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Read This Before Running Your Next Sports Camp

Upper hand – upper hand –

Sports camps are often the highlight of a young athlete’s summer. Whether you’re hosting a day camp or an overnight one, a lot of planning is involved. With camps being many sports businesses’ largest source of revenue, you want to make it worth the time and money being spent. Here are some tips that will help your camp run as smoothly as possible.

1. Make sure you have enough help

Finding the right staff members to help run your camp is very important. They are the ones that your campers will look up to and learn from. Make sure to recruit passionate staff members with a variety of experience.

Having even a few staff members to help you organize a sports camp will make all the difference. It is a good idea to assign a staff member or two who can work behind the scenes, coordinating schedules, communicating with parents, and making sure things run smoothly.

Recruit volunteers

Try to find willing volunteers to help with your sports camp. Try the local high school team to see if anyone is interested in coaching. Many high school students are looking for opportunities to improve and gain volunteer experience for their college applications. They are also great role models for young athletes.

2. Determine your goals

When planning your camp, map out what your goals are. What do you want campers to walk away with? What message can you convey that sets you apart from other sports camps? What skill level/ages are you serving? When you create goals for your sports camp, you will have an easier time planning the smaller details.

3. Create a budget

When planning your camp, create a realistic budget for how much you will spend on your camp- space, food, water, swag, staff, etc. Allot for unexpected expenses as well. When you have a clear idea of how much you will spend, you can make a more accurate price for your sports camp.

Solicit donations

Asking for donations is a great way to help lower your camp cost. Many people would be happy to donate to youth sports camps, as they nurture the next generation of athletes. Furthermore, if you can lower your registration costs, you provide more opportunities to athletes who couldn’t afford it otherwise.

4. Recruit a successful role model

To keep things exciting, invite a celebrity guest on one of the camp days. This could be a star high school or college athlete to help coach, run drills, and give tips. This will be very encouraging to your campers, leaving them inspired and ready to work hard.

5. Provide uniforms/t-shirts

Every camper loves coming home with swag to show off. You can even hand out different color shirts depending on the team or age of the athletes. And, when your campers wear their t-shirts to school or practice, they advertise for you!

6. Send reminder emails

Make sure to remind athletes and parents when your sports camp is coming up and when to register. Life gets busy and parents might need a few reminders before signing up, so don’t be afraid to send emails reminding parents to register their athletes, sign a waiver, and submit payments. Send marketing reminders through the Upper Hand app.

7. Be prepared

Being ready for anything will help you go into your camp feeling calm, confident, and focused. Though it’s great to have a positive mindset, preparing for unexpected events is very smart.

Bad weather

Make a plan for unexpected bad weather. Whether you choose to play in the rain, practice inside, play bonding games, or watch a video, have an idea of what to do if bad weather arises. You can still make your sports camp worth it by teaching your campers something new while keeping it fun!


Make sure to have a first aid kit on hand or medical support ready in case of injuries. Of course, it is important to incorporate stretching, warm-ups, and other preventative methods, but in the unfortunate event of an injury, you will be ready to handle it.

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Make a cheat sheet

Once your schedule is made and ready to go, create a 1-2 page cheat sheet with everything you need to know. Keep this on you during camp so that you always know your game plan. Give your staff members copies as well so that everyone is on the same page.

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Create a conflict resolution plan

Take some time with your staff to think through anything that could go wrong during your sports camp and create a plan for each situation. Though it’s not ideal to think of everything that could go wrong, and chances are things will turn out great, it is still a good idea to be prepared for anything.

Include a plan of action guide on your cheat sheet so that your staff knows exactly how to handle any situation that comes up. When you have a plan for every situation, you will feel confident each day of your camp.

Stay hydrated

Though it seems obvious, make sure athletes are drinking enough water throughout the day. Include water stations next to each playing space and give water breaks every hour.

8. Don’t forget to take photos

Camps can get so busy that you forget to document them. Assign a staff member to take pictures each day. You can use these for your social media, send them to parents, and look back and remember what a successful camp you had.

9. Give awards

At the end of the week, host an award ceremony to honor the happy campers who made the week great. This is a great way to encourage them, and include a variety of awards to cater to different athletes.

10. Ask for feedback

After camp is over, reach out to your campers and parents for feedback on how the week went. You will refer to this feedback when planning for next year’s camp, and continue to improve every year.

11. Provide evaluations for athlete growth

Send each campers home with an evaluation of what they did well, what they can work on, which drills to practice, and how they can improve by next year. Also, include how they improved during camp and give them credit for their hard work. Providing this feedback shows that you care about each camper and want to help them advance their skills.

12. Create a friend referral discount

To boost your numbers next year, offer campers a discount who bring a friend to next year’s camp. Not only will this bring new campers, but you can also continue to work with your returning athletes.

Planning a sports camp is a lot. There are hundreds of details to keep track of, but preparation, intentionality, and organization will help everything run smoothly. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun!

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