Picking the right Football Camp - A Coach's Perspective
Posted on 2016-12-22
Picking the perfect football camp seems easy enough on the surface. After all, how many options could there be? A handful? A dozen? Alright, maybe a handful of dozens? When you consider that almost every college with a football program runs their own football camp, many youth football organizations run camps...when you add churches, private companies, and more to the pool and you're quickly looking at hundreds and maybe even thousands of options!
Faced with so many choices, picking just one can be overwhelming. Most difficult choices can be sifted through by letting the criteria that matter most to you guide your decision-making process. Not surprisingly, the same process can be applied to picking the best football camp for you!
- Price is an obvious factor and there exists a huge range of camp prices out there. Some can be had on the cheap. These camps will usually be of the non-contact variety and last no longer than a single session. Coaches may be of the youth league level and in the case of big time college programs with top coaches, are actually a tactic those programs use to meet with prospects they're really interested in without it being classified as an official visit.
- Safety is an understandable concern. Many individuals don't want to risk injury and only want to participate in non-contact camps. This can have a counter-intuitive effect as athletes that don't practice contact can quickly become lost when it comes to taking contact safely or making a safe tackle. Full-contact camps will teach these things better with actual reps and will also be fully-insured in the unlikely event of an injury with the drawback of increased price.
- Experience is an important factor - how long have the people you're learning from been doing what they're doing? Private camp companies come and go all the time with only the best sticking around long enough to boast a lifespan of decades. Churches and youth organizations will run events only as long as the event organizer is present within that organization. Colleges experience coaching staff turnover almost constantly. Do research and look for camp entities that have been doing what they do for a long time.
- Quality of instruction can be hard to quantify but is obviously of vital importance. Research is your friend once again - the best football instructors will be able to provide real testimonials and a track record of athletes who have gone on from their programs to star collegiately and professionally.
In summation - football camp quality tends to follow the adage 'you get what you pay for' pretty closely - safe full-contact camps with plenty of successful experience training elite athletes are few and far between and obviously are not the cheapest options out there but tend to have the biggest positive impact. Camp-seekers on a budget probably have the most options to pick from but should be prepared to put in a lot of supplemental effort into making up the ground lost from not going with the best-of-the-best.