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Summer Basketball Camps and Clinics

Summer Basketball Camps and Clinics
written by Ron Fines

Choosing a summer basketball camp for your child is not rocket science but there are a few factors to consider when determining which one offers the best value.

Location, Location, Location; Maybe Not

In today’s economy it is commonplace for both parents in a household hold down jobs in order to make ends meet. Because of this, the locations of the myriad choices of extracurricular events become a deciding factor when choosing which activities are plausible choices for your youngster.

Although this cannot be avoided sometimes, a convenient location should not be the only factor when determining which summer basketball camp to send your child to. A lot of it depends on what you wish to accomplish by sending your son or daughter to a camp. If you are just looking for a safe place to get them out of your hair for the week, then you need to read no further. If you are like most parents, and want your child to improve as a basketball player, then making the sacrifice to go a little bit out of your way is worth it.

Elements of Consideration

When trying to figure out which camp gives you the most bang for your buck, price, ratio of coaches to campers, and quality of camp director are things to consider.


First, let’s discuss price. Using simple arithmetic you can divide the cost of a camp by the total number of hours the camp is in session to get a “per-hour cost”. Take, for instance, a camp that costs $90 and goes five hours a day for four days, or 20 hours. $90 divided by 20 hours gives us a figure of is $4.50 for the camp. This particular camp seems like a great deal, but more research is needed to prove or disprove this notion.

Coach to Camper ratio:

The ratio of coaches to total campers is very important when determining the value of a particular camp. The ratio of coaches to campers should be somewhere around nine to one; one coach will be instructing a maximum of nine kids at any one time.

When the ratio gets any higher than this, the quality of instruction declines exponentially –so does the general enjoyment of the camp for all involved. It is unfair to expect youngsters to learn new skills when they do not have easy access to a coach who can guide them.

Quality of Camp Director:

As is the case with any organization or business it all starts at the top. Basketball camps are no exception. When choosing a camp, it is important to do some research on the person whose picture is on the brochure. Call the listed number and ask as many questions as you need to. If the listed number is not helpful in your research, then that camp is probably not a good choice; any camp director worth his/her salt will be happy to speak with you about their product.

What questions should you ask a camp director?

Find out what his/her qualifications are: where did they play; where have they coached; how many camps have they directed in the past.

Next, find out what his/her philosophy is. Basketball philosophies are like fingerprints, none are exactly alike, but some are very similar and some are completely different. Find out what they feel are the essential skills to building a solid basketball base. For example, do they feel that defense is overrated and no time should ever be devoted to it at camps?

These are elements of a camp that need to be compared to the cost per hour of a particular camp.

Don’t be fooled by Bells and Whistles

By and large, the more frills and gear that a camp promises, the worse the camp is.

Free Gear for all who sign up:

This is a pitfall that many parents fall victim to when choosing a camp for their child. For one thing, the price of the shoes (or what ever else is being offered) is included in the price of the camp. The people running the camp are most likely making a profit from the gear itself, so it is not necessarily a good deal.

Local Professionals are running the camp:

Parents who send little Jonny to a camp because a Local NBA star has attached his name to it are usually very disappointed. The fact is, NBA players do not have time to spend an entire week as a camp instructor. What happens in most cases it that the said player will show up at the end of the camp, talk for a while, and then squeeze in as many autographs as possible in the ten minutes left before his next appointment.

Not all of these camps are bad, though. Just be sure to consider the other factors of these camps before committing to them.

Make an informed decision

Hopefully this will help the next time you get out the checkbook to pay for your child’s next basketball camp. If you are looking to help your son or daughter become a better basketball player, take some time to do a little research. It will make for a wiser investment.

Other J.A.M. Articles

The Need for Kids to Play Sports | What America needs to reinstill
The Best Coaches in Colorado History | A brief look at the greats
Basketball Tryouts in Colorado | Where, when, and how to do well
The History of Denver Basketball | What every Coloradan should know

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