Times have changed and the sports world we live in has become extremely competitive. There are so many opportunities for players to improve their skills and get an edge on their competition. If you are not getting the extra work, you feel as if you are missing out. Well the reality is, you are missing out! With sports taking a more year round approach, teams are playing more games and practicing less. If you are playing game after game, and you are not practicing, when do you work on your skills? With parents working longer hours and multiple jobs to support the cost of these sports, when do they have time to work with their kids? Well that answer is easy, they don't! So how do you give your athlete the same opportunity as kids all over the country? Through private training and clinics.
Private instruction is extremely popular in sports such as soccer, baseball, lacrosse, golf and tennis. With teams all over the country being coached by parents that are not extremely knowledgable about their sport, our kids are not getting the instruction they need. Private instructors, some full-time and some part-time, are usually very knowledgable individuals that can help your athlete improve their skills. Private instructors can identify strengths and weaknesses and prioritize what needs to be worked on first. When athletes continue working on bad habits, it won't matter how much they work on it, THEY ARE STILL BAD HABITS! If you are doing your own taxes every year and you always get penalized for mistakes after filing, eventually you go see a professional to get you on the right foot. That professional will correct your mistakes and show you how to avoid them in the future. That's what a good instructor will do, get you going in the right direction.
Private instruction can be expensive, but consider it an investment. People who play select baseball where I live spend thousands of dollars a year on baseball. Between registration fees and all of the travel expenses (Hotels, gas, food), it is expensive. Not including taking off of work to travel with your kid, that's all considered an investment on your child's future. Why put all of that money into your season and teams but allow your child to continue to struggle in their sport? If your child does poorly on his ACT 3 out of 3 times, do you continue to prepare for the test the same way? No, way! Those test cost money and that money is an investment. So you want to protect that investment by getting a tutor or review material that will help your child. There is no difference here. The investment can help land your child a scholarship that will help pay for some if not all of their college. You do not need to continue to invest forever, just get your child on the right track, then they can work on things on their own. When you encounter a new problem, go get it checked out so you are not working on the wrong things and wasting valuable time.
Camps and Clinics are effective for certain things but if they are geared to more than 10 players at one time, you lose that personal attention that you really need to make significant improvements. Camps are a good way to get yourself in front of people and a good way to make friends and learn some new techniques, but they are not nearly as affective as a private instructor. The instructor is going to take a personal interest in your child and work to improve their game. If you have one that does not do so, you should find another one. There are a lot of good instructors out there, and there are some bad ones that just want to collect money. Next week I will be talking about how to identify and choose a quality instructor vs. one that is collecting a check.