By: Julie Hatfield
Every year about this time, I am gearing up for the summer season of camps and clinics. It is one of my favorite times of the year to work with my athletes because I get to spend long durations of time with them cultivating culture and relationships. There are many benefits to running camps and clinics, so if you think these benefits will help you, then likely it is time to start planning!
I hope you enjoy my top 3 benefits to running a camp or clinic!
Benefit #1: Building Culture and Relationships
Camps are generally held on multiple consecutive days for 4-8 hours per day. Clinics are generally held on either 1 day or 2 consecutive days, or they are recurring events that happen from week to week for a set number of weeks. Both of these concepts allow for maximizing your time with your attendees. The more time you get to spend with them, the greater the opportunity and ability to build culture and get to know your athletes. If you host a 1-week camp for 4-8 hours a day, you are looking at nearly 20-40 hours for you to work your magic!
Benefit #2: It’s an Annual “Feeder Program”
If you are reading this blog, then likely you know the importance of Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD). When considering running camps and clinics, it is important to remember that they are best served as a part of the bigger picture. Running a camp or clinic as a one-off offer is what many do, but it doesn’t fit the LTAD concept—LTAD isn’t a one-and-done philosophy. Strategically thinking about your offer is going to set you apart from the rest and ultimately feed your current programs.
Look at a calendar for an entire year, 6 months, or quarter, and identify a good time for a camp or clinic. This may be at the end of a 12-week program or just before a new program starts. Whatever the case, place the camp or clinic where it can be fed to a new program or where it can feed an existing program. If you can plan your camp or clinics in advance, it will likely increase your success. This takes some work and some planning, but if it is done correctly, it will enable you to offer different opportunities for attendees, year after year.
Benefit #3: Camps & Clinics Are Multi-dimensional
The third is a place where you can show your creativity and uniqueness. Camps & Clinics can be completely multi-dimensional. In our camps and clinics, we have special guests, team time, daily or weekly awards, t-shirt gifts, game days, bring-a-friend days, day trips… the list goes on. There are so many opportunities that are created when you have access to your athletes day after day or week after week. Camps and Clinics are not just about training hard; they are about creating an experience.
Now you have 3 of dozens of benefits to running a camp or clinic. Do you have what it takes to get started? If you answer yes to all of these, then it is time to start planning!
- I love working with kids in large groups
- I enjoy having an impact on kids for a long duration of time
- I value Long Term Athlete Development and want to add a camp or clinic into my annual approach to training
- I have at least 6 weeks to plan my next camp or clinic
- I have a facility or location in mind that I can use
- I am disciplined when it comes to planning programs
- I am excited about running a camp or clinic
Some people may enjoy the novice approach of figuring out on their own, and that’s ok! But if you want a tried-and-true system for planning a camp or clinic, download our Camp & Clinic Checklist today to help you get started.
About the Author
Julie is the Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). She grew up as an athlete and played collegiate softball at Juniata College. She currently owns and operates her own youth fitness business pouring into young athletes, as well as consults with other fitness professional as a Success Coach for Fitness Revolution.
Her areas of expertise are youth sport performance, youth fitness business and softball training/instruction. Julie grew up on a dairy farm and can challenge the best of the best in a cow-milking contest. 😉