How to Pick the Pickleball Camp That’s Right for You
We get this question all the time: “Will going to pickleball camp help my game?” The answer, as is often the case in real life, is “It depends.”
Here are some of the questions you should ask and some considerations to help you determine if a pickleball camp is right for you.
Is pickleball improvement your No. 1 objective in attending?
If you are reading this post, it is likely that you are most interested in a pickleball camp so that you can improve as a pickleball player. If this is you, then here are a few things to consider:
What is the curriculum taught at the camp?
All pickleball camps will, by their very nature, be about pickleball. So that is not the question. The actual question is what parts of pickleball will be covered?
Players considering a camp generally have in mind an immersive pickleball experience that they will emerge from as better players. If you expect that attending a camp will improve your game, then check the curriculum against your expectations.
To give you a concrete example of what I mean by curriculum, at Better Pickleball camps we cover all Three Pillars of Pickleball™: the Mechanical, Strategic, and Athletic. Our objective is that by the end of camp you are empowered as a more knowledgeable and capable pickleball player. We want you to have the information and tools that will help you continue along your improvement path.
Before you select a camp, ask for the camp curriculum. Make sure it is in line with your expectations of what you want to learn at the camp. If your No. 1 objective is pickleball improvement, look for a camp that will give you the knowledge and tools you need.
Who will be teaching me?
As important as what will be taught at the camp is who will be teaching you.
Some players attend a camp because they want to be on the court with a superstar player. There is nothing wrong with wanting this for yourself, just do not confuse being on the court with a superstar player and accomplishing your objective of pickleball improvement. To be clear, we are not saying that there are no superstar players who are also good teachers (there are). What we are saying is that just because a player is a great player does not also make that player a great instructor.
You should also ask yourself if the instructor will understand your body and skill set. A 25-year old instructor may not have the same appreciation for the body and skills of a 60-year old player as would an instructor with a few more laps around the block.
Again, a concrete example to illustrate, from the camps I know best: Better Pickleball camps. Our camps are taught by CJ Johnson and myself, Tony Roig. When you come to a Better Pickleball camp, you know who your instructors (all of them) will be.
Before you sign up for a camp, ask them who the instructors at the camp will be – all of them. Do you know the instructors who will be at the camp? Do you know their teaching style or experience? Camp is a significant investment. Give some thought to the learning experience that you will have at that camp and make an informed decision about whether a particular camp is right for you.
Is pickleball improvement NOT your No. 1 objective in attending a pickleball camp?
If pickleball improvement is your No. 1 objective, then knowing what you will be taught and by whom are both critical to your decisionmaking process.
You may, however, be looking for a camp as a vacation or being near family or such. There is obviously nothing wrong with those being your primary motivators. If this is the case, then location and timing of the camp will drive the train. What we recommend here is to enjoy the experience as you would rec or open play, without expectations as to the outcome – perhaps you will improve, perhaps not, but you will have some pickleball as part of your other experience (vacation, family, etc).
Are you traveling with your significant other?
If you are traveling to a camp with your significant other and you wish to experience the camp together, consider a camp that is flexible enough to have you stay together. Some camps are broken up by level, in which case a 4.0 player and their 3.0 partner player will not be on the same courts. Better Pickleball camps are personalized to the campers – we are small intimate affairs where we can accommodate numerous levels, each receiving the training that is right for them.
Is a pickleball camp worth the investment?
This is a tricky question. Camps require an investment of time and money (not just the camp, often the travel and accommodations). That said, if you have done the above analysis and concluded that the camp you have selected meets your selection criteria, camps can be a great launching point towards improvement and, importantly also be lots of fun. You will be on the courts with players who, like you, are there to learn and grow in the sport we all love.
On the cost front, ask your camp whether it offers any sort of guarantee about the quality of its camp – as we do at Better Pickleball (not happy with your camp experience, for any reason, camp fee is refunded, no questions asked).
A pickleball camp can be the sort of thing to really jumpstart your game. But before you book the camp, make sure that it will meet your expectations and, if you are unsure about something, ask the necessary questions to find out.
If it’s right for you, we hope to see you one day at a Better Pickleball immersive camp experience.
P.S. Click this link if you want more information on Better Pickleball camps
Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.
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