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6 Questions That Serious Players Should Always Ask Before Booking a Basketball Camp
Tyler Morehead, Breakthrough Basketball
This article is intended for serious players that are at least 12 years old and looking to make serious improvements. For younger players, this article would not be appropriate because they simply aren't ready. And putting young players in a fun environment where they can develop a passion for the game is far more important than some of the criteria below. If they go to an intense skill camp before they're ready, it can kill their passion for the game.
But when choosing a basketball camp for a highly motivated middle school or high school player, the most important questions are...
How will this camp make me a better player?
This is the ultimate question that you need answered. If they play a lot of 5on5 games at the camp, then it probably isn't helping you much (unless it's a "team camp" or a specialized 3on3 type of camp). You can play 5on5 games anywhere and these games aren't what make great players.
If there are 200 kids at the camp and 6 baskets, you probably won't improve your shooting or scoring skills. There are just too many kids to share baskets with.
Look, there are lots of basketball camps out there. Some are good and some are not so good. Either way, they will take your money. So before booking your basketball camp this year, I suggest that you ask some of the following questions...
How much time is spent playing 5on5 games during the camp?
When choosing a camp, you should look for a camp that spends very little time playing 5on5 games (maybe 10% of the camp or no games at all would be the preference).
I'm not saying you shouldn't play games. Ideally, to maximize your development, you should get 3-5 hours of focused skill practice for every game played. Playing games are an important part of your development. But it should be a smaller piece of your training. Think about it. In a 5on5 game, how many shots will you take in an hour of playing? Maybe 10-25 shots? In a good camp, clinic, or workout you can get 100-300 shots in one hour! When sharing the ball with 9 other players, you just don't get that many ball touches or improvement.
Not to mention, you can play games anywhere. Why pay hundreds of dollars to play regular games at a camp?
What will you learn at the camp?
This is an opportunity for you to learn and grow as a player. Make sure you will be learning about things that will help your shooting, leadership, ball handling, getting open, decision making, footwork, scoring moves, and so on.
Quite often you can watch a video or read a brochure that explains what will be covered in the camp. If you have trouble finding details about the camp, make a phone call before booking. Ask someone specifically what they will be teaching.
How many players will be at the camp?
If you want to learn and improve your skills at the camp, you should find out how many players will be there. If they allow hundreds of players, you should make certain the format of the camp allows for you to learn and practice. The last thing you want to do is stand around waiting in line.
Who will be teaching?
Is there one lead instructor that provides the instruction? Or will there be multiple instructors at different stations?
If there are multiple instructors doing the teaching, you need to make sure each instructor is rigorously trained and follows a documented camp curriculum. Otherwise you might be rolling the dice and hoping you get a good instructor. Some campers complain that their instructor wasn't that helpful or each instructor gave conflicting advice and they didn't know who to listen to. You should find out who will be teaching.
How many players per basket?
Unless this is a pure ball handling camp, you need to make sure you get plenty opportunities to shoot and use a basket. If there are 100 players at a camp and 5 baskets, you can do the math. That's 20 kids for every basket! You simply can't take many shots when you are sharing with 19 other players.
So make sure the camp either have a limited number of players per basket -- or make sure it's a well structured and organized camp so time and space is utilized extremely well. For example, they might have Group 1 working ball handling, Group 2 working on agility, and Group 3 working with a coach on shooting. Again, the last thing you want to do is stand around waiting for your turn.
How much time do players spend practicing skills at the camp?
At a good basketball camp you will learn about the game, receive excellent instruction, and get opportunity for lots of practice. This is the only way for you to improve. You need lots of repetitions and lots of practice.
Good basketball camps can be a great way for you to LEARN and to polish your SKILLS. Ask the questions above to ensure you have a good experience and it makes you a better player.
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