Today I am on my way to Schaffhausen. One of the approximately 1,000 sports camps organised annually by MS Sports in Switzerland has been taking place here since Monday. This week alone, 25 sports camps will be held. Ten teams play simultaneously on the five football pitches. I hear motivated shouts in German and French, but also sterner-sounding voices giving instructions. 20 participants and three coaches will stay overnight at Schaffhausen Youth Hostel during this camp. One of these coaches is Patrick Schneuwly.
Footballer and coach out of passion
Patrick has been actively playing football since childhood. Unfortunately, he had to give up his professional career for health reasons. He now passes on his dream to his two children and the camp participants with lots of tips and tricks. In real life, he is a sports coordinator and event manager.
Patrick found out about the MS Sports camps by chance from an acquaintance. His officially recognised coaching licence and the motivation to actively coach children led him to the training camps four years ago. His flexible job allows him to do this. Many coaches work part-time or have special arrangements with their employers to engage in such activities mainly during the school holidays.
These are the aims of the coaches
“The aim,” Patrick stresses, “is to challenge each child individually.” Going beyond one’s limits is actively encouraged. Especially in the camps lasting several days, a bond can be built, says Patrick.
Of course, I want to find out from Patrick what happens when a child or teenager gets, shall we say, “cheeky”. The answer is simple and apt: You get a yellow card or a red card. The boys and girls are responsible for keeping their dormitories tidy. This area is outside the playing field, so to speak.
The children are aged between six and fifteen. Only about nine per cent of the 78 children participating in this camp are female. But the trend is rising.
The highlight of each camp is the closing ceremony. These are touching moments not only for the camp directors and coaches, but also for the participants and the parents who are often present.
And of course, there is the one or other lasting moment. Patrick immediately remembers a small incident three years ago. In a camp in Bern, Antonio, a six-year-old little boy with Italian roots, is terribly homesick. When they have Spaghetti Napoli in the evening, all is immediately right with the world again. From this moment on, he also enjoys the camp to the fullest.
The interview partners on this summer day in Schaffhausen: Patrick Schneuwly, 50, lives in Krattigen and is a passionate footballer and father of two children.
Have you or your children ever been to an MS Sports camp and do you have a special memory? Let us know in the comments.