The idea of planning and executing summer camps can be daunting, especially after just completing a grueling club season schedule. Here are a few simple ways to break it down, minimize expenses and maximize profits:
Make the most of the space you have
When it comes to programming, we tend to maximize our space. We don’t own our own facility and solely operate out of a school gym with their own summer day camps, so our timing is limited. Our summer camps operate Monday – Thursday from 6-10PM and on weekends on 2.5 courts. We schedule our sessions every other week by age groups so we will have a week of camps for high school athletes and then a week for middle school athletes. This allows us to control the personnel and better manage the differing skill levels in the gym without sacrificing the product. We group our sessions by skill and then overlap the training times, which allows us to run 3 camps in one night over 3 hours. For example we will run a 1.5 hour passing clinic followed by a 1.5 hour attacking clinic, while also concurrently running a setting clinic. We cap the passing and attacking clinics at 20 athletes and the setting clinic at 10 which gives us no more than 30 athletes in the gym at one time.
Diversify your offerings
The more differing sessions you have, the more repeat customers you are likely to engage. We offer the following different sessions for both Middle School, High School and College age groups:
- 2-day Setting Clinic (6 hours total)
- 2-day Passing/Defense Clinic (3 hours total)
- 2-day Attacking Clinic (3 hours total)
- 1 -day 1 hour Serving Clinic
- 1-day 1.5 hour Serving Clinic
- 1-day 2 hour Libero Clinic
- 1-day 2 hour High School Prep Session
- 1-day 2 hour College Prep Session
Except for the 2-day clinics, none of our offerings build on each other and none are repeat content. It is all based on the same skills obviously but there are enough drills to be able to come up with fresh and fun ways to present skills or position training. This allows athletes who enjoy your training style, culture or environment an opportunity to continue to learn from you without it being redundant, so they continuously sign up for more sessions.
It’s always easier to say more is better, however, by limiting your capacity you are able to focus on the product you’re giving people. All too often we hear about camps being a “money grab” with players on courts that aren’t appropriate for their skill level or coaches only focusing on the better athletes in the gym and not working with lower skilled players. By limiting capacity, you’re able to focus on delivering high quality training for every athlete that walks through your gym. Word will get out and demand or buzz around your clinics will increase. This provides a greater chance to sell out your clinics rather than have half-sold sessions.
Think of new innovative ways to cut expenses. As noted previously, by maximizing space with programming we can lower our expenses. We also focus on a 5:1 player to coach ratio which helps us plan our staffing needs for each clinic. If we have a session of 20 athletes, we know we need 4 coaches for staffing. Our gym is run by a lead coach with 4 support coaches. In an effort to curb expenses we have begun a program with our high school athletes in need of service hours. Our 9th and 10th graders are welcome to sign up to coach the middle school sessions and 11th and 12th graders are welcome to coach all clinics in exchange for service hours. Additionally, our alumni home from college often work at a lower pay rate than the lead coach allowing us to further cut down staff expenses.
About the Author
Lexi Patton is the Executive Director and 18’s Assistant Coach at Virginia Elite (McLean, VA). Now entering her eleventh season with the club, Lexi has helped to develop some of the D.C. metropolitan area’s most outstanding volleyball athletes. Her dedication has led Virginia Elite to national recognition as both an athletic powerhouse and frontrunner in club culture amongst volleyball clubs across the nation. Patton now consults with other volleyball clubs about performance and organizational improvements. She recently spoke and presented at the American Volleyball Coaches Association about technology integration in club volleyball. Patton earned a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Organizational Performance Improvement from George Washington University. She now resides in Reston, Virginia and works as a Feasibility Strategist for PPD.