January 2020 Archives

What to Look for in Youth Athletics Camps

Sponsored post. Written by IMG Academy.

If your child aspires to be a collegiate athlete or compete at the professional level, youth athletic camps are a great way to help them develop their skills while experiencing new coaching styles and meeting like-minded athletes from diverse backgrounds. How do you ensure you are choosing the right sport camp for your child? Here are a few items to consider when researching potential camp programs for your child:

Instructors: What organization is running the camp? Who are the coaches and staff? The value that your child takes away from their camp experience will be largely dependent on the level of instruction they receive. The coaches at IMG Academy have experience coaching and competing at collegiate, professional, and Olympic levels, and they bring that same level of experience to the athletes they instruct.

Helpful Tip: If you come across a camp that's advertising a celebrity "coach," ensure that the former professional or coach is going to be in attendance. Some programs will leverage their name and curriculum without that individual actually being physically present at the camp.

Athlete-to-Coach Ratio: If a sports camp isn't properly staffed for the number of campers they enroll, the athletes won't receive the necessary level of attention needed to properly address each individual's needs and abilities. The lower the athlete-to-coach ratio, the better the personalized instruction that your child will receive. Camps that provide time for one-on-one instruction with coaches to evaluate your child's skill level, address specific trouble areas, and strengthen specific aptitudes are typically the most beneficial.

Facilities: Youth athletic camps are hosted at many different locations that can vary anywhere from high school gymnasiums to state-of-the-art facilities. IMG Academy, for example, is a world-class campus with professional-grade sports facilities and accommodations as well as the most up-to-date technology. The type of camp facility you choose to send your child to will directly correlate to the caliber of instruction you want them to receive. Most importantly, you should also ensure that the facility is up to code, well maintained, and properly equipped for all of the camp's activities so that your child is safe.

Menu: When your child is away at sports camp, they will need nutritious meals to fuel them before, during, and after their day. While it is ideal to choose a camp where nutritionists are on staff, at the very least parents should ensure that their child's meals will be prepared by a professional cooking staff. You may also ask for a sample menu so that you can understand the types of meals and snacks that will be provided to your child. Also, ensure that the camp can accommodate any food allergies or needs that your child may have. Some camps, including IMG Academy's year-round programs, even include nutrition programs that teach campers about the best foods for fueling themselves before competition, what to eat for recovery, fueling timelines, hydration, and more.

Supplemental Training: If your child plans to eventually play at an elite level, there are other skills they will need to learn outside of just how to play their sport. Some of the best sports camps will also provide nutrition education, mental conditioning, leadership, and vision training.

Camp Success: There's no better way to measure a camp's quality than by the athletes who have previously attended it. A true testament to a camp's quality and effectiveness is its alumni, so it's helpful to ask who attended the camps that you are researching. Another important statistic you may choose to inquire about is the camp's return rate. Kids who enjoy their experience and gain value from it will want to return.

"The IMG Camp Experience is great for those that have desire to be their best, are dedicated to their sport and have passion for hard work. The experience is challenging and rewarding for our attendees. Many of our campers stay connected to our coaches over time to stay in tune with developmental best practices and to simply build on the great relationships that are created within our programming," said Jason Elias, Associate Athletic Director at IMG Academy.

Testimonials: A great way to learn about a kids' sports camp is by word of mouth. Research the camp by looking up reviews on Facebook, Google, and other sites, and the camp itself may even be able to provide you with references from former campers and their parents.

As a parent of a child who plans to play collegiate or professional sports, you certainly want to provide them with all of the resources needed to be prepared and successful. Youth athletic camps are a great way to supplement the training that your child receives from their school or community sports team or club. IMG Academy is proud to offer one of the most elite youth sports camps in the world and is located on a state-of-the-art campus in Bradenton, Florida.

How Do Athletic Camps Benefit Your Child?

 Sponsored post. Written by IMG Academy.

Sports camps are a great way for your child to work on their athletic skills while also preparing to become a collegiate student-athlete. While athletics camps or other sport-specific program allows your child to improve their skills, there are also other benefits that will help them when applying to and attending college as well as later in life.

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Live Away from Home
The majority of students leave their home, bedroom, and other surroundings that they are familiar with to go to college. As you're aware, this step in their lives also means that they are going to be living apart from you, their parent, and will be living in close quarters with new personalities that come from a wide range of different backgrounds. Although a beneficial and impactful decision, this move can be quite a shock to a child that hasn't lived away from home before. Kids who grew up going away to sleepaway camps during the summer will be more prepared when moving away for college. 

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Live with Others
When kids go away to an overnight camp such as a sport-specific athletics program, they encounter a wide range of new personalities and other children who come from extremely diverse backgrounds. After sharing living quarters, bathroom facilities, and other communal spaces with so many different people, your child will be better-prepared for the challenges that may come with having roommates or suitemates when they go to college.

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Accept Change
When your child arrives at camp, their bunk, cabin mates, and perhaps even their daily schedule will already be assigned to them. Daily activities can change any moment based on anything from weather to facility conditions to staff availability. Even their daily meals can present new experiences if your child is presented with food they aren't familiar with. When your child learns from an early age that they don't have control over every aspect of their daily lives, they will be better prepared as young adults to roll with the punches and be flexible when facing change. 

Overnight Camps Teach Kids How to Support Each Other
Whether it's loaning out a sweatshirt because a cabin mate forgot to pack one, consoling a fellow camper who is feeling homesick, or teaching a new skill to other campers, kids at camp learn to support one another. When your child reaches the collegiate level, these traits will translate to them being willing to help their roommate or classmates as well as also being more willing to ask for help when they need it themselves.

Kids who go to camp, whether it be a sports camp or other type of overnight camp, also learn how to work together as a team, which is a big asset when joining a collegiate athletics program. A student-athlete who has experience working with other kids from diverse backgrounds will bring that experience to their team, helping to create an overall positive team environment to the program.

Overnight Camps Teach Kids to Live Outside of Their Comfort Zones
From living away from home to meeting new people and possibly even trying new food, going away to overnight camp will teach your child to step outside of their comfort zone. If your child has already had this experience, then, when they go away to college, they will face less of a culture shock and be better prepared for new experiences that may come at the collegiate level.

Overnight Camp Attendance Can Pad Your Child's College Application
Kids who go to camp learn independence, self-reliance, and leadership skills, as well as the specific set of athletic skills they will continue to develop by attending a 
sports camp. These characteristics will allow your child's college application to stand out to collegiate sports recruiters. College coaches look for prospective athletes who have been to sports camps because they know those students will be better equipped to be independent once enrolled.

Do you think an athletics camp would be a beneficial experience for your child? IMG Academy offers a wide range of sport-specific camps throughout the year that help your child hone their athletic skills while living away from home with other children from a wide range of backgrounds. Contact us today to request more information about one of our sports camp programs.