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Youth athletes in all sports attempt to acquirer the best possible skill sets in order to perform at their bests. Becoming a better soccer player and achieving ones ultimate potential are top priorities for most serious competitive soccer players. Outside of team practice, games, and absorbing as much knowledge as possible from coaches and watching professional soccer, attending soccer camps truly benefit youth interested in the sport. Many individual camps boast of specialized benefits obtained strictly from attendance at their camps. The following is a compilation of benefits I discovered that will help youth athletes who are serious about soccer:

Benefit #1 = Specialized Training
First and foremost, there is simply no other way to become a better soccer player than to attend a soccer camp. Given that the right circumstances surround the camp (i.e. – experienced coaches, player favored coach/player ratio, etc.) an athlete can access his/her greatest potential by attending a camp that allows a trained professional to specifically focus on their individual talents and areas of improvement. Specialized Training is one of the main reasons soccer camps exist to begin with! During a regular high school or traveling season, the coaches expect their players to know certain things about the game and have worked on the fundamentals in the off-season on their own time; coaches want to use practice for team improvement NOT for individual training. Granted, there are always fundamentals worked into practice in one form or another; however, the majority of soccer coaches during a regular season are concerned with the overall teams performance as their job typically rests on this factor. Soccer camps allow for serious athletes to recognize areas of weakness and improve upon them in ways they cannot do during the regular season. This is because of the special individual attention given to athletes at credible soccer camps around the country and a coaching staffs lack of full interest in individual performance during a regular season.

Benefit #2 = Getting Yourself Noticed/Coaches Exposure
The serious athlete who wishes to play soccer at the next level will benefit from soccer camps because they will create a realm of exposure that would otherwise not be available to them. There are only so many scouts out there who can visit so many schools. Attending camps allows athletes to open another door besides standing out on game day. Moreover, soccer camps at colleges are typically run by the college coaches themselves and allow coaches critical personal evaluations that they may otherwise rely on someone else for. This first person informative session can drastically improve an athlete’s chances of playing at the next level especially for those who have limited exposure to scouts. Soccer camps offer a unique way to expose players who may otherwise not be noticed. Also, college coaches are typically more qualified than high school coaches to teach and critique the advanced lessons of soccer. Experiencing

Benefit #3 = Practice Makes Perfect, but Balance Prevents Burnout
The old saying that “practice makes perfect” may be cliché but it is true. Soccer camps help athletes continually emphasize the skills they have picked up on from playing soccer throughout their lives. Additionally, if a serious soccer player is not practicing during the off-season, then they risk falling behind their competition. These camps are out there: Committed soccer players will attend these camps! Do NOT just attend these camps because other people are attending them; doing this conflicts with the idea that an athlete is serious about playing soccer at the next level. Instead, those who truly love the game and wish to improve to their best abilities will use soccer camps as a tool to better their skills by giving them a formal outlet to review these abilities. In this day and age, paying for and scheduling something like a soccer camp creates more motivation to attend. Practice may not be the most enjoyable part of soccer for those who love the game but an individual committed to the idea of playing at the next level will benefit from constantly practicing throughout the year. Soccer camps provide this outlet by creating a formal environment where the athlete is not distracted by typical everyday activities that may deter his/her process. To conclude this segment, I would also like to note the importance of balance. Committing to a camp allows you to schedule practice so you have other time available for your friends and other fun activities. If you’re reading this your likely serious about soccer and want to enjoy your youth: Do so! Scheduling in soccer creates a mature and responsible way to organize your day to make time for other things in life outside the boundaries of the soccer pitch.

Benefit #4 = Coaching Experience
College coaches are typically more qualified to access the abilities of athletes than high school coaches. Their experience usually derives from a mastery from the sport on a personal level or at least some college experience themselves. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that high school coaches have any accelerated personal experience with the game. This is not to say that high school coaches aren’t qualified but they aren’t usually hired for the specific purpose to coach athletics; thus, their focus is not only on athletic improvement (typically of the team as a whole as mentioned above) but also on the classroom or whatever their link to the school is other than soccer. The focus and expertise of college coaches is unique to the soccer camp experience.

Benefit #5 = Player Relationships/Discovering Schools
One of the most overlooked items by athletes looking to compete at the next level is the quality of chemistry and compatibility with players who are already on the team. There is no other (legal) way to be exposed to the athletic environment of college as a high school athlete. Soccer camps at colleges allow for high school players to get a feel for how the team is and if they will fit in with the crew. The camps give those who attend a feel for what the teams work ethic, attitude, and other attributes are like that aren’t specific to talent but truly matter in the world of college sports. Beyond the players, attending camps helps athletes discover different schools they may wish to attend. It’s important for an athlete to choose the right school the first time: Transferring is an option but it’s a stressful process.

In conclusion, there are several major benefits a committed soccer player can achieve from attending soccer camps at colleges. Although the benefits in a sense are unlimited, the foregoing benefits provide athletes with the best guide to what they can get out of a soccer camp. An athlete who wishes to play at the next level cannot rely on improvement/advancement from their games or practices alone. The most committed soccer players will strive for the best opportunities to better their game. The easiest way to do this is through a soccer camp.

REFERENCES
“Attending Soccer Camps Are Essential to Playing College Soccer!”
“Benefits of Attending Soccer Camps”
Ray Reid Soccer School