#5: Stood out as a great player at a college or university camp
By the end of your junior year (or better yet, your sophomore season), if you haven’t been getting interest or offers from many schools, a great way to get on the map is by attending a university camp or two. It’s also a great way to
network with many other college and high school coaches who may also be able to help you with the process, along with getting the opportunity to see facilities and get a feel for being on a college campus.
Camps are an option to get your foot in the door but you will not directly be offered a scholarship on-site at the camp. NCAA rules prohibit against recruiting during camps, coaches are not able to “extend verbal or written offers of financial aid to any prospective student-athlete during their attendance at a camp or clinic.” BUT, it is a good way for coaches to put a name with a face, to give them a chance to see your size, speed and skill in person and for you to get to know the campus, coaches and program better. Offer letters may be sent days or weeks down the road after you have made an impression on the coaches.
Most coaches that I’ve worked for would at least give you a look at camp if you’ve gone out of your way to make that initial contact with them and to follow-up at check-in. Coaches naturally enjoy helping players and most will be happy to give you a 5-10 minute evaluation, even if you aren’t a player who they will likely recruit.
Have your highlights available to bring up on your smartphone or tablet on the spot and have a copy of your Student-Athlete Resume in hand. Or bring a copy of your game DVD or highlights to leave with the coaches. Take advantage of the few one-on-one moments you may be able to squeeze in!
They key to making the most of this process is accepting what the coach tells you! Do not get discouraged! Remember—go into camp with an open mind, relaxed heart and good attitude. Remember— when you put pressure on yourself is when you make errors that you wouldn’t normally make, so be sure to just RELAX and HAVE FUN! Most coaches truly enjoy helping you!
Make this a positive experience for your recruitment, not a negative one. You should take their evaluations and accept them—they are professionals and have evaluated players on a near daily basis for years. They know EXACTLY what they’re looking for in a recruit for their system, style of play and program. You can’t argue your way into a scholarship offer—instead, simply listen to their PRICELESS feedback!
Use this time to be productive—get the most for your money! You may only get two minutes of their time (if that) so understand that coaches will be honest and direct with you. Listen to what they have to say. If they recommend that you try smaller programs—do so! If they say they have a buddy who coaches at another school down the road, get their contact info and name and follow-through. It’s a foot in the door that you didn’t have yesterday!
Working to raise the money to pay for camp will be just another test of your mental toughness, a toughness that will be challenged daily whether you play Division III or develop into an All-Pro player. All champions have mastered the art of ‘finding a way’—and sometimes that starts with finding a way to work your way to camp!