It’s that time of year when girls lacrosse camps and skills clinics are starting to ramp up. Attending and participating in these programs is a fun way to improve your lacrosse skills and your overall game. Using this guide will help you make a decision about which camp to attend and most importantly to choose the one you are comfortable with.
1. Do Your Research
Start with an online search using the term “Girls Lacrosse Camps.” Most links will likely lead to large camp conglomerates and the significant majority of the camps listed on their sites are boys camps. You may need to do some digging, but don’t get discouraged – and be sure to take notes along the way!
A good way to continue your search for a girls lacrosse camp is to check with your personal connections to lacrosse. You may want to begin with your coach. It’s as simple as asking for their recommendation based on their assessment of your skill level. Be sure to have a good understanding of your coach’s reasoning for referring you to a particular camp – but don’t make your decision yet!
We don’t recommend that you base your decision exclusively on one recommendation, even if it is your coach’s. You should also send a message out to the team email list (parents and players). Ask if anyone has attended a girls lacrosse camp and if so, what was their experience? See if anyone plans on attending one this season.
2. Match Skill Levels
You will want to figure out which skill level you play at to ensure that you sign up for the session that fits you best. Most girls lacrosse camps will have sessions that cater to both beginner and advance skill levels. These camps are designed to teach the beginning player the technical basics and love of the game. For the advanced player, the focus is geared toward teaching more advanced technique while building on their current skills. There are also elite lacrosse camps that will focus on intense lacrosse training and immerse you for weeks in skill building and all things lacrosse.
Are you a beginner, or an intermediate player? Are you an elite player? If you’re unsure of your skill level, get input from your coaches. If you don’t have enough information to assess the appropriate level at a particular camp, just call! Camps are more than willing to field your questions, and if you’re too shy to call, ask a friend or relative to use this article as a guide to get your questions answered.
3. Don’t Be Star Struck
At least not during the camp decision making process. Camps and clinics often attract new customers by promoting the resumes of their lacrosse coaches and headliners who are listed as part-time directors of player development. Advertisements like these may cause you to focus more on the personal achievements of the instructors. It’s important to look at an instructor’s years of coaching experience and years of experience as a camp instructor working with girls to help them gain self-confidence and improve their overall game.
The following are important facts to find out about the coaches and instructors at the camps.
- How many years of coaching experience and at what levels did they coach?
- Same question as number 1 but with years of experience as a lacrosse camp instructor.
- Does the headlining coach run the drills or is their role more of a camp director?
- What is the average experience level of the instructors?
Who wouldn’t want to watch a star player demonstrate impressive lacrosse skills? We’re inspired by and applaud their achievements but it’s best to resist the temptation to put too much weight solely on their personal success when choosing the right camp for you. Instead, keep the goals you have for yourself in focus. As cool and inspirational as it may be to observe an exceptional and highly recognized athlete demonstrate impressive lacrosse skills, you would likely benefit much more in having an encouraging teacher and a mentor who can help YOU learn the skills that YOU need to advance based on your current skill set.
4. Know Your Schedule
This is simple but often goes unchecked. Check out your summer plans to see if the camp session you’re interested in attending will interfere with any summer trips you have planned with your family. And if there is a conflict with a session at a particular camp – please choose the family trip! Family is important, and they’re your biggest fans! You can always choose another lacrosse session.
For commuters, make sure you are comfortable with arriving ahead of schedule and you can be picked up on time to leave at the end of the day. If commuting is too much of a burden, you may want to consider paying the extra money for the dorms.
5. Know Your Budget and Set a Price Range
Before looking at camp prices, get comfortable with your budget and lock that in. Your choice to commute or stay overnight in camp dorms should be factored into your budget. Often times the difference in cost to stay overnight will be a small percentage and it may just even out if you factor in gas money and the time it takes someone to bring you back and forth every day.
Prices do vary but usually end up in the $400-$600 range for a one week camp. If you’re tempted to select a girls lacrosse camp purely based on price, keep in mind that moving the needle on price does not mean that the quality and effectiveness of the camp goes up or down with it.
6. Determine Your Duration
What is the age of the player? Their skill level? And what length of time will they feel comfortable being away from home? These are some of the general questions a camp director would ask to help you decide on a session with the best duration for you. Camp sessions can run for multiple continuous weeks or can span a number of days in a row. If you sign up for a camp session that is scheduled for multiple days in a row, you will likely be given the option to commute to the camp daily or stay overnight.
7. Involve the Player and the Payer
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few, rate them in order of your preference, and be sure that both the player and the payer are involved in the final decision as to which girls lacrosse camp or clinic to attend.
A great exercise is to separate the payer from the player and have each person write down 5 things that they want to get out of the camp. Being honest is important because this is not one person trying to please the other. These camps are expensive and they don’t last long so you are going to want to get the most out of it.
8. Keep Your Expectations in Check
Camps don’t produce champs. Camp testimonials can be great but sadly they can often be astro-turffed (faked) by unscrupulous proprietors or parents that were asked to write a good review.
Lacrosse camps and clinics are designed to improve on skills while teaching new ones as well. However, there’s simply not enough time to teach an athlete to master everything, nor would it be beneficial to jam everything into one program session. Where girls lacrosse camps are most effective is teaching drills that work on finer details that regular season coaches don’t have the time to concentrate on or don’t specialize in. Be sure to set realistic goals for yourself so that you can keep your expectations in check.
9. Have Fun!… And Take Notes!
Each day at camp will provide new experiences with new drills and skills that may crowd out what you recall from the day before. Take notes or keep a journal EVERY DAY about things learned and important take-aways you will want to refer to later on. Ask the coaches if they would be willing to give you a copy, or even a brief summary of the daily agenda. Let them know that you plan on working on the skills learned at camp and that a simple agenda with the titles of each drill would help you to organize your thoughts and notes.
It’s tough to remember everything you learned at camp but taking notes is a great way to keep track of the important take-aways so that you can refer back to them throughout the year.
It’s important that an aspiring young lacrosse athlete has a valuable and memorable experience at lacrosse camp. Using these 9 tips when choosing a girls lacrosse camp will help a girl to find a camp where she can have a lot of fun building her confidence, learning more about lacrosse, and improving her lacrosse skills and her overall game. Best of luck on your search!
We want to hear from you! Please leave a comment and let us know what your experience was in choosing a girls lacrosse camp. Do you have helpful suggestions? Please share them with our readers!