Summer athletic camps help take student-athletes to the ‘next level’


This past summer 18 Campbell High students enrolled in the Sabers Elite Summer Camp for Athletes to receive more mental and mobility training, which is not covered during the athletic season.

​By Alyssa Francesca Salcedo

For the third year in a row, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) offered free athletic camps over the summer to help student-athletes physically and mentally prepare to compete in seasonal sports at the high school and collegiate level. 

Some of the athletic camps were dedicated to particular sports, including girls volleyball and boys basketball, while others focused on broader skills spanning multiple sports. High schools that offered summer athletic camps this year were: 

  • Campbell High
  • King Kekaulike High
  • Leilehua High
  • Moanalua High
  • Moloka‘i High
  • Radford High
  • Waimea High
  • Waipahu High

Along with physical training, the programs are also required to have some elements of college and career readiness and social-emotional learning (SEL). Student-athletes also work on their personal transition plan (PTP).

Campbell High’s program, the Sabers Elite Summer Camp for Athletes, started as a way for student-athletes to get reacclimated to sports after the pandemic forced schools and athletic programs to shut down. The camps now provide opportunities for student-athletes to receive more mental and mobility training, which is not covered during the athletic season. This past summer, there were 18 students enrolled in the program. 

Guest speakers are also part of the program. One of the speakers, a strength and conditioning coach from the University of Pittsburgh, shared with students how he prepared athletes through nutrition and strength-building. 

Incoming senior girls soccer player Sierra McElhannon said she found it fun to listen to the presentation and the recommendations he gave athletes to improve their skills within their sports. “Maybe one of us will go down that career path he took, so it was really cool to see what he had to say,” McElhannon said. 

McElhannon credits the camp for emphasizing the importance of mental training for athletes to perform at their best. “I feel more confident on the field because of the mental skills that we’ve learned,” she said. For example, she said she learned a flush-it routine that’s designed to help athletes stay focused by helping them to learn from and overcome their mistakes when playing.

“I’ve seen all the athletes come through here and they really enjoy what they’re learning and they can actually apply it,” Campbell Coach David Perreira said. Students in the program are given tools like success checklists, performance strategies and accountability partners to help track and evaluate their progress.

Perreira said that developing a championship mindset and supporting their teammates using the strategies they’ve learned in the program improves the whole team’s performance. “I know a lot of these athletes want to go and play at the next level, playing in college, maybe professionally,” Perreira said, “so hopefully, you know, what we’re giving them here is some tools that they can use to help them get through this high school season, and then, hopefully, eventually, get onto college and play ball.” 

For more information or questions about the summer athletic camp program, please contact your child’s high school.



Alyssa Francesca Salcedo is a summer intern with HIDOE's Communications Branch. She graduated from Waipahu High School with the class of 2023 and is planning to major in journalism at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. 


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