Elite basketball camps are popping up everywhere. Totally not suprising, considering youth sports is currently a 15 billion dollar industry. What a time to be alive and ballin! Camps can be golden opportinities for your child to develop, gain exposure and compete against awesome, non-local competition. They can also be uhhh...just aiiight. Every camp scenario is different, so here are some questions to ask the camp director to help you make an informed decision.
1. Will there be trained medical personnel on staff? Injuries happen. Kids get sick. And in basketball, there are no helmets or protection. (yikes!) It may be important to you that someone is there to care for your child in the event anything happenes. If the answer is no, that's fine. Some budgets simply don't allow for this. But now you're informed, and you can make sure you're aware of the nearest medical facility.
2. What skills will you be teaching the children? Ask this question and hold the staff accountable for executing. Do these skills align with your child's personal goals?
3. What is the coaching philosophy of your camp? Elite basketball camps are huge exposure platforms. Coaches and recruiters attend in-person to see the best talent perform. But then, after camp...... *dun dun dun* ENTER THE MIXTAPE. Basketball mixtapes are highlight videos complete with professional editing, custom music and graphics...you name it!! Besides looking cool they serve a real purpose. Some college coaches don’t have time to travel and see hundreds of basketball recruits in person. A highlight video is a key component of your online resumé. However, this "Mixtape Mentality" can lead to a ton of ball hogging. Do the coaches correct this behavior in-game, or allow kids to be one-man teams in pursuit of the next hottest mixtape on YouTube? Will they be calling fouls in scrimmages or letting the kids "battle it out"?
4. What kind of food will be available for the kids? You may not want your kid eating high-starch, high-sugar concession stand food during a high intensity camp environment. Or, hot dogs and candy may have zero effect on your child's performance. Either way, now know what's being offered, so that your child has enough fuel to bring their A-game.
5. Will I be signing a medical waiver? I know, I know. Back to the injury thing. But safety first, right? Again, just be informed. If something happens, who will be responsible for the bill?
6. What are the credentials of the camp director? If you're teaching my kid microbiology, I need to know why you're qualified to teach my kid microbiology. Likewise, if you're teaching my kid basketball, I need to know why you're qualified to teach my kid basketball.
7. What other adults will be present and instructing the children? It's a good idea to know who will be acting as an authority figure to your child during camp especially if you're dropping off. How many other adults are on the camp's training team?
8. Will boys be asked to play without shirts? Shirts vs. Skins has long been a staple of basketball culture. But some boys feel uncomfortable playing shirtless. Make sure you know, so you can at least prepare your kid for a shirts and skin scrimmage, or discreetly ask the coach to make sure he's on "shirts" team.
9. How is the MVP judged? The camp MVP may be totally subjective. Or there may be a very structured formula used to determine who's the top player. If grabbing that MVP recognition matters to you, feel free to ask. Is it point-based? Are you weighing offensive plan equally with defensive play?
10. Will photos/videos of my child be used as promotional material? Social media is a beautiful thing. But it's ultimately your decision where and how your child's photo is posted. And if the camp plans to post media, and/or use your childs image on marketing material, you should be informed.
Now you've got solid answers to these 10 questions , a slightly annoyed camp director and most importantly, the necessary information to decide if this camp is right for you and your child.
Do you think this is too much to ask a basketball camp director? Comment and let me know if this is doing the most!
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