Summer camps are great for improving sports skills and elevating your game with the latest drills and training methods. Plus, camps are ideal places to catch the eye of a college coach and let him see your work ethic, respect for others and leadership abilities. Regardless of your sport, there's a camp for you and your position. There are even camps on how to train for training!
All in all, camps offer terrific opportunities to get better and be seen. But at what cost? In financial terms, camps can put a pinch in the pocketbook, running from $50 for a one-day camp to more than $1,000 for a week-long specialty camp. But what is the cost of performance improvement lost because of a broken summer training program?
The typical summer training program lasts between eight and 10 weeks, depending on when school lets out and when athletes have to report for their fall sport. Good summer training programs are progressive, and it's vital that each step is followed, with no weeks lost. But if an athlete goes to his own school's sport camp for three days and two other summer camps for a total of six days, he's potentially losing nine days of training—close to two weeks—or even more if you include travel time to and from the camp, plus recovery time. If an athlete loses two weeks out of a standard eight-week program, he's down to six weeks of training. Can you afford to miss that much training while at camp?
We're not saying don't go to camp. What we are saying is that you need to make smart choices when picking camps.
Below are a few suggestions when looking into summer camps:
- Choose a camp that is recommended by your high school coach or by your club coach. Many times, coaches know who's holding the camp and what type it is. Otherwise, you could end up at a "play catch, get a few autographs and go swim" camp rather than an actual "working camp," where athletes train and get better at their sport and position. Knowing which camps are more worthwhile will give you the best bang for your buck, and you can expect to come away with new skills.
- Pick camps that not only teach your sport, but also provide training information and ability to work out. Good camps often include performance enhancement elements, including strength building, power development, speed/agility/quickness training, nutritional advice and proper preparation, regeneration and recovery strategies. With the chance to improve at your sport and acquire more training knowledge, camp becomes a win-win situation.
- Pick camps close to your home. Not all camps have to be local, but if you can choose a few day camps close by, it cuts down on training time lost due to travel. In many instances, you may be able to get in training with your coaches and team, too. If you do travel for a camp—and often you will have to for larger camps—use the other guidelines mentioned.
- Look for private instruction or work with a professional trainer. Although private instruction sounds costly, depending on the length, type and location of the camp, it could save you money and stimulate performance gains. A trainer can work around your summer training schedule and help you focus on your weaknesses. Athletes who choose this path often see better results and value for money spent by ending up with improved levels of performance.
The key to summer training and camps is to find the right combination that will lead to sports skill improvement and getting noticed by college recruiters—but will NOT leave you unprepared for the coming season. What you do this summer will directly impact how well you perform during the season.
Photo: IMG Academies
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