When summer arrives, for some it’s all about relaxing and hanging out with friends. But for others it’s also a time to start packing for camp. But not just any ordinary camp – volleyball camp! Although volleyball camp does have similar activities that a traditional camp has, like campfires at night and swimming, the difference between a normal camp and a sports-focused camp is all in the activities.
At a regular camp, the focus is mainly outdoor activities, learning new skills, and making friends – sometimes lifelong friends! And same goes for a sports focused camp like volleyball camp – except that instead of outdoor activities, you’re focusing on building your sports skills. And if you’re a volleyball player and all you want to do is play volleyball day in and day out, then this type of camp is for you! What you should expect from a volleyball camp is building a multi skillset that can be utilized for both on and off the court.
Anytime you have an opportunity to better your volleyball skills, jump on it, because you will in fact benefit from it in more ways than one.
Do Volleyball Camps Help?
Absolutely! Volleyball camps help by building up both your technical volleyball skills and your interpersonal skills. Both of these are super important for volleyball players! Being a good volleyball player means being good at volleyball, but it also means getting along with your teammates and coaches, and yes, even the opposing team!
Like you have heard many times before, practice makes perfect. And the only way to get better is by repetition and practice – period. Volleyball camps will help you build upon your existing skills so that when they are put to the test you won’t even realize that you are using them. The key thing to remember about going to any sports focused camp is that you will take these skills with you for later on in life.
Because you’re outdoors and sleeping in cabins with people you have just met but share the same interest of the game, this adds a whole new aspect to the experience of the game and in itself should push everyone to perform at their best while still having fun. Also, there’s a good chance that you will be playing with or against rival school players so take the time to study how they play so when regular volleyball season starts up, you’ll have an upper hand on how to attack in the game.
Interpersonal skills are no different for volleyball than they are for any other sport. They constantly need practicing, or they start to fade. Volleyball camp will build you as a player and an individual both on and off the court, by helping you develop the following:
- Team building
- Personal skills
- Leadership skills
- Personal communication
- Building friendships
- And having fun!
What Do You Do at Volleyball Camp?
A volleyball camp has the attraction of getting to play volleyball everyday, in addition to the traditional camp sports that you can try. Depending on the specific schedule at the camp you’re attending, you’ll rotate between having volleyball practice sessions, other guided activities, time to try out camp sports, and personal breaks. There is always something to do at camp!
Let’s put it this way – what won’t you do?! Yes, you have the main attraction of volleyball, but a lot of volleyball camps also have the traditional camp sports you can try, including watersports like kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, swimming, and some even have inflatable waterparks.
But it does not stop there! Some camps have high ropes courses and zip lines through the trees, and potentially mountain biking and day hiking. With all this fun you will be fed 3 nutritious meals a day, and likely snack options as well. There is also some down time to take-in some arts and crafts, play some other sports in between, or just get to know your fellow campers. Don’t forget about beach volleyball, and campfires and movies at night. Nothing beats sitting around a campfire at night talking about volleyball!
What Should I Bring to Volleyball Camp?
Taking the time to prepare for camp and thinking it through will set you up for success. The last thing you want is to get there and find out that you forgot to pack your own pillow. I know this one well because it happened to me. Now obviously they have some back ups for the ones that forget however they are never quite like your own so putting a quick checklist together wouldn’t hurt.
When packing for volleyball camp, you’re really packing for both camp and volleyball practice. So, think about making two checklists, one for all your camp gear, and one for all your volleyball gear. Also, be sure to label ALL your stuff.
Check ahead of time if the camp you’re attending has laundry available onsite. If not, you’ll want to bring enough changes of clothes for the whole time that you’ll be there. Because you will be working up a sweat!
Some items you will want to take with you to camp are listed below.
- Bedding (sheets and blankets or a sleeping bag, and a pillow)
- Towels – both for washing and swimming
- Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- Sunscreen and Sun Hats
- Bug spray
- Enough weather appropriate clothes for the length of time
- Long-sleeve t-shirts
- Long pants
- Underwear and socks
- Bathing suit
- Jacket (it might get chilly at nighttime campfires!)
- Pyjamas (this is what I forget most often!)
- Rain gear (hopefully you won’t need it!)
- Good outdoor shoes and sandals and maybe water shoes
- Flashlight (with fresh batteries!)
- Water bottle
- Hand sanitizer and face masks
- Tote bag for daily use
- Court shoes
- Fitted shirt
- Sports bra
- Knee pads
- Ankle braces
What to leave at home
- Expensive electronics, jewelry, etc
- Anything that might get lost and can’t be replaced, like sentimental items (even if you think you might be homesick)
How Much Does Volleyball Camp Cost?
Typically, volleyball camp is categorized by age groups and also how long you plan to stay. Some camps might offer two to three nights and up to one-week stays. A one-week stay could possibly be around $1000 for adults and less than that for younger youth. It’s going to be cheaper the shorter the stay. If on the other hand attending an elite camp that is for very high-end players, then you’ll be looking to pay more, possibly up into the thousand plus range.
How to Choose a Volleyball Camp
So now you’ve come to realize that volleyball camp is a right fit for you, and you now know that going to a volleyball camp will set you apart from other players with the new volleyball skills you’ve learned. However, with there being so many different camps out there, how do you know which one you should choose?
For beginner’s new to volleyball, it’s probably going to be a lot easier to choose a camp compared to more experienced players. Beginner volleyball players are looking to benefit from all aspects of the game to really take it in and experience what the game has to offer, whereas an experienced player might be looking to sharpen their existing volleyball skills to take them to the next level. This means they’re going to want to be more selective in the camps they’re going to attend.
To help you choose, get some advice from the following people:
Start by knowing your own abilities for the game. And be honest with yourself. If you overestimate your own skills and choose a camp for more advanced players, you’re going to feel out of place trying to keep up to everyone else. But if you underestimate your own skills and choose a place that’s for players less experienced than yourself, you’re likely going to be bored, or at the very least not challenged at all.
Spend some time by yourself reflecting on this. Write down some of the new volleyball skills you really want to work on by going to camp. Being totally honest with yourself at this point will have a massive impact on you as a whole growing as a volleyball player.
I was actually disappointed in my first experience at a volleyball camp. That’s because I made the mistake of going to a session that included three sports: volleyball, basketball, and soccer (what the camp called a tri-sport session). Don’t get me wrong, the mistake wasn’t in signing up for the tri-sport session. It was for signing up for a session for which I knew NOTHING about one of the sports – soccer! I was an absolute NEWB. The tri-sport sessions might be great for athletes who actually played all 3 sports, but they were not fun for the athletes who were out of their element. And while I naively thought I would learn SOMETHING when I signed up, I just ended up dreading each soccer session.
So why did I make this big mistake? Easy – peer pressure! All my friends from school were going to the same session! But, the difference is that they all had SOME soccer experience! And the worst part is that we didn’t really get to hang out by ourselves that much anyway, there was also so much camp stuff going on!
So, ask yourself – what do you really want to get out your camp experience? Is it a chance to hang out with your friends in a camp setting? Then great, you’re going to have fun! But, if you’re really serious about wanting to improve your volleyball game, then tell your friends you’ll catch up with them at the campfire and sign up for the dedicated volleyball session.
Also remember that this is an opportunity to make some new friends as well! One of the best things about playing sports is that it builds your confidence. I know, going to a volleyball camp by yourself is tough. But remember, you already have one thing in common with the rest of the campers – your love of volleyball!
2. Your coach
If you are currently on a volleyball team, tell your coach that you plan on going to volleyball camp in the off season and that you’re wanting to know what skills he or she thinks you might benefit from the most. Chances are they’ll be able to point you in the right direction very quickly and offer some very good and constructive insight to your abilities. Also, your coach might be able to offer a good reference to a camp as well.
Another good thing about asking your coach for advice is that it lets them know how serious you are about the game, and about improving yourself as a volleyball player. This won’t guarantee you a spot on next year’s team, but it will definitely add to your credibility as a serious volleyball player.
They are your biggest critic and will (hopefully!) be totally honest with you. However, that’s exactly what you want. The more insight you have on your volleyball skills the easier it will be to navigate which volleyball camp you’re going to choose.
Now that you have a very good idea of what volleyball skills you need to add or improve, the next step will be to do some research and create a list of the different camps within the geographic area that you would travel to. More specialized camps might be farther away – how far are you willing to go? A one-hour drive? A 4-hour drive? A plane ride away? You don’t have to spend a lot of time on this but try to write down at least 3 to 6.
Start by researching how long the camp has been around for and find out what their main objective is for their campers. Reading reviews of past campers will definitely give you a really good idea of how the camp you’re interested in is run. In general, a good camp will be well established in the sports community, with plenty of success stories online. Doing a google search will also help you when making your final decision. Having said that, newer camps might also be just as good; they just haven’t planted their roots yet in the community.
And remember to repay the favor of online reviews. After you come back from the camp that you end up choosing, write your own online review! This will help other, future, campers make their decision as well!
Going by word-of-mouth recommendations is really great as well, since you’re getting information first-hand from someone who has already been there. You can also ask some detailed questions like, “how is the beach area, do I need water shoes?”.
You can also reach out directly to the camps and ask questions in regard to what you want out of your camp experience. By doing this as you call each camp on your list, you can quickly eliminate the ones that don’t work for you.
What are the differences between Volleyball Camps and Volleyball Clinics?
A volleyball clinic is usually more of a one-time or series of weekly sessions (like Saturday afternoons for 6 weeks). They can run for a few hours to a full day. A volleyball clinic could also be focused on a position or a specific area of the game, like defense or offense. Bottom line, the primary focus is volleyball.
Volleyball camps can be daily or overnight and can be for a few days or up to a week or even two. Since you’re together as a group for longer and maybe for overnights, you’re going to build more camaraderie and team building skills with the group of players you’re there with. You’ll likely focus on different areas of the game over the course of time you’re there.
The similarity is that both volleyball camps and volleyball clinics will help players strengthen and build their Volleyball skills.
I really can’t emphasize enough the rewards you get when you choose to experience a volleyball camp firsthand. The benefits are substantial for new and experienced players alike. Getting out of a comfort zone and trying new things is the ultimate thing for one’s growth in all directions of life, and as a volleyball player. So, if you’ve been thinking about going to volleyball camp do yourself a favor and go, even the rain days will be a blast.