Softball camps, clinics and showcases: What’s the difference?



Camps, clinics and showcases are packed with benefits for softball recruits. These events provide hands-on instruction and training and give you an opportunity to showcase your skills and interact with college coaches. And if you’re interested in attending the host school, these events give you a chance to explore campus. At the Division 1 level, 60% of softball coaches find the majority of future student-athletes at camps, according to a recent NCSA survey.

How can you find college softball camps?

When you enter “college softball camps” into a search engine, over 39 million results come up.

Fortunately, NCSA has stepped in to save you hours and hours of research time. Check out this definitive list of every NCAA D1, D2, D3, NAIA and Junior College camp in the country for 2019. The list of nearly 800 softball camps includes the date, location, division level, age/grade level and type for each camp.

What are the different types of softball camps?

Prospect camps are usually one-day camps where the host school’s coaches and players lead athletes through a variety of drills and evaluations. These camps are heavily focused on skills evaluation: 75% of the time is spent assessing talent, 25% is spent on drill work and training. Since the host college is typically the only program in attendance, prospect camps are useful if you’re interested in a specific school or are already on the coach’s radar.

Skills camps and clinics make up the majority of softball camps. The schedule is usually split between 75% instruction and 25% evaluation. These camps typically last 1-3 days and overnight camps feature a steeper price tag to cover meals and room/board. Some camps offer general skills and instruction for a complete experience while others are more skill-specific and target hitting, pitching, catching or fielding. Coaches from as many as 12 schools will be in attendance for instruction-heavy skills camps and clinics, so you’ll benefit from expert position-based coaching.

Showcases and team camps are large tournaments where you’re evaluated during live gameplay. Ranging from 1-3 days, you’ll participate in a series of scrimmages against other club and high school teams. Showcases and team camps typically follow a schedule of morning training sessions followed by scrimmages in the afternoon and evening.

There are usually 10 or more coaches in on hand to evaluate athletes. Before you go, research what coaches will be in attendance and reach out to the ones you are interested in. Send over your schedule so they know where you will be at all times.

Which softball camp is right for you?

All the different camps, clinics and showcases can provide benefits for your recruiting process. If you are early in the process, the heavy focus of hands-on training from coaches at skill camps and clinics can help you hone your skills and interact with a number of coaches from different programs. This can help you determine which coaching style and personality you prefer. Showcases and team camps are the best place to be evaluated by a large number of coaches. These events are a good choice if you’re at a high-skill level but don’t have a specific school in mind.

If a school catches your eye and seems like the perfect fit, prospect camps will be most beneficial to you. Like skills camps, you’ll be able to learn more about the coach’s leadership style and personality. However, the emphasis is on skills evaluation. If you’re an eligible junior or senior, you could even leave with a scholarship offer in hand.

Follow-up is key

No matter how you choose to schedule your camp season, you are going to be one of many attendees at any event. Contacting coaches early and often is the best way to maximize your efforts. Make your interest by sending emails and letting them know your camp schedule.

After each camp, personally thank all of the coaches in attendance. This puts your face in their memory bank and leaves a positive impression. Send a follow-up email to thank the coaches for the opportunity and ask for feedback on skills you can improve on.

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