Summer basketball camps for kids are a blast!
They're high energy, high activity "hoop-fests" that submerge kids in the game of basketball for a few intense days out of the year.
I've attended many youth basketball camps both as a camper and a coach over the years, so I've experienced them from different perspectives.
I want to pass on some observations I've made to make sure your young player is prepared ahead of time to get the most out of his or her kids camp experience.
Most players I've worked with have really enjoyed camp. For kids who love to play basketball, summer basketball camps give them a chance to spend hours on the court doing something they love.
But, for kids who aren't so excited about the game, the amount of time on the court can get to be too much. Make sure your child wants to attend camp.
If it's something you're encouraging him to do or if it's a brand new experience, you might look for a half-day camp which will provide a good introduction to the sport without overdoing it.
Basketball camps for kids can provide great experiences as long as a player is developmentally and emotionally ready.
Every kids camp will have a minimum age limit. Even if your young player meets the required age, make sure she is emotionally ready to handle the camp structure, intensity, and activities.
Whether your youth is new to the game or simply hasn't been out to the court in awhile, it's a good idea to find a basket and shoot around before camp rolls around.
I have found that's helpful in building excitement for camp, becoming familiar with the ball and the basket so the first day of camp isn't quite so scary or intimidating, or just getting some of the kinks out.
Don't over-schedule your child the days immediately before camp starts or in the evenings after camp ends.
Summer basketball camps for kids can be exhausting.
I've seen lots of campers come to camp in the morning tired from their busy schedule outside of camp. For kids to have the most fun and be in the best frame of mind to learn new skills, they need to come well-rested each day.
The level of physical fitness going into the kids camp will affect how well campers enjoy it.
If you're not able to play the games or take part in the drills without getting painfully tired, it's just not nearly as fun.
And it's impossible to play your best and experience much success if your fatigue prevents you from doing the skills properly.
Make sure your child is ready to come to camp willing to learn new things, make lots of mistakes, and accept correction from coaches who are trying to make them better.
Youth basketball camps are no place to come if you think you already know it all.
So, come with an open mind, eager to listen, and I guarantee you're on your way to becoming a better player.
The day before camp starts is not the time to go out and buy new kids basketball shoes!
Players need to wear comfortable, "broken-in" court shoes with nice thick socks. It doesn't matter if they're hi-tops or low-tops, but they need to have a nice wide base with good traction for quick change of direction without turning an ankle.
Please don't send your player to camp in brand new shoes!
There is nothing more miserable than getting blisters on your feet the very first day of camp and having to run with them for the rest of the week. It's hard to have fun and play at your best when your feet hurt.
It's really important to have comfortable basketball gear.
Players should wear basketball t-shirts and shorts that are breathable, loose fitting, and allow for freedom of movement.
Don't wear clothes that bind anywhere or require a player to constantly pull up straps, or tug on them.
It's also a really good idea to pull back long hair or wear some type of headband to keep it from falling in the player's face.
One of the fun things about summer basketball camps for kids is meeting new people.
Even if your youth is attending camp with friends, there's a good chance there will be many times he will be grouped with people he doesn't know.
It may seem really uncomfortable at first, but then he'll see how much fun it is playing fun games with new friends.
When it comes to overnight camps most kids prefer signing up with a friend so they can room together. It's really hard for some kids to room with total strangers.
Basketball camps for kids provide very upbeat, motivational, and high-energy environments, which make learning new skills a lot of fun.
For young players and beginners, it might take getting past the first half day when things might seem a bit scary and intimidating.
But by the end of the week, campers experience a huge boost of self-confidence as they walk away from camp with new abilities and knowledge they didn't have before.
I have found that preparing kids in advance for what to expect at summer basketball camps really helps them maximize their experience. I hope you find this list helpful as you get your young player ready!