Regardless of the sport, there is certain to be a camp or a clinic for it in your area. When I was a kid there weren’t that many choices – today it appears there are TOO many, and the ability to select a camp can be overwhelming. Here are my top three tips to choosing the right camp/clinic for a young athlete.
1. Have a Goal 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.
2. Research the Options 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. Your kids should always be attending a camp or clinic by a coach that has had a background check. One easy way to make sure that the coach has had a background check is to use a service like bookacoach. Before a coach is able to book lessons through the bookacoach website they must pass a series of three different background checks and become BAC Certified. 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. I once sent my kids to a camp that offered swimming during lunch; as a coach, I didn’t like this option as I wanted my kids to learn about the game. Everything else about the camp was perfect for my goals, but this bothered me because it seemed to be a distraction from the goal. Turned out, this ‘break’ from 6 hours of basketball for 5 days straight was a very good thing.
- 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 you can visit the coaches’ profile on bookacoach.com and see what reviews the coach has received from previous clients.
3. Keep Building 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. Picking a youth sports camp for your kids doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Using a service like bookacoach to find, research and book a camp/clinic can make your life much easier. With all the information you need in one place bookacoach has saved my clients time and money, so visit bookacoach.com today and get your kids signed up for the summer camp/clinic that is perfect for them.
Also a Note for Coaches: If you are looking to run a camp on your own, I can’t recommend the use of bookacoach high enough. My biggest complaints before I started using this service were probably the same as yours: tracking athletes, inability to communicate quickly and effectively to campers and coordinating payment. One thing I really disliked was getting checks only to find out they were incomplete or had balance issues; bookacoach handles all of that and coordinates direct deposit and is very easy to use. The staff is friendly and they actually seek input of coaches to make the product better. There is no cost to the coach and you can get it up and running within minutes.