In the past, I have talked about why college camps are a money maker for the coaches at the school. There have been very few exceptions (I will talk about one later that I am aware of) to this. As an athlete during the recruiting process, you may be sent an invite to a college camp and think that is something that could eventually lead to a scholarship. While that rarely happens, there are some good things that come out of college camps.
The area that I have never really talked about before is that while at college camps, other schools are working the camp as well. For example, if you have dreams of playing at the big in-state school, you are going to attend their camp. But chances are slim that you are good enough to play at that high of a level. Other coaches, from Division I-AA, II, III, NAIA, and Junior Colleges, are likely to be working for prospect themselves..
The problem is that when kids have to pay hundreds of dollars to attend a camp, they are not their trying to wow the Division II coaches in attendance. Seriously, how many seniors do you really think pony up the money to go to a camp without at least a hope of showcasing their skills into a scholarship offer? That is why it is very important to pick camps on improving your skills..
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Before deciding on where you will camp, you really should take all of the recruiting aspect out of it. You need to go to camps that will help you become the best player you can be. Obviously most seniors are paying the money to try and be recruited by the odds of leaving with anything but a t-shirt and a pat on the back are slim. So if you have been named All State or All Conference, chances are good that camp invites will eventually come..
What you should do when receiving those invites is talk to coaches and other players who have been to camps before. It always seems that some of the smaller camps are the ones that are the most fundamental and important for the athlete in the long run..
If I had a son who wanted to play Division I football, I would pick two camps that focused on recruiting. As mentioned in other articles that were written by parents and athletes, just go to one day of the camp. If it a senior elite camp, go to one day of it. If it is a week long camp, just attend for one day. Make sure that the coaches are aware that you are coming. That one day should give them more than enough time to make a decision based on your abilities. It is pretty obvious what level you can play at in a day..
Then I would have my son go to one or two camps, depending on the schedule of his high school football team, that focus on improving and becoming a better player. Learning the techniques that college coaches will teach you is worth the price. Obviously these camps will be expensive but you are saving money by going to just a day of recruiting camps..
A few camps stories that I feel inclined to tell that I have heard over the years. The first two will be negative ones and the last will be positive. A few summers back, a big in-state school sent out the camp invites to players all around the State. They had a really good year on the football field so interest in their camp grew. Some players went to the camp to see if they were good enough to earn a scholarship and ended up being one of seven hundred campers there. That number is amazing for a camp. The chances of the coaches not being completely over whelmed are small. It was not a surprise when the players left with no offers..
The second camp story camp this last summer. A running back was one of the few juniors named All State in his area so it was obvious he was good. He received the camp invites and decided to go to a camp out west. At the tail end of the camp, the prospect was talking to one of the coaches. This was the first time the coaches actually realized who the prospect was. He had taken a flight, paid for the camp, and did all of these things and the coaches were not sure who he was..
The final camp story is from a basketball program that is working to get themselves among the elite in the country. I spoke with their coaches about them having an elite camp. After making money from other kids at camps, these coaches wanted to have a great elite camp. Instead of charging hundreds of dollars, they bumped the price down to around $50. That was to cover the food and lodging. This would be a great camp to attend because the competition is top notch and the numbers are small. Throw in the price and it is easy for anyone to attend..
Anyways, I would keep the number of camps to a small total but it may be worth seeing because other coaches will be there. But keep in my mind that just because you were invited to a camp does not mean they are recruiting you..