Some folks are going to be mad at me for this, but here goes.
Summer months are upon us, and athletes, parents, coaches, and camp directors are all barking. I have to go to this camp! We need for you to go to this camp! You need to be at this camp! My camp is the best camp!
Are they all right? Are they all wrong?
Here are a few questions for each and every one of those athletes, parents, coaches, and camp directors.
Which camp teaches them how to love themselves?
Which camp teaches them to study?
Which camp teaches them how to love others?
Which camp teaches them how to recover from the other camps?
Which camp teaches them what to eat in order to excel at these camps?
Which camp teaches parents how to pay for all of these camps?
Which camp guarantees paid education at the next level?
Which camp answers the question, “Which camps should I go to?”
Which camp answers the question “Why do I need to go to camp?”
Which camp teaches the athlete to choose a college or university?
How many people get scholarships from which camp?
Who gives scholarships based on which camp?
How much money should parents spend on camps?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to take camp money and save for college tuition?
But i feel the need to ask one more question (which, of course, leads to several other questions for you to ask and answer).
Why are there so many camps?
One question leads to another.
I have worked every kind of camp, in four sports, and all over the country. Every level from little league to professional, and I still do not know the answers. I am a teacher of sports. I do not get rich off of it, nor do I try to. I give more time than I am paid for, and I have always found that both the athlete and myself get more from the training when its about the person, and not the game. Yes, the game is important, but the person is the thing. No matter the game, or the talent, or the reason, none of the others matter if the person is not formed, fueled, with foundation, and with a family of folks to boundary and rebound to. Great people make great coaches, and great coaches make great people. The same can be said for Bad people and Bad coaches, and it correlates to athletes and families. Great people make great athletes, and great athletes make great people. Great families make great people, and great people make great families. It seems to me if we spent more time on the people, the other things become easier, healthier, and the purpose.
I know that some coaches will crinkle their noses at the idea of someone asking why. Why is the leading reason for uncomfortable athletes, parents, coaches, and directors. It is the easiest way to identify great athletes, parents, coaches, and directors. Ask them why. Why are they going to camp? Why that camp? Why that coach? Why that athlete? Ask. Is it money? (That sound in your brain is the movie version of a record scratch, and everything pauses.) Do you know….WHY? Do you know why? Does the athlete know why? Are they an honest and legitimate candidate for being a star high school athlete? Yes, i said star. Because that is who has a chance to play at the next level. STARS. Are they going to get better at the game, or to be seen? Are they going because they love playing the game, or competing? Are they on a job interview for college? Why are they going to personal coaches and trainers? Why?
Why are the parents sending/paying for/taking the athletes to these camps? Why those camps? Are they free? Is this for the athlete or the parent? Here’s a real thing: Take all of the hours and dollars training, praying for, begging for, and events missed because of these camps and training, and then add them up and ask, WHY? Why not apply those to academics? Why not apply them to community? Why not apply them to the heart of the human being? If it is out of joy, love, or passion, excellent. But if the why is any other reason, why not gather all of that up and direct it to the thing that will help them in live 99% of the time? Yes, the odds of making it to college, any college, at any level, and getting that money and time back to break even (lets not dare that it would be a financially profitable situation, because, 99%). Wouldnt it make more sense to build a better person, rather than focus on the athlete? As I said before, great families make great……you name it…
Why are the coaches taking your money to train and at camps? I am the first one to say, get your money. Get paid your worth. But, GOOD MONEY cant come from bad work. If your why is money, the purpose has tarnished the kool-aid. If your why is love of athletes, parents, the game, and the money, then we are in business. We all know that for most (99%), the money is not good, so you better have more than money as a reason to get up and leave home. There has to be a better why to get you to coach in 90 degrees three times a day, or stand in the cold, or the rain, or whatever it is pain in the neck your game hands you. Your why has to be better people, or you are not doing service to other people, the most important ones, the ones in your life.
Why are the camps in business? Well, that was easy
i was asked to work several camps, all run by different schools, sponsors, coaches, and parent groups. I asked some why’s, and the usual response was “because that is what has always been done”. I then asked “why?” again, usually with the same response. Why is there no academiic mentor or tutor at the camp, but there are t shirt vendors? Why is there a little league kicking coach, but no academic mentor? Why is there pizza, and no salads? Why is there no post camp stretching? Why are the parents not talked to, but there is time for autographs and pictures? Why is there no video for each athlete when obviously each athlete, parent, and camp director have already shared emails and cell phone numbers? If it so important for your child to be there, why is it no important enough for you to be there?
Lets go back to the beginning. Who is left to take these hot summer months and turn our young people into great people who happen to be great athletes? Who is teaching them to learn, love, and purpose? Who is giving them value of self and others? Who is going to teach them how to take care of themselves and others? Who? And, why?
I hope that if you are hosting a camp this summer, you are giving the athletes something to leave with other than a receipt.
If you are going to a camp this summer, I hope that you leave with a love of the game you play, and yourself.
If you are sending an athlete to camp this summer, I hope that you go with them.
And, know why.
You will. And, you now know why.
Great people make great…….summers.
Go. Be great.