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Advice: Choosing a Camp

Posted by saraallent Jan 29, 2008

There are camps for all different levels and it is sometimes not clear what the level of the camp is right away. The camp experience can vary from a sport daycare camp to a full on elite college recruiting camp so finding the one that is appropriate for your son or daughter is important especially with the high cost of camps these days.

 

That being said, if you are on the less serious end of the camp spectrum look for a beginner camp that emphasizes learning the basics in a fun and positive environment. These camps are often held at a local school or recreation facility. This type of camp should not break your bank so watch out for camps asking a fortune.

 

The amount of money you are willing to pay for a camp should go up with the level of coaching you expect to receive for your son or daughter so keep that in mind. Therefore, if your son or daughter has a good grasp on the basics or is simply a good athlete, an intermediate camp would be the right fit and you should expect the price to rise a bit. The same goes for an advanced camp. The price will go up.

 

Also, keep in mind that, no matter which level of camp you choose, there might be varying skill level groups within that camp based on the forms that you fill out when registering for the camp. Your son or daughter maybe put in the lower group because of their age, but he or she may have the experience level of kids in the upper level groups. Counselors often try and fix these problems within the first day, but if you feel that your child is getting too much information or too little information don’t be afraid to ask for him or her to be moved up or down to a different group.

 

Lastly, if your son or daughter is looking to play a specific sport in college there are two main camps to decide between and I suggest going to both if you can manage it financially. These camps are usually the most expensive, but if your son or daughter can get a scholarship out of attending it will definitely pay off in the long run.

 

The first is a camp specifically for recruiting. These camps offer very little instruction, but offer a great opportunity to show your skills in a game setting. The sole purpose of these camps is to be seen by college coaches and provide a setting for those coaches to see a large group of athletes in one place at one time. Since these camps are expensive, make sure there will be college coaches actually attending. My advice is to ask around about the camp before registering and also to call the camp and ask for a CURRENT list of coaches attending the camp. College coaches are very busy and their schedules can change so the list of coaches on the camp brochure may not be the same as the list of coaches present on the actual day of camp. Also, if your son or daughter is interested in a specific school, make sure they email the coach to let the coach know of their interest in the school and the camps and tournaments they will be attending.

 

The second type of camp is a college specific camp. If your son or daughter is interested in attending the University of Maryland or Holy Cross, sign them up for their camp. The majority of colleges offer their own camps and this is a great way to be seen and show the coach you are really interested. I worked the camp at my college for 5 years and each year we brought on at least one girl to the team who had attended camp. Also, if you are on the college campus the coach is able to speak with your son or daughter, unlike situations outside of campus, due to NCAA rules. This provides a great advantage to your son or daughter. It is also never a bad idea to get to know the school you are interested in a little better by spending some quality time there and many camps offer campus and sport facility tours to campers.

 

I have one last piece of advice for you if your son or daughter is looking to play in college and attend one of these camps. Remind them that coaches are not only going to be looking for how they react on the field, but they are also going to be looking for how they react off the field. I can’t even tell you how many kids I have seen blow their chance by goofing off with friends or showing up late. It is really important to show your best self, not only on the field, but off the field.

 

As you can see there is a wide variety of camps to choose from and it’s important to pick the right one for your son or daughter and for the right price. You want your son or daughter to get the most out of their camp experience so remember to do some research and don’t be afraid to ask for them to be moved up or down once they are there. Good luck at camp. It's a great experience and one everyone should enjoy.

1,185 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: beginner, camp, lacrosse, sara-allen, lax, advanced, active-sara, sara's-life-after-college

My Mom was in town last weekend so we decided to head over to Escondido to check out the Wild Animal Park.  It was a really cool experience. The main purpose of the park is to give the animals a natural habitat to live and reproduce outside of the San Diego Zoo. The parks existence has helped many animals from becoming extinct and has served as an excellent resource for animal research.

 

You have several options once inside the park depending on the experience you are looking for and the amount of money you want to spend. We opted for the best value tickets which included a Journey into Africa tour ride.  The tour was an amazing expedition into some of the field exhibits, allowing us the chance to see the animals on a closer level. I was surprised to see such diverse animals living side by side in the same exhibits.  Furthermore, I was even more surprised to see their predators lurking in exhibits adjacent to them.  The tour guide explained to us that many of the animals are released back into the wild so in order to keep them alert, they have their predators just close enough to smell. In the slide show you can see the different animals co-existing, which is unlike what you see at the majority of zoos.

 

 

 

 

The Wild Animal Park was a wonderful experience and I would definitely recommend it.  For more information about the park visit San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.

1,127 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: travel, sara-allen, san-diego-zoo, san-diego, active-sara, sara's-life-after-college, wild-animal-park, escondido

Life has been really busy recently with work and numerous lacrosse obligations I have undertaken.  Unfortunately, my plan for healing my back and getting back into shape has suffered because of it.  After realizing my lapse this weekend, I decided to jump back on the bandwagon. The article, Yoga Therapy for Athletes, made me realize yoga was going to be the tool to get me back to an active lifestyle. So, I roped my friend and former teammate, Kristy, into going to hot yoga with me on Monday night.

 

It seemed innocent enough and I figured the heat would be great for my extremely tight muscles. Well, the heat was good for my muscles, but it came with a price. I don’t even know if I can explain the intensity of the heat in this room.  In the first ten minutes, while going through some postural awareness and breathing exercises, I caught my mind pondering over an escape route. One look at Kristy and I broke down laughing, knowing very well she was thinking the same thing. I pulled myself together and mouthed to Kristy with a smirk, “Don’t let hot yoga girl beat you”.  This expression was first said by our coach in college, Sue Murphy, who threatened us all before going into a kick boxing class that, “if we let Aerobic Girl beat us we would surely regret it”. That being said, Hot Yoga Girl could crank the heat up as high as she wanted and we were going to melt into the floor before we walked out of that door.

 

The instructor, Cindy aka Hot Yoga Girl, guided us through some deep breathing exercises before taking us through the different poses and stretches. I warned Cindy that I was rehabbing some pretty serious abdominal, back, and hip injuries before we started so she gave me so alternative options just in case.

 

When the class ended Kristy and I thanked Cindy, peeled ourselves off the mats, and dragged ourselves out the door to the outside air we had been longing for. I’m not sure if I was in any state to drive, but somehow we ended up at Denny’s.  Yes, I realize this isn’t the healthiest option, especially not after what we just went through to get healthy, but we both felt so drained that we needed to replenish. Naturally, two Grand Slam breakfasts, several pitchers of water later, clean plates were the only thing left.

 

After arriving back at the house we discussed the day’s events and came to the conclusion that although hot yoga was way more intense than we ever imagined, we would return. Besides feeling absolutely drained, our bodies felt great. My muscles felt stronger and more flexible. The benefits of yoga are incredible and the heat, although somewhat painful, just takes some getting used to.  We will be returning later this week for round two! Oh and we will not be going to Denny’s this time.

 

 

 

This is not me in the picture, but this pose is great. It really helped me stretch out my abs, hips, and quads.

1,539 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: water, hydration, yoga, sara-allen, exercises, active-sara, hot-yoga, sara's-life-after-college, breathing

Adrenaline Challenge

Posted by saraallent Jan 17, 2008

 

 

 

This past weekend I brought my club team, SD Rip Elite, to the Adrenaline Challenge lacrosse tournament in San Diego. I had never been so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I was thoroughly impressed with the level of competition and how smoothly the tournament went.  The tournament is used as a recruiting tool, a sort of showcase for high school level players, both girls and boys, to show off for the college coaches.

Lauren Dachille and me!

 

 

 

 

 

We had our first game at 9am Saturday morning against a team from the Bay Area called BearLax.  The game went really well, in fact we had to make the girls stall a bit so the score wouldn’t get too out of hand. It’s good and bad to start off a tournament with such a big win though; it can work in your favor and give you confidence or it can boost your ego too much making you lose your focus. Thankfully, it worked in our favor.  The girls played really hard the entire game and won big in our next two games against the LaxDawg Royal and ATX too.  Not only were they playing well individually, but their teamwork was what won the games.

SD Rip Elite

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning was our first true test as we went up against Element 5 Elite, who just so happens to be coached by two of my best friends out here Kristy Gallagher and Dana Cappello.  We ended up losing 9-2, which really dropped the spirits of the girls. We played sloppy and were inconsistent. The game however, was a great learning tool. It’s great to win games, but you’ll never learn anything unless your tested by some serious competition and tested we were. So we went over our weaknesses and were able to find some strength in what was a pretty ugly game.  Once we evaluated our performance we were able to move on with the day, looking forward to better play.

Element 5 Elite Coaches Kristy Gallagher and Dana Cappello

 

 

 

 

 

The next two games went well as we beat QC Elite and then LaxDawgs Elite to advance to the finals. Naturally, Element 5 Elite was in the finals, the only team we had lost to the entire weekend. The girls had learned a lot by playing them the first time so we went in more prepared than we had the first time around. The first half turned out to be pretty tough; they were killing us on the fast break, scoring almost every time down the field.  If we were able to slow them down and play settled defense we were fine, but we were only able to get them out of their rhythm on occasion.  They held possession most of the time so we were given very few opportunities in our attacking end.  The score was 8-2 at half and it was time to make some changes.

Element 5 Elite at Half

 

 

 

 

 

The first priority for the second half was to slow down their fast break, allowing us more time with the ball and to play defense.  That being said, I decided to concede in the midfield. This is a strategy we used at Richmond in similar situations.  I’m pretty sure the girls had never seen or heard anything like this before, but I felt like it was are only chance so I quickly explained the tactic as best I could. Instead of our defenders marking up their girls, we would let them go no matter where we were on the field. We would allow them to catch the ball in the midfield while our defenders dropped back into our defensive end as quickly as possible. Our midfielders running in behind the primary defenders would be in charge of slowing the ball down in the midfield if possible while sprinting into the defense. This takes away any chance Element 5 would have with their fast break. We didn’t have time to make any other changes so the attack had to be creative with the opportunities they had.

Coach Jen Cielewich Watching the Finals

 

 

 

 

 

The plan worked and we forced Element 5 to play settled ball with no fast break option.  They only scored one goal in the second half.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to score enough to win, but we did win in the second half.  The final score was 9-6.  The girls were disappointed about losing, but I think they were excited about what they were able to achieve in the second half.  It was a huge learning experience for the girls.  They listened to what we taught them at halftime and were able to apply it against a really solid opponent.

 

I’m excited about practice on Sunday and can’t wait to fix some weak points in our game; that way we will be better prepared for our next tournament coming up in the last weekend of January. I’m really enjoying coaching these girls.  I am so proud of them for being so coachable and passionate about the game.  It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. They truly are a great team.

952 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: recruiting, lacrosse, sara-allen, tournament, starz-lacrosse, sd-rip, active-sara, adrenaline-challenge, adrenaline

Spiders in San Diego

Posted by saraallent Jan 14, 2008

In between graduation and moving out to San Diego I ran numerous clinics with my former coach from the University of Richmond, Sue Murphy, and several of my teammates. As I’ve said before, my summer was jam packed with lacrosse mostly because of these clinics. We held clinics in Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and New York and every stop was a great time.  After spending my entire summer on the road, I let Sue know my time as Assistant Camp Director was done until I received a call a couple months ago and what do you know, I’m back on board for one more clinic with Premier Lacrosse but this time Sue was coming to me.  I am the youngest of a Richmond lax crew that lives and coaches lacrosse in San Diego so we rounded up the troops and planned a big reunion weekend.

 

On Thursday, Sue and her assistant coach, Allison Nuzzi, who also serves as one of my best friends, were welcomed to San Diego by six former Spiders and the fun started from there. My teammates and I are like sisters and when you put two of us, let alone seven of us, in one place you are destined for a good time and lots of trips down memory lane. So the seven of us and our former coach took San Diego by storm. We went hiking, shopping, site seeing, dabbled in the night life a bit, and of course ran a coaches and players clinic.

 

Both clinics were a huge success despite the buckets of rain that poured down on us from the minute we stepped on the field. I, of course, confidently told our east coast visitors that it never rains in San Diego and boy was I wrong. A little rain never hurt anybody though and thankfully both the coaches and players were troopers through it all. I was hoping to get some pictures and footage of the clinic, but being that I was ringing out my clothing I am pretty sure my camera would not have survived, so I apologize for that.

 

We had about 15 coaches for the 90 players that signed up for the clinic, which was great.  The coaches’ clinic ran from 9-12 a.m. filled with discussion on drills, philosophies and strategies.  The player’s clinic ran from 1-5 p.m., four hours filled with instruction, play and demos by the staff.  Each Richmond alumni was in charge of a group of about 15 girls for station work.  We taught the girls everything we could in the amount of time we were allotted and from the response we received it seemed as though every player learned a lot. It was helpful that we had so many staff members on the same page seeing as though we played for the same coach at the same program for years.  In between coaching sessions we brought everyone to one cage where the staff would put on a demo showing what we were going to teach next. Needless to say, we all loved playing together again, so much so that Sue had to pretty much drag us out of the demo and force us back to our stations.  As much as we enjoyed doing demos though, it was also really helpful for the players to watch the skills we were teaching before attempting them for themselves.

 

All in all, a lot was learned without fun being spared by the players, coaches, and staff involved in Sue Murphy’s Premier Lacrosse Clinic.  It was a wonderful weekend and I’m already pondering when and where the next clinic will be. Good times! 

 

Spiders in San Diego: 

Kristy Gallagher - UR '03 - Poway H.S. & E5 Lacrosse Coach 

Katie Dolan - UR '03 - La Costa Canyon H.S. & SD Rip Lacrosse Coach

Jen Cielewich - UR '04 - Bishop's H.S. & E5 Lacrosse Coach

Amanda Bourquin - UR '04 - Torrey Pines H.S. & E5 Lacrosse Coach

Libby Berlacher - UR '04 

Allison Nuzzi - UR '06 - University of Richmond Assistant Coach

Sara Allen - UR '07 (5th year) - SD Rip Lacrosse Coach

Sue Murphy - University of Richmond Head Coach

882 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: coaching, college, lacrosse, high-school, coach, sara-allen, clinic, san-diego, university-of-richmond, richmond, active-sara, sue-murphy, premier-lacrosse