Benefits of Summer Camps
Lisa Pastrana

US Youth Soccer Resource Library

Camp is beneficial for everyone, and each individual has there own reasons. Here are ten of the most popular:

The first reason camps are good at a young age is helping develop well-rounded athletes. Going away to camp, away from home, to a University is so important on getting the message across about collegiate athletics at an early age. Far too often parents are afraid to send their kids to camp because they think they aren't ready to be on their own yet. A well-supervised and run camp is extremely beneficial.

1. Most elite camps are held at universities that are superior in their sports and have incredible facilities. When athletes are exposed to the best facilities early they begin to dream and set goals.

2. In sports, far too many kids become stale and drop out because they aren't having anymore fun. Camps provide a different environment for the athlete to train in and many times this new scenery can spark their interest and keep them motivated.

3. Elite coaching is available for these campers. Almost all top Division I programs have sports camps. It's not every day that young athletes are exposed to Olympic level coaching philosophies.

4. These elite coaches are currently coaching the best in the world therefore e they have first hand knowledge of the latest techniques and training styles. This will not only help the athlete in the long run, but will provide the athlete with the technique that could make the difference between mediocrity and excellence.

5. The ratio of coaches to athletes is always a plus. Most youth sports only have enough money for one coach. At camp, the athletes will be exposed to several coaches with a variety of coaching styles.

6. When athletes are away from their normal environment, they are forced to make new friends. Camps can be a great way to develop and strengthen social skills and interaction skills

7. While training at the best facilities in the country, athletes will be introduced to cross training, wt training, stretching, and other programs that can enhance performance that may not be available to them now.

8. Athletes also have the ability to be leaders and help out the younger campers.

9. Recruiting- exposure to elite coaches and a chance to compete in college.

10. Fun- Camps help keep sports fun/ feel energized and ready to go back to your program and show them what you learned

In closing too many age-group coaches are afraid to let their athletes go to camp because they will miss training. I think that these 10 benefits far out weigh a week of missed practices. Although the training may not be as intense, the exposure and learning experience that athletes will gain is invaluable. Coaches, parents, and athletes need to see that this experience can benefit everyone involved.

Article contributed by Coaching Youth Sports, an online newsletter presenting information about learning and performing sport skills.