Thinking about running a youth basketball camp?
As Pro Skills Basketball enters its 8th year of summer basketball camps, it’s fun to look back and compare how we started versus how we run our camps today.
There is no doubt that over the summer months, depending on where you live, there are numerous basketball camps and activities to choose from, as the allure of running youth basketball camps is very easy to understand…teach kids, be around basketball and hopefully make a little extra money.
What’s not to love?
We know a lot of people want to test the waters of running a basketball camp, and we like to warn people about some of the mistakes that we made. So, here are our 5 tips to running a successful summer youth basketball camp.
1. Good Basketball Coaches
Coaches, coaches, coaches! I hope the repetition and exclamation point relay to you how important we believe it is to have good coaches.
As a camp director, your staff is going to be doing a majority of the interaction with your campers. It is of utmost importance that your staff be personable, knowledgeable, responsible, trustworthy and energetic.
Kids and parents know when a coach is not engaged in an event and it will lessen the quality of your basketball camp. If you do nothing else as a camp director, FIND GOOD COACHES.
At PSB, we make sure to hire as many current and former college and pro players as possible who also happen to be great people as well, which is actually originally where the name PRO Skills Basketball came from!
2. Organize Your Camps
Ok, this is an obvious one. But, if your basketball camp is not organized from every angle, the quality is going to suffer. I like to think back to one of our first camps when we misplaced our camper evaluations.
We had told campers they would be evaluated and coaches filled out the evaluation forms with wrote personal notes to each camper. Parents were in the bleachers for our end of camp ceremony and everyone was waiting for me to find the evaluations. It wasn’t a good feeling and made me look unprofessional.
That was the point that made us determined to organize every single aspect of our camps. From gym set up, to daily schedules, to what our coaches wear, every detail is important.
As the phrase goes, “the devil is in the details”. Today, every camper still goes home with a personalized evaluation, and we haven’t lost them again since then!
3. Structure & Free-Play
We believe that a successful youth basketball camp has a mixture of structured games, drills and competitions as well as time when kids can play on their own, socialize and organize their own games.
Our basketball camps are more structured than not, but finding the right balance is key.
Creating structure takes organization, but it’s worth it. At our camps, we have structured skill stations, competitions, and games, but also make sure to let the kids enjoy some “free-play”.
4. Good Kids
Ok, I know as a camp director this is out of your control, but having good kids can make your camp fun for everyone and having trouble makers can do the opposite.
We have had issues with kids that cause problems or pick on other kids and it can put a damper on the entire camp. If one or two players have a detrimental impact on other campers’ experiences with you, then you are likely to lose campers.
Set clear expectations on how campers are expected to behave on the first morning of camp and what will happen if they don’t.
Establish these policies and communicate them beforehand to all campers. It will save you some headaches down the road. Thankfully, we’ve never had to kick a kid out of camp, but we’ve certainly had to have talks with kids that they will need to “shape up or ship out”!
5. Prizes & Giveaways
This is an admittedly materialistic piece of advice, but kids love going home with something new or something they can use to improve their game or wear when they play in the driveway or even just show off.
Prizes & giveaways are just an added bonus that can make your basketball camp that much more memorable. At our summer basketball camps, each camper goes home with a t-shirt and basketball at minimum and possibly even more if they win any of our games or competitions!
So there they are – our 5 best practices to running a successful youth basketball camp. We hope these help, and good luck pu
tting your camp together!
If you do use any of these planning tips, we would love to hear your feedback! In addition, if we at Pro Skills Basketball can ever be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We always love to partner with great people and organizations!
Lastly, we have a full roster of basketball camps in Charlotte, Huntersville, Denver CO, Greensboro, Sacramento, and many other locations. Check out our summer basketball camps and register today!