For teens who are interested in becoming college and professional athletes, receiving proper sports training is essential. While participating in high school sports teams provides playing experience, most elite college athletes also take part in training camps individually or with their teams. Sports camps not only serve to enhance a young athlete's skills; they may also be a way for the teen to receive exposure with college or pro coaches.
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Camps that are held in traditional summer camp settings such as in rural areas or at recreational facilities may focus on just one sport or several sports to help youths develop their athletic skills. For example, Skyhawks Sports camps (skyhawks.com) provide training in over 10 sports during the summer at locations around the country. Municipal parks and recreation departments also hold summer sports camps for youth. In urban areas, teens can train at camps held at large recreation and fitness centres like Chelsea Piers (chelseapiers.com) in New York City. Community organisations like Boys and Girls Clubs (bgca.org) as well as YMCAs provide summer sports camps and league play. The YMCA (ymca.net/find-a-y-camp) as well as Sports Illustrated and Nickelodeon have online sports camps guides to help parents find camps in their communities for teens.
Athletic Company Camps
Athletic companies are among the biggest backers of youth sports camps. Nike's camps offer several sports including tennis, basketball, golf, volleyball, and field hockey. The camps are held around the country, operated by US Sports Camps (ussportscamps.com) and staffed by college coaches and athletes. Nike also runs camps for elite high school athletes such as the Nike/Elite Hoops Girls Camp (elitehoopsbasketball.com). Adidas sponsors tennis and basketball camps around the nation and in Canada. The company's Jr. Phenom camp (adidasjrcamp.com) has regional sites for both boys and girls. The best teenaged boy players from the regional camps are eligible to participate in an invitation-only elite camp that is attended by college scouts and coaches. Adidas tennis camps are held in over 10 states and in St. Lucia in the Caribbean.
Professional Team Camps
Professional sports teams hold camps year-round. Pro basketball, football, soccer and hockey teams allow kids to learn a sport or improve their skills at top-notch sports facilities. For example, the Dallas Cowboys (dallascowboys.com/community) hosts multiple day camps for youth up to 18 years old at Cowboys Stadium and at high schools around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Women's pro teams like the WNBA Phoenix Mercury partner with the NBA Phoenix Suns to offer day and overnight basketball camps (nba.com/suns/jrsuns) for youths in the Phoenix area. Major league baseball teams participate in Urban Youth Academy (mlb.mlb.com/community/uya.jsp) programs that sponsor year-round baseball training camps for underprivileged youths, including teens, in urban areas.
Universities around the nation sponsor sports camps that draw kids from the community, as well as kids who travel from farther afield to the campus for overnight camps. While some camps provide general skill-building programs, others cater to elite high school athletes. Teens receive instruction at major NCAA Division I programs from nationally-known coaches and trainers in a variety of sports. Universities with ranked programs such as the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee give teens the opportunity to receive training in state-of-the-art facilities and learn about conditioning and nutrition. Camps also serve as a way for young athletes to begin to build relationships with programs could recruit them for college play in the future. You can contact the athletic department of your local university to find out camp schedules. All NCAA Division I schools have websites with staff contact information, and most include information on their camps.
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- SIKids.com: Sports Camp Guide
- Nickelodeon Parents Connect: Camps
- YMCA: Find a Y Camp
- US Sports Camps: Nike Sports Camps
- Boys & Girls Club: Find a Club
- Adidas Jr. Phenom
- Adidas Tennis Camps
- Phoenix Mercury: Jr. Suns
- University of Florida Sports: Camps and Clinics
- UTSports.com: Tennessee Camps
- NCAA: Member Schools