The Truth Behind Sports Camps and Clinics

For parents and players choosing a camp, any tips on how to decide what kind of camp would be best for them? Depends on what they're looking for and what kind of camp they need. There are camps that are just babysitting camps and there's nothing wrong with that. You've got other camps, where kids will be trained specific skills in a given sport. If that's the case, you want to find out about the instructors. Who will be in attendance? What sort of background do they have? Will they be actually be instructing--or are they just lending their name to particular camp?

If you're looking for a camp that is specifically designed to help the player get noticed it's important to realistically assess a player's skill level. It's the toughest thing for a parent to do. Every parent thinks the highest of their son and daughter. One of the best things they can do is get out there and watch some college sports. It's easy with basketball and football, but it's important that they check out the college level for a given sport. It's a whole different level of play out there. How does your son or daughter match up? It's tough, but important.

What's one misconception parents and players have about the effect a camp or clinic will have on a player's ability? That it's a quick fix. Camps or clinics are there for a bunch of reasons. They are there for the player to have fun, to learn something new. They can also be there to reinforce a principle the player has heard before, but from somebody new. Players don't walk away with 10 different things all the time. We hope they do but it doesn't happen all the time.

You mentioned principles a player might have heard before. How do your instructors work within the framework of instruction a player has received from their own coach? We don't want to change the players and contradict what their coaches back home are telling them. If you're here, please be open to what we're trying to show you. Hopefully we'll give you something to think about, but it doesn't mean it's the best way to do something. You still need to do what your coaches tell you to do.

What homework would you recommend a parent/player do to ensure they pick the right camp for their kid? Check with people who've gone to the camp. Word-of-mouth is huge. Look at the camp's website, get as much information about the camp you can. Call the camp. They should be happy to give you as much information as you want. Another thing you want to check out is the ratio. Find out how many players will be there, and make sure your kid will get enough attention.

What about college camps? If you're looking at a college camp, with the hopes of being recruited by that university, make sure that college is still looking at you. They might be done recruiting that year. Check out the school' s website. You can get all kinds of information now. If you're a pitcher, you can see that they've got four pitchers coming back next year. Chances are they're not recruiting a pitcher for the following year.

What's one thing you would recommend to players to get the most out of their camp/clinic experience? Come there with an open mind and be ready to learn and work. Want to be there. Don't expect it to just happen. Enjoy yourself and get ready to work hard.

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