I 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.