BSA Soccer Camp - Summer is Coming!
Spring is here - Thank Goodness!
It’s time to start planning our academy summer camp made up mostly from our Fighting White Squirrels travel soccer team. It has been great watching these players progress through their middle school soccer seasons. The passing is better and their “soccer IQ” has at least doubled. Last year we had a great turn out and hope to grow our camp numbers this summer.
The format this year will be similar to last year - set up as practices with a solid warm up and/or fitness training, followed by specific activities to improve the basics like passing, dribbling and shooting. We add in some juggling training to increase ball control technique. Parents often do not understand juggling or using all the soccer parts to keep the ball in the air and off of the ground. They would say “Why do you want to teach your players tricks?” to which I say watch the pregame warm up of a professional match and the one thing they all have in common is that they can all juggle the ball forever and make few mistakes. It’s also something they can practice at home in the back yard!
Next we move into game based activities that are an actual game or mirror real game scenarios. We talk about finding space with and without the ball. We will move from unlimited touches on the the ball to two touch and finally to one touch to stop them from over dribbling which is a chronic problem with most young players.
One of the great successes from last years camp came from playing a game with the goals back to back. This makes for creative thinking when making transitions from offense to defense. It also quickens the pace of play, forcing quicker decisions and also increases the need for creative thinking.
Example: the ball can be tossed over the top of both goals to transition for a quick shot on goal. The kids love this activity and we love that it is a win/win because it teaches the game while the kids are having a blast playing something new.
Another lesson from last year’s rainy summer is that on the last three days of camp we were driven indoors to the gym because of relentless downpours. We thought it would be a drag because we were having such a great time being outside. We found just the opposite. The change to indoor shoes and hardwood floors was a welcome change. The pace of play got even faster and by the third day, I would have put this team up against about any in tournament play. Much of the bad habits and lack of sense of urgency disappeared in the tight gym space. Coach C and I actually played with them on either side and found that we were able to regulate tempo just by adding increased skill level to the action. I do not often play with middle school aged kids, but indoors it was a big “Ah Ha” and I would surely do it again in the that setting.
I am a big fan of not just our soccer camp, but most camps because they provide that block of time a professional coach can spend to have an impact on your player and it almost always has amazing results. When I was growing up I went through some summer programs that were really tough and also some that were just a lot of fun. Have your player do the research with you when you are looking for a soccer camp. If they help with the process they will have "buy-in" on the final decision as well!