Sending Kids to Sports Camps – Are They Worth the Investment?

From lacrosse and football, to softball and horse riding, there is a summer camp available for just about every age of children to attend. Summer camps can be 1 -3 day gatherings or be overnight sports themed camps where children stay for a week or longer in the hopes of honing their athletic abilities. For many reasons, sending kids to sports camps over the long school holiday can provide the perfect amount of stimulation and help parents to avoid those ‘I’m bored’ episodes that are sure to erupt a few weeks after school is out. However, it is very important to send your children to camps that they are interested in rather than as developmental tools to perfect their skills.

Many of the camps offered to young children that are sports oriented are drill camps. For instance, base and softball camps will help with the fundamentals of catching, throwing, and hitting. There are also more detailed camps that help specifically with pitching and catching. You should be careful to check the skill level required of these camps before sending your child. If your child has never played the sport before, it won’t be enjoyable for them to spend several days with kids who are excellent. On the other hand, sending your kid to a very basic, beginner camp when they already have a good amount of talent will be boring for your child and a waste of money.

Before you invest your hard-earned money into camp, look into the instruction. Is the camp being run by mom and dad volunteer who are just interested in earning a few extra bucks or is it being run by a seasoned professional? You might be surprised how many sports camps are available that give your child access to some of the most renowned coaches in collegiate sports today. Yes, these camps will be more expensive, but they will also offer more value to your child in way of potential learning. Another thing to look at is how many kids are allowed in the camp. An open-ended enrollment camp for sports can turn into nothing more than a gym class. If too many kids are allowed on any playing field, they will not be getting the individual attention and one-on-one skill building that will help them excel at their sport of choice. When it comes to instructional sports camps, there should be at least 5 ‘instructors’ for every 20 students. This will also help ensure that safety procedures are being followed.

Sending your child to sports camp for the summer is a great way to help them prepare and even help them make the middle or high school sports teams in the fall. The extra dedication and commitment will empower their confidence and will definitely help to give them an edge against other children. If you choose a sports camp that is local to you and perhaps run by your local team coaches, it also helps your child socialize with the people that will be choosing the team. Teams are successful often because of chemistry between players and it is important that coaches and instructors get to see how well your child fits in with the group. Additionally, this gives coaches an excellent and longer-term opportunity to see your kid in action and they will be able to have a real assessment of their talents.

For most parents of younger children, sports camps won’t be enough to hold their attention. There are few kids under the age of 8 and possibly even 10 who think about and want to play a particular sport all day, every day. Still, a sports based camp that offers friendly competition in many venues can keep them active and interested. There are some sports camps offered to children that are geared more toward fitness than competitive sports. This is a good alternative to traditional camps and can help children who suffer with weight problems learn the ropes to well being.

As your child gets older it becomes obvious that the playing field with children participating in sports is not level. Recreation departments are competing with inclusive travel teams in all sorts of sports and athletes who want to be successful, must learn earlier than ever before. There are children being scouted for football and softball collegiate teams who haven’t even entered high school yet. It sounds ridiculous, but it is absolutely true. This extra push is normally facilitated by parents who are extra competitive and possibly, over zealous when it comes to their children’s sports interest. It is very important as a parent to ensure that your child is participating in a sports camp because they want to and not because they are being forced to. Today, more children are burning out and quitting sports at young ages (before they become teens) because parents are pushing their children much too hard. If you are sending your child to a sports camp for the summer, make sure you talk to them about it first.

As crazy as it may sound, sometimes an absence from your child’s favorite sport can actually improve their game and reignite their personal passion. Rather than just assume that your tennis playing prodigy wants to attend a famed tennis camp, open the door to other sports that they may play as well. A camp is a perfect way to do this. It also will be more interesting to your child because it is something new and different from what they are used to. By allowing them to try many different things, they better appreciate the things they already do and just may be flexible enough to branch into some other areas of athletic play.

If your child is mature enough and has the desire to attend a sports camp then you should go for it! Children can learn a lot of things from an athletic perspective about sportsmanship and technique by banding together with other like-minded children and professional coaches that are out of their normal circle of contact. Choose wisely and make sure that your child is willing and able to participate, will be having fun and has a desire to do so.



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