It is always interesting when talking with athletes about what their plans are for summer football camps. These camps are obviously an important part of the recruiting process and something that needs some serious thought from both the athlete and their parents. But what is interesting when talking to athletes is them telling me that their dad has signed them up for State University and that they will be going to other big time programs around the country.
If your family has money and you grew up following USC, Texas, Ohio State, or any other national powerhouse, then there is nothing wrong with going to their camps for the experience. But if you go in thinking that you have a chance to get a scholarship offer from one of those schools, chances are extremely high that you will end up mistaken. But in order to get the best bang for your buck and be evaluated during the football recruiting camp process, here are some things to consider before mailing in that check or entering up the credit card number of your parents.
There are many summer football camps that are on the same week. What I would do in this situation is to think about all the schools that have been showing you interest at this point. I am talking interest as in more than a camp invite and a questionnaire. For example, ten schools are showing you interest and have sent hand written letters as well as invited you to games. On top of those ten schools, two programs have already stepped up early and called. One other has stopped by the high school and spoken with you.
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Now go to the website of all thirteen of those schools (this will be time consuming but good to keep a handle of things). If you search around on their football page, there should be a link that says camps (there may also be a camps link on the main athletics page that has camp information for all sports). Now get a calendar and write down the dates for all the camps that may apply to you. There may also be other senior only camps that need an invite so see what the coaches say if you speak to them.
What you want to be doing here is getting a feel for where the dates are of the camps. This will help you determine if you can get to camps at State University A, State University B, and a school like Notre Dame. I would then try to rank the interest that the schools recruiting you have shown. For example, the two that have called should be on the top of the list. Then the ten that have mailed are next followed by the one program that stopped by the school (expect them to drop some camp invites out).
If money, travel, and time is not an issue, what I would do is make sure to attend the two camps that called. They obviously are interested in you so it is important to get evaluated at their camps. A scholarship is the goal but being evaluated is what you need to do to get there. These camps are ones that you should go to but I would hold off on sending back the payment. The reason is because what happens if you signed up for four days at this camp and then suddenly State University C comes to the table with a call and the camps are on the same week. If no more calls come through outside of these three, I would attend all three as well as a camp that may be great for teaching and another stretch camp. A stretch camp is at a school that may be a stretch but could be a dream if you can impress them enough.
In most situations, you will also need to speak with the college coaches about attending one day of camp. I will talk about this more later during the week but one day of camp is definitely something you should be doing. If the coaches know what they are doing, they should be able to evaluate you over that period and get a feel for your skills. If they really like you, they will offer you. They may still evaluate you but attending three days at the camp isn’t all that beneficial, especially if there are hundreds of other kids there.
One day camps are the way to go is that they save money and allow you more flexibility in going to different camps. If you have the three camps that we talked about above and they are all in the same week, then one day camps are the only way to make this happen.
I would say once the month of May is nearing a close, what you should do is re-evaluate the overall attention that you have been receiving. Considering where schools stand with calls and then contact the coaches yourself and speak with them about possibly attending one day of their camp. In all honesty, if you are a priority to them and they know you will be there, they should have more than enough time to evaluate your skills. This is the best way to go about the camp process while saving money and going to schools that really are interested in you.