What goes into creating a solid basketball camp? How do you create a great experience for your participants so they can return to your program(s)?
There’s no one better to give some insight into running a great camp than Lee Miller, Director of Nike Elite Hoops Basketball. Lee founded Elite Hoops Basketball in the summer of 2004. That summer, he bought 300 shirts, rented three gyms, and wanted 100 kids at each facility.
“Only 29 kids showed up. I was left with 271 tee shirts,” he said. Now, he hosts 56 Nike camps across eight states over 11 weeks, and with over 3600 players.
He’s giving three quick tips on how to run a successful basketball camp.
Have a Checklist, or a “Rider”
Whatever the size and wherever the venue, Lee says that following a checklist, or “rider” is pivotal.
“We have, for lack of a better word, sort of our own rider. We have a similar schedule for getting each and every camp up and running,” he said. This scripted rider is the same for every camp, whether it be 100 players or a massive holiday invitational.
The rider includes everything. That means time must be spent emailing parents to confirm dates and directions of travel. Rosters should be all updated and segmented down to each individual group. And creating a publishing schedule on social media, like Instagram or YouTube.
The checklist also ensures somewhat simple tasks aren’t forgotten, such as washing all the jerseys, making sure all the balls are pumped up and the courts are all lined for drills. There’s also a staff meeting schedule so that coaches and staff are all lined up on the same page.
— Elite Hoops (@EliteHoops) November 8, 2016
Perfect Your Model
“It’s so important to stay small until you’ve perfected your model,” he said. “It’s so crucial in the short and long-term success of your business.”
That was the first lesson Lee learned in that 2004 camp. Before his 271 extra tee-shirt camp, he was integral in working with and helping coach several camps with the University of Georgia. He figured he could host a similar camp without having to worry about spreading the word. In other words, he had not yet perfected his model.
“One example of the way we’re perfecting our model now is through coaching. We won’t let coaches give private workouts until they’re 100% ready. We make sure they are able to get whatever drill they coach, running, energy, whatever, up and running each camp before we feel confident in having them run their own workouts.”
Be True To Who You Are
Are you a defensive coach or an offensive coach? Are you high energy or more methodical?
“Don’t try to be someone you’re not,” Lee said.
“As an offensive coach, don’t try to teach drills at a camp to improve a player’s defense. One, you’re not doing the kids any help. And two, you’re not going to get players and parents to keep coming through the door.”
Stick true to who you are and what you do best.
Lee also understands the importance of technology in being able to run so many camps and programs at one time.
“In 2004, we had to market a lot with flyers and letters. Now, there are so many more resources with technology. Social media, for instance. So it’s easier than when I started to get the word out.”
Technology and sports software is also the reason he is able to keep up with over 3600 kids registered for his camps. With LeagueApps, Lee is able to easily streamline all of his camps and programs’ registrants into one easy-to-use tool.
“These LeagueApps features are perfect for me and what I want to do with my business,” he said.
“I have my program summary just sitting on the flat screen on my wall at all times. I think it’s really something that helps us separate from competitors.”