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Sports Camps: Are they a good fit for your child?

With the summer finally here it’s easy to get blinded by the natural high that occurs when days last just a little longer and what you can actually do increases exponentially.  Your kids have freedoms they haven’t enjoyed in months and there’s a whole world out there to take over.  So what do you do on the third day of summer when your children have exhausted their resources and boredom sets in.  There’s still 5 weeks before your family vacation and you are in desperate need of some structure.  This is precisely when a sports camp becomes a perfect fit for you and your family.

The excitement of going away to a sports camp can be embraced by some kids, but for others it’s an area of tension which can create some anxious moments.  As parents it’s our responsibility to identify where on this spectrum our kids fall, and respond accordingly, likely with a great deal of sensitivity.  Age naturally is a huge factor so overnight camps are not traditionally offered for kids below the 5th grade.  Camps available to kids 5-9 years old are generally half day offerings and reasonably priced.  Coaches and instructors understand that 5-year-olds can only take so much instruction in one day, and ultimately they want no part of making sure your kid eats their PB&J sandwich before they eat their snack at lunch time.  As kids get older, sports camp options naturally increase from day long camps that are 3-5 days in length to camps that your high school aged child would stay overnight.

So what camp should you send your child to?  It depends on what sports they like, which sports they want to be better in, and which sports they potentially have a future in.  There are camps designated for all skill levels, and bigger camps can house any athlete regardless of skill level.  Once you have determined which sport your child is interested in, you have to find the camp that’s the right fit for you, factoring in logistics, duration and cost.  If your child embraces the idea, but still has reservations, (and you can’t force a sibling to join them) have them go with some friends.  This is an amazing opportunity for you as a parent to do a little research and reach out to your child’s friend’s parents to partner with them to create a memorable activity for your son or daughter.

If you’re wondering where to start, no worries, you won’t have to look far.  Most local colleges offer football, baseball, soccer and basketball camps.  Your local municipalities will also offer camps for mainstream sports, but many fringe sports such as lacrosse, volleyball and even hockey are offered.  If you and your child are serious about their development you may be able to tap into multiple colleges over the course of the summer.  Be careful with major colleges however, as camps are costly and one on one time with a coach may be limited, so be sure to check enrollment size.  If your town is more weighted towards a certain sport, there’s an excellent chance that there’s a former professional or retired player that runs camps throughout the summer.  These are usually the best value, as they are affordable and your child will get plenty of personal attention.

There is no place for your kid to get better at a sport than to practice it for 3-5 days straight under the watchful eye of an enthusiastic coach.  The opportunity to develop athletic skill combined with the social implications associated with sports camps should be enough to motivate you to sit down with your child and figure out which sports camp may be a good fit for them.


Author: Desmond Boodram

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