First and foremost, a soccer camp are not the same as a sports training academy. As such first and foremost, a soccer camp is not a substitute for a regular coaching program. Given these two differences, it is only appropriate to discuss them at length. Given the right conditions surrounding the camp (i.e., – an experienced coach, player preferred coach/player ratio, an excellent training facility, etc.) an aspiring soccer player can access his/her best potential through a camp that enables a well trained professional to specifically concentrate on developing soccer skills.
The biggest difference between a soccer training academy and a soccer camp is that in an academy a soccer player typically has the opportunity to compete against other similarly talented individuals. This type of competition, if maintained for a long enough period of time, can help an individual develop into a world-class athlete. This competition, however, cannot be the only determinant of the soccer player’s ability. At an academy, the soccer coach focuses on developing all the areas of soccer that lead to greater overall skill.
With that said, it is very important to note that an individual who goes to a soccer training academy is not always guaranteed success. Some of the top players in the world play soccer at top levels at non-traditional institutions, such as colleges and universities. For example, a soccer player at the University of Alabama may have the talent to play soccer at the highest level, but without the proper guidance and the proper training an individual may have difficulties competing against collegiate athletes. Such players should be able to realize that while they may have the talent to excel at college soccer, they must understand that they are not guaranteed their dream job.
Another difference between a soccer training academy and a soccer camp is the emphasis placed upon skill development. A camp focuses on the development of a specific skill. This skill can be anything from footwork to goalkeeping to dribbling. In a camp, the focus is on developing a specific skill that the athlete needs to succeed at the next level. In contrast, a soccer training academy generally focuses more on developing an athlete’s general soccer skills.
For some camps and academies, the focus is on developing certain skills. While this is a great idea, it does not necessarily mean that the training academies are any better than other institutions that do not emphasize these skills. The key to determining which training academy is best suited for you is evaluating the skills that are taught and developing your own personal strengths and weaknesses.
The bottom line: if an individual wants to increase his or her ability to compete and improve, attending a soccer training academy may be a good idea. If you want to improve your skills and become an elite athlete, a soccer training academy is probably not for you.