Follow these steps to organize and run a great baseball camp for any age!
Running a baseball camp can be a great idea for many baseball programs. They can raise money for the program, get a lot of players together at one time for coaching, help the program meet potential recruits, and give the community a chance to find out more about the facilities and coaches in the program.
With all of these benefits and more, it's easy to see why so many programs run camps and clinics throughout the year. We have run dozens of camps of our own and organized the same for many other programs from youth baseball to high level college baseball.
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Here are our top 5 tips for organizing and running a great baseball camp:
Get plenty of coaches committed, and get them early
Many organizers assume that there are plenty of coaches around and they can simply count on them to help at the camp when the time comes. This is not a wise assumption. It's important to reach out to coaches early and get them committed to the camp dates. We put this one first because this will allow the organizer to plan and schedule the camp much more effectively.
For example, if your pitching coach is only available during a certain day or time you can schedule the camp accordingly so that he can fully participate. Also, knowing the number of coaches that will be able to work the camp will allow the organizer to plan for a certain number of players and perhaps cap attendance at a certain number based on the amount of coaching help they have.
Reach out to other baseball organizations in town and have them promote the camp
There are many organizations out there which run baseball teams and leagues, and would love to help promote a baseball camp. Little League and the numerous other youth baseball organizations are a great place to start, as they have very broad mailing lists and can be of great help in getting the word out.
If the camp is for older guys reach out to high school coaches, private facilities, and newspapers in the area and ask them to promote the camp as well. Don't try to promote the camp on your own, network and work with as many people as possible to promote the camp and drum up a ton of interest.
Plan every minute of the camp, and have it in writing
Being vague or not detailed enough with the planning is the best way to run a bad camp. Players and parents want to be in a well organized environment with clear direction and ample coaching. Write everything down to the minute, and share the entire plan with all the coaches. While some flexibility is great and probably necessary, starting camp with a great plan is a must.
Be sure to allow for time to sign in, pick up baseballs, move equipment, or anything else that isn't exactly a camp activity. Accounting for everything that needs to be done will help the whole camp stay on track and on schedule.
Under promise and over deliver
There is a lot of competition out there in the world of camps and clinics, so you need to set yours apart by making it great. One of the best goals that an organizer can have for their camp is to leave the players wanting more. There are many reasons to have a camp, but no matter what those reasons are the players want to have fun, work hard, and learn something.
Simply running players through the facility for a couple hours isn't going to make the camp stand out from the others. Another great way to do this is to make shirts for the camp and hand them out at the end. Make the shirts something people want to wear and your camp will also be promoted for months afterward by players going to school or wearing the shirts elsewhere.
Charge enough but don't get greedy
People will pay for a great camp, and they know that great coaches may cost a fair amount of money to nail down. Don't be bashful about charging enough money to cover the coaches who will work hard to make the camp a success, that's the best way to make sure you'll have them at the next camp as well. If the facility charges for use, or shirts need to be ordered for the campers, factor all that in and make sure the costs are all covered by camper fees. Once the budget for coaches, facilities, shirts or other giveaways, equipment, and everything else is covered, set the fees to cover 100% of it and nothing more.
Great baseball camp drill idea:
One of our favorite drills is to have the players jump over hurdles on their way to fielding a ground ball. It's not something they usually do in practice, and it encourages athleticism while fielding grounders. It's also fun, and can be made into all sorts of competitions!
We could give many more tips for baseball camps as well, such as announcing it early to give people plenty of time to clear their schedules, and have backup plans for everything (especially if any part of the camp is outside), but we'll leave the above as our top 5.
Baseball camps can be a great thing to do to add visibility for a program and raise some money. Many baseball programs have coaches who are woefully underpaid, and baseball camps can be a great way to help them out. Drop us an email if you have any other questions or would like some more personalized advice for your baseball camp.