If you’re planning on going to your first soccer camp this year (or sending your child to one) then there are a few things I want to pass along to you that will help make this experience an enjoyable dream - instead of a nightmarish torture camp!
Make sure you’re fit enough.
This isn’t going to be a walk in the park. The point of going to a camp is to pack a lot of training into a very short amount of time. This is an opportunity to make huge gains in your overall skill set. But that isn’t going to happen if you can’t last a full day on the pitch because you’re too tired.
Make sure to focus on your fitness before you head to camp to absolutely ensure that you aren’t going to be the guy falling behind.
Plan your equipment.
Before you start packing, you should be taking the time to go through and think about everything that you might possibly need in order to have a good time at camp. You don’t want to be the guy asking other people to borrow things because they forgot their own (there’s always at least one!).
Don’t just stop at the goalkeeping kit, think about everything you’ll need before and after a full day’s training. Also remember to bring extras of everything so you don’t have to wear the same kit every single day - it might even be a good idea to bring a washing kit so you can wash your kit at the end of each day and let it dry whilst you wear your kit the next day. Take it from me, you don’t want to be the smelly kid!
Put your name on EVERYTHING.
At camp there’s one thing you can guarantee - things will “disappear”. Whether it’s someone with sticky fingers or somebody innocently mistook your gear for theirs, putting a label on your stuff will help prevent this.
This is also useful in case YOU lose something (it happens, trust me). Having a label with your name on it means any lost items can easily be returned to you.
Always be asking questions.
Sure it can be annoying at time, but you’re there to get the most out of the experience and that means constantly asking questions.
Whenever you get a spare moment with the coach, ask them about something that can help you improve your skills. These people are a wealth of knowledge and it’s your job to absorb as much of this information as possible!
Yes, being at camp is ultimately about improving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. In fact the more fun you have the more you’ll improve.
But let’s be clear, I’m saying have fun - but be sensible about it. That means keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t be distracted with things that will either get you in trouble with the coaches (and possibly kicked out early) or something that will affect your ability to perform the next day.
Ultimately, it comes down to how serious you are about succeeding in your goalkeeping career. The more distractions you avoid at this stage, the more of an advantage you’ll have over the other players in the future.
Just bear that in mind when the time comes.