When Should I (My Son) Start Attending Camps?

One question that I get asked perhaps more often than any other is, “When Should I (or my son) start attending camps”?  When I first start running camps, this was a difficult question to answer.  But, with experience, and through the trial and error process, the answer to this question has become much easier.  First, you have to understand that each athlete develops at a different age, both physically and mentally.  An athlete must be ready in both areas.  My oldest son is 10 years old, so believe me when I say, I am asking myself the same questions.  Take a look at the best advice I can offer:
  • We have found that sometime in the 8th Grade is the best average time to attend.  Taking everything into consideration, this is when a camp is worth the money.  Freshman season is about to begin, the kids are anxious to learn, and they are usually ready both physically and mentally.  If an athlete is not ready physically, he will not want to practice the proper techniques that we will teach.  If an athlete is not ready mentally, he will not be able to focus and take in the instruction that you are paying for. 
  • We have had many athletes begin as early as 7th Grade (even 6th).  You know your son best.  If he wants to be out there, and you feel as though he is ready, then it is possible and has worked out in the past.  Note that he will be working with High School aged players.  If he is intimidated, this decision will backfire.  However, kicking is kicking.  It is not as if he is competing physically with them.  He is just kicking directly next to them. 
  • Your son has to want to attend a camp.  It should not be you that wants your son to attend a camp.  Believe me, if you push him to do something he doesn’t want, you are wasting your money and ruining a possible future career.

Things To Do Before Then:

  • Kickers/Punters are ATHLETES.  Keep your son in sports.  The more active he is, the better.  Play multiple sports.  Have him learn both team and individual sports.  And of course, one sport you might want to look very closely at is soccer.  If he plays football, by all means, have him try out to be the kicker. 
  • Focus on grades early. It is an important lesson to learn early on.  This will play a big role as to which high school he gets into in the coming years, and which college he will get into in the future.  It is never to early.  
  • Buy the Chris Sailer Kicking Instructional DVD.  For $55 this is a much better value at a young age.  The athlete can watch the DVD over and over both before and after he kicks/punts. 
  • A private lesson for 1 hour may be beneficial at some point after watching the DVD.  Feel free to call me and I will set you up with a great college kicker/punter that has trained under us and now works for us.  That way he can teach by example.  Your child will have a blast kicking with someone that he watches on TV.
  • Attend any Chris Sailer Kicking Camp, but do not participate.  There is no cost for this. Come introduce yourself to me, and have your child stay on the field for the instructional portions of the camp.  Many have taken advantage of this.  This is a great way to see if your son wants to attend the next camp, or if it is just too early.  Experience is the key to any development!

See your son at a future camp!  You better hope he is not in the graduating Class of 2019 or 2021 because my sons are already ranked #1 in the nation in their respective classes ;)!