Q: Is it a waste of time going to a camp that I wasn’t invited to?
A: No, in my opinion, camps are almost always a positive experience. During my years organizing a Top 25 camp, most of the players who came weren’t invited. They signed up on their own and showed up to compete, so don’t feel out of place.
And during that time organizing such camps, we would invite players who had media or scouting buzz, who once we got on campus we realized weren’t a good fit for what we were looking for. We also had players who we’d never heard of show up and play their way into getting recruited, some players who eventually went on to earn scholarships.
For many athletes, schools may not always come find you, you may have to go find them.
Even if that school doesn’t have any interest in recruiting you, there are a few good takeaways from camps:
– See where you fit in. There will be other players from the area, state or even nationally there and it will give you an idea of where you fit in, in terms of what level you may be playing at. You may be untested versus weak competition during the regular season but get a reality check going against players from a bigger pool. You may get knocked down at camp, but it will only help you understand the level you need to be at and what your competition looks like. Use it as a measuring stick!
– Motivation. Again, you may be untested at your school or playing versus less competitive opponents. You may get knocked down at camp… but if you are a competitor, it will be in your mind all year and push you to work harder. The recruiting process for many of you will not be easy and this may motivate you to understand how tough it will be and give you motivation to work harder.
– Drills: You may pick up some new good position drills to do on your own and learn exactly what the coaches are looking for at your position. Ask the coaches: “What do I need to get better at and what drills can help me?” Take something away from the experience that you can use! Ask questions!
– Other coaches: Most camps hire additional coaches to come work their sessions, many are other college coaches from smaller programs from the area. Get to know all your coaches, you never know what they’re looking for or who they know. Be vocal with all your coaches, tell them you want to play in college and ask them for advice. Some may have no leads for you but others may not be able to help you get the process going.