In addition to helping develop your child’s skills and understanding of the game, soccer camps are extremely valuable for young players to develop socially. Children have to learn how to separate from their families and become resilient and independent learners.
The best camp operators provide players with the opportunity to receive a week of great coaching in a positive atmosphere from someone with a real passion for the game.
At the same time the child is immersed in an environment of learning where they are forced to communicate with people who are new to them. They are responsible for being in the right place at the right time, with the correct equipment and then must follow instructions from a coach who often talks in a strange accent. As a result the child takes on responsibilities that they often do not have at school or home and they elevate their listening skills, reasoning and performance levels to impress their new coach and to look good in front of their peers.
Whether it is a day camp, overnight camp, European, Brazilian, American, high school or college camp, attending a summer soccer camp gives them a safe way to take first steps towards this goal. But with so many camps to choose from it is extremely difficult for parents to really know which would be the best program for their child.
Here are some questions that we think every parent should ask:
- Who are the coaches?
- How are the coaches selected?
- What licenses or certification do they possess?
- What is the ratio of campers to coaches?
- Has every coach under gone a criminal background check?
- Is there a printed curriculum for each program?
- Does the camp have comprehensive insurance coverage?
- Are clear policies and procedures for child protection and best practices in place?
- Is there a documented first aid and emergency plan?
- Do the coaches receive any training or orientation prior to the start of camp?
- How much time do the owners or camp directors devote to the camp?
- Is it a full-time pursuit or do they simply spend a few weeks a year on it?
Many camps may not be able to answer many of those things or have them in place. Ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable with them looking after your child for a week.
Beyond those questions, you should do additional digging. Search the web for reviews and contact references to get a full picture of how they are viewed in the wider camp community.