18 Feb 6 Traits of Confidence Children Develop at Camp Susquehannock

6 Traits of Confidence Children Develop at Camp Susquehannock

As the summer ended and the dust at camp settled, it gave me time to reflect on the campers and what they took from their experience.

For many it was their first time away from home for an extended period. For others it was learning new sports and activities or being exposed to a completely new environment. Children were challenged, they persevered, they grew, and they learned to live within a small community.

In doing so, they went home with newfound confidence – something we as a staff take pride in producing. That said, I want to share with you something I’ve written about in the past. Please enjoy!


Confidence! Why do some have it and others don’t? What makes a confident person? Are people simply born with confidence? There is no simple answer to these questions but we do know that confidence can be developed and needs to be developed, especially in children.

Confidence is the springboard to success in so many different aspects of life and those who have truly developed this trait seem to possess a certain aura.

True self-earned confidence – confidence that is originated from deep within – is very different from false, egotistical confidence.

People with true confidence carry themselves in a very different manner than those who simply pretend to be confident.

At The Susquehannock Camps we pride ourselves in developing young confident girls and boys. Here are few confidence traits we strive to develop in children at Susquehannock…

Self-Responsibility

Confident people believe they can make things happen and they take responsibility. They don’t blame setbacks and failures on others. They don’t make excuses. They don’t blame a poor grade on the teacher. They don’t blame a loss on a referee or their poor performance in a game on the conditions of the field. They accept responsibility for the situation and move on.

Persistence

Confident people persist. They don’t give up at the first sign of a problem or failure. They see their current inability to do something as nothing more than a challenge rather than an excuse to give up. They concentrate on the objective at hand, learn from their mistakes, create new strategies and adapt to the situation.

Action-Oriented

Confident people have a plan and act on it. They don’t need the acceptance of others and they don’t assume others will handle it. They take the initiative to get things done and they do it now!

The Right Attitude

Confident people have the right attitude. They don’t whine or complain. They don’t look at a challenge and say, “this can’t be done.” They look for ways to get it done. They are appreciative and value the effort of others (their teammates). They believe the most avaricious thing you can do is to be selfless in the short-term.

Acceptance

Confident people look for the strengths and positives in others. They want to be around people with assets, skills and personalities that vary from their own. They realize the acceptance of others will broaden their skill set and knowledge.

Resourcefulness

Confident people are resourceful. Confident people don’t get upset because they don’t have the best equipment, teammates, field conditions or support. Confident people figure out a way to adapt and succeed or they dig deep and get by without it – which leads to grit and the development of a hardy soul. We will talk about these two attributes later…


These are just a few of the many things children will learn when attending Camp Susquehannock. That being said, if they only leave camp having further developed these six traits their lives will be much improved as a result!

18 Feb How to Develop the Proper Mindset to Accomplish Your Goals & Achieve Your Dreams

How to Develop the Proper Mindset to Accomplish Your Goals & Achieve Your Dreams

Achieving your dreams, accomplishing your goals, perfecting a new skill are all based on one’s ability to develop and maintain a proper mindset.

Without the Proper Mindset, Procrastination, Failure, Frustration, and Lack of Results Become a Way of Life Rather Than a Mere Bump in the Road.

Every year at camp I talk to the staff and the campers about the mindset needed to build confidence which ultimately leads to greater and greater levels of success and happiness with oneself.

Society has told us that if you “try your best” all is good; there’s nothing more you can do. The problem with this mindset is that there is a built-in excuse for quitting and failure.

If you try something and you run into a challenge that seems tougher than expected you can always bail-out and say, “I tried my best, it just did not work out?”

If you really have a passion or goal or something you really want to achieve, don’t set yourself up for failure by saying your going to try your best. Trying is for flavors of ice cream, shoe sizes, clothing you think might look good. It’s for new games, a crazy trick shot or listening to a genre of music you have never heard before. It is not for accomplishing goals, fulfilling your passion, or achieving your dream.

So, how do you create the proper mindset? I was truly fortunate to be taught this lesson years ago…

If You Have Something You Really Want to Achieve Don’t “Try Your Best” to Make it Happen. You Need to Intend to Make it Happen.

There’s a huge difference in your mentality when you try to do something vs when you intend to do something.

When you intend do something, you’re going to make it happen. It might not happen right away. You might fail numerous times before you achieve what you intended, but you will ultimately succeed.

Sir Edmund Hillary did not try to climb Mount Everest. He intended to climb Everest and succeeded. Michael Jordan did not simply try win six NBA titles, he intended to win each one of those championships.

A few years ago, a young boy came to camp with little to no swimming ability. He quickly realized if he wanted to go off the diving board, the sliding board and play in the free swim zone he had to swim his 20 laps (500 meters) before being permitted.

Every day he would head to the lake telling the entire camp today is the day he would swim his 20 laps. Finally, on the final day of camp, after 3.5 weeks of swim lessons and countless attempts to swim the 20 laps he succeeded.

He succeeded, not because he tried to swim the 20 laps. He succeeded because he intended to swim the 20 laps. He had the proper mindset needed to accomplish his goal.

It’s fine and it’s fun to try things. We should all try new things. At Susquehannock we encourage children to try new things every day. However, once you identify a passion for something you want to achieve don`t tell yourself you are going to simply try your best. Tell yourself and those close to you that you intend to make it happen!

Don’t Think You Need to Have a Big Audacious Goal to Set an Intent. Start with Little Things.

It can be as simple as making 10 straight free throws, washing your car – today or finishing a project you have been putting off. The point is, the more you do this the more successes you will have so when your passion and big goal become clear you can intend to make it happen.


At Susquehannock we use sports and other activities as a platform to develop confident, resilient, gritty, independent, high character, happy young girls and boys. It does not happen immediately but over time the results become clear …because we intend to make it happen!

18 Feb 7 Reasons to Send Your Child to a Multi-Sport Camp

7 Reasons to Send Your Child to a Multi-Sport Camp

I want to share with a recent article published by Truesport – a national organization devoted to promoting a positive youth sports experience. Enjoy!


If you’re considering sending your young athlete to a camp this summer, you may want to look into a multi-sport camp rather than a sport-specific camp.

“Anything we can do to give kids diversity in physical and physiological ways is a win,” says Steve Smith, PhD. Smith is a professor of clinical psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara and focuses on working with young athletes and parents, especially around topics like early specialization in sport.

Smith sees multi-sport camps as a great way for young athletes to experience other sports and develop new skills without the pressure of playing for new teams or committing more time during already packed seasons.

“A multi-sport camp is ideal for helping young athletes avoid early specialization,” says Smith. While tacking on extra sports during the year might be stressful for an athlete and difficult to handle from a time management perspective, a multi-sport camp allows young athletes to explore new sports without adding to an already-busy schedule.

Here are seven more reasons why you should invest in a multi-sport camp…

Promote Chances for New Teamwork and Friendships

When young athletes are involved in one sport, they tend to end up with a tight-knit group of friends from that one team. While it’s great to have close friendships, young athletes should be branching out, meeting new people, and learning to work with new teammates. In college, and in life, athletes aren’t always going to be surrounded by teammates they’ve known since kindergarten, so developing social skills is key to long-term success.

“I work with a lot of collegiate athletes now, and I notice that they travel, practice, and live with their teammates — and if you’re not able to become friendly with those new teammates, you’re going to have a really hard time,” says Smith. “By only knowing one set of teammates, you lose out on interpersonal skills,” he adds.

It’s important that kids develop their ability to interact with different types of people. A multi-sport camp offers a diverse group of athletes from different disciplines, locations, and backgrounds. Young athletes will have the chance to get outside their comfort zone by participating in a multi-sport camp.

Learn to Accept Loss and Failure

In the world of sport, being able to lose is just as important as being able to win when it comes to longevity. If your young athlete has been naturally talented and successful from a young age, it might be beneficial for him or her to experience not being the best on the field. “We learn more from failures than we do from wins,” says Smith. “Giving kids the opportunity to be in an environment where they aren’t the best, where they have to step outside of their comfort zone, that’s what teaches them about life and those important life skills.”

Learn New Skills

Enrolling athletes in a multi-sport camp can also help them develop in a more well-rounded way. Skills often blend from one game to another: footwork from Soccer agility practice may be helpful on the Football field and throwing a Baseball may make a shot-putter tweak his stance.

Youth athletes exposed to multiple sports have been shown to be more consistent performers, experience fewer injuries, and stay in sport longer than early-specializers.

In a study of 700 professional baseball players, Smith even found that late specializing Baseball players were “more likely to get college scholarships and that they consistently practiced more than early specializers.”

Remember How to Simply Play

“Competition is hard, and it’s hard to be in that place all the time. Young athletes now don’t have a lot of time to just simply play, and camps can offer that,” says Smith.

“Taking away the competition and giving a kid an opportunity to just be playful and not results-focused is a huge win.” A multi-sport camp can offer young athletes a chance to rediscover the joy of playing, not for a result, just for the sheer fun of running, jumping, throwing and dancing.

Help Athletes Recover from Injury

“There’s a benefit to having a horizontal kid—one who can run fast but also play Basketball and paint and play an instrument. You shouldn’t be pinning hopes and dreams on one thing. When athletes do that and get injured, it can be devastating,” says Smith.

A multi-sport camp can offer opportunities for cross-training so that your young athlete can continue to build skills and fitness without pushing an injury. Be sure to talk to a doctor before picking a camp in this case, as certain sports may be better for specific injuries than others.

Find A New Talent or Passion

Discovering new passions is a great thing for a young athlete. “If a kid specializes early, it increases the likelihood that they’ll get injured or burned out and increases the likelihood of them being sedentary as adults,” says Smith. “That’s not what we want for our kids.”

Helping children find sports that they can play for life is just as important as winning a championship. Many young athletes won’t go on to be professionals, but they can go on to lead happy, active lives, and finding hobbies outside of that one focus can help them achieve that goal.

Learn Independence

No matter how close you are with your young athlete, it’s important that they get some time outside of your sphere of influence to discover what they are truly passionate about. “You need to let your child figure out who they are, and to do that, you need to separate yourself from the equation,” says Smith.”Letting a child get away from the pressure can be a great thing for them.”

Parents and kids are often told that an athlete has to do one sport, do it early, and do it year-round. But as Smith and the research indicate, that’s not always for the best. So this summer, try enrolling your young athlete in a multi-sport camp.


I hope you enjoyed this article. The Susquehannock Camps provide multi-sport athletic development and confidence-based learning to children between the ages of seven and sixteen. We use sports as a platform to develop high character, independent, resilient, gritty, confident, healthy young children.

18 Feb NBA Star Steph Curry, Coach Brad Stevens and Others Discuss the Benefits of Multi-Sport Athletic Development

NBA Star Steph Curry, Coach Brad Stevens and Others Discuss the Benefits of Multi-Sport Athletic Development

By now you probably know we are big believers in multi-sport athletic development. Sports provide us an incredible platform to help children improve their confidence, character, independence, versatility and grit.

Parents and children today are under tremendous pressure by coaches and clubs to specialize or focus on only one sport. I could go on and on about the dangers of specialization, but I would rather take a moment and share with you the positive impact multi-sport athletic development can have on children.

“…obviously, Basketball is the no-brainer and my expression of what I do best, but when it comes to Golf, Running, Training and other sports, that is part of my experience growing up. I always played other sports, got exposed to a lot of different skill sets and people, and that was big in my development.”
-Steph Curry

Here are links to two short videos. In the first video, Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, discusses how playing multiple sports creates better athletes.

Brad Stevens: Playing Multiple Sports Leads To Better Athletes

In the second video, Andrea Ettekal Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development discusses the life lessons learned playing multiple sports.

Multi-Sport Athletes May Learn More Life Lessons

I hope you enjoyed these short videos. We truly cannot wait to see everyone this summer!

18 Feb 5 Camp Lessons for Improved Performance in Sports (and Life)

5 Camp Lessons for Improved Performance in Sports (and Life)

With all that is going on the world we sometimes lose focus and need some grounding to help better cope with life’s challenges. Camp Susquehannock is one of the few places that help ground us with true life-guiding principles.

I recently read a great article by Chris Carmichael, a cyclist, coach and founder of Carmichael Training Systems. His advice not only reminded me of what we learn at Susquehannock but how we can all apply it to our daily lives.

FIND YOUR PASSION

In life, as in sports, passionate and inspired individuals will achieve much more than an extremely talented individual who simply goes through the motions.

At Susquehannock, we encourage children to try all types of sports and activities. This is how they find their true inspiration, and this is what produces high-level performance.

It does not matter if you are an incredible athlete or just starting out, passion and inspiration are what drive your ultimate success. The Senior Staff and Counselors at Susquehannock are incredibly passionate and serve as inspiring models for young athletes.

LOVE THE PROCESS AS MUCH AS THE GOAL

Every day at Susquehannock, young athletes are coached through clinics in a variety of sports and activities and then compete in actual games later in the day. And while we all want to win, the focus is always on improving and learning the joy of competition. The outcome will take care of itself, and in most cases, it will be incredibly positive when you are enjoying the process of learning and competing.

Olympic athletes, musicians and artists spend years practicing with one goal in mind. However, in order to achieve that goal the training/practice/routine must take place every day! The most successful individuals (regardless of activity) are those who love the process of training. They love it because they get to do what they enjoy every day! At Susquehannock we teach campers to love what they do as much as the love of the intended outcome or goal.

TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR EFFORT

Too many of us discount the effort and commitment we make on a daily basis to improve our lives. We never give ourselves credit or the permission to be successful. We look and compare ourselves to others and think we simply are not good enough.

At Susquehannock we challenge campers to try new sports and activities every day. Each day they have failures and successes. They are encouraged to believe that their best effort – regardless of success or failure – is what’s most important, and they should take pride in that effort and commitment.

Campers should never minimize the commitment and effort needed to succeed. Now, I’m not saying we want them to be arrogant or boastful, but they do need to give themselves credit! Sometimes the credit we give ourselves is the only credit we will receive. Let’s face it, there will always be someone smarter, stronger and more athletic, but that should have no bearing on the pride you have in your own effort.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE AND ENERGETIC PEOPLE

The staff at Susquehannock are some of the most positive and motivated people you will ever find, and this is not an accident. These are the type of people we look for to serve as models for the campers.

Can you imagine how awful the summer camp experience would be with negative people? Take a page out of a summer at Susquehannock and make sure you and your kids are surrounded by positive and energetic people.

In the article, Carmichael touches on this topic: The people we spend time with have a lot of influence over our thoughts, feelings, and decisions. Optimism is contagious, but so is pessimism. When you surround yourself with positive and motivated people, they help lift you up when you need it and you have the same effect on them when they need it. In contrast, negative people, those who don’t believe in themselves or blame everyone else for their failings, and those who criticize or laugh at your goals and training, will eventually drag you down to their level. Stay with the people who lift you up and disconnect from the people who only drag you down.

During the pandemic, isolation has been a big problem for athletes, students, workers, and seniors (and many others, probably). Even if you can’t physically surround yourself with positive influences, it is important to maintain connections with people who can lift you up and inspire you to be better. Call your friends. Skype/Facetime with your relatives. Talk with your coach.

Better yet, reach out and talk with some of the superstar staff and children from camp!

LEAN ON THE FUNDAMENTALS

When times are tough, too many people reach for a trick, a special solution, some new fad or idea to get them through the challenge or issue …when all you really need to do is focus on the fundamentals.

Fundamentals in life and sports produce steadily progressing gains, which result in daily accomplishments that enhance self-worth and confidence!

At Susquehannock, we spend time working on the fundamentals every day! It starts with the simple process of making your bed and cleaning your cabin. This activity means you have accomplished something before your day even gets started.

This takes place on the athletic fields and courts as well. For example, take a Basketball player who spends 80% of their practice time working on a trick shot or a no-look pass and only 20% on fundamentals. They may look great in the layup line or in a game of HORSE, but when they need to play in a real game they struggle and make mistakes which penalizes their team. This person will have a tough time improving and eventually get frustrated with their progress.

Now look at the player who spends 80% of their time on fundamentals and 20% on some fancy shot or pass. This person can dribble with both hands, make consistent on-target passes and rarely makes mistakes. This person makes steady progressive gains. They enjoy the game, they succeed, and they gain confidence because they see the daily achievement.


In life, as in sports, we need to stay grounded in our thinking. As we come to the end of 2020, remember to follow your passion, love the process of life as much as your intended goal, take pride in yourself and your effort, surround yourself with positive energetic people and stick to the fundamentals. At Susquehannock, this produces self-reliant, confident young boys and girls!

18 Feb The Keys to Perseverance and Developing it at Camp Susquehannock

The Keys to Perseverance and Developing it at Camp Susquehannock

One of the key traits we pride ourselves on developing at Susquehannock is perseverance. This year has required a great deal of perseverance by us all. That said, I want to share with you just how this development takes place at camp and what makes it happen.

Opportunities to roll over and quit present themselves every day in our lives – especially in today’s COVID-19 world – and those of us who learn to persevere will do well when faced with challenges.

So why do some people quit and others persevere? What makes some people push through formidable challenges, and how can you become one of them?

Here are the keys to perseverance and how it is cultivated at Susquehannock…

PURPOSE

You must have a purpose. Athletes, for example, dig far deeper when there is a real purpose motivating them forward – the purpose must be intrinsically real! It must be felt from within. External rewards won’t do the job – participation trophies or ribbons won’t help to overcome the tough times. Those types of rewards are easy to give up on when confronted with real challenges. But if you have a real, heartfelt deep drive or purpose behind what you are doing the temptation to quit is easily pushed aside!

Let me give you a great example. Each summer children arrive at Susquehannock and we encourage them to swim their 20 laps (the equivalent of 500 meters) and then the entire length of the lake. I have seen campers attempt to swim their 20 laps four, five or six times before they finally do it. This summer I witnessed a young girl attempt to swim the lake three times before she did it. Why did these children persevere? What motivated them to not give up? Each one of them had an intrinsic purpose

When the campers arrived at camp, we could have told them that in order to compete in the Regatta and potentially win a medal they would have to to swim their 20 laps first. But we don’t tell them that! Winning a medal at the Regatta is not going to motivate a beginner to swim 500 meters or the full length of the lake. However, when a child sees his or her friends going off the diving board, hanging out on the float, or kayaking — they develop a real purpose and are motivated to join their friends. It’s this type of motivation that will push a child past the temptation to quit.

Purpose is what drives us. Olympic athletes don’t train their entire life for the medal. They train because they want to be the best or they want the opportunity to compete against the best. It is this purpose that compels athletes to get up at 5:00 am to train. It’s the purpose that compels an artist or a musician to hone their craft day after day. Money, trophies, and fame is just a bi-product of their purpose.

MINDSET

If you want to be successful in any endeavor, you must start with the mindset that nothing will stop you from achieving your intended outcome. And just like your purpose, the mindset must be real. It can’t be made up or faked. Simply telling yourself you can do something or receiving false accolades from friends, parents or coaches is not going to help you persevere through a challenge.

If you look closely at how we develop perseverance and confidence at Susquehannock you will see we introduce new concepts and skills gradually over the course of the summer. Our staff does an incredible job designing a series – a progression of clinics, activities, competition, and exposure to new things (combined with constructive feedback!) – which helps campers build true self-belief and confidence in themselves.

EXPERIENCE

Experience is what determines how hardy your walls of perseverance will become. Each time you want to quit and do not, your wall gets thicker and thicker. Every time you do something you thought or imagined to be too difficult or that almost defeated you, you have just added one more skill to your repertoire that you can do again.

This happens every day at Susquehannock: it happens when a camper arrives and must spend their first night away from home… it happens when a camper must learn to share with others… it happens when a camper is put in a group with no one he or she knows …it happens when a camper plays a sport they have never tried before …it happens when a camper is homesick and learns their new friends will help them get through it …it happens when they swim their 20 laps and the length of the lake!

The culmination of all these experiences help build the walls of perseverance, and this will stay with them. Every time they do something new – academically, athletically, professionally – something they thought too difficult, they will gain a greater outlook on life!

SUPPORT

Hollywood loves to tell the story of the individual who came from nothing and climbed the ladder of success all by themselves. While this sounds great, most people who rise to success through sheer perseverance have some support behind them. Very few people, if any, can overcome challenges alone!

To develop perseverance, one must be humble enough to ask for and then accept help. Your family, friends, and teammates are the ones who will keep you going through tough times. At Susquehannock we introduce new sports and activities to children every day. Campers learn the power of a support group, the power of a team and the value of teamwork. I have seen children arrive at Susquehannock who were fantastic Basketball players, but had little skill in Soccer. When the time came to play Soccer, they lacked the confidence to go on the field and in some cases were on the verge of refusing to play. However, they persevered and played anyway because they had the support of their team.

As you go through life their will inevitably be setbacks, challenges and fear. Don’t be afraid to ask for or accept help. We all need support!


In life, as in sports, you are not going to win all the time. The best hitters in Baseball succeed less than 30% of the time but they continue to persevere. Things don’t always turn out the way we envisioned – that is part of life. Just don’t quit!

18 Feb Smile and Be a Happy Camper

Smile and Be a Happy Camper

I want talk to you today about the power of a smile. My dear friend Lynn Noble is a speaker, artist and soon-to-be author of The Power of a Smile.

She and I were talking about kids, camp and the effect a smile can have on children, their lives and the various situations they encounter. I asked Lynn if she would mind providing us with some thoughts and ideas on things children can do when transitioning into new environments.

So here it is! I hope you enjoy her simple but powerful advice…


Remember what you felt like when you were a kid and had the freedom to do whatever it was that made you happy? You had one mission: to smile, find a friend, play and be happy.

I recently had the opportunity to relive that child-like experience. I was at an art show on Long Beach Island, when I happened upon a tent with incredible art made from driftwood. I was admiring the work when all of a sudden, I was greeted by this woman with a big, shining smile!

Immediately I smiled back as she blurted out, “Wow – You have a beautiful smile!” I instantly replied, “So do you!” Without even thinking she said, “We should be friends!” I again instantly replied with, “Yes, we should!” It was that easy!

I felt like I was transported back to the days when I was a kid facing an entire playground with no one to play with. It was sometimes a scary place, but I quickly learned that the easiest solution for me was to just walk up to another kid, smile and say, “Will you be my friend?” They would always reply, “Yes!” We would then run off into the sunset, playing on the monkey bars and swing set, without another thought. (We had a friend to enjoy our time with.) No stress of “What if I’m not good enough?” No worries of “Will they like me?” No judgement whatsoever – it was that simple!

Kids love to smile! They have this innate ability to just smile at anything and everything that makes them happy! They are innocent and non-judgmental. That is why people are so open and loving to kids!

Kids are easy to approach; they don’t have any agendas other than to be happy. Imagine if we would all become more like kids, we would begin to attract amazing people into our lives!

For some kids, going away to summer camp and making friends can be scary. Here are some tools kids can use to make the transition much easier…

SMILE
When you smile, you appear warm and friendly, which instantly makes people feel at ease. Smiles are contagious. When you smile you will most likely get a smile back!

APPROACH
Go up and say hello to someone. Don’t wait for others to come to you. Someone always has to be first. Be that person!

COMPLIMENT
The easiest way to make someone smile is to compliment them. You can always find something nice to say. This will make you feel good too!

ASK QUESTIONS
Always be prepared with a set of questions that will help you start conversations. People love to talk about themselves! You can have a lot of fun with this and come up with some really interesting questions!

LISTEN
Listen with a real interest and give your full attention. You will be amazed at how many similarities you will have with people that will help you relate to them.

SHARE YOUR STORIES
Talk about the things that are unique to you. People love to learn interesting new things. You will also inspire others to share even more!

BE YOURSELF
Show your true self. You don’t have to pretend to be something better than the amazing person you already are. People will gravitate towards that honesty!

Take these new tools and Smile, Find a Friend, Play and Be Happy!


This advice isn’t just for kids. We can all apply this in our daily lives. So, enjoy your day and keep smiling!

17 Feb Seven Key Behaviors The Susquehannock Camps Develop That College Coaches Admire

Seven Key Behaviors The Susquehannock Camps Develop That College Coaches Admire

As you may know, The Susquehannock Camps Provide Multi-Sport Athletic Development & Confidence-Based Learning for Children Between the Ages of Seven and Sixteen.

Our Mission is to encourage the moral, social, and physical development of campers, primarily through the medium of team and individual sports. The program is designed to engender self-reliance, self-confidence, and leadership ability. In athletic competition, at the dining table, and in cabin life campers are taught tolerance and respect for others, how to deal gracefully with conflict, and a sense of fair play.

When children leave our camp, they return home as independent, high character, team- oriented, gritty, hardy souls.

Camp Susquehannock not only allows kids to have wonderful, fun-filled summers, but ultimately prepares them for their upcoming years of college and the rest of their life!

This philosophy goes hand in hand with that of many college coaches.

Marcia McDermott is a Positive Coaching Alliance National Advisory Board Member and Women’s Soccer Coach at the United States Military Academy (West Point). She served as an Assistant Coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2011. As a student-athlete, McDermott led the University of North Carolina to three national titles in 1983, 1984 and 1986, serving as co-captain in 1986 during an All-American season.

In an interview with the PCA, she highlights the seven behaviors she and other coaches look for in student athletes. These are the same behaviors and qualities we develop at Camp Susquehannock.

1. College coaches look for leaders who lead by example.

2. College coaches look for character – those who want to be good people, not just good athletes.

3. College coaches seek athletes that are, and want to be, good teammates.

4. College coaches look for athletes that respect their teammates and coaches.

5. College coaches observe interactions with family members to see how players value relationships.

6. College coaches look for athletes with independence, who don’t need someone else to lead.

7. College coaches look for athletes with a growth mindset, who believe they can develop and grow.


If you would like more information on The Susquehannock Camps please feel free to contact me directly. I can be reached at jbell@susquehannock.com.

17 Feb Patrick Mahomes: The Ultimate Example of Multi-Sport Diversification

Patrick Mahomes: The Ultimate Example of Multi-Sport Diversification

With the Super Bowl approaching much of the talk has been about the superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. His athleticism and ability to improvise make him one of the true icons of modern-day athletics.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports recently published an article discussing how multi-sport diversification turned Mahomes into the athlete and person he is today! Here are the highlights of the article I hope you enjoy…


Last Sunday, like most Sundays, Adam Cook made sure to get in front of a television so he could watch Patrick Mahomes drop magic on the NFL.

The sidearm throws. The no-look passes. The weaving scrambles. The never-blink comeback victories. This time it was Mahomes delivering 294 yards passing, 53 yards rushing and four touchdowns altogether to lead Kansas City to its first Super Bowl in half a century. The Chiefs will play San Francisco on Feb. 2.

When Cook watches Mahomes though, he doesn’t necessarily see what everyone else does, namely a 24-year old quarterback who might be the best football player on the planet. Instead he sees an athlete who stubbornly refused to settle on any single sport, let alone position on the field. As a result, Mahomes is now reaping the benefits of being among a dying species in a world obsessed with specialization at the youth sports level.

“Patrick is the poster child for the multisport athlete,” Cook said.

Cook was Mahomes’ football coach at Whitehouse (Texas) High School. He now serves as the school’s athletic director. He knows not just what Mahomes is capable of, but how he became capable of it.

The sidearm throws? Cook sees Mahomes on a Whitehouse High pitcher’s mound, working on release points and firing fastballs in the mid-90s.
“There are times he throws it 50 yards with what looks like a flick of the wrist,” Cook said.

The no-look passes or the hip shakes past defenders into open space? That’s Mahomes in the open court as the school’s starting point guard.
“He’d come down on the break, look a defender off and pass it for an easy basket,” Cook said.

The ability to read defenses and sense the tendencies of defensive backs? That’s the Mahomes who was willing to play safety his sophomore season as a more experienced quarterback started. “He had a knack for knowing where the ball was going to be,” Cook said.

“Because he played multiple sports, the overlay of all of those experiences and skills are there in the NFL.”

“It’s all just one game for Patrick. It’s always been just one big game, just on different playing surfaces. In high school football you are guaranteed just 10 games. Instead Patrick was always playing something and learning how to win along the way.”

Specialization is the trend in youth sports these days, even to a frightening degree. Forget three-sport high school athletes. It can be a challenge to find three-sport fifth grade athletes. The average youth athlete age 6-12 played 1.87 team sports in 2018, according to the Aspen Institute State of Play’s 2019 report. That was down from 2.11 sports as recently as 2011.

Critics contend that it isn’t healthy and often leads to injuries or burnout. Parents, of course, often feel overwhelmed by the business of youth sports and the fear of their young athlete falling behind.

“The goal is to make them athletes for life, not create the best 12- year-old athlete,” said Jon Solomon, editorial director of the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program.

“Patrick Mahomes is a good example of how cross-training can help in the long-term.”
It’s not just single sports that are focused on these days, but single positions within single sports. He’s just a QB. She just plays shortstop.

As a senior in football he passed for 50 touchdowns and rushed for 15 more. In basketball, he averaged 19 points and eight rebounds a game. And in baseball, he batted nearly .500 for his career, and when his fastball hit the mid-90s, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers.

Instead he headed to Texas Tech on a football scholarship, and he also spent one year on the Red Raider baseball team.

It wasn’t until spring of his sophomore season of college that he concentrated solely on football. He continued to play pick-up hoops until February of 2019, when a viral video of him playing outed him to the Chiefs. They promptly banned him from the court due to injury concerns.

The lesson for Mahomes is simple: playing three sports wasn’t a detriment to his development, it was an integral part of it. He was named the NFL’s MVP at just 23 years old due to his unique, multi-skill style of play.

“The mindset shouldn’t be, ‘I can do it,’” Cook said. “It should be, ‘I need to be doing it. I need to be playing all these games and getting all the experiences I can gain.’”


Our mission at The Susquehannock Camps is to encourage the moral, social, and physical development of campers, primarily through the medium of team and individual sports. The program is designed to engender self-reliance, self-confidence, and leadership ability. In athletic competition, at the dining table, and in cabin life, campers are taught tolerance and respect for others, how to deal gracefully with conflict, and a sense of fair play.

17 Feb Soccer Star Kristine Lilly Encourages Multi-Sport Diversification

Soccer Star Kristine Lilly Encourages Multi-Sport Diversification

Kristine Lilly is a four-time NCAA Champion at the University of North Carolina. She played in five World Cups for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, winning championships in 1991 and 1999. She is also a Positive Coaching Alliance board member and an assistant coach at the University of Texas.

She is an advocate of multi-sport diversification and believes single sport specialization can lead to burnout and over-coaching.

Please take a moment to watch this brief video with Kristine…