Coach's Guide to Choosing a Volleyball Camp

Summer Camp Rule No.3: The Reputation

A camp’s reputation is what makes some camps ridiculously popular, and what shuts other camps down: The recommendations of those who have been there should help you decide which camps to attend.

And by picking a camp that your players will really enjoy, you will earn the accolades of your players and parents.

Talk to as many coaches as you can about the camps your considering. Here is a list of questions that I would ask.

• Did your players like the food? Was there enough selection?
• Were your players busy? Or did they have six hours of day with nothing to do? Were they challenged?
• Did the girls feel safe? Was there adequate supervision?
• Were the camp directors knowledgeable? Or were many of them 19, 20, 21 year-olds just “putting in their time”?
• Were the accommodations adequate? (In 1999, I took my girls to a camp where the high temp was 100 degrees ever day and there were no air conditioned rooms and only 1 air conditioned gym. They were so happy to leave, and they begged me never to take them back.)
• Were the campers treated well? Were they complimented and made to feel special? Or did the directors lose patience with the kids?
• Was the camp run well? Or were the directors wasting time trying to figure out what to do next? Did the girls spend half of their day in a dorm room?
• Do you think the camp is a good value? Or does it appear to be a cash-cow for the directors?

Summer Camp Rule No. 4: Skill Appropriate

Does the camp have a division that meets the needs of your oldest? Don’t take your girls —who’ve been playing club ball since the 7th grade—to a camp where they are the only advanced players in attendance. They’ll want to bolt after the 1st day, and I wouldn’t blame them.

Summer Camp Rule No.5: Coach To Player Ratio

A low coach-camper ratio is over-rated. That’s why it is fifth.

All camp brochures rave about their low coach-camper ratio. But just because a camp has one coach for every five campers, that doesn’t mean those coaches are teaching the campers anything.

In fact, the “coaches” are often nothing but the women who play volleyball at the college. And some of them are no more teachers of the game, than I'm 6’10.

On the other hand, many girls have been to “specialty” camps where there are 20 setters per 1 coach. Don’t send your players to that either. That’s why Rule No.3 is so vital.


Coach Tom Houser is director of STAR Volleyball Camps as well as author of the “I Can’t Wait” Drill Collection and Ebooks. For more info check out www.coachhouser.com

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