I can only imagine the hundreds and thousands of dollars each year that are spent on football and basketball camps throughout the country. While I am sure everyone has dreams of a scholarship during that time, the realistic factor is that it rarely happens. I am willing to guess that the percentage is somewhere in the single digits.
But lets say you received a lot of interest from schools via the phone during May and you attend their camp. While you may think you did outstanding, how exactly do you know that you have been standing out against the stellar competition? Outside of receiving a scholarship offer, there are important things in each sport that show you have excelled against your opponents.
In football camps, the main thing that the coaches will do if they are pleased with a handful of prospects is pull them aside away from the bigger group. What the coaches are usually doing is having the best among that group go head to head and see how they react and respond when going each other. These talented prospects are no longer going against kids that hope to start varsity the next season. They are now going against potential college players.
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This happens very often at the line positions. As I have mentioned before, it is very easy to figure out the top few linemen at a camp where they go 1-on-1. The coaches may pull aside the linemen and have them battle better prospects on the side. While it doesn’t mean a scholarship is in the bag, it does show that the coaches have been watching you. And now you will have the opportunity to go against more talented competition.
Please note that all coaches are going to tell you throughout the camp that you are doing a good job. With the money that you spent to make an appearance there, don’t expect them to tell you suck and that you are wasting your money. Basically what I am saying is don’t put too much stock into what a coach tells you during drills.
Some camps may also hold the top prospects back after the day and have them tour the campus. If the coaches eventually feel that you are good enough for the offer, they want you are familiar with the school as possible. They use this approach in both football and basketball camps so them inviting you to stay later for a tour is usually a great thing.
In basketball camps, what a lot of college coaches will do is have their own players work the camps. The majority of the camps then will have games at night where the college players are playing pickup basketball. If a recruit does really well and shines during the camp, he will be asked to play that night against the college competition.
If you get that chance, let me stress that there is a huge difference between college and high school basketball. It will be a big change for you but you might as well give it your all. I have seen many college basketball coaches do this so they can get a feel for the player. Afterwards, the coach can talk to his players to see what they thought about you. While watching is a great tool, hearing from someone who just competed against you may be even better.
And the final indicator of a fantastic performance following a camp is having the head coach bring you into their offices (Expect huge offices for Division I coaches) and eventually offering you a scholarship. If that is not the case, get ready to hear the most over used line in recruiting. We will keep evaluating you and your progress this fall.