pregame drills, neither of them are actual game situations. You won't every get the ball to shoot without pressure or at that perfect angle and when in the game will you try to possess the ball without the intent to score on a goal. I, therefore, like to combine these with some sort of possession drill in the box where they can go to goal after they complete my tasks. The tasks could be score after three passes, four passes, one touch finish, etc. After this, my players are usually ready to play.  Kurt Dzwonkowski      


The best pregame routine will take the players through an active warm and stretching. It will then build to game pace using drills with a form of 3v3, a goal. I want to see I want to see ball movement, quick transition, pressure  to the ball and game speed play.  The routine should have players physically and mentally ready to play when the whistle blows to start the game. - Jen Jackson


I think each team has its own dynamic, so I allow my team captains the freedom to get their teammates ready for the first part of the warmup. Typically, though, they will do some combination of variable-paced runs and dynamic stretching. After that, it really depends on the mood for the day and what we need to do for the game. I usually have some possession, shooting, long passes, and a little bit of 1v1. - James Jordan

Players are used to consistency. Each coach has their own routine and dynamics with his/her team; therefore, players will adapt to their coach's routine for their warm up. For me, I like to warm my team with the same exercise before a game. I ensure that they get a complete warm up so that their bodies are ready for the game. In addition, I ask my players to stretch after the warm up. It is so important for them to stretch because we want to minimize injuries in the game. At the end of the warm up, I usually do a possession drill and/or shooting. - Thiago Aleixo

What is the rule of offsides and why do some referees interpret the rule differently? (Jason Kirk)

The LAW for offsides is: - Pulled from Law 11 -


It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent

A player is not in an offside position if:

  • he is in his own half of the field of play or
  • he is level with the second-last opponent or
  • he is level with the last two opponents



A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

  • interfering with play or
  • interfering with an opponent or
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position


There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • a goal kick
  • a throw-in
  • a corner kick


In the event of an offside offense, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 - Position of free kick).



It may appear that referees interpret the law differently as  "involved in the play" is determined by the Referee/assistant referees. Keep in mind the assistant referees have best view of the second to last defender, and the referee will have a different angle on the play all together. The referee has the ultimate decision to determine the involvement of the play. While your interpretation may be different The Referee's is the only one that matters for the game in play.


Here are more interpretations from FIFA on Law 11. complete with diagrams and possible offenses.

----Jennifer Jackson


See above for Jennifer's answer on the offside rule. There are lots of different interpretations and permutations. What I take away from this is that my team shouldn't try and play an offside trap! - James Jordan

What is Sportsmanship? (Ozie Foster)

Sportsmanship can be defined as: 

·         Following the very simple rules of the game.

·         Respecting the judgment of great or awful referees.

·         Treating your opponents and coaches with respect.   

Some people define good sportsmanship as the "golden rule" of sports — treat the people you play with or against as you would like to be treated yourself.  You demonstrate good sportsmanship when you show respect for yourself, your teammates, your opponents, fans watching, for the coaches on both sides, and for the referees.  We all like to win, but at what cost?  I don’t understand why people have such bad attitudes and want to show how dirty they can play.  It solves nothing and will ruin a game for parents, fans and both teams.  I do believe in playing aggressive but when we lose value of the game we love, it makes things very complicated.  The purpose of an actual game is to declare a winner, not find out who can fight or disrespect the most.  As I always tell my team, if you want to fight, go box or join a MMA group because it will be you and your opponent with no one else helping you.  You want to set an example on the field, not only for your team, your family, younger players but most importantly you want to represent your club the right way.  - Ozie Foster


Sportsmanship -

Simply put - Respect for the game, the players and the officials, coaches and spectators. Learning to play the game in lieu of outside influences and sticking to the play of the game, Displaying strong Character including the following; Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsible, Display fairness, Caring and Citizenship. - Jen Jackson

For me, sportsmanship is about competing as hard and as fairly as you can within the laws of the game. You must respect yourself, your teammates, your coaches, the other team, the officials, and the fans. - James Jordan

Do your best at your best behavior! - Thiago Aleixo

Respecting the game, opponents, referees and teammates. -Jason Kirk




 How do you plan to incorporate Coerver training into your practices if you aren't already, and if you are what are some of the ways you do? (Jennifer Jackson)

 I use coerver type training in all my sessions. I usually like to begin my sessions with a corver activity to get my players warmed up and focused on the fundamental aspect of the game that we will build on for the remainder of the session.-Brianna Wolfe

I like to use Coerver because of its low player to ball ratio. It's great for warmups and I mainly use it as a starter activity for my teams. For younger players, especially, Coerver training is essential. - James Jordan 

Like many trainers at CGSA, I incorporate Coerver Training into every session.  By incorporating this training it will allow my players to improve their skills whatever position they play or whatever level they may be at.  The Coerver Training will help the player become quicker with or without the ball.  Those are some reasons why I like to include this training during my sessions.  - Haley Walker

I use a Coerver technical warm up every practice for my Academy teams.  I think it is very important for them to get this training in as often as possible.  I try and vary it throughout the season to keep the boys entertained, however the same basic concepts are used consistently.  Coerver is all about repetition so the more they use it, the better they become at it.  -Jason Kirk

 What activities/drills do you use when you are teaching pressure, cover, and balance to younger players (ages 9-12)? (Kurt Dzwonkowksi)



To teach pressure cover to young players one of my favorite drills is to start with a 10 x 15 grid (adjust as needed).

There are players A&B attacking and C&D Defending. To start the drill, the players are located like Fig 1 below. Player A has the ball.  To start the drill, Player A passes to B. Player D provides defensive pressure (D1) on the ball and Player C moves into position the cover position(C1) (fig 2). There is no attempt to steal the ball by the Defense (C,D). Player B then passes the ball back to Player A. C now moves in the position to provide pressure, and D provides cover.  A&B continue to pass the ball increasing the pace of ball movement.  C&D continue to swap from pressure to cover.  


Progression: Figure 3 – Player A & B now move towards Side 2 of the grid. If they cross the line they score a point. If the Defense successfully apply pressure and cover to force A&B outside the sides of the grid (side 3,4) the Defense scores a point. You can time this, increase defensive pressure to gaining defensive possession of the ball, add constraints etc, there is a lot you can do with this drill. The positions in the figures below are "approximate"


I have used this with U9 and U10 players. (Jen Jackson)



A .                B

|                     |

|                     |

|                     |






C                  D

Figure 1



A                . B

|            D1    |

|      C1          |

|                     |






C                   D

Figure 2


A                . B

|  A1              |

Side 3 |     C1   B1   | Side 4

|         D1       |






C                   D

Side 2

                                                                                                    Figure 3

What are some of your favorite dirlls (games) to do and to tell your players to do in their free time? (Kurt Dzwonkowski)

I personally think juggling the ball is one of the best things any player can do in their free time. If they are having trouble juggling then I tell them to juggle where they let it bounce one time between each kick. In other words, kick, bounce, kick, bounce, etc. Another activity I suggest is to find a wall to pass the ball against if they can't find another player to pass with. I'm sure there are some other good drills players can do and would love to hear them. (Kurt Dzwonkowski)

I tell my players to simply play.  Making up games in the backyard and playing small sided games in their free times will really help develop their creativity.  I try and stay away from giving them "drills" because there are very few players who actually enjoy doing that sort of thing.  Games like soccer golf, soccer horseshoes and soccer tennis are easy ways for kids to work on striking a ball or improving their first touch without boring them with "drills".   -Jason Kirk

Mental toughness: What is it? How do you get it?

Mental toughness is a term that's used a lot these days. Coaches know the importance of having players with mental strength. However, many experienced coaches say they have seen these characteristics become increasingly scarce in recent years. Toughness is becoming a highly prized commodity.

But what exactly is it? How do we recognize players who display it and how can we develop mental toughness in our players?

First, we need to understand what mental toughness is and is not. What do tough players look like, sound like and behave like?

Some people would say that the tough players are those who shout the loudest and bang their fists on the looker room doors. They are the players who intimidate their opponents, physically and verbally. Are those players really mentally tough? What about players who push themselves physically, put their body on the line and risk injury? Are those the tough players?

In my many years of coaching, I have seen teams and players crumble when they hit tough challenges. Some even panic when they find themselves exceeding their expectations. They go to pieces when they make finals or find themselves fighting for a league championship.

Some teams seem to throw their game plan out of the window when the opposition present obstacles. Therefore, in my opinion, mental toughness is the ability to stick to the game plan, no matter what. 

When I see tough players, fists are not banging. In fact, the toughest players I have seen tend not to physically or variably intimidating. Maybe they do not need to be. Instead, the players who show true mental toughness tend to display three distinct qualities:

1) Resilience: commonly seen as "bounce-back-ability" and the capacity to thrive in adverse situations

2) Tenacity: the ability to keep going and push to the limit

3) Composure: the ability to make good decisions and execute skills to a very high standard, while "under pressure"

I believe that actions, rather than words, are the best indicators. Like any skills, mental toughness can be developed and learned. It is not simply an attribute that is inherent in people. Therefore, coaches can actually help foster mental strength and toughness in their players, and players can develop it in themselves. Once we understand what genuine mental toughness looks like, we have a fantastic starting point. - Thiago Aleixo

Mental toughness is a trait brought to kids through their coach.  If a coach is mentally tough and works out situations vs. complaining about them, then he/she will improve their teams' mental toughness.  They will force their players not to look for excuses as to why things aren't going their way and to find ways to be successful.  It starts from the top and will trickle down to the players.  -Jason Kirk

 What are some good coerver drills that will help younger players build a good technical foundation while still keeping them "entertained"? (Connor Terry)


Creating variations of the same moves will keep the kids "entertained".  One variation I use is:

If you are working in a grid and players are roaming freely about and doing moves, something as simple as putting 4 cones outside of the grid can help with this variation.  The coach can say something like "Go" or "Play" and all the players can go around any of the cones or make a turn at the cone and the last one back to the grid has to do 2 push ups or something quick just to keep it competitive.   -Jason Kirk



Sometimes I get so involved in my own teams that I forget to ask about the rest of the CGSA teams. How is your team doing? What is your team doing well and what do they need to work on?   - Kurt Dzwonkowski

            The U9 academy team started the year off not on the best foot. We still needed to work on a lot of the small technical aspects of the game. We have devoted a lot of time to these aspects and it is really showing at practice. We are starting to look much better, but we still haven't quite figured out how to get this talent to the games. It's only a matter of time. - Kurt Dzwonkowski

            The U13 select team had high hopes for the season after a great performance in the preseason tournament, but unfortunately met one of our toughest competitors in the season opener. We lost and our sprits went down. Since then, we have worked on the way we play our formation and improved in some smaller technical aspects. The team's spirits are starting to lift, especially since I started moving players around to different positions to see what works best for us. Right now, we are set to finish about midway in the pact. I hope we can finish the season on a good note. - Kurt Dzwonkowski

The U10 Academy Boys started out similarly to the U9 Boys.  We got trounced our first weekend and had a lot of things to work on.  Luckily with some weaker opponents on the schedule, we were able to work on the individual skills that this group of boys needed and we have started to put together a winning streak.  Since the first weekend, we have only lost two games.  The mid season evaluations really helped as I was able to handle some disciplinary issues and some of the boys really understood how their behavior was affecting theirs and their teammates' progress.  -Jason Kirk

The U16 Athena team has done a remarkable job in our first year together.  We lost our first road game, but our overall record is 7-1-1 with two to play.  The last two teams we are playing currently have 1 win a piece so we are expecting to continue our ways.   It would be great to win our division after moving up last year as well.  These girls work hard everyday and I am enjoying coaching them.  They all work hard and are more focused on improving than any time I have worked with at CGSA.  Kudos to the coaches they have had in the past that helped to instill this philosophy.  -Jason Kirk

Hello everybody. I'm interested to hear what each coach does as a warmup for his or her team. I know each team starts with a stretch, then goes into a pre-game drill. I'm curious as to what drill everybody choses to prepare their players for the game?    -Kurt Dzwonkowski

          I myslef have my players set the balls up around the outside of the 18 yard box, divide into two teams and a keeper, then have one team outside the box(attacking) and the other team in two lines on the post(defending). The attackers bring in a ball to try to score and the defenders send out one from each line. This will give you roughly 7 vs 2. After this ball is done, then attackers get another ball from the edge of the box and two new defenders come on the field. This allows the players to shoot, maintain possession, prepare for defending, and warm up your keeper as well. After both team have a turn doing both, you can add restiction such as one touch finish or must score off a cross. 
          I'm hoping that some of yall can give me some goood ideas to add to my warmup rooutine. Dean showed me 'can of worms' the other day and I think I may be having my players do this before our games. Looking forward to hearing what everybody has to say.         


Creativity & Improvisation In The Attacking Third
Improvisation & Creativity.pdf

Shooting Session from Scottish FA (Coach Ciaran Traquair)
Shooting Full Session 1.pdf

Saved "Coaches Corner" Conversations

Saved Conversations (Coaches Corner).docx

CGSA Academy Topic Curriculum

Academy Topic Curriculum-1.pdf

CGSA Select Topic Curriculum
Select Topic Curriculum-1.pdf

The Future of Soccer Article
Football Development - The Future Game.pdf

Mental Toughness in Soccer: E-Book 
Football Mental Toughness E Book.pdf

Coaching Website

Goal Keeper training

You Tube

How I feel when I score. lol - Ozie Foster


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