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It’s okay to admit this parents. Part of you dreads Summer break.
It’s a pain to find the right tennis camp for your child. Google leads you to a myriad of options some places pick up the phone and others have incomplete websites. How do you know who has quality tennis coaching and which one does not?
You now have ten weeks to fill around your vacation plans to get the kids out of the house and off their electronic devices. You want them to get exposed to the life long sport of tennis but you don’t want simply a glorified baby sitting service that a lot of the cheaper camps provide.
I feel your pain and have taken the liberty of putting together some tips to guide you in finding the best camp for your kid.
Naturally, you want a quality coach who has experience teaching tennis to kids. With many camps choosing cheap summer labor utilizing older high school kids and college students you might have some cognitive dissonance about how someone who is not eligible to rent a car might know about the finer points of teaching your kids tennis.
My first professional paying gig was as an Assistant Tennis Professional at a Country Club in the Northeast. My main duty was: Summer Tennis Camp! So I’m very familiar with the process after 33 years in the tennis teaching business.
With this in mind we will break down five areas to evaluate when selecting a Summer tennis program and some tangible options to choose from to save you some web surfing.
So the first question is who is teaching the camp? Grown ups (adult teaching pro’s) or kids (high school or college tennis players). This very fact will address the investment level you want to consider when just thinking about their tennis development. Naturally, there will be a grown up in charge of the camp but will it be a figure head like a University Head Coach who delegates the work to a grad assistant or a Director of Tennis who does the same with summer help.
Ideally, the camp director is on the court overseeing the camp operations and the staff. It’s not that the teenager or college age coach can’t relate to your kids but it becomes a question of how much value you want to put into someone who is doing something part-time versus a full time professional.
Rule of Thumb:
Kids Doing the Coaching $200-300/week
Professional Coaching: $400 – $1500/week
Great teachers have tennis systems. Mediocre teachers wing it.
If a camp has a system they will be bragging about it. A system is more than a teacher to student ratio. Although that it is important. Lower student to teacher ratio’s mean higher prices and lots of attention for your child.
Above and beyond that is there a teaching system? For example, IMG Academy using “System Five” in it’s a method that as player approach each shot with the number 1 thru 5 in mind. Hint Fast Shots are a 1. Slower Balls are a 5. They also specialize camps by category (more on this below).
LOCATION AND AMMENTIES
You are resilient parent so I know your tolerance for travel is high. You will go above and beyond to find the best for your child so location is not as important . After all, summer traffic eases but still it has to be considered if they are daily campers more so than overnight camps. But it needs to be considered.
Some private tennis clubs will allow non members to enroll their kids at tennis camp. Many of the municipal parks offer tennis camps as well including concession professionals who are not affiliated with city tennis programs. The nicer the facility and amenities naturally the more you will pay for tennis camp.
It’s a huge bonus if the camp has a pool but a las it’s hard to find. The ones without make adjustments so kids aren’t playing tennis in the searing Summertime heat. If they do have a pool it’s not going to be a hard core tennis camp. Hint: If they are swimming and having fun great. But they won’t be getting better at tennis.
Tennis camps typically tend to be young. If you have a 16 year old who wants to learn tennis it might be difficult to find a camp that suits your needs. You would be better off finding a beginner adult tennis program for them. The sweet spot for these camps is 8-14 years of age. So if your child is in this age range you will have a lot of options to choose from.
Like anything spend some time doing some research. Ask a lot of questions and I highly recommend stopping by the club to check out the facility and meet the director of the tennis camp. Here are a few camps listed below here in Florida to get you started on the process. Also type into google: “Miami Summer Tennis Camps” depending on your zip code you will get different options listed.
Evert Academy is located in Boca Raton, They have Full Time, Development and Part Time Summer Programs. They really promote the 1:1 aspect of your child’s development but it will come at a cost. $1,100 to 1500 per week. They have a nice Facebook page that explains the offering and website where you can fill out a form and wait for someone to get back to you.
The IMG Academy promotes 3-week sessions with a focused on customized packages. In the link I provided is a sample of the Boys Tennis Camp. Campers get to pick the speciality then want to work on each week including: Strength and Power, Speed, Nutrition and Mental and Vision to name a few. Pick the combo that is right for you kid so they can develop their weaknesses or build out strengths. IMG has a online registration button that takes you to a registration field that start with your email.
Practice with Purpose. I can’t emphasize this enough. One thing for sure is there whatever camp you decide to choose for your child it’s a good idea to get a head start on the process with practice and drilling. If you haven’t done so already an affordable alternative to getting your child ready for camp or give you both a “practice with purpose mentality” try the Complete Tennis Player online course. It’s a great launch pad for before or after tennis camp for both parent and junior tennis star! You can carry the course on your mobile device right to the courts.
Enjoy your summer and email me if you have any questions: Brian@Backhand-City.com
Photo courtesy of Evert Tennis Academy