- Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 August 2010 19:34
- Published on Tuesday, 03 August 2010 19:34
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Mark Perry, King George High School junior varsity soccer head coach, and social studies teacher, has a new perspective on coaching and taking the Foxes to the next level. From July 5-10, Perry and 17 soccer players from King George attended the Elite Sports Academy Camp, at Sweet Briar College, in Amherst, Va. The camp consisted of two-U 14 teams and two-U 12 teams.
King George had the largest contingent of players at the camp, with other high schools featuring two to three players. Campers endured steamy temperatures that soared up into the nineties, while taking advantage of a rare opportunity to learn from one of the most highly acclaimed soccer coaches in the country, in the form of Virginia Tech men’s soccer head coach, Oliver Weiss. Weiss has coached the Hokies since 2002, compiling a record of 68-39-16.
The camp lasted for six days, July 5-10, with morning, afternoon and evening sessions. “Just standing in the pitch for me was unbearable,” Perry said. “I think the boys really learned the importance of hydration. Every morning the boys drank a bottle of water.”
Watching the Foxes junior varsity nearly make it into the playoffs in 2009, and come within a point, in the final seconds of this year’s district championship against Courtland, of making school history, has heightened Perry’s urge to break the string of Courtland and Chancellor Battlefield District domination. “Because of our success in the junior varsity program last year, a lot of parents were riding high, thinking you know what, maybe it’s time for the King George soccer to take that next step—and maybe that next step is my child attending this camp,” Perry said.
Eleven players who played on the 2010 soccer junior varsity team will move up to the varsity level in 2011; eight of the players attended the camp. With the elements of travel teams, camps, and district experience, the Foxes are equipped to remain competitive for years to come.
During the camp, Perry patiently observed from afar, while taking notes on the drills that were featured. During the evening hours at the dormitory at the team meeting, each player spoke about their personal awareness, and what the camp has done for them. “I learned so much at the camp about fundamentals; skills that I assumed that the athletes would know,” Perry said. “In regard to our team’s weaknesses, it allowed me to look at the team more objectively, with the hope of taking steps to make improvements.”
While the King George team did not prevail with a victory during the week of competition, they did improve with each outing (6-0, 4-0, 2-1). Delighted with his team’s efforts, Perry believes the advanced tactics learned in the camp have instilled a renewed sense of competitive energy in his team.
“It was a matter of us maturing as a team—and the problem was that I didn’t know how to apply those advanced tactics to my team,” Perry said.
The skills or advanced soccer tactics that were gained from the camp consisted of situational awareness or creating opportunities for other players, without having the ball, and techniques needed to place the player in a situation to impact his team in a positive manner. In addition, defensive maneuvers were emphasized during instances when the player was not attacking the ball.
“To consistently compete with our true competition (Chancellor, Courtland), we are going to take the next step, and going to these camps is the next step,” Perry said. “It was a very positive experience and for King George soccer.”
Leonard M. Banks