Children’s summer camps and wilderness programs for boys and girls in the United…

November 20, 2013

Sports Summer Camps as an Alternative to Competitive Club Teams

Writer Carol Mithers recently wrote a critique of competitive youth sports for She highlights the booming trend of cleat-wearing tots and 8-year-old soccer players running sprints, and offers insight about the emotional and physical health risks of specializing in sports at a young age. In contrast to this trend, summer camps engage kids in a wide diversity of activities. Many sports summer camps offer introductory sessions for kids test out a variety of sports while focusing on values like team-building, personal accountability, and physical fitness.

Allow kids to go at their own Pace

As sports-medicine specialist Paul Stricker, M.D., explains in the article, many kids are being pushed in physical and mental areas that they simply haven’t developed yet. Unlike a competitive club team that sets a universally high bar, sports summer camps create enriching experiences that correspond with the pace set by each camper. Campers decide what activity to take on and the degree to which they want to pursue it. While some intensive sports summer camps do have a rigorous and competitive agenda, they often offer programs with varying levels of intensity. You can contact the sports summer camp admissions representative for more information.

The Diversity Offered at Sports Camps Protects Athletes’ Health

One of the trends Mithers notes in the article is young athletes’ injuries from overuse – an issue that used to be treated predominantly in adults. Almost all of the injured athletes had one thing in common: they started playing one sport exclusively starting at age ten or younger. Excluding the occasional prodigy, most kids don’t know what they want at that age or have the focus to pursue it 100%. As Dr. Daniel Gould, Ph.D., director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University explains, “‘Most elite athletes have a history of playing many different sports, and there’s a reason for that…Each teaches something different: Soccer gives you foot skills; baseball teaches you eye-hand coordination.’” By dabbling in multiple games and activities at sports summer camps, kids may learn that they enjoy more than one sport, or want to balance their tennis practice with building robots. This diversity advances their mental development as well as protecting their physical health by strengthening multiple muscle groups. Sports summer camps also offer the opportunities to strive, succeed, fail, and experiment in a stress-free and supportive environment.

Camppage provides information on all sorts of summer camp programs throughout the US and Canada.

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