How do you design a youth speed camp. This question is emailed to me almost weekly. It is difficult to answer this questions, as well as an easy one to answer. The reason it is difficult is because I never know the skill level and the confidence level of the coaches/staff to run the camp (basically what experience they have). The easy answer is simply have a template and run with it.

Do you have the experience to run camps?  If not here some examples of situation you need to be prepared for:

  1. If you are running the camp outside and it rains part way through the camp, can you quickly and easily move the campers to an undercover area and not skip a beat.
  2. What if you planned for 20 athletes but 40 shows up and need to pay at the door. My policy in most cases is not to turn down a paying customer. Because I’ve had so much experience with large and extremely large groups I have the experience to make quick modification to my set up. You want to always have a backup plan.
  3. What if the exercises you have planned are too difficult or too easy? Can you make professions on the fly (they should be planned ahead of time)? This is what makes the camp run smoothly.
  4. Are you prepared for an injury or an athlete who gets sick? Do you have a person who can help with this? This can be a momentum stopper quickly…be prepared!
  5. What if your camp is scheduled for 3 hours and you are near the end of you information in only 2 hours….can you stretch it out?

There are more situations that need to be considered before running a camp, but these five are show stoppers if you are not prepared. So, my advice is to create your outline and rehearse it in your head or live, if possible, so you are prepared for any situation.

It is a smart idea if you are able to hire a staff or at find volunteer helpers. I have run camps before with 120 athletes by myself and it worked pretty well, however an extra set of eyes would have made it ever better.

Here is a simple camp bullet point outline of the actual camp training format.

  1. Create a full warm up system that prepares the athletes and also educates them on why you use the type of warm ups you do. Example: lots of activation exercises, dynamic mobility, and dynamic running, skipping, shuffling…
  2. Teach how to properly land and hold using jumps, leaps, and hops. This is a great way to make the athletes understand proper body position when landing.
  3. Teach how to decelerate in all directions. Forward, backwards running, side shuffle, turning on a shuttle run, and performing split stops. This sets the athletes up for great success when changing direction
  4. Teach various acceleration drills. Important! If you are going to do a multi-day camp or a one day split session camp you want to break up the acceleration skills between linear acceleration and lateral acceleration. This will give you more time to coach the important concepts in each. Introduce Cutting skills. There are many variation of cutting such as speed cuts, sharp cuts, rehearsed and random cuts. Ground Breaking 2 is basically a complete speed camp in a package you can run a business from this 6 DVD set if you want. Go to www.GroundBreaking2.com to learn more.
  5. Introduce multi-directional reactionary drills. This is where you really get to watch the athletes move. It is a great assessment for you and them.
  6. Use plenty of tag games that will teach multi-directional speed skills. The athletes love them and you get a great view of how well they move in live action.
  7. If you are going to introduce strength training during you camp now is a good time to do so. I would stick with body wt, medicine ball, and tubing work so large populations can participate. I suggest setting up stations. This allows the athletes to rotate through in a circuit format.
  8. Always close the camp with a fun game and then talk about what the athletes learned that same day. If you have more days left, then talk about what they can expect coming up.
  9. You have to take the above outline and spread it out to match the number of hours and days your speed camp is.

Let me know what you think and if you have questions.

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