Are you researching summer hockey camps or clinics for your hockey player?  If you live in an area like mine, you have several options to choose from and it is hard to know what’s best for your hockey hopeful. The process can be overwhelming and it is difficult to sift through all the choices. 

In my opinion, there are two categories of hockey camps or clinics; the experience camp and the skill acquisition camp. Let me explain.

The hockey experience camp is usually a week or two in length, expensive and jammed packed with hours of both on and off ice hockey training. The remainder of this type of camp is made up of fun activities, like swimming, tennis, or rock climbing (just to mention a few). 

The experience camp can be a blast, but exhausting. By the conclusion of the camp, how much better did your kid get at hockey? This is why I call it the experience camp, because that’s what it is, a great experience. You will not see much improvement in your player at an experience camp. 

If you’re hoping to see significant improvement in your player, you want a skills acquisition camp.This type of camp meets 2-3 times a week throughout the entire summer. A skills acquisition camp allows the proper amount of time needed to acquire and refine skills, such as technical skating, stick handling, passing and shooting.

Now, just because the camp goes all summer long doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. Below are a list of questions to ask the hockey camp organizer before you register your player.

  • What are the instructor’s qualifications and/or past playing or coaching experience? 
  • What is the instructor to player ratio?  5-7 players per coach is a good number.  Anything more and I’d look at other options.
  • What’s the format of the camp?  Will it be small groups working on certain skillsets or big group drills the entire time? The best hockey clinics offer optimal puck touches with minimal standing around. Reps, Reps Reps!!
  • What are other people saying? Request to get in contact with a parent who had a child attend past camps. Did they see improvement in their player? Was it fun? Was it well organized?

If you have a kid who loves hockey and has lofty goals, look for something that goes most of the summer, a few days each week.  If he or she likes to play, but is not wanting to put in the extra time to improve, go with the experience camp. 

April 04, 2017 — Sniper Sam

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