Six Considerations When Choosing Your Summer Hockey Camp
Summer Hockey Camp Experience
As the winter and spring hockey seasons wind down and summer is in the air, summer plans start to take shape. Part of those discussions inevitably revolves around summer hockey camps. Choosing the right camp for your young player can be a daunting task. Options are plenty, and figuring it all out is not always easy. Here is a list of questions you should consider when looking at what camp works best for you and your family.
- What is the reputation and history of the camp? Every summer, new camps pop up promoting better development or cheaper prices. When looking at a camp, consider the operator’s experience in the industry. Summer camps are not just about ice-time. The best camps provide a life experience for kids through the game. To accomplish this, a great deal of organization, planning, and infrastructure is necessary. Long-established camps offer a consistent environment from summer to summer. They usually have the most experienced coaches and highly structured sessions and processes to ensure every young player has a positive camp experience.
- Set your expectations. Ask yourself what you would like your young player to get out of this experience. The answer should revolve around developing fundamental skills and techniques in an environment encouraging growth, passion, commitment to the effort, and FUN. The best learning happens when young players are free of stress and pressure. Encouraging them to fail in a supportive environment breeds improvement.
- Look for the player-to-instructor ratios. The best camps offer at least one instructor for every 6 to 7 players. The more individual attention a young player receives, the more feedback they can rely on for personal improvement.
- One of the steps in deciding which camp or camps a youth player will attend is to sit down with the player and evaluate their skills to determine which areas of their game need the most work. Maybe a player wants to concentrate on becoming better defensively and improve stick-handling, shooting, or competition skills. Then you should consider specialty camps. More specialized instruction is beneficial as a young player grows through the game. Consider Defensemen Camps, Offense Camp, Passing & Shooting Camp, anything that focuses on specific skills. Then, focusing on 2-3 distinct areas throughout the camp is the best way to develop. The combination of clear and concise instruction, followed by repetition and correction, creates habits essential to the development process. Each player needs to take away a few things from each camp that they can use during the following season.
- Are there any off-ice activities like dryland training or classroom sessions?
- Call the camp director and ask any questions that you may have.
Whatever you decide, the summer camp experience can be an awesome one. Set realistic expectations that focus on the overall experience and enjoyment. If your son or daughter tells you at the end of camp that they can’t wait to come back next year, you have made the right choice. Please have a great summer, and I hope to see you around the rinks.