Make the most of 2021 summer camps



Attending camps at colleges and universities plays a large role in college recruiting. Student-athletes who have started the recruiting process will likely receive camps invites from various programs this summer, but what does a student-athlete really get from attending a college camp? What should they expect? How do they know if they’re being recruited by that school? How does your family decide which camp(s) will benefit your athlete the most? Let’s look at how recruits can maximize their opportunities before, during and after college camps.

How to choose a camp

Attending camps and combines can increase your chances of receiving a college offer, but it can be hard to choose which invites to accept. The first step to make this decision is to consider camps at schools that you’re most interested in attending. Then you’ll want to determine if you will be attending the camp as a “recruit” or a “camper.”

What does this mean? If you receive a personal invite from a school’s coaching staff, it means they are on the coach’s radar and one of the select few invited to the camp as a recruit. If you received a somewhat generic invite to the camp, you’re probably a camper, not a recruit.

Keep in mind, there is still value in attending as a camper. The purpose in that case would not be so much to get recruited, but more of an opportunity for you to see how you stack up against other athletes and they may also get some great coaching advice on improving their game. If you’re not receiving personalized invites to camps yet, it might be time to reconsider your target list of schools and division level.

How to respond to a camp invite
Regardless of whether or not you plan to attend a camp, always respond. Ignoring an invite is never a good recruiting move, so if you don’t plan to attend, respectfully decline the invitation. You never know what will happen in the recruiting process, so it’s important to avoid burning any bridges with college coaches and programs. If you do plan to attend, let the coach know and follow the proper registration process.

What to do before attending a camp
Before attending a camp, you should evaluate whether the school is seriously recruiting you and if you are good enough to play for the program. How do you do this? Have your high school coach and/or their club coach email the coaches before the camp and send them their highlight or skills video. If the coach responds, they are probably interested in you and the camp may be worth attending. If they don’t, that school may not be interested. Athletes can also gauge coach interest from their personal conversation with them. If they hear something they don’t like, or the chemistry just isn’t there, it may not make sense to attend that camp.

What to expect during the camp
Recruits are tasked with the challenge of standing out amongst dozens, if not hundreds of student-athletes at camps. While college camps are good for exposure, it’s important to be realistic about the fact that some of the best athletes from the area, state or even national level will be in attendance.

Of course, coaches aren’t just evaluating your talent, they also want to see how you react to successes and failures, interact with their team and your body language throughout the camp. Your attitude is almost as important as your ability and that can make or break their chances with that coach. The key is to show enthusiasm and confidence without coming off as cocky.

What to do after attending a camp
Always reach out to a coach after a camp and thank them for the opportunity. While some athletes hope for a scholarship offer after attending a camp, this is not always the case. If they don’t hear from a coach after the camp, they’re probably not what that coach was looking for, but this doesn’t mean attending the camp wasn’t worthwhile. Recruits should take what they learned at the camp and apply it to their sport moving forward to show other coaches how they’ve grown.