Comments about ‘Dick Harmon: Are summer sports camps worth it?’

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Published: Monday, July 4 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Bountiful, UT

I think it's fine to have kids attending these camps so long as it isn't an obsession. If a Dad or Mom can spend time traveling together to these camps and turn it into a trip doing other things along, go for it. My concern comes when it stops being fun as a trip. I've taken my kids to sports camps but we've always hit water parks, amusement parts, or soemthing like that along the way and sports was not the only thing we talked about. I also always talk to my kids about enjoying the journey and not being obsessed with the destination or the end of the line. Now my eldest son is done with sports and onto other aspects of his life but we have great memories. My younger one chose three camps and we're having a blast this summer.

Salt Lake City, UT

Some of my best memories were at sports camps. That being said, if a teenagers dedication to the sport has become more like a job, then I think it is unhealthy. It can be a great experience and investment. Getting your schooling paid for is a very admirable and advantageous accomplishment. Sports taught me one thing in life, how to lose graciously. What a valuable lesson it has turned out to be.

Lafayette, IN

The problem with this article is is does not answer the question it proposes. Are camps worth it for the elite? Definitely. Are the camps worth it for those athletes who are only average? I can't tell from this article.

Ogden, Utah

Ive always questioned the cost of sport camps, tutors etc. vs investing that same money in a college savings fund. I think the latter prevails. If your son or daughter is self motivated and does nothing else but eat, drink and sleep a certain sport, then yeah go all out, spend the dough, deplete the savings and retirement accounts and maybe, just maybe it pays off; but always remember its your kids life not yours. I see too many parents trying to live their sports fantasy life through the lives of their children. Use common sense and dont push your children into doing something they have no interest or talent in.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

This whole article just made me sad.

Salt Lake City, UT

As an investment, roulette may be a better deal. More concerning, however, is the toll on the family and the child's social and spiritual development. A reminder of two admonitions may be helpful. 1) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." 2) "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Monsieur le prof
Sandy, UT

Worth it? Who knows?

If the camps do what they are supposed to do, i.e. take the athlete to a higher level, then they probably are worth it. If the child wants to go and is excited about going, then he (or she) will undoubtedly benefit because motivation is the path to learning.

However, if it's the parent that pushes/forces the player to go, then that student probably won't have the motivation to go further and the camp's benefits may be wasted.

Highland, UT

@Orem Parent

Why? Do you feel that same way for the kids that go to Band camp, spend hours and hours practicing the piano/violin, etc. go to drama camps and spend all summer performing in plays? It seems it is popular among some to pretend that kids spending large amounts of time, and their families spending money, on sports is somehow "sad" or detrimental to the kids but all of the other things kids do are not given the same level of criticism.

That said I have mixed feelings on these camps and also private instruction even though my sons do both. For one I made a decision not to send my sons to any camps other than our local high school camps until they were in Jr. High and the high school camps are really only good for getting the kids pumped up and excited for the season to start in my opinion. They learn a little bit but not alot.

The college camps are a little better but it is the private coaching with constant repetition where they really improve. But they have to enjoy it, they have to want to do it. Don't force it.

Humble, TX

Not forcing the child goes without saying. I applaud any parent taking an active interest in the development of their child's talent and future (not to mention doing everything possible to get a scholarship for them). There are thousands of non-productive, mindless activities kids are doing during this summer - that's what sad.

Provo, UT

If the cost of doing these camps includes your retirement and savings, you are not making a wise investment. If you are relying on your kid making the NFL as your retirement plan, you'd probably have better luck throwing your money away in Vegas.

Sports camps can be a fun experience for kids, help them improve their game, make new friendships, and be seen by coaches, which is very important if you are interested in playing at the college level. But as the article mentions, keep some perspective. If you are overly obsessed with your kid playing professional sports, you are likely doing much more harm than good to the child's overall well-being. Let them go to a couple or three camps a summer. Encourage them to work hard in the off-season. If they are good enough, the college coaches will find them. If not, they will have had some fun experiences and memories and they can play intermurals. Try to force it, and you are asking for trouble.

Houston, TX

Why didn't the article talk aboout some average kids who attends camp after camp, but still not given any college scholarship offer?

Eagle Mountain, UT

If your not forcing your child to do these things and your not jeopardizing your financial well being, then camps can be a great benefit for helping build your childs charactar and skill level. I let my kids determine if and where they want to go and I have them participate in the costs at a reasonable level. If they want to go to more than one camp per summer, they have to raise money and participate in the team fund raisers. I also require them to fulfill all of their academic and religious responsibilities before they are allowed to participate in sports, band or any team or club.
Moderation in all things but allow your child to be what they are or want to be.

Salt Lake City, UT


"That said I have mixed feelings on these camps and also private instruction even though my sons do both."

You're a grown man that has children? I was under the impression that you were an avid teenage troller.

Salt Lake City, UT


"You're a grown man that has children? I was under the impression that you were an avid teenage troller."


"We see the world not as it is, but as we are."
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Camps and showcases can be a help but bottom line, if it is obtain a scholarship, the odd's are not in your favor. On the other hand, there are many bad influences in life so keeping your kids active and around other solid children is a good thing. I also think adding to the trips, like mentioned above, is a great thing to do. There are academy's around here that are in it for the money but the showcases they provide, does help. Being honest, whenever your child has a chance to play in front of many colleges at the same time, hopefully one will like them. But it is expensive and ends up being for the rich most of the time. If your kid enjoys them, has some talent, and hasn't been pushed into going, then it is a good thing. If you are signing them up when they really don't want to go, then you are trying to re-live through your child and that isn't good.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

I have nothing against sports. I played on my high school basketball team. One of my brothers played in college on scholarship. But when junior high/high school sports becomes a business and our kids are the pawns, it has gotten way out of hand.

Just read the article again and see what the parents are doing.

I'm a huge BYU fan. I have season football tickets. I understand where it is all coming from. I love to see a good team on the field and I understand what it takes to get there.

It just made me sad to think of what these kids are going through vs. what I went through.

However, you are right. Each person/family has to decide what they like and want to do. It isn't for me but that doesn't mean it isn't right for someone else.

Salt Lake City, UT

Your article was spot on. I scout and recruit college baseball. When I look at high school athletes I can tell immediately who has and who hasn't had training. The differences are particularly glaring when I look at high school pitchers. If your young men can pitch get them some help early to develop and strengthen their arms, and if you can afford it send them to some camps. I know for a fact that there is an insatiable demand for pitchers who can throw 80mph+ and that college coaches from as far away as Iowa are asking me for these players. Several college coaches have a great idea who they want on their teams by the time the young man is a sophomore in high school. If its about education, then let your son have some fun playing ball while earning his degree.

Salt Lake City, UT


I suggest a follow up to your article. Talk to Craig and Sheri Denney. Few families have been as successful at producing good athletes, students, and children. Their approach is one to learn from.

Craig and his sons Ryan, John and Brett played at BYU. Ryan and John have NFL careers, playing almost 400 games between them so far. More importantly, they have their priorities right. In response to the question, "It must be exciting to have two boys in the NFL," I heard Craig emphasize his family's priorities, "It is more important to me that they are good husbands and fathers."

The Denneys boys didn't play football until Junior High (to avoid injury and burnout), nor lift weights until they were 16 (until their bodies matured). They also required each boy to play a musical instrument -- the violin. All three were Academic All-MWC, Ryan academic All-American. I have no doubt they will all have successful post-sports careers.

Having one successful student-athlete in a family may be the result of that individual's personality and determination. Having three is most likely the result of the family's approach.

Interview the Denneys.

Mom of 8
Hyrum, UT

The amount of money spent vs. the amount of scholarship awarded? I doubt that in most instances they match. Camps are creating false illusions of potential greatness.

I taught college freshmen for many years, and so many athletes confided they were completely burned out by the years of camps, competition, and pressure their parents put on them, vicariously hoping for success. A few confessed they were thrilled when debilitating injuries forced them from the sport permanently, so they could focus on something else.

Sports isn't everything. But it seems a lot of parents still don't understand that.

Highland, UT

@Orem Parent

I actually wish things hadn't gotten to the point they are at where kids specialize in one sport and spend so much time, and their parents spend so much money, doing it. But times have changed. When i was young we just played whatever sport was in season and didn't even worry about that sport the remainder of the year. There have always been some kids that specialized and spent more time than everyone else but they were an exception.

Now days it is different, it simply is. The thing is each parents needs to be realistic as to the quality of athlete their kid really is. I know this is hard. Every parent thinks their kid is better than he/she really is. It is especially tough if the parent is the coach because that parent will almost always play their kid in the position they want them to play even if they aren't the best player.

I think it is fine to coach your own kid, I do it, but it is also important to let them play on teams you don't coach and see how other coaches evaluate them, I do that as well.

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