The One Thing
If you could do one thing to create an opportunity to play sports at your dream school, what would it be? What would make sure a coach sees you play and knows you personally?
How can you accomplish these two most important pieces to have a college coach say, “I would like you to be part of my team”?
My top tip for gaining exposure to college coaches is to attend camps at the universities you are considering. Not only are you showcasing your talents for coaches at these camps, you are also developing important relationships.
The Value of Attending College Sports Camps
College Sports Camps are an excellent way to increase your exposure to college coaches. If you meet a coach on your recruiting trip you can get to know each other. If a coach comes and watches an event you are competing in they can see your ability.
But there is nothing as valuable as combining these. Imagine yourself on campus, on the actual field you dream of playing on. Imagine being coached by the head coach (or even the assistant coaches), having them take the time to correct and teach you. In between training sessions, you may find yourself eating with a member of the coaching staff or some of the current players.
A weekend at camp gives you a chance to get to know the coach and the campus, especially if you go back more than one year. Coaches will often choose to recruit a known quantity, someone they are familiar with. You can find camps advertised on the team’s webpage. Camps allow you to begin when you are in ninth grade or earlier.
Realize that the coach has two primary motivations in running these camps: extra income and finding players. It is important to understand the money aspect, because these camps will be open to all levels of players. Anyone can come. Every player increases the money coaches can make running the camp. Many of the players attending the camp will not be asked to play on the college team.
How Important is it to Attend a College Sports Camp?
More important for the coach, however, is finding potential players and developing relationships with the players they are already recruiting. The coaches are looking for those few players who could have an impact on their program.
When I had well established camps at my college, 60-70% of my team had come through those camps.
Attending a camp doesn’t guarantee you a spot on the team. These camps may or may not lead to anything, but you’ll always learn new skills and have fun.
A camp at a college whose level matches your own, increases your chances of finding a coach who wants you on the team. Attending several of these will often open doors that otherwise would not exist. This is networking. College coaches often work each other’s camps. You may go because you like the university where the camp is, and end up meeting a coach from another college.
Coaches also talk to each other. If you develop a relationship with a coach who does not need you, try asking for recommendations of where you might fit. When asked, I have called or emailed other college coaches to help athletes that attended our camps. And more often, I will give a player names of coaches and tell them to use me as a reference.
At these camps be on your best behavior. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Go, have fun, work hard and have a great attitude.
The Relationship Factor
Pretend you are the coach of your high school or club team. You have to fill a few spots for the upcoming year. You have hundreds of players who have come to try out for these spots. As you sit on the side watching them play, who do you choose?
All things being equal in talent, would you choose the players you know or the ones you don’t? It is no different with the college coaches who are looking at you. You need to develop relationships with college coaches. And there is no better way to do this than attending their college sports camp.
Next, take a look at First Contact With a College Coach.
LIKE WHAT YOU READ,
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