Summer Camp

SUMMER CAMP

         Summer cheer camp is the time for you and your team to come together. It is a time for building a foundation for the year ahead and enjoying the opportunity to incorporate useful material, techniques and ideas into your program. The process of group dynamics and team unity begins at camp.

Ideally, all of the teams from your school should attend camp together. This way, you can work on interaction, cooperation and support, while being certain that all of the kids in your program are governed by similar philosophies. If crowd leading and fan participation is important to you, then learning, performing and leading the same cheers, chants and yells is a bonus.

Since cheer camp is essential for building a repertoire of material, it is equally important to attend a camp that does not sponsor or promote competition between attending teams. For this reason, I do not favor camps designed for competitive varsity teams only, nor would I recommend a camp that chooses ‘best cheerleaders’ to represent them through the year or at special sporting events, such as bowl games (a huge money maker for camps who agree to supply them with cheerleaders) or trips out of state. I believe that pushing competition between teams or kids so early in the summer leads to burn out, team dissension and disappointment in the long year to come.

The idea that any camp can guarantee a winning year competitively or give you a political advantage is simply untrue. What four days of camp can give you is a basis for your goal setting and personal program philosophy, as well as help you lay the groundwork for your technical training. The real work, the real success and the real credit belongs to a team and its coach who takes the bull by the horn, works hard and develops in every phase and aspect of cheerleading.

Make certain that the camp you choose regards cheerleaders as athletes. Whether or not your team is competitively oriented should not alter your training for excellence.

Go for substance when choosing your summer camp. Pay attention to a camp that provides consistency of staff and directors, a broad based program that is educationally sound, a non-competitive, objective atmosphere and most importantly, one that provides team unity experiences along with a quality learning environment. Additionally, look for a camp that continually changes and upgrades and welcomes ideas and suggestions for improvement. Naturally, I’m partial to CHEER! MICHIGAN! And very seriously, I can tell you with pride that C!M is on top of the game because they are constantly striving to update, improve and stay ahead of the competition.

 

Some tips for planning for summer camp:

  •  As the coach, YOU assign dorm roommates. Mix your kids to insure maximum team integration. You can also assign each athlete to bring specifics, such as a blow dryer, toothpaste, flashlight, alarm clock, radio, etc.
  • Do not let matching outfits get out of hand. If you decide to wear a plain white tee shirt and red shorts for Day Two, then it is not imperative that they are exactly the same. Most kids buy an outfit at camp, so have that be one of your days — even if they choose to buy different shirts. Try and get outfits that will be useful through the year (your school colors and a standard practice outfit). The parents will appreciate your consideration in keeping down costs.
  • Ask your local sporting goods store and other businesses to ‘sponsor’ your team to camp with donated clothing advertising their company. They may be happy to contribute to your team while having their name out among hundreds of young consumers.
  • Limit what your team brings as far as junk food. It is healthier and cleaner to stick with fresh bottled water or fruit juice and the meals adequately served through camp.
  • Make sure to give your kids room to work together and bond at camp. You do not need to exercise control over them constantly. Camp is a great time to let group dynamics take shape while you are out networking and establishing important contacts with other coaches.

 

CLINICS

         Seek out every opportunity to continue your training throughout the year. Clinics are a wonderful experience for teams to restore, re-learn and add to their shared experiences. One day clinics are generally inexpensive and short. They provide a quick lift to both you and your team.

Other advantages of attending clinics include learning fresh material, sharpening up on current issues and techniques and bringing back the feelings of togetherness shared at camp.

Coaches should welcome a clinic opportunity as a way to network and share time with one another. Choose clinics that offer a session or two for the coaches who attend and who employ their professionally trained college staff to instruct for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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