Let’s start first by addressing the obvious. Kids don’t like sitting around and listening to someone talk for long periods of time. They like movement, interaction and competition. They like to have fun and they need to stay engaged. This is what gets them excited and keeps them talking to their friends and family long after they head home for the day, AND THIS EXCITEMENT IS WHAT BRINGS THEM (AND THEIR FRIENDS) BACK NEXT YEAR.
That being said, the short answer to “Who runs your camps” is my high school players.
CAMP COACH vs CAMP DIRECTOR
Some camps have a Camp Coach. As the camp coach you're the person in front of campers giving all of the instruction and any players or coaches you have helping are there to reinforce what you're teaching. If you have four camp coaches one day you may break down kids into groups of four. If it is just you then you'll keep the kids together as you run them through drills and games.
As a Camp Director, you set the schedule and allow your camp coaches to do the teaching based on their experience and ability to communicate with the kids. This format allows you to handle any issues that may come up and to take care of tasks that happen behind the scenes. This is the type of camp I run. I think it's great for my players (camp coaches) to be in front of the kids and to teach skills and referee games. This is all part of me helping them grow as young people and as basketball players. I have found great success on so many levels by having my high school players as assistant coaches in camp. They interact and join the kids in the drills, and the younger athletes look up to my players and are excited when they get to interact with them. I really believe that the engagement with older athletes is what brings kids back year after year… and (bonus) it gets families coming to cheer on the teams during our season!
Hold coaches meetings. Every day. Twice each day.
It doesn't matter if you have one coach helping you out or if you have a camp staff of a dozen, you should have a camp coaches meeting before and after each day of camp. Find out what worked, what didn't work, and what struggles coaches had. Go over the next day's schedule so everyone is on the same page. I remember the frustrating feeling of walking into camp as a coach and just being given a bunch of kids with no idea what was going to be next. It's a lot more enjoyable for the coaches (and ultimately the players) when everyone is on the same page.
Here are a few ideas for your coaches meetings
- Hand out a weekly schedule
- Go over that days schedule each morning (things do change)
- Go over the next days schedule after camp each day
- Find out what was a success
- Find out what didn't work well
- Ask for success stories to use with your theme for the day
- Remind coaches of conduct and to be encouragers (remember they are high school kids)
- Talk about how long to do a drill and give new drill ideas
- See if someone will be gone and make sure another coach can cover the station
- Get scores and names of campers who won competitions
Over the years, I’ve created so many resources for my campers and staff. This season, I’ve bundled it all to offer coaches everything they could possibly need to run a fun, profitable youth basketball camp. This is a user-friendly course that not only gives you resources, drills, camp schedules, etc, but also delivers the how-to’s and insights about the entire start to finish process. I didn’t leave anything out. I’ve made it easy for you, coach.