For basketball coaches there is always one given that exists during the summer: camp. Most, if not all, coaches hold their own team camp as well as one for youth players. This week we’re going to discuss the benefits of attending a summer team camp.
I am a big believer in taking your team out-of-town for camp. Taking your team to a camp where an overnight stay is required is a great benefit. It breaks up the open gym monotony while providing a new experience for many of your players. An out-of-town summer camp gives both the players and coaches something to look forward to. As a player myself, I always loved going to camp where we got to stay a night or two in a hotel or college dorm room. To this day I can still recall so many great memories from those summer camps.
The most important benefit of having your team attend a summer camp is the team bonding that takes place. It’s great to work on X’s and O’s, but leaving camp a closer, more united team is what is important. Players and coaches get to eat meals together and spend a lot of downtime in between games together. The focus shouldn’t always be on basketball, and this is where people can really get to know one another’s personality. We’ve started a tradition while at summer camp of having a team bonding night. During this time all players go around and specifically tell each player what they’re good at and what they bring to the team. This may not sound that important, but it’s hard to do this in front of your peers when you’re a high school kid, and it can get emotional at times. After this I talk to the team and give them advice on basketball and life. Finally, our word for the year is introduced. We pick one word that sums up what our team will focus on and represent during the upcoming season. This has become something that my players and I both look forward to and we leave camp a much closer team.
Another great benefit of attending a summer camp is facing different teams and levels of competition. During the season you always play the same teams each year with a few exceptions. In the summer you don’t want to do that and by going away to camp you get to play teams that you won’t see in the season. This provides great opportunities to evaluate your team in all aspects of the game. Can you beat teams with inferior talent levels? Can you compete with teams who have superior talent? How do you match up with schools within your same class size or division level? In the summer camp we attended this year we were able to have a situational scrimmage and it was a great learning experience for our players. I highly recommend getting situational work in during the summer months.
Here is a link to the summer camp we attended. If you live a in a state that borders MO, I highly recommend attending: Licking Summer Camps
While at summer camp you can evaluate if your personnel fits with your offensive and defensive plans for the upcoming season. Summer camp gives coaches a true glimpse of what their team is like, while letting them know what to focus on the rest of the summer. After attending camp coaches will have a better feel for what they need to modify in preparation for the season ahead. Coaches are missing out if they do not take notes on the strengths of the team and the deficiencies that must be addressed.
Lastly, but most importantly, attending summer camp is fun! It’s not all about basketball but rather about coming together as a team and creating a bond. Coaches’ and players’ guards are down and this allows for new team members to get to know true personalities. The focus shouldn’t be on winning summer games–who cares? It should be about getting better as a team and individuals while uniting as one team. Attending a camp provides numerous opportunities for practical jokes and humor. These moments provide great laughter and stories to be shared for a lifetime. This is what I woke up to on Saturday morning of our camp:
After almost walking into this tape barricade I had a good laugh. Then my seniors helped me get revenge by giving me silly string to spray at the other rooms when I knocked on doors for the breakfast wake up call. It’s all in good fun and these light-hearted and good-natured jokes really go a long way in creating a strong team bond.
If you coach or know someone who coaches girls basketball in Missouri or a state that borders it, do yourself a favor and check out the Licking Summer Camp that we’ve attended for three years now.
Coaches, what else do you love about attending a summer camp?
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Don’t miss this great learning opportunity. If you’re near the STL area, please pass this along to any high school student athlete.