How to Avoid Wasting Money on Camps

parent questions about campsI received an e-mail from a parent asking several great questions about choosing camps for their athlete to attend. I wanted to share the questions and my answers as  blog because in my experience, many families struggle with the same problems.

How do you handle the overflow of invitations to camps? Which ones should you really go to? Coaches invite all athletes to their camps. Is that fair to the athletes truly interested in going to that college?

For any athlete, invitations to camps will fall into two categories. Either they come from a school/coach you have been in contact with or it is coming from a school you have had very little communication with. It’s important to remember an invitation to a camp is not a sign of serious recruiting interest. Coaches invite hundreds of athletes to camps because they are money makers for their program. The facts are, they are only evaluating a small portion of the athletes at camp as recruits there for their program.

In order to make sure you aren’t just a camper there to make the program money, go to the camps at the schools where you are getting interest before the camp invitation. This means you have exchanged emails and phone calls with a coach long before they sent you a letter or email inviting you to camp.

Always respond to an invitation to a camp. Even if you are not interested in a school don’t just ignore the invitation; politely decline and thank the coach for the invitation, you never know how things might change down the road.

Should athletes be given more specific information on which positions they are looking to fill?

Knowledge is power in recruiting and coaches are only go to give a recruit the information they think they need in order to get that athlete to commit to their program. If you have a particular piece of information you want to know about a program, it is on you to ask. Most of the time a coach will answer an athlete’s questions about how many recruits they have for a specific position, rarely will they offer up that info without you asking. The facts are, coaches are recruiting several athletes for any open position. The odds are never in your favor. Because your chance with any one school is actually pretty small, you need to have several programs interested in you.

What if someone wants to play at a college and they get an invitation to their camp, but they later find out there is only one spot available—and it isn’t even their position?

This is why you need to have multiple schools on your list. There is no guarantee that the year you are coming out of high school a program is going to have a need at your position. If you find out a school doesn’t have an opening where you play, then attending camp at that school is not going to do much for your recruiting. If the schools is one really high on your list and you are willing to take a chance on a position opening up late, then you can go camp there. You will be going into camp with the expectation that you won’t be getting serious interest and it will be on you, to keep in contact with the coaches after camp.

The decision of which camps or showcases to attend is never straight forward. You need to consider what you want in a school and the interest you may or may not be getting. If you have questions about identifying camps, you can ask in the comments below or on social media.

25 Responses to “How to Avoid Wasting Money on Camps”

    • David Frank

      Prospect camps are run more like combines. You will run through most of the typical combine work-outs and go through one on one limited contact drills. Three day full contact camps are exactly what they sound like. Three full days of camp that usually include full contact scrimmages and drills.

      Three day camps are usually focused a little more on teaching and coaching, where prospect camps are designed to evaluate recruits and not as focused on teaching.

  1. Tony Atkins

    With then number of camps available and a limited amount of money how would you choose a camp? We have not been contacted yet by a school but would like to get our soon to be Junior some experience and exposure.

    • David Frank

      I would start with contacting schools and finding interested schools. Start off with an online profile, highlight video and emailing coaches. Once you have a couple schools who are interested, you can decide if you want to attend their camps.

      Attending camps and hoping to get discovered there is always risky and not something I recommend for families with limited funds. Does your athlete have a profile on our network?

  2. I am a baseball student athlete and would like to attend showcases/prospect camps but there are so many out there. How do I decide (taking money and travel into consideration) which one to attend?

    • David Frank

      Contact the coaches at the schools you are interested and see if they have any camps or combines they recommend. If you have to make a decision right away, Baseball Factory is usually a well run combine.

  3. My daughter is in her first year of high school, so we are considering attending a few camps during the Spring/Summer, or should we concentrate on showcase/exposure tournaments? Not sure which one is more beneficial at this point.

    • David Frank

      If she has specific schools she is interested in, I would consider attending the camps there. If not, focus on the tournaments/showcases and make sure you are emailing the schools you are interested in and letting them know where she is playing. If you are thinking about attending a camp more the the instruction and not the recruiting exposure, that is fine, but just make sure you understand specifically what you want from each camp.

  4. Our daughter is an equestrian. Do you have any advice or information about scholarships that are available? She is very interested in the program at the University of Georgia. She is currently a junior.

    • David Frank

      It depends on what division level he is looking to play, what schools he is in contact with and how far you are willing to travel. The best camps to attend are the ID camps hosted by the schools you are interested in and who are already showing interest in your son. If you don’t have any schools interested in him yet, I would start by emailing coaches before I sent to camps trying to get discovered.

    • David Frank

      If you are choosing camps just to get discovered by college coaches, you are going to have a hard time find the right ones. If you don’t feel like these camps are going to give you the exposure you are looking for, skip them and spend your time putting together highlight tape and sending it to coaches.

    • David Frank

      If you have been regularly emailing and feel the types of conversations and invites are beyond the generic letters to come to camp, then yes it is a good idea.

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