There is a laundry list of tactics prospects and families can carry out to increase their visibility and grow awareness with college coaches. Whether you plan to attend multiple showcases and invitational meets, or take several road trips to colleges and universities, you want to be sure your effort is measurable. This article focuses on attending specific college camps and utilizing this opportunity as a key recruiting tool in the college quest.
On-campus sports camps are becoming more popular, and for good reason. Not only do college coaches who host summer camps reap the benefit of bringing talented student-athletes to the university, they also have the opportunity to evaluate that talent in the comfort of their home base, while offering prospects a first-hand look at campus through a “pseudo” un-official visit.
Prospects can benefit from this on-campus experience as well. Since the event is held on-site, it provides prospects with direct access to the coach and with very few NCAA recruiting restrictions. Not only will the athlete have the ability to take part in an exciting camp experience, he also has the opportunity to form the foundation of what can potentially become a mutually beneficial relationship with coaches and players.
This opportunity gives the prospect tremendous laterality in maximizing NCAA contact rules and probing the coach about the program, philosophy and where he stands as a future team member. Creating a strong and detailed information base will only assist the prospect and family navigate the college quest with greater confidence.
Obviously, spending a week at a college camp can take a chunk of time out of your summer and determining whether the intent to attend a college camp is to have a fun experience, or to develop a strong connection with the institution, the coach and the program is essential. Considering the college recruiting process has accelerated to the point where college coaches are committing to prospects during the early high school years, it will best serve families to step up their college effort sooner than later.
If the coaches have been tracking your progress, then attending their camp makes greater sense. Consider the following questions before you take the plunge:
- Have I introduced myself by e-mail to Coach and expressed my initial interest in the program?
- Has Coach had the opportunity to evaluate my talent as a student-athlete either on site (meets) or by video and/or personal profile?
- Have I connected directly with coach by e-mail or phone to discuss his program and communicate my preliminary interest?
The point here is a simple one. If you are considering investing time and money to attend a college camp, then get the best bang for your buck. If you are registering “high” on Coach’s radar and his institution ranks in your top tier of schools, attending camp could be a wise choice.
When all is said and done and your camp experience is behind you, what is it you hope to gain? Personally, I would want to leave knowing I 1) drove my skill set and awareness as an athlete to a higher level, 2) I had the chance to interact with the coaches and gymnasts and I gained a greater appreciation for the institution and 3) I communicated to the coaches my sincere interest in the program and walked away with sound feedback to where I currently stand as a prospect.
Attending college camps can offer prospects the chance to drive their skill set to higher levels. It may also provide additional benefits that will likely cultivate stronger recruiting relationships with specific college coaches in an effort to streamline the college search. Evaluate your current position in the college search, determine your course of action and close in on recruiting opportunities that are right in front of you.
About Tom Kovic:
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com
Editor's Note: Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service. Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.