This question is asked by a lot of sport parents " what type of events should my athlete do to get seen'? Before I answer this I want you to know it doesn't matter if we are talking about SHOW CASES, COMBINES, TOURNAMENTS, and MEETS OR EVENTS. Getting out and competing against other student athlete's is good. Even better stepping out of your comfort zone by doing camps that draw from other states or are in other states so your student athlete isn't competing against the same athlete's all the time. As you travel you will find just how small the pool of recruits are in the different sports your kids compete in. So to keep this blog a little shorter and now that we know it really is the same across all sports I will use the word camps covering all sports. Also I must tell you I do some work with a football camp company called the Blue Grey and while some say I might swing info in their favor I will tell you I have worked for other camp companies and have the insiders view on competing at these camps.
So back to the question "What types of camps should my student athlete be doing to get seen". I am a firm believer you get what you pay for. For example a 40.00 local camp gets you working with a local group of trainers/coaches maybe. Your student athlete goes out and competes and has the best day ever, who knows? Who saw it happen? So really what did your money buy?
So now I am looking to go to a big time free camp like Nike Spark or The Opening or whatever they are calling it this year, Under Armour whoever . Most of the time the top kids coming are already on the radar expected to compete and being looked for. What does this mean for your student athlete? Well it was a free camp that 1000+ kids came to to compete so no out of pocket spent and really no recruiting done either.
Now we come to your national camp companies these camps offer a national data base that you can go to and look up stats after the camps are over. I know for a fact there are College and Prep School coaches use this as a tool as do recruiters looking for the next D1 student athlete or just the next paying client no matter what your being seen and that's exactly what you were paying for.
Then there are two types of college camps and they are all good. There is your college camp on a site selected by that school and you will be seen and they will check testing. Then there are college camps where more than one school takes part. These are also good because there are many schools and many coaches looking at you. Bottom line money well spent.
Camps with a rich tradition are always good because they have been around for a reason. When you as a parent go to these camps with your student athlete you will pick up on things like are they organized, do you see quality coaches like former Pro athletes, do you see the same faces year in and year out and last do they guard the data they collect? If a student athlete carries his own stat sheet vs does the camp invest in people to chat numbers? This is very important and means a lot to coaches that use them as a source for athletes.
So here is my advice to parents. (1) Always see what a national camp have to help your student athlete be seen. (2) Are they organized (3) Are they invite only or open to anyone that walks up. (4) Is there a path to something more? Always google the company read reviews and remember are there better than bad reviews. You know some people are never happy but are they small in numbers.
Here is my plan for my student athlete's do 2 major or national and you want to do them year over year. Take a trip and get out of your comfort zone and do some college camps. Their information can be found on their athletic site search camps. I would look at doing six to ten camps from Dec through July. Do not over camp your athlete it will hurt his recruiting.
My final thoughts on camps is "It's not about the cost because we all know quality isn't free it's about the experience and the exposure.
Well this is STRAIGHT FROM THE RECRUITING GURU!