Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Football Camp is Right For Me?

Which one of these fits you best?
1. I love everything about football and I’m very competitive. My goal is to increase my skills so I can take my game to the next level in High School and eventually College.
2. I play football and want to enjoy it now. I want to be the best I can, but probably won’t be playing after Middle school age or High School.
3. I play football just to stay active and I like the friends I make while participating.

Most likely you fit into one of these categories. With the summer fast approaching there are dozens of football camps that will be popping up all over the city and outside areas. But which one is the right one for you or your football player? It really all depends on what you’re looking for.

There are a few different variables that go into picking the right camp for yourself or your kid. The camps in the Philly area are run by different genres. And when I say genres I mean you have camps that are run by professional players, former NFL stars, High School coaches, or even independent organizers. The people running the camps could be for Press visibility (aka Public Relations), to make extra money, eye up new talent, or to help kids improve in the sport of football.

In no way am I bashing any camp, but I am going to be as realistic as possible. Based on what number above that best fits you or your kid, I will attempt to help you choose the best camp to attend. Here is the run down to decide what just may work best for you!

If #1 or #2 best describes the camper:

The Serious Football Player
By serious I mean you would like this to be a big part of your future. The camp you that want is one that will give you instruction from experienced coaches and or former players that have been at the level you are about to enter. For instance if you are a High School player entering to 9th-12th grade you should check the resumes of the coaches that will be instructing. It’s best that they have some High School and College level accomplishments. GOOGLE! That’s right…you have to do some homework. But the good thing is you can find some favorable (or unfavorable) information that may help you choose your camp. The track record of the instructor should be legit and show high level of experience. You also want to seek the camps that focus on your specific age group.

Next thing is exposure to colleges. If you are looking to play in college you must get your talents notice as early as possible. This can come about in many different ways, but regardless, if you are an outstanding player or not you have to get your name out there. The way to get your name out there is to go to camps and combines. The difference is camps make you better and combines are cut and dry. So with regards to exposure and camps, you have to look to camps that have current college coaches attending or at least college coach connections. Beware, some camps or combines mention that they will compile a prospect database and hundreds of college coaches will get your information. Unfortunately, there are not many legit camps like this out there. There are a few, but you just have to do your homework and not be afraid to give the camp contact a phone call and ask them what their plans are for getting out your information. Hey this is not simple! Sometimes you have to do work for it before it works for you!

Look for a camp that mentions detailed instruction and lists knowledgeable camp instructors. You want guys that will be hands on and that have experience. The size of the camp is also something you want to keep an eye on. It is harder to get a lot of repetitions (chances to shine) in camps with big numbers. If it is a major public camp it is good for competing against other talent on a big stage, but the amount of repetitions you get will be limited. But this may be ok for you depending on whether or not you are looking to just to compete against random guys or actually get quality instruction.

Camp Host/Instructors
There is usually a person who “hosts” the camp, but they are not always the clinician or camp instructor. So be careful if you are lured in by big time names because you may not actually be receiving instruction from that “Pro” or “Division 1” coach, they may be there, but most likely you will learn from other staff members. Be wary of “wording,” because some camp brochures will play with words to make it look appealing, but they are not always everything they say. These camps don’t usually hang around long. They also are camps that don’t have a long term plan. Homework time!!! Don’t be afraid to contact someone from the camp and ask questions like: What are the benefits of attending this camp? Who are some of the instructors?

For the serious athletes, you sometimes have to pay for instruction. If you plan to participate in something that will help your game, you just may run into a price that is not very favorable, BUT PLEASE, do not judge the camp solely off of the price. The most expensive camps are not always the best instruction and you can get great instruction from a free or low price clinic.

If you chose #1, 2, or 3:

Position Specific
If you are serious about improving your skills at a certain position, look for “positional camps.” There are a few camps out there that will be for specific positions. These are good if you are competing for a position in your school or just want to learn more about a position that you will be playing in the upcoming season. It’s also not a bad idea to do a position specific camp if you are labeled as an “athlete” meaning you play multiple positions. Just make sure the spots you play are listed.

If you chose #3:

What About For Fun
There are some camps for football players who also want to have fun. If you plan to play football, but you are not looking for an intense camp or you would like to stay active over the summer, but would also like to do other activities such as swimming and basketball. Well, I don’t blame you! Football is a tough sport. Sometimes you just want to hang with you boys and learn some football along with taking a dip in the pool on those hot summer days. There are camps that integrate great teaching of the game, but that are fun also. When looking for something like this just eyeball the brochures and make sure that there is mention of various age groups and activities. A sure sign of fun is usually the good ol’ line “Bring towel and swimming suit.” Then you know that you are in for a good time. These camps are usually more than one day and cost may be a little higher. The reason being is the access to the other activities.

Well I hope that I was able to give you some ideas of how to pick the right camp to improve your game or just to as a fun summer activity!

For winners, the offseason is MOST important. This is when you put in work, when you win championships… your fun comes when you are kicking your opponents butt in the fall! Summer is here. Before you know it football season will be knocking…make sure you are ready to answer!

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