Recruiting Camps Exposed!

Recruiting Camps – EXPOSED!!

Whether or not you are new or not to the recruiting experience, recruiting camps are confusing. What are they? Are they all the same? Do college coaches actually come? Are they worth the money? Part of the confusion starts with the many terms used to describe a recruiting camp.  You will see recruiting camp, prospect camp, evaluation camp and others. Are they all the same?

Essentially, there are two basic types of events.  First are ones at which NCAA coaches are allowed to participate on the field as “instructors.”  Second are those that have the feel of a softball combine where players showcase their skills in front of college coaches.  In the latter event, the NCAA coaches do not participate on the field or in any fashion, they are merely recruiting. The NCAA prohibits their coaches from working this type of event unless it is a “camp” with instruction an integral part of the event. (Note:  Junior College and NAIA coaches do not have any restrictions when it comes to recruiting events and, therefore, may participate in either).

Most of the confusion arises due the lack of standard terminology and the mixing of terms crossing over between both types of events.  The NCAA allows an event to be called anything.  This means Evaluation Camp, Prospect Camp or Recruiting Camp may all mean the same type of event OR not!  Does that help clear things up?  I don’t think so!  Bottom line, do your homework They are not all the same.

For clarity, let’s call a “camp” an event at which NCAA coaches participate and a “combine” an event at which players showcase their skills without an instructional component. Based on this description, below are some points to consider when deciding on attending these types of events. Remember, this description isn’t what you will always see at these events, I am  just trying to differentiate between the two for the purpose of this article

Do college coaches actually attend?

Camps – Camps are generally geared around specific college coaches who host the camp.  For instance, say your favorite college softball team hosts a softball camp.  This event will be designed to provide instruction by a handful of college coaches, and sometimes the college team’s players assist, giving you the opportunity to be seen by these coaches.  However, the number of coaches is limited to a specific college or maybe a combination of two or three different colleges working together.  Yes, these coaches may be “recruiting” as well, but only a handful will attend.

Combines – College coaches like the combine.  The coach is guaranteed to see a player perform her skills and can see many players in a very short period of time. Just attending a college showcase, a coach doesn’t have this same guarantee.  Based on how a game plays out, the player may never get a ball hit to her during the game and/or may be walked every time she comes up to bat.  This is what makes the Combine a great partner to the college showcases.  The coaches can attend the combine, assured to see the players’ skills and, then can watch those they are interested in pursuing further during the game to see the intangibles such as attitude, leadership, game presence, and hustle.

The number of recruiting combines has exploded, and coaches do not attend them all. It is not unheard of to attend an event at which no coaches show. Buyer beware!  Research your event to see if it has a good reputation for college coaches attending.  Potentially, in a combine you can be seen by more college coaches than at a camp type event where you most likely will only be seen by the coaches working with you.

It is also important to remember that as a potential college recruit, the best approach to the combine type event is to invite your list of college coaches to attend.  Recruiting is most successful when the player has continued contact with specific college coaches and builds a rapport with them over their recruiting years.

The bottom line, if you go to a camp or a combine, know which you are attending and set your expectations accordingly.  Do your homework, communicate with coaches and then attend the event giving your best every second.

What college coaches participate in the Combine and which at the Camp? 

For the college camp, look at the list of college coaches participating in the event.  Ask yourself, what schools are they from and are they a good fit for my skills as a softball player?  You don’t want to show up at one of these events hoping to be discovered.  There will be a limited number of coaches and part of what they do is to fundraise for their team.  Do your homework ahead of time and research the schools and email the coach if you decide to attend.

What about the Combine?  As we mentioned above, ensure you are attending a quality combine.  College coaches don’t always say they are attending these events because they don’t want to be slammed with thousands of emails, most of which come the week before the event.  Don’t expect to be discovered by the attending coach, market yourself Let the colleges you are interested in know you are attending and invite them to come see you.  Don’t wait until the last minute! Start talking to them about attending the event weeks or even a couple of months ahead of the event and invite them to come see you.

Are you getting value?

What do you get with the event?  Are you being seen by the schools  that fit your academic and athletic requirements?  What else comes with the event?  Answer these questions to help understand what you will get out of the camp or combine event.  When looking at the combine event, look for companies and event hosts that have a reputation for their quality and features that assist you in the recruiting process.  Some events have more value than others.  Again, do your homework!

FPOS Recruiting Camps with Virtual Showcase

The great feature of an FPOS Recruiting Combine is that not only are you seen by college coaches at the event, but a video is taken at the event and made into a “Virtual Showcase.”  This Virtual Showcase is emailed to over 2000 college coaches with information about each player so that when they find a player of interest, they have the ability to contact her for future recruiting.   This way you are seen by the coaches at the event and many, many after the event is over.  Additionally, college coach will have the video at their fingertips should they want to take a look again.  Once you leave most Combines, a college coach is left with only the memory and written notes for a specific player.  Coaches love the ability to look at a skills video to refresh their interest.

FPOS Recruiting events come with a 1 month Gold membership where you can learn about the recruiting process and how to find the right college fit.  Participants in an FPOS recruiting event can also purchase a “miniskills” video of their  individual performance in the event and upload it to their personal recruiting page as well as email it to college coaches. This is a very inexpensive way to get a skills video to better market yourself to the colleges.

In evaluating recruiting events, keep your expectations in check.   These events are tools in the recruiting process. It is still up to you to have a plan and execute that plan.  Ask questions and find out the details of the event. Treat this like any other purchase and ask yourself if  you are getting value for your purchase.

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