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CAJ All-Access

Cobb Atlanta's Club Physician

 

  CAJ's Club Physiciana - Dr. Jessica C. Bilotta

Atlanta, GA – Cobb Atlanta Juniors Volleyball (CAJ) is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Jessica C. Bilotta as the club physician. With specialties in general orthopaedics and sports medicine, Dr. Bilotta will play an integral role in keeping the club healthy while offering a vast range of expertise.

 

With the addition of Dr. Bilotta, Cobb Atlanta players will be able to make a next-day appointment at her office for injuries. Additionally, she or her staff will be on-call to determine the urgency of injuries occurring during play. This helps relieve the minds of players, parents, and coaches when competing in club volleyball.

 

Dr. Bilotta has been providing the southeast with medical attention since receiving her Medical Degree from the Medical College of Georgia. There, she graduated with honors and went on to complete an orthopaedic residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham as well as a Sports Medicine Fellowship at Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center. Her impressive achievements will certainly aid Cobb Atlanta in the coming months.

 

“We are excited to add Dr. Bilotta as our club doctor and the wealth of experience she brings to our club,” Cobb Atlanta Director Jessica Turnbull said. “Our first priority is always our players health and safety, and the addition of Dr. Bilotta as the club doctor only helps us protect our players. Cobb Atlanta is excited to add Dr. Bilotta to the team!”

 

Currently, Dr. Bilotta is a physician with Pinnacle Orthopaedics and sees patients in Marietta, Woodstock, and Acworth. She and other doctors at Pinnacle Orthopaedics are currently the team doctors for the athletics teams at Kennesaw State University.

Recruiting Blog

Those who have made it to the recruiting talks know that college coaches are trying to answer four major questions on their side:

 

(1)  Will you make our team better on the court? 

(2)  Will you fit in with our team?

(3)  Will you be mature enough to handle the time demands of college-level athletics and academics?

(4)  Do you really want to play for my school?

 

Those four questions, then, should be the guide for you as a player.  In order for a coach to answer those questions:

 

(1)  they have to see you play.  That means if you don’t have any video yet, put some together.  There’s no need for you to spend hours in a gym putting together a skills tape.  Pull some highlights off of your most recent tournament, and send those around.  Most schools do not have the budget to go flying around the country watching players they don’t know anything about. However, many coaches will want to see a player play live before they make any kind of offer.  With that, the video is the hook that you use to show a coach that it’s worth it for them to make the trip to see you play face-to-face. It also means that every time you write a coach, you should include your schedule and any upcoming events you have that are either in their area, or that are national-level events (qualifiers, USAV nationals, or AAU nationals).

 

(2)  they need to hear from YOU, the player.  When coaches get letters from a parent or coach, there’s very little they can do with it.  They don’t know whether you actually want to play for them or if the parent is the one who is really interested.

 

(3)  They should be getting individual letters that are individually addressed (e.g, “Hi Coach Fletcher,” rather than “Hey Coach,”).  Do not mass email coaches.  Yes, it takes a little more time to send emails out individually, but if you send the message to a bunch of schools at once, the odds of those schools actually reading and taking note of your email drop substantially.  Show coaches that you want to go to THEIR school, rather than showing them you want to go to ANY school.

 

All of this is to say, the recruiting process should be very much player-driven.  An email or a phone call from a parent can be looked at as a negative (Why isn’t this player taking the time to contact me herself?).  A message from a coach is fine, but it should be a follow-up rather than the first contact.  If you want to play in college, it’s up to you to get your name out there.

 

That is not to say, though, that you’re on your own.  If you don’t know what to put in your highlight tape, ask! Or if you don’t feel really comfortable with an email you’re trying to write – send it over! I’d be happy to take a look. 

 

Strength Training & the Burpee

Hopefully all of you have read my first blog.  I want to cover two items in this edition, strength training and the burpee.  Two random items but hopefully you find the following interesting about them.
 
1)  Strength - An athletes ability to create force is very important to their ability to move either themselves or an external object.  Let me share how this applies to volleyball athletes with an analogy of my two boys.  One is 11 and one is 5.  If I were to train them both at any skill that involved some sort of strength component like throwing, kicking, hitting, setting, serving, etc. this would be the outcome.  My 11 year old will throw the ball or hit the ball, etc. farther and faster than my 5 year old.  Technique is irrelevant at this point.  I could spend 40 hours a week with my youngest teaching mechanics and not an hour with my oldest.  Result would be the same.  My older son simply has two to three times the strength and with minimal technique he will win.  One can only apply as much power as they are able to create.  You get the point.  Let me clarify that technique is extremely important.  But that is only part of the equation.  Beauty is when strength and technique work together but more often than not athletes simply aren't strong enough when compared to higher level athletes.
 
But weightlifting is bad for my child?  Let's define what I mean by weightlifting.  If an athlete is trying to perform a 1 rep max, meaning they are trying to lift as much as they can for 1 rep, then there is potential for problems.  I didn't say it was bad as there is a time and place for it but for our purposes in our sessions we don't need to do that.  If they are lifting weights with sub maximal loads near 20% to 40% of their proposed 1 rep max at a rep range that is easily performed then they are in a safe zone.  This allows them to learn technique and start build strength at the same time.  The risk for injury is extremely low.  At athletes mature mentally and physically then can start handling more intensity by increasing one or all of the following: Load, speed of rep, number of reps, time under tension, decreased rest time, etc.  With any weightlifting the most important items to remember are safety first, build your technique and increase intensity slowly.
 

High School Tryouts - Giving It Your All

High School Tryouts: Giving It Your All

High school season tryouts are just around the corner, August 1st, and most of the girls trying out are starting to feel the pressure and responsibility of making their high school team.  

As an experienced coach, I would like to share some words of encouragement and advice to those of you who are uncertain or might have questions about how to play your best at tryouts.

We have all faced challenges at some point in our lives, and in my opinion, tryouts can be one of the biggest challenges of youth sports. With that in mind, let’s talk about some do's and don’t's that will help you get through your days of tryouts!

Show Off Your Hard Work

Use tryouts as an opportunity for you to show your prospective coaches all the hard work you have put into becoming a better player. Tryouts should give you a great sense of accomplishment regardless of whether you make the team or not. The reality is that you need to give tryouts your all! You have practiced countless hours and have attended numerous fitness sessions and clinics to become a better player. Nobody but you can control how you tryout. Remember that you have the skills to do great. Be confident and always show your enthusiasm.

Be A Team Player

There are girls who will try out hoping to belong to a select group of student-athletes. Your ultimate goal is to be happy with what you do. Stay positive throughout tryouts with the eagerness of an athlete, hungry for competition and accepting nothing but success. Be determined to work as hard as you can and leave it all on the court. This is what all successful athletes do.

If the result is not ultimately what you had hoped for, even after giving it your all, it is OK. You are young, healthy, smart and will keep working hard to reach your goals. 

GOOD Luck!

Have confidence, play fearlessly, use all tools that have been given to you by your coaches and leave all worries aside; you are working for your goals! Best of luck to all of you!

New KSU Assistant Coach- Kim Fletcher!

We are excited to offer congratulations to Kim Fletcher who has taken on the role of assistant volleyball coach at Kennesaw State University! 
 
With her wealth of coaching and playing experience, Kim is a welcome addition to the Kennesaw State coaching staff. She began her coaching path locally in the Cobb community at Kennesaw State as a volunteer assistant coach in 2007. Shortly after, Fletcher served on the coaching staff at South Dakota State. 
 
Fletcher was a middle at Notre Dame for four seasons, helping take the Irish to the NCAA Tournament all four years. After her collegiate volleyball career, Fletcher played professionally for one season in 2009 in Klagenfurt, Austria, for the Sparkasse Wildcats.
 
Off the court, Fletcher has a master's degree in Sociology from Western Kentucky University. Fletcher is currently seeking a doctoral degree in International Conflict Management from Kennesaw State.
 
Kim has been an incredible asset to the Cobb Atlanta coaching staff, and we can be sure to see great things from her in her new position at KSU!
 
 
 
 

Cobb Atlanta Names New Set Coach - Bri Schunzel to join team

Cobb Atlanta Juniors Volleyball is pleased to announce that Bri Schunzel has been hired as a new program coach, specializing in setting and attacking. Coach Schunzel is a perfect fit for the growing program.

Coach Schunzel has been providing volleyball instruction for ages five and up for the past seven years. Her vast experience in coaching and specialty in setting drills will not only help setters, but enhance the skills of each player on the team. Through her enthusiastic personality and emphasis on setting, Schunzel plans on going through the various mechanics and skills a good setter needs.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to join the Cobb Atlanta volleyball family,” said Schunzel. “I couldn't be more excited to share my passion for the game and knowledge of the sport with the players, and be a part of an organization that is committed to growing and developing junior volleyball."

Besides being a four-year starting setter at Ohio University, Schunzel played a year of professional volleyball for RC Villebon 91 in Paris, France and led her team to a French National title. While overseas, she also coached a regional women's team, which helped her realize her passion for coaching. 

Schunzel joins the list of fantastic coaches on the Cobb Atlanta staff, who all help the teams compete in competitions around the nation.

“We are very excited to bring in such a talented coach from the local area,” Cobb Atlanta Director Jessica Turnbull said.  Every coach we bring on increases our competitive edge in the region and will help each player develop to their full potential.”

Read more about Coach Schunzel here

Atlanta Sand Open

We had the pleasure to host the 1st Atlanta Sand Open on Saturday, June 29th  at the beautiful GSU Sand Facility.   

    

A total of 31 teams ranging from 12 to 20 years old came out to compete with lots of energy and excitement to make the event a huge success.   We had teams representing four different clubs and from as far as Huntsville, AL. The atmosphere couldn't have been better as parents and spectators joined in with their tents, coolers and beach gear to make it a true sand event!  

 

Congratulations to all teams who participated in the tournament, we look forward to seeing you all again in our Summer wrap-up session and future tournaments!  

 

Be sure to follow all of our summer and sand updates here.

No Pressure - by Coach Kortney

No Pressure 

Let me brag for a second but I promise there is a reason for it.  Last year's club team that I coached set some amazing records for our volleyball club.  To be fair and honest they didn't come to me as the bad news bears.  They were already pretty good and other coaches had an influence in planting seeds that I reaped benefits from.  It is in my opinion the best team to ever play for cobbatlanta.  Numbers and obstacles over come prove it.  But more importantly it is what they have done in their high school season following that is even more amazing.  Of the 11 players I had, 1 of them moved to Ohio.  Her mother told me she was the starting setter on a 5-1 offense and their star player.  I don't know much else but that alone tells me she is doing fine.  Let me share numbers from the other 10 that are here in Georgia.  All 10 made their varsity team.  All 10 started or saw significant playing time.  So what does that prove?  Nothing really because some schools just don't have any talent so it is easy to make a varsity team.  So let's keep going.  All 10 qualified for the state championship tournament.  Sounds interesting.  8 of 10 won their first round.  So what happened to those two that didn't win?  1 player lost to a team with 3 of our other players on it.  How it had to match up that way just wasn't fair.  So our team eliminated our own player.  The second player lost to a high school that is playing in the state championship tonight.  Nothing to be ashamed of.  So back to 8 of 10 and their second round match.  All 8 win their second match and move into elite 8.  Not too shabby.  We have 4 that lose and 4 that win.  It's crunch time and the competition is obviously getting tougher by the round.  4 of 10 left in the final four.  Still pretty amazing.  We end up with 2 that win and 2 that lose.  So now we have 2 playing for a state championship.  1 wins and 1 loses.  If you think about that for a second that may be some kind of record for Georgia.  Do you want to know what the best part of all of that is?  They are all sophomores!

So why share that with you?  I will give you their secret.  Shhhhh don't tell anyone.  It is their understanding on how to perform under pressure.  Their ability to shine under the brightest lights and on the biggest stages.  Their mental game is so much tougher from the constant battle with themselves last year and they now believe they belong on the court with anyone.  They make opponents prove their worth before giving them anything.  They have gone through the conditioning we put them through as well as playing every good team we could find, which was one or two age groups older at times, that their mental confidence now enhances their physical ability.   

The Facebook name is mine, but is that truly me?

 

The Facebook name is mine, but is that truly me? by Brittney Cousin

 

Technology is on the rise. In my life time we have gone from hand written diaries and letter to mass texting and blogging. Whew how communication is flying. These readily available pools of communication create many great opportunities to network, gain ideas, catch and keep up with old friends, and explore the world. Thus this Open Web of social networks can be very enlightening however it can also be as trapping as a fly in a spider’s web.  Proceeded with caution.

As an athlete or a member of ANY group you are a representative. This is true for the college you attended, the volleyball team where you play, and even the company where you work. Thus, everything written on Facebook, twitter, tumbler, or any social platform you can and often time will be held into accountability.  Propaganda like KONY 2012 takes great advantage of social platforms to spread awareness because ideas and images spread like wildfires through the internet. However look at what they are fighting for is just cause to bring attention to.  You cannot control what becomes a craze but you can control content you make available to trend.

 Many people forget that after you press send it becomes property of the WORLD WIDE WEB and therefore open to ANYONE’S interpretation. This is true not only of photographs but also words! They both tell stories about the situation and about a person. As an athlete we must be mindful of this, you may not intend certain inferences that cause negative reactions from comments but once it is posted it’s not your intellectual property alone anymore. Even after you delete it sometimes it’s too late, and it’s never truly erased.

Great example, when I was in college I was tagged in the background of a photo with a cup of water (YES REALLY H2O) in a team volleyball shirt where the girl who was the actual subject of the picture was holding a shot glass.

FACT: I did not know the girl in the photo.

FACT: I did NOT know I was in the picture.

FACT: I had not consumed anything alcoholic at the gathering. We were still in season.

FACT:  I was 21 so even if I had sipped a drink, I was of legal age (which I actually really didn’t).

Attitude vs. Altitude - Rachael Albright

            When I was a player, I thought I was on top of the world. No one could bring me down; coaches always critiqued my ability so that I could improve. The sport of volleyball was my life. However, something that gets overlooked is your attitude vs. your altitude.

            Now that I have been coaching for a few years, I have greatly seen the need for positive attitudes and positive influences on teams on the court. As a coach, you see the team as a whole; you make the changes that it takes to win. If a player doesn’t like the change, giving attitude is not going to help! Our nature as human beings is to respond to negativity with itself, negativity. The player that can embrace the negative situation and make something positive out of it wins my vote!

            I was such an aggressive player in high school and when I got to college. I hustled all over the court to get my hands on the ball, and then if a hitter screwed up an amazing set I would get upset. I would think, “I just made that amazing set out of such a crappy pass, and all you do is hit it in the net?!” It drove me nuts! However, once I got to college and was placed in a whole new world in regards to volleyball, my attitude started to change. It began to transition to, “How can I make this as easy as possible for you to get a kill?” I began thinking positively for my teammates, putting in the extra work to check the block so I could get one of my hitters one-on-one. It became a whole new game.

            When attitudes can change in one individual, it spreads to the entire team. If a team can all get on the same wavelength thinking, “How can I get this ball to you in the best way possible?” – that is when cohesive, unstoppable teams are born. It becomes about the attitude vs. the altitude. It doesn’t matter how high you can fly as an individual, but how high you want to fly for a teammate. 

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