Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Unfortunately we had to cancel our annual Summer Basketball Clinic due to the current health situation. To fill the void this week I thought I would put together a Blog Post that highlights how our week typically runs.
Our 'Leicester Basketball Clinic' is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Each Summer on the third week of July we run a four day clinic that goes from 8 am -2 pm each day. The Clinic is open to Boys & Girls entering grades 1-10 with the vast majority of campers coming from our town. I always think that the Clinic represents a unique environment that includes beginner players, casual players, and players who are serious about improving their game. Perhaps one of the best parts of the clinic is that we usually 2-4 Varsity players who volunteer their time to help out.
In this post I thought we would dive a little deeper into how we organize, advertise, schedule & run the clinic.
Organizing & Advertising
I would argue that that the work you put into organizing & advertising the clinic is the most important factor in achieving a successful week. For a Clinic that will run in July I usually begin my prep work right before April Vacation hits. There are dozens of things you will have to cross off your master list before camp week begins & you can't wait until June to do it.
This is a short list of organizational items that need to be squared away well in advance of the clinic dates:
Reserving Your Gym / Outdoor Grounds
Securing Insurance (When Needed)
Finding Dependable Coaches
Preparing Flyers, Clinic Advertisements
Purchasing Necessary Equipment
Ordering Trophies, T-Shirts, etc.
I have found that the earlier you get these items crossed off your list the more smoothly those first days of the camp will run.
Advertising for your camp is a must, especially when you are just starting out. There is a lot of competition when it comes to Summer activities. Beach Days, Vacations, Larger College Camps, and other sports are all vying for the attention of young athletes. Parents need to know the details well in advance (price, dates, times, location, etc).
Three Essential Advertising Components:
Digital & Physical Brochure
Social Media - (Get info Out)
Email List of Previous Attendees
I try to get copies of our brochures to every eligible student in the district, send out a few emails to past attendees, and then schedule weekly advertisements on our Social Media accounts.
I generally post a copy of the brochure on our website as well: www.leicesterbaskebtall.com/clinics
List of Best Practices
One thing I wanted to include in this blog post was a small section on "Best Practices". Just like a good teacher I have borrowed some of the best elements of camps I have worked and tried to implement them in my own.
Here's a quick list of Best Practices:
Hire Teachers or Coaches - I would prefer to hire Teachers/Coaches rather than kids. They will be more apt to spot poor behavior & be more in tuned to the camp environment.
Embed Routine into the Day - I think having a Morning, Lunch, & Afternoon Routine helps transition from one session to another.
Mix Up Game Play & Skill Work - I never enjoyed working camps that were games, games, games all day long. I think mixing up Skill Work, Games, & Shooting Competitions is the right mix.
Schedule Down Time - Coaches need time to catch their breath, and even though kids won't admit it they need breaks to conserve their energy & attention.
Make Sure Your Contact List is Handy - One thing you know for sure is that things will come up; bumps & bruises, nervous campers, dismissals, allergies, etc. Have that list on hand to be prepared.
Be Flexible - Allow yourself & your coaches to make adjustments where they see necessary. If is concept or session is not going well make sure you provide coaches with alternative methods.
Find Coaches Who are Great with Young Kids - Many camps will choose to leave out that younger age group, which is understandable. However, if you do involve them you need to make sure you have 1-2 coaches who are capable of handling that group. They can be a lot of fun and a lot of work.
Have a Rainy Day Plan - This might only apply to outdoor clinics, but this is a reality for us every year. We need to hope for good weather but have a plan for when we don't.
Make the Last Day Fun - the last day of the clinic is typically the day most campers remember, so we need to makes sure they go home happy. That is one of the reasons I save T-Shirts, Trophies (or Gatorade), & Moneyball for Thursday.
End on Time - Be Professional. Parents are expecting the camp to end on time & usually have another destination after pickup. The more organized your ending routine is the better.
The last thing I wanted to take a look at is our daily schedule. We have certainly experimented with this over the years, but I believe this format is what works best for us.
I usually schedule our "sessions" to be about 40 minutes long. This gives coaches time to grab their team, explain the drill/game, get plenty of play time, and then travel time for a break & regroup. Everyday we will schedule in Live Games, Skill Station Work, & Shooting Based Competition Games. The other two sessions will vary day to day to give the kids some variety.
Morning Routine - Free Shooting, Dynamic Stretching, & Camp Drill to Warm Up
Session 1 - Skill Stations, 8 Minutes a Station
Session 2 - Breakdown Games (1/1, 2/2, or 3/3)
Session 3 - Live Games
Lunch & Free Shoot
Session 4 - Shooting Competitions - we try to get everyone inside for this, designate a timer & have coaches track the scores of their players. We allow our Grades 1-3 Players to use the Playground Here.
Session 5 - Live Games
End of Day Routine