Can You Handle What Happens at Elite Camps and Combines?

choosing a summer camp or combineYou know the expression, “Be careful what you wish for”? It applies to the elite athlete Spring/Summer camps and showcases held every year. These camps are often hyper-focused on one thing – finding the best talent and having them compete against one another.  Although some of these camps are invite only, many are open to willing participants who are able to manage the expenses. The problem is that during these camps, if you don’t get in the right group, game, or drill, you run the risk of going unnoticed. Unless…

You’ve probably heard the age-old story of the unknown kid that goes to an elite camp and comes out with coaches beating down his door. The good news? This happens. Sometimes. The bad news? In most cases, an unknown athlete that goes to camp will go unnoticed. Worse yet, you will probably be over-shadowed by an elite talent. With limited opportunities to attend camps and showcases, it’s important that you attend those that will benefit you the most. Here are some things to consider.

Coaches will go where the best are playing one another

In most high school competitions you are lucky to have one elite-level recruit. As a high-school athlete, you may not have a lot of experience competing against athletes on an equal or higher caliber than you. Camps allow coaches to bring elite talent together to see how they compete against one another. Your performance from these brief encounters holds much more weight than a season’s worth of video against low-level competition. You can make or break your chance with a particular coach at one camp.

Coaches aren’t just watching the play

Yes, coaches are looking for elite sport performance. But they’re also looking for positivity, and the ability of one athlete over another to work as part of a team. Coaches often evaluate an athlete’s body language more than their actual play. If you show a bad attitude or your body language indicates you are backing off the competition – coaches are taking notes. If you do poorly, don’t compound the problem by having a bad attitude about it. The key is to show enthusiasm and confidence (even in the face of adversity), without showboating or acting cocky.

Give coaches what they need to evaluate you

Coaches are creatures of habit and tend to recruit from the same areas each year. This means they are attending the same camps and showcases and unless you are there, don’t expect them to know who you are. You pick the schools you want to get recruited by, contact those coaches to find out where they recruit and then pick the camp or showcase you need to attend.

Do you belong against the best?

I’m going to give it to you straight – elite recruits have serious athleticism. They are big, strong, and fast, and the average high school athlete wouldn’t stand a chance against them in a one-on-one drill. Be honest with yourself: do you belong in that drill? If you do, great! If you aren’t sure, chances are you don’t. This doesn’t mean college sports aren’t right for you, just that the top D1-level might not be right for you. The same mistake happens often – an athlete wastes valuable time in the recruitment process by trying to break into an elite camp when they should be attending a camp for a D2 or NAIA school to establish a relationship with the coach there.

Picking camps and showcases is a critical component to any recruiting process. Feel free to contact me on Google+ or simply leave your questions in the comments below and I can help with any specific question you might have.