Track and field camps are an excellent way for young athletes to improve their skills. These camps come in several different types. They vary by cost, length of stay, track events offered, and coaching expertise. The type of organization running the camps will usually determine the environment of the camp.
The cost of track and field camps is directly related to who sponsors the camp. Camps held by a local high school or recreation center tend to be non-residential and low-cost, and use local talent for coaching. Collegiate athletic departments may offer the next step up. Their camps typically draw from a wider population base and are likely to offer residence in their dorms, on-staff trainers, and known coaches. Pricing tends to be higher to match increased costs.
Specialized track and field camps focus on one subsection of the events. For example, the camp may cover the throwing events, sprints, or distance races. These are often held by private companies who tour the country offering clinics or short camps and who are hosted by local sporting goods stores. Running clubs also sponsor these types of clinics. Still other camps cater to educating sports professionals and offer internships to trainers, conditioning experts, and dietitians.
Serious athletes will pay more to attend regional and national training camps. These camps cater to athletes looking forward to international competitions, including the Olympics. Students planning to run track in college will often check out the coaching staff of the college by attending a weekend track and field symposium. Some athletes will attend track and field camps for the purpose of cross-training or simply for a change of pace.
Many track and field camps are packaged with other interests. These may include studies in a foreign language, computer skills, social graces, or religious fellowship. Other specialized camps serve handicapped children and young adults. Urban youth and disadvantaged young people are also targeted for track and field camps. Weight loss and fitness camps may offer track and field events as part of their sports programs.
Track and field events in the United States are governed by USA Track & Field (USATF), with headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. This nonprofit organization supports the Junior Olympics and selects the athletes who will represent the United States at the Olympics and other international events. Camps offered by the USATF are elite; attendance is by invitation only. The camps are targeted at emerging athletes and coaches.