We’ve put together a few tips to help you in your search for that perfect camps/clinic for your active child.
Here are my top three tips to choosing the right camp/clinic for a young athlete.
Don’t be fooled by the fancy marketing, commitments and celebrity names attached to camps – as a matter of fact, before you even consider a camp, ask yourself this one question: What do I hope to get out of a camp/clinic? The answers will vary greatly to this question – some will want elite training and maximum exposure to coaches/scouts at the next level, while some will simply want to learn some fundamentals and spend time with the game or their friends. There are camps that cater to both of these scenarios (and many others), so make sure you have a goal and that the goal is realistic – one way to do that is to check with the season coach and to take the feedback seriously.
Whittle your choices down to about three or four and then dig into the details. Here are a few that are important to me as a coach and a parent:
- Who is running the camp and what is the background of the staff? Do they meet your goals? As a parent one thing you want to be sure of is that your child is in safe hands after you drop them off. Peace of mind and safety should be the number one priority.
- Does the camp have an agenda? To me, this is very important – I want to know what the schedule is to make sure it meets my goals and limits standing around.
- Does the camp tout a celebrity player or coach, and is that a reason for your attendance? Be careful here – I’ve had many players attend camps that had a ‘name’ attached to it and that name really had nothing to do with the camp. If this is important to you, make sure you understand the celebrity commitment or there could be disappointment.
- Another great way to get more information on a particular coach, camp or clinic is to look at the reviews they have received in the past. You can do this through social media or ask around for others that may have been taught by this coach.
Camps and clinics are really built to set new goals and new habits – a great way to get better, but like anything else it has to continue after the camp to make a difference.
- Temper expectations on change and improvement during the session as real change tends to take more than a few days. Take the best things from the camp/clinic and work to reinforce them going into the regular season.
- Many camps offer a continuing communication plan such as “ask the coach” – these are great to keep the interest high and the motivation fresh.
- Camps/clinics that offer follow-up skills clinics or mini-camps are typically very good camps because they offer focus in skill areas throughout the year.