Summer learning extends to playing fields

football catch

The University is hosting 52 sports camps this summer, which draw thousands of young athletes to campus. The camps are led by Princeton's varsity coaches, who are assisted by student-athletes. Gary Goff (right), wide receivers coach for the Princeton football team, led campers through a drill on running routes and catching passes.    

softball coaching

Cristina Cobb-Adams (left), a 2006 Princeton graduate and assistant coach of the University's softball team, worked with softball campers to develop their fielding skills.       Photos: Brian Wilson

softball in mitt

The University's summer educational outreach programs are not confined to classrooms and laboratories. Thousands of young athletes come to campus each summer to learn the finer points of 17 different sports, taught by Princeton's varsity coaches and student-athletes.

Over the course of this summer Princeton is hosting 52 sports camps for boys and girls ages 5-18. The campers learn basic and advanced techniques and strategies on the field, while their instructors also provide their perspectives as collegiate coaches and athletes on the benefits of higher education.

"As coaches, we really enjoy working with these student-athletes on a number of levels," said Roger Hughes, Princeton's varsity football coach. "First, it gives them a great perspective as to the opportunities an education from Princeton provides. Second, it gives us an opportunity to improve their skills. Third, it is a way for us to 'reach' players through football to stress to them the importance of both excelling academically and the value of hard work and making decisions that will lead to high character. It is our hope that every player who attends will leave here a better ambassador for the game of football.


Tight ends coach Ron Wisniewski (left) and running backs coach E.J. Henderson (center) showed the young football players how to properly take handoffs from the quarterback.

"On a personal level I really enjoy camp because I feel it gives me an opportunity to give young adults the opportunity I never had," Hughes added. "Growing up in small-town Nebraska, I wasn't exposed to the Ivy League. Therefore, I had no idea as to the quality of the Ivy football experience and the benefits and opportunities a degree from a school like Princeton brings. It's a chance to help young people improve both their football skills and hopefully teach them about the type of habits that will make them successful for the rest of their lives."

Football draws the largest number of participants -- with some 400 overnight attendees and 300 day attendees at the three camps, which all are being held this week. Campers receive instruction from Hughes and his coaching staff, as well as some 30 outside college coaches.

Camps also are offered in baseball, basketball, cross-country, fencing, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, track and field, water polo and wrestling.

In total, the camps will draw between 5,500 and 7,000 attendees. Camps range in length from two to six days, with 13 day camps and 39 overnight camps offered.

Some 100 Princeton student-athletes work as instructors at the camps, which are run by the Office of Conference and Event Services with support from the Department of Athletics.

For more information, visit the Princeton sports camps website.

football charge

Henderson instructed campers on their footwork techniques.