Youth sports camps have been popular for decades, but still many people find themselves asking what are sports camps, anyway? Is a sports camp simply like tennis, football, or soccer practice all day long? In a word, no – sports camp is not simply like practice.
When you practice a sport with your team, the goal is creating a squad capable of winning games. When your daughter or son goes to a sports camp, the goal is to create a better athlete, and that means someone with more technical skills on the field, court, or pitch, of course, but it also means someone with a deeper love and appreciation of the sport, a more rounded understanding of health and fitness, some grasp of the history and context of their sport, better ability to play well with others yet also develop a competitive edge, and also to embrace sportsmanship.
Sports camps are, in short, a great way for a young person to become a better all around athlete, and they can also be a great way for kids to simply have fun and meet new friends. But are sports camps safe during the COVID-19 pandemic? They can be, if you choose carefully and if your child fully understands and accepts the measures needed to stay safe during the time of the coronavirus.
The first step is to accept that some sports simply can’t be played or practiced safely right now.
Not all sports allow for social distancing; if you have a budding collegiate wrestler in your home, then unfortunately this summer is just not the one for wrestling camp, and your proud pinning, takedown, and reversal machine needs to focus on strength training, agility, and speed work at home or with private lessons until the coronavirus pandemic is tamped down.
On the other hand, other sports essentially force social distancing; tennis players are rarely if ever closer than six feet to one another, for example, with baseball and softball also allowing for relatively easy distancing, so if your family is one the fence about which is the best sports camp for the young athletes of the household, consider a sport where the players are usually spread apart from one another.
And don’t forget about the ultimate sport for the summer of COVID-19: golf. Young golfers at a golf camp can stay many feet or even yards away from one another and still enjoy playing the sport and still receive instruction from professionals without any real negative impact on the experience. Many great golf summer camps are open now, and offer about the safest way for kids to go to sports camp right now.
Even with the inherent safety of sports played outside and with decent social distancing, to make sure sports camps are safe for kids, you still need to consider measures like having kids wear face masks or gaiters over their mouths and noses when they are near their fellow athletes and coaches, and masks must be washed daily after use. And hand washing and sanitizing remain crucial.
It’s also important to remember that sending your child to a sports camp may not put the youngster at much risk from COVID-19, as many youths contract and get over the illness without any symptoms at all, it may mean the young athlete puts more vulnerable people in danger if he or she spreads to virus unintentionally, so make sure the same safe social distancing and hygiene protocol that makes sports camp safe this summer extend to life beyond the summer camp in 2020 as well.