Does your son or daughter want to get better at volleyball over the summer? The best way for them to do just that is to attend a summer volleyball camp.

Sure, you could buy them a portable volleyball kit for backyard volleyball, but they’d have no one to play with. If they go to camp, your child will get totally immersed in volleyball. Plus, they’ll meet new people and practice forming a close team dynamic with strangers. Before you send your kid to volleyball camp, you probably have some questions about how to choose the right one. Here are the answers!

What Do You Want Out of Your Volleyball Camp?

Far and away the most important question to ask yourself and your child is this: What goal do you have in attending volleyball camp? When all is said and done, and your child comes home from camp, what do you want them to tell you? Maybe you want to hear “I got so much better at volleyball!” or “I made so many new friends” or “I had so much fun!” It’s not that a person can’t do all three, but you should have a goal in mind.

The reason you need to know what you want out of the camp is because the camps have goals too. Some camps exist for fun. Some camps exist to teach beginners how to play. Some exist to connect intermediate volleyball players with others interested in the hobby. And still others exist to train future professional volleyball players. It can be problematic if you send your curious child who doesn’t know how to play volleyball to a camp like this one. For this child, fun and friends would be great goals, and you can certainly find both at a good summer volleyball camp that doesn’t claim to train champions.

If your child is competitive in volleyball, a competitive camp designed to create champions is a much better choice than a casual camp. Not only will your child get so much more out of a camp designed for people like them, but the kids at the casual camp also won’t like playing with someone who is already at such a high skill level.

Questions You Need Answered

That brings us to the first question you should ask the camp: What is the difficulty level associated with the camp? Is it for beginners, intermediate players, or expert only? It’s a shame to go to a camp that has the wrong intensity for your child. Check the website before anything else – most camps have a website that will answer your questions and state the camp’s goals. If there are questions you have that the website doesn’t answer, write them down and get in contact with the camp. You can call them, email them, or message them on social media.

Now, when looking for camps, consider the qualities that make the camp unique.

– Where is it? Some people want to keep their children close to home, while others might want to give them an experience far away from what they’re used to.

– When is the camp? Some camps last only a few days, and others a few weeks.

– How is the weather there during the summer? You want something warm and dry, but not necessarily hot and humid.

– What condition is the camp facility in? Not every camp will be new and modern (and that’s not even necessarily preferred), but you don’t exactly want your child going to a camp where volleyball nets are used as blankets.

– If your child has any type of special needs, is the camp ready to accommodate? Make sure any special needs your child has will be catered to at the camp you choose. This applies to food and allergies as well.

– Is technology allowed at the camp? Some camps ban cellphones and laptops and encourage isolation from the outside world, while others encourage calling the parents regularly.

– What’s the price? Prices vary wildly, all the way from free to oh-my-that’s-a-large-number. Don’t go overboard on a camp that’s not a match for your goals.

Before You Make Your Final Decision

When you’ve narrowed down your list of camps, start looking for what differentiates them. If you can’t decide based on advantages or convenient dates, money is always a great decider. Do any of the camps offer scholarships you might qualify for? That might make a good tiebreaker.

And because some camps require applications, you could always apply to a few and then decide which to attend based on which one accepts your child. But for most people, you’ll have options. While you’re making your decision, be sure to get a lot of practice in.  It’s a good idea to set up a backyard volleyball net, so you can work on your technique before and after camp.  In the end, choose the camp that will help you and your child achieve the goal you’ve set, and it’ll all be worth it.