Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the US. But many young athletes aren’t exposed to the sport until high school.
What can you do to get more kids interested in volleyball early on? And how can you help grow your local program? Consider some tried-and-true youth volleyball camp ideas.
Decide What Types of Volleyball Camps You’ll Host
One of the first things you need to do is decide on the target audience for your volleyball camp. Ask yourself these types of questions:
- Should we be focusing on younger kids who are brand new to volleyball?
- Should we hold an intermediate or advanced camp to help develop talent?
- Should we hold position or skills-focused camps?
Of course, your answers to these questions depend on many factors. You’ll need to have a location to hold the camp, which can be a school or recreational facility. The space or equipment available can play a big part in the setup of your camp.
And you’ll need instructors. These can be former college players, high school coaches or other skilled adults. Current high school players can serve as assistant instructors for younger participants and might volunteer to help.
Also, think about the length of your camp. Some serious camps can be all day affairs that last a week or more. But most are less time-consuming and intense.
Consider other key elements like participant ages, fees, and any participation guidelines. Will campers need any specific gear? How about snacks? Make sure to iron out those small details before you start recruiting.
Finally, make sure you have any licenses you may need. Some states require licensing to run any type of camp. Your facility may have the right paperwork–but double-check to be sure. It’s also a good idea to have a liability waiver to protect you from legal consequences if a camper gets injured.
If you'll be running overnight events or week-long camps, consider using a camp management software to manage all of the administration and communication.
Former college players, high school coaches, and even just skilled adults can make great volleyball camp instructors.
Start Small, But Plan for Growth
For your very first camp, you’ll likely want to start small. Consider a “Level I” camp for young players age six to nine to introduce the fundamentals. You can also add a “Level II” for players age 10 to 12. While this camp will work for beginners, you can plan to cater to more skilled players and athletes too.
A week-long camp with two to three hours per day is likely enough at first. Remember that you can grow over time by adding new camps or lengthening existing ones.
In time, your camps can focus on more sophisticated goals. These can include preparing players to try out for middle and high school teams. You can even use your camps as a springboard to start a volleyball club program.
Advertise Your Camp
After you’ve booked a facility and coaches, it’s time to start recruiting participants. If you are working through a local park and recreation facility, that can be easy. Typically, those organizations have seasonal guides and contact lists.
But if you don’t have a built-in promotional structure, you’ll need to do some legwork. There are dozens of ways to get the word out about your camp–but you need to plan ahead. Here are a few youth volleyball camp ideas to try:
- Build a website — A simple website with a few webpages can be a huge asset for your volleyball camp. Provide a brief overview and include coach bios. You can even process registrations online too. If you already have a volleyball club website, just add your camp information there.
Setting up online registration for your camp is an easy way to get players registered quickly.
- Disseminate flyers — Post flyers in popular hotspots–everywhere from grocery stores to coffee shops. Find out if you can distribute them through schools also.
- Create signs — Signs can be inexpensive to print and make a big impact. Place them in heavily-trafficked areas like entrances to parks or schools. Ask instructors and supportive parents to place signs in their lawns as well.
- Use social media — Create some compelling graphics and posts to get attention. Share them on your own accounts and ask coaches and facilities to share them too.
Also, reach out to other leagues and sports programs and ask them to promote your camp. Many families are looking for opportunities for their kids to try out new sports and stay active.
And don’t forget to connect with high school volleyball programs. Other competitive or recreational volleyball leagues can be great promotional avenues too. After all, players are often passionate about sharing their love of the sport and getting more kids involved.
Make Your Volleyball Camp Memorable and Fun
You may have the long-term goal of building a competitive volleyball program. But your first forays into volleyball camps should be all about fun and instilling a love of the sport.
In fact, your chief goal should be making participants want to come back to your next camp–whether it’s next month or next year.
Break the Ice
It’s tempting to want to dive right into skills and drills at the beginning of each camp day. But there’s a lot of power in setting aside some “getting to know you” time for your youth campers.
Try something simple like having kids line up in order by their birthdates. Play a quick game of “two truths and a lie” and let kids try to guess the lie.
If you want a sports-focused idea, have campers stand in a circle. Give them a volleyball and tell them to toss it to another person–but only after they correctly saying the other camper’s name. Or have them play the same game while aiming to keep a beach ball in the air. These activities can act as a warm-ups and ice breakers in one.
Give Away Volleyball Camp T-Shirts
Everyone loves a free t-shirt! You can design and print your own camp t-shirt for a few dollars a piece. Ask participants to wear them during the camp week and let them keep them after camp ends.
They’ll think of all the fun they had every time they wear your shirt. Plus, a camp shirt is great advertising for future camps.
Reward Participants at the End of Camp
Make sure that every camper leaves feeling good about the camp experience. A small giveaway or memento can make a big difference.
Ask around at local businesses. Some may have promotional cards or certificates just to reward young people. You may be able to give away a fun prize free drink or personal pizza to every camper. And that is sure to brighten their day!
Put Your Youth Volleyball Camp Ideas into Action
If you love volleyball, you’ve likely thought about finding ways to get more young athletes involved in the sport. A camp can be an ideal avenue to expose kids to volleyball.
And now is the perfect time to launch a volleyball camp. Why is that the case? Interest in the sport is skyrocketing.
As reported by ESPN, research from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) proves volleyball’s growing popularity. NFHS found that volleyball gained 40,000 players in a single decade. Other sports lost tens of thousands of players during the same period.
Before launching your camp, it pays to do your homework. Start a to-do list that includes everything from finding a facility and instructors to ensuring you have proper licensing. Don’t forget to plan ahead for advertising and ways to make your camp memorable and fun.
And you can set a lofty vision but take small steps towards it. A one-week camp for new players is a great place to start. Over time, you can gain experience and expand your program.
Hosting a volleyball camp can be a big undertaking–but the rewards can be just as big. You can play a critical role in bringing one of the fastest-growing sports to a new generation of athletes. And you may inspire some young people to take up a sport that they’ll enjoy for the rest of their lives.