What age should the younger players attend camps?
At the younger ages players mostly want to have fun. Basketball is a game, if you relate “basketball equals fun” to the younger players, it will stick with them and allow them to develop an interest for the game! If you make it hard on a young player (push them too hard, yell, scream, and basically take away the “fun”) some tend to lose interest. How does this relate to camps? Basketball camps can be a fun and rewarding experience for younger players, and at the same time they can learn much needed basketball skills and drills (ball handling, passing, dribbling, shooting, defense, and offense). And if you allow them to participate with a friend or two, it can turn out to be even more fun for them. Remember this Equation: Basketball plus a Fun experience = Players learning to develop an interest and love for the game!
So what age should the younger players attend camps? It really just depends on a players age – most younger players (6-9 years old) can handle day camps (especially if the parents hang around until the child is comfortable, or if a friend is with attending with them). Players in the 10-13 age groups should be ready to attend overnight camps (especially if a friend is also attending with them). Players in the high school age range (14-17 age groups) should be at the stage where they want to attend “all star” overnight camps on their own without hesitation. There will always be certain players (of any age group) that are the exception, and will have no problem what so ever attending any type of camp their parents sign them up for.
Types of Camps for the younger players:
1. The day camp – There are many day camps that are available locally. Day camps can last 4-5 days, and times will vary. There are camps that go from 9-12 noon, and some that go 9-4pm. The Day Camps are usually less expensive than overnight camps ranging anywhere from $50-$200. All information that you need to take into consideration when registering for camps.
2. The overnight camp – This type of camp is usually held at a college campus where the dorms can be used by the campers. Overnight camps can be a very rewarding experience, and a lot of fun. They are usually more expensive ranging from $350-$475 (sign up early and you can usually get the “early bird” discount). Most younger players will feel better about participating if a friend (that is also playing basketball) is also going with them to the camp.
3. All star camps – Yes, there are many all star type camps for the younger players. If your child is far ahead of most other players and you feel they need to compete at a higher level with other experienced players - then a camp like “Future Stars” will be exactly what they need. Although these camps are very competitive, they are also a lot of fun as well.
Information to ask for and think about…
a) Ask about the refund policy, deposits needed, who the instructors will be, registration deadline, multiple player discounts, etc.
b) Will there be any type of written evaluation at the end of the camp?
Note: Most of the “Fundamentals” and “Basics” camps may or may not give evaluations and/or report cards at the end of the camp. If not, take a few moments to find one (or two) of the instructors to discuss what your son or daughter will need to work on (make sure your son or daughter is present during this discussion), and then write it down…
c) How many instructors per number of players? Will your child get the attention they need?
d) Communication – Are there phones in the rooms? How easy will it be for my child to contact me?
e) Camp agenda – One on one instruction, competitions, contests, games, etc.
f) Register early, most camps have limited registration and fill up fast.
How to locate camps in your area?
a) Check at the local Recreation Centers, YMCA, or Boys and Girls Clubs
b) Call the local High School in your area and find out if the Varsity Boys or Girls coach is hosting a camp?
c) Call local Colleges in your area (most colleges host camps during the summer). It is usually quicker to check a college website to see if they will be hosting a camp or not? After you locate the college website – Go to Athletics, Men’s or Women’s Basketball, and then Events – or camps, etc).
d) All Star Camps: These are a little harder to locate (check out our “Links” menu on the main page, select ”Youth Basketball Camps”) and will take a little more work to find one located close to home – I took my daughters out of state to many “all star” camps over the years, and we all agreed that it was worth it. Some well known are: Future Stars in Pennsylvania, Ten Star Basketball Camps, and many more!
Something to consider…
Some camps can be beneficial in different ways - some camps invite “Special Guests” (such as NBA, WNBA, College Players, and Coaches), some camps have “Head Coaches” that are legends of the game, etc. The younger players really enjoy the fact that they had their picture with someone who is on TV…
Alison and the Head Coach of the North Carolina Tarheels. Alison thought it was pretty cool when she watched a North Carolina game and saw the coach on TV.
Alexis had her picture taken with the University of Maryland’s head coach – she thought that was pretty awesome…
Each player is different and may or may not be ready for certain types of camps, but all younger players can and will enjoy a summer basketball camp – especially if it’s interesting and fun. Try it, but don’t force the issue. Most importantly - don’t miss out on the fun and rewarding times that your child can experience by attending a youth basketball camp.