Whether it is team camp or day camp, elite camp or lil dribbler camp, these six tips can help make your camp a success.
Big Picture – We always had two top-level goals with every camp we ever ran.
- Have Fun
- Get Better
Think about it: If a camper has fun and gets better, they’re going to come back next year. They’re also going to bring a friend or two with them! As your camp grows and as you plan and organize, continue to ask yourself if the decisions you make will help the campers have fun or get better.
Planning – We’ve all heard the old cliche, “those that fail to plan plan to fail.” This is true in many facets of life but becomes even more important as events get bigger and more complex. I suggest approaching your camp plan in two phases:
- High-level – High-level planning happens months before the first camper steps in the gym. This is where you set the dates and times for the camp, reserve facilities, set a price, order shirts and balls, and ask your camp staff to save the date.
- Itinerary/Script – I would always try to write my camp script 3-4 weeks before the first day of camp. You want to give yourself enough time to adjust to the needs of your camp and cover anything you might have missed in your high-level planning. Writing a good camp script requires that you put yourself in every detail of the camp and put those details on paper.
- When will you show up to the gym?
- When will your camp staff show up?
- What is the check-in process? Who is assigned to that task?
- When does actual activity start? How will it start?
- How many stations can you manage? Coaches? Baskets? Balls?
- How much time between stations?
- Water breaks?
By walking yourself through every detail of the camp, you can avoid a lot of potential chaos while providing a better camp experience.
Delegate – You can’t do it all yourself. As a camp director, you need to direct and delegate. The more time that is spent planning and organizing prior to camp will make it much easier to delegate specific tasks to other coaches.
- Camp Store
Names – Learning names is an incredibly important skill and can go a long way towards the success of your camp. Encourage all your camp coaches to learn as many names as possible on day one. Make this task easier by providing name tags to every camper at registration.
Lines – Lines are the enemy of a good camp. Just like practice with your team, you want to make the most of the time you have available. If your line is more than 5 reps deep, consider an extra station or a new drill.
- Reps. With the Big Picture in mind (Have fun/Get Better), campers are much better off getting 3 extra reps of a drill than listening to you give speech #24 about what it takes to be a champion.
Energy – Energy IS the most important key to a successful camp. Camp can be exhausting for both campers and staff. As camp director, your energy is contagious. If you aren’t bringing it, your staff won’t either. Lots of big positive energy can overcome many shortcomings, but low energy won’t overcome anything. The campers are there to have a good time and your energy will set the tone for the camp and make a successful camp possible.