Football is played in the fall. But if a player wants to be good, he must train year-round. That’s where football camps come into play. Usually coaches or athletic directors organise a camp for area players in the summer. An organiser should have no problem attracting eager campers. However, there’s a lot that goes into setting up a football camp. It takes more than posting flyers the week before. An organiser must make sure to get the proper staff, facilities and insurance. Then, there’s the actual football—what kind of drills and positions are you going to teach?
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Know your goals for having a camp. Is it to benefit local players? Is it to make a profit for you or your football team? Is it to make a name for yourself?
Decide what age group your camp will serve. Is it for high-school kids, or could elementary- and middle-school players attend?
Select a location. Many camps are held at the local high school or college. But make sure the fields are available and don’t interfere with another scheduled event, such as a soccer camp, for example.
Hire staff. You can’t run the camp by yourself. Ask area coaches and former players if they would be willing to help. Also, find out how much they want to be paid. If you choose a bigger-name instructor, it will cost more, but it might also draw more campers. Most camps also have athletic trainers or medical staff on hand for injuries.
Pick a date. You’ll want to make sure your staff and the location are available on the specific dates. Also check the calendar for conflicting activities. If there’s a big American Legion baseball tournament that week, you could lose players.
Secure insurance. Camps typically require players to have their own primary insurance. However, camps often have a group health and accident insurance policy or excess insurance coverage that provides limited coverage to campers.
Plan every detail. Some camps provide sports drinks and snacks. Others make the players bring their own. Sketch out the drills you want to do and how long each one will last.
Know the local rules. Most high school governing bodies have restrictions on what’s allowed. For example, the Kansas State High School Activities Association allows a coach to conduct a one-week summer camp for his team. But he can’t use school uniforms or player equipment and can’t have contact football camps.
Advertise the camp. If it’s a regional camp for high-school players, contact all the local high-school football coaches. If it’s for a town, speak to the parents' booster club.
Tips and warnings
- Specialise in a position. There are camps just for linemen and camps just for quarterbacks. Having a niche could set you apart from the other camps.
- Try to have a guest instructor with a big name. It doesn’t have to be an NFL player. Try asking local alumni who play college football, or a former high-school star whose name everybody would still know.
- Camps usually give participants a T-shirt or duffel bag with the camp’s name on it.
- Have a guest speaker who deals with other areas of football. For example, invite a sports psychologist or nutritionist to speak.
- It could be extremely hot during the camp. Make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water breaks.
- Be sure you're in shape for the camp. It probably won’t be as gruelling as practice during the season, but you’ll need to run and perform drills.
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