Category Archives: Training

the give-and-go

Last night at my U10 Shockers soccer practice I had a small turn-out. Tuesdays are “extra” practice for the little ones.

This gave me an option to work very closely with the team and I decided to try and work on some fairly advanced “give-and-go” drills.

“Think simple about giving the ball to a teammate and then running up pitch and calling for them to pass it back. Give-and-Go, Give-and-Go.”

To both my astonishment and delight, and that of one of the more experienced mothers, we pulled it off. The girls knew thay’d done well, and we all felt great about practice.

So, seeing my keeper roll the ball to an outlet player that deftly passed the ball to my little Emma Jo who then set up the “go-pass” was inspiring and deeply satisfying – both as a coach and a Dad.

I can’t wait for the match this Saturday.

Coach Brian

Our new Club

The rumors abound. And, as providence should have it – that which has us joining the mighty Andrew Collins and his legendary Breakers, is true.

We are, thusly, proud to call ourselves JBS Shockers Nation.

We’ll be flying new colors as well. Gray to be clear about it, with our traditional yellow tye-dye socks.

We’ll be training at the beautiful Chukkar Farm Polo Fields in Milton.

And, we are accepting challenges for “friendlies” to prepare for the up-and-coming Fall season.

Coach Brian

some things should never change

Shockers Nation:

This communique is about both change – and, that which never shall.

In the next few weeks and months you’ll begin to see the email distribution list expand as new players and families come on-line. We are in the process of adding new players to the very successful U14 Shockers roster as several of our players move up to the U16 squad. I am also including Andrew and Penelope Collins. They are a big part of the vision for the Club we are joining – JBS. We can expect a great deal of collaboration with their mighty Breakers with both the U14 and U16 squads going into the Fall season.

Meanwhile… We’re saying so long to two of our own… Loren Philbrook and Melissa Cuellar. They’ll be moving on to U18 group play. Hopefully in time we’ll extend our reach to that age group. Until then, they are always welcome amongst us. They can certainly help coach, manage and train as vital members of a long-line of champions.

I was reminded recently that a core group of our players have been with me since they were nine years old. And, most of our players tend to stick with us. I believe this is because of the common goals of our families that like the focus on citizenship, student athletes and the simple fact that our daughters are being taught they are capable of anything they set their minds to. As parents we both lead the way, and find ourselves inspired by the result.

I am also going to lift-up Chris Tovar and Patty Wojcik. Chris and I have built one successful Shockers team after another. That success is based on good sportsmanship, a pedigree of championships and Cup victories and a decidedly unique style-of-play that is based on teamwork. That means all players improve skills, confidence and fitness year-over-year, and grow together. Patty (Lindsay’s Mom) joined us a Team Manager in the Spring of 2009, and quickly established herself as both a force-of-nature and steady influence in terms of the proverbial “Mother Hen”. If his school schedule allows it, we’re hoping young master Anthony Kennedy can intern with us as an assistant coach. I get a lot of thanks form parents and “well dones” from the soccer community. But, the simple fact that we have a fantastic team of committed parents and athletes is the best element of our formula for success.

I’ve asked several parents with unique skills and experience to help us with several committees. A critical one is the building (or acquisition) of goals and nets for training and matches at the “Chukkar”. If you can help, or have ideas, please let us know ASAP. Start thinking about carpools. And, be on the lookout for notices around Summer Training Camps, Scrimmages and a possible Tournament.

Looking forward, we have several U10 teams (including a state champion) requesting to come on-line with Shockers Nation. We will also be trying something new… My own Emma Jo wants to play soccer again. She wants to be a Shocker, just like her “sissy”, Haley Anne. So, we are inviting twenty to twenty five U9 players to develop an intra-club skills development and match playing system. The focus will be less on competition, and more on fun, skills development, interaction within the sport. The older Shockers can help coach and referee the younger players. I feel this will broaden everyone’s feel for the “beautiful game”. A mentor of mine told me, and many times, that “the best teachers are more often students who reflect represent”. So, I hope to realize that within our own Shockers Nation. Please spread the word amongst our Shocker families and friends.

Coach Brian

Tuesday’s Practice

Shockers Nation:

Last nights practice was one of those times that makes being a coach extra fun and interesting.

It was like a family reunion. The girls had not been together en masse for almost two weeks. And, they were clearly delighted to be together. There was a great deal of laughter, and catching up. The comraderie is easy and comfortable. Generally, there was also a lot of excitement over the trip to Athens, and a sense of purpose.

We won’t be having practice tonight, and obviously because of the cold rain. The hoped for practice tomorrow are diminishing by the hour. Anticipating this, I had urged the girls to give me their best last night. I was admittedly concerned that the U14 squad may have lost a step being out of action for about ten days. And, the U16 squad was coming off their dramatic ASA Cup victory – and, it can be difficult to reorient after an event like that. So, we had only two hours to get thirty-three players mission ready with the new elements getting up-to-speed with our style-of-play. We actually went almost twenty five minutes over schedule. But, they could have gone on for another two hours in good cheer. I deeply appreciate the patience of the faithful Shockers parents who stood bravely in the chilled air (with smiles for the most part I should add).

I realize that, year-over-year, this has become a hallmark of being a Shocker – and, this includes the families. The girls genuinely care for, and about, one another. Grace Gutherie can refer to her new soccer ball as “like Battlestar Gallactica”, and the girls completely understand in a bemused and loving manner. When KC needs to decipher and verbally reprocess one of my observations, the team stands by patiently and often nodding approval. And, of course there are endless questions and opinions, in the post practice huddle, around what represents “dairy” (which is to be consumed in limited portions between now and Sunday). Shockers Nation is something they want, and enjoy being part of. It’s healthy, and they all understand that they are improving as athletes, both in terms of individual performance, and as a team, as well.

We had five of the six new players that will be joining us in Athens (across both squads), three of who will be joining us full-time in the Spring. I started out the practice with a warning that I yell a lot, but usually with a smile on my face. This elicited a lot of enthusiasm. And, in typical Shockers fashion, the new girls dialed right in. We could tell everyone was comfortable within the first twenty minutes (even though most teams are not accustomed to the running and drill work we start each practice with). The “Aggression Drill” can be intimidating. But, I can tell you that is where the girls sort out what they are made of, and where they improve quickest. They have no choice because everyone is watching – and, being supportive.

Last night was also quite unique in that we had four Dads with players on the Athens squads who all happen to be coaches in our league. I’ll stand firm in the belief that they (we) had as much fun as the girls. And, we clearly agree there’s not been a finer group (in terms of athleticism, spirit and citizenship) in conceivable memory.

As we wrapped up with the announcement we hope to have a team dinner and meeting Friday night the girls were fully charged. As we drew together, the new girls shoulder-to-shoulder with their new teammates, our cheers of: “Who Are we?” (Shockers!!!) “What Do We Want?” (The Ball!!!) And, “One-Two-Three, WE ARE SHOCKERS” echoed joyfully and fiercely across Central Park.

Athens isn’t going to be easy. The competition will be fierce. The weather will change a few times over the weekend. But, we are trained, fit and ready. And, truly so.

Please coordinate with Patty to make sure we know how each player is getting to Athens (does anyone need a ride?), where they will or want to stay. Bunking overnight Friday is probably a very good idea (and, cellular telephones will be handed over to Patty). Make sure we have your cellular number.

I’ll thank each family, again for trusting me with your daughters. And, it’s really me that’s the most inspired.

Coach Brian

our daughters our Shockers

What is it about our daughters?

We look at them in all their varying shapes, sizes and attitudes – and, see princesses.

Mixed with that is the uneasy realization that we have to prepare them for a world that will often hurt them while they work tirelessly (we expect) to help make it a better place.

With that perspective in mind perhaps you come to understand when I ask them, almost daily, whether they be “silly little kittens” or “mighty tigers”.

I understand that opposing teams start matches using this against our Shockers in a derisive manner. But, by matches end, those other teams are typically hands-on-knees and understand that we are bold and fearless – and mighty tigers all.

I often find myself looking at parents and saying things like: “Have I thanked you for having AC?”. Of course that is because they likely did something great on the pitch. But, it’s also often the result of something I saw in them as a growing person. They may not be ready to espound Jeffersonian ideals just yet. But, they exhibit ever more abundant positive qualities like compassion, fairness – and, fearlessness. A balance required to succeed in almost anything worth doing in life. And the drama often played-out on the football pitch is so often a corollary for life. Yet another opportunity to remind ourselves why it is so often referred to as the “Beautiful Game”.

Yesterday, as I made my way through the parking lot at Central Park, I had an opportunity to spend a few minutes with Vicki Bineau (Lauren’s Mom). I hope Lauren won’t take exception to being singled-out (although she better get used to it because I ALWAYS have my heart on my sleeve), but I found myself, as I often do, thanking parents like Vicki for “trusting me” with her daughters.

That seems to always take parents by surprise.

I look into the faces of our young citizens and I see, oh so much, hope and passion, and fear, and uncertainty, and the potential for confidence. The latter is the best part. Seeing that something we are doing one-on-one, and through the team, is building their self-esteem.

Our Shockers will look back on these days, a short spell, to be certain, and hopefully always draw on a memory that is the catalyst for a resevoir of strength and determination to face a challenge. Any challenge.

Perhaps “We are Shockers” will echo in the back of their mind in a moment of truth (in fond memory is certainly good enough). Maybe “I want the ball” will be something they carry with them daily.

When new players sign-on with Shocker Nation, it is, almost always, a similar story… There is timidness, and a dread of the endless running – possibly a resentment towards sprints. There is also uncertainty around why Coach Brian yells – even while I seem to be having fun. However, after a few weeks they feel their bodies strengthen. Skills they did not realize were possible become second nature (like dribbling the ball and looking up and down the field). I look them in the eyes (and, I can tell this is unnerving at first), and say things like: “I know you have it in you; and, I am going to count on you to give it your best”. And, they accomplish all manner of things.

This can include keeping their chins up. Heads held high with a steady gaze.

And fist bumps are meaningful.

Some times it’s only, seemingly, a small thing such as ball control. It can also be making a courageous stand against a determined fast-break. But, regardless of the actual result, they grow, and learn something every time.

We are going into our third week and we have been quietly discussing things like respect, leadership, a legacy of the uncompromising FIGHT and our legendary defenses. Why and how we win as a team. How individuals can form a team that is like an unbreakable chain – providing it’s forged with integrity, hard work and keen desire.

And, they get it. It’s in their eyes. They run their laps without complaints now. They understand the drills and enjoy the AGGRESSION DRILL.

So… It’s different every season – yet, in the same way.

We are Shockers, indeed. Always that. But, we are citizens first. And, they are our daughters. Always that.

Coach Brian

Fall 2009 Season

Time to start thinking about getting fit ladies.

We are looking for a tournament in August.

Who wants the ball?

Coach Brian

Momentum

Great scrimmage last night (Tuesday).

Much improved close-quarters passing (those drills are paying-off). Solid communication. Determination was greatly evident. Three goals in five minutes with a shut-out says it all.

Hope to most everyone tomorrow Thursday for practice. But, have a great Spring Break.

Be ready for our two matches with NSA Magic and Revolution Saturday the 11th.

Coach Brian

Training with Silverbacks

Big, heart-felt thanks to Tara Minnix and Carolyn Ford of the Atlanta Silverbacks for working with our Shockers!

Group photo by our inestimable Team Manager (Main Mom) Patty Wojcik.

Fusion Shockers with Tara Minnix and Carolyn Ford

Fusion Shockers with Tara Minnix and Carolyn Ford

Carolyn Ford

Carolyn Ford


tara Minnix

Tara Minnix


Transitions

Last night during scrimmage our Shockers proved their performance in the final match at the Lanier tournament was no fluke.

They came ready for practice and were clearly determined to comport themselves with valor in drills and on the pitch.

Focus combined with grit always tells.

We had several mutely awed parents in attendance that were witnesses.

We put them on the field without a goalie in the net. I asked them, simply enough, to protect the goal.

My only real advice?

“Keep the ball at the other end of the field.”

They did that very thing.

The few times our opponents managed a fast break they broke on “the wall” now formed by a legendary defense.

Our girls added new meaning to “wanting the ball”.  Not one Shocker, I tell you, failed to fight with all their might for every single ball.

These girls are fighters; winners; possessed of great character; and the object of tremendous pride on the part of their coach (whom it should be noted has no voice this morning).

By the way…  Alex Rodriguez at Totally Soccer thinks we will have the rest of our gear by Friday. So, be on standby to meet off Post Road for a quick distribution.

Coach Brian

Thursdays Practice and Tara Minnix

We have Tara Minnix, a standout Defender with the Atlanta Womens Silverbacks joining the Shockers for practice Thursday the 5th.

We will, essentially, have Tara run practice that evening.

Here are some of her player statistics (these don’t include 2008 when the Lady Silverbacks had an undefeated regular season):

tara-minnixW-League: 2007—Became all-time Silverback appearance leader with 38. Featured  11 times tallying two goals. 2006—Appeared 13 times. 2005—Tallied a goal and an assist in 14 appearances.

Professional: 2004—Represented both the Atlanta Beat and Carolina Courage in WUSA festivals. 2003—Atlanta Beat.

College: University of Tennessee (1989-2002)—Led SEC in goals (2002). Netted three goals and added four assists in 2000 before suffering season-ending knee injury. Netted eight goals and added four assists freshman year.

Coach Brian

Special treat

In the next few weeks, we will have a special (Shockers only) mini-camp with select members of the Lady Atlanta Silverbacks.

Coach Brian

Notes for Thursday Practice

Our skills sharpen each practice – as does confidence and team unity.

Erin joined us last night, and she fit right in – mostly because the girls have big hearts and Erin put forth a solid effort.

Our Defense needs to FOCUS.

Our Forwards are being encouraged to SHOOT.  But, also to fearlessly dribble the ball through opposition.

It’s okay to bring the ball back and consider a smarter attack.

After some sustained chatty moments during team council, I admonished the girls that if there is talking or silliness while a coach is speaking, the next practice is ALL SPRINTS.  I think that got their attention (KC went all bug-eyed).  We shall see Thursday.

This is a reminder that we need to come to practice Thursday in full kit (white jerseys mind you) for a team photo.

NOTE:  We had, not a few, light moments Tuesday with me explaining what is meant by “kit”, “kit bag”, and “boots”. Some did know what a “pitch” is.

Kit = Uniform and other related apparel.

Kit Bag = Team bag.

Boots = Field Cleats or Turf Shoes – but, shoes in general.

Pitch = Soccer Field.

Soon, I may throw them all for a loop and begin referring to “THe Beautiful Game” as “Football”.

Thanks for being part of this.  We are only just beginning.  But, what we take away from each and every day should last a life-time.

Coach Brian

A Team Comes Together

This story – call it a journey if you will; and, certainly an adventure, begins at the Atlanta Soccer Academy (“ASA”).

In the Fall season of 2008 two dynamic groups of young female soccer players were preparing to cross paths and converge.

Haley Anne Cork, Hannah Erger and Christy Tovar were Captains of the ASA U12 Shockers. This team finished the Fall season with a remarkable 12 – 0 record that included 7 shutouts (clean sheets).

The ASA U14 Blast were a team of certain potential, comprised of young fighters possessed of great heart – but few wins. 

The Fall season drew to a close and heralded the ASA Rec Rock tournament.

Shockers 2008 Spring Extreme Cup ChampionsRecognizing the potential in the Blast (players), Brian Cork approached Blast coach Pat Ward suggesting that Haley Anne Cork and Christy Tovar might be ready to move up to U14 early – and, possibly spark the Blast for the looming tournament. This would also be a reasonable proving ground to determine if Haley Anne and Christy could move up in age-group early and reunite with AC Anderson with whom they had won the 2008 Spring ASA Extreme Cup.

The Blast finished the tournament with a record of 0 – 3- 0. Brian Cork had looked into the eyes of all the players and come to the conclusion that playing “not to lose” was not good enough for these latent champions!

Quickly families were drawn together over a common goal where focus had to be on a team centered on citizenship, fair-play, skills development – and, a work ethic driving towards the realization of the players fullest potential – as individuals and a team.

After a great deal of evaluation it was decided that a new team would be formed under the Forsyth Fusion banner. 

Today, we are the Fusion Shockers

“We Control the Midfield Line; We Charge the Goal; and, We Protect our Goalie”.  “We Want The Ball”.

Our motto:

“Control, Charge, Protect”. 

The Spring 2009 campaign officially begins the week of February 23rd. However, we have a “trial-by-fire” tournament looming February 21st and 22nd.

Our mission and goal for this tournament is to be READY and to come together as a TEAM.

We shall remember these days… Our character will be tested; our skills sharpened; and, our name legion.

brian  patrick cork, coach