How to Run a Baseball Camp
Professional baseball has six tiers -- rookie ball, low-A, high-A, double-A, triple-A and the Major Leagues. Even the best ballplayers in the world need to refine their game as they ascend the ladder to the big leagues. Baseball camps help young ballplayers sharpen their skills. Run an effective camp and you just may set a professional career in motion.
Determine the focus of your camp. You may want to run a pitching-specific program, a hitters camp, a camp that focuses on catchers, a base running camp, infielders camp or an outfielders camp. Or you may want to run a camp that focuses on all aspects of the game. By determining the focus, you narrow how many attendees you require, what kind of resources you need, who you should look to hire and what type of facility will host your camp. Stick with what you know. If you know a lot about pitching, then run a pitching camp. Otherwise, you're going to have to reach out for help.
Assign different stations within your camp. A multi-skill camp may need a separate station for ground balls, hitting skills, pitching, base running, strength and conditioning, bunting, throwing, fly balls or pitcher's fielding practice. And you'll have to recruit a volunteer or hire an instructor for each of these stations. Plan a specific lesson for each instructor or tell each instructor to come up with a drill for his particular station. A narrowly-focused camp, on the other hand, may be able to run with one station and one instructor.
You'll need a minimum number of attendees to run a camp and that number depends on your focus. If you are running a niche camp, focusing on one aspect of the game, such as pitching, hitting or catching, then you'll only need a small number of attendees. If your camp's focus is wide, teaching all aspects of the game, then you'll need a lot more campers. A niche camp can run with as few as five campers, while a multi-skill camp requires more. Ask yourself how many attendees you want at each station then multiply that number by the number of stations.
Map it Out
Plan a short introduction at the beginning of camp with all of the campers focusing on you. Introduce the instructors and explain the format, showing the attendees where each station is and how much time they'll be spending at each one. Take the total time of the camp, minus the time allowed for your introduction, and divide it by the number of stations. That's how long each group will spend at each station and that's how long each instructor's drill should last. Map out the stations as well, placing sequential stations next to each other, ideally in a clockwise or counterclockwise sequence.
Come up with a plan to separate the campers into groups that are approximately the same size. You can do this by age or skill level, or you can split them up randomly. Give each group an identifying color, number or name, making sure each camper knows which group she is in. Perform your introduction at the beginning of camp and keep a keen eye on the time. Use a whistle to announce station changes if you don't want to lose your voice. With all the chaos surrounding you, it will be easy to lose track of time and the camp will be over before you know it.
Christopher Michael began writing in 2010 for Break.com. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Writing sports and travel articles helps support his professional baseball career, which has taken him to 49 states, five continents and four oceans.