Story: Choosing a Summer Camp

How to Make a Good Decision


All junior players who are receiving recruiting mail at this time of year are being deluged by camp brochures from respective college football programs. Of course, all want you to hurry up and send in your application accompanied by appropriate deposit. Now before you pressure mom and dad to hurry up and write the check, let’s take a look at summer camps and what really happens.
There are two kinds of summer camps. Traditionally camps have been around for a long time and most of them are usually three-day camps, although many are five days. The one-day mini-camp has grown in popularity over the last ten years. Which type of camp you attend depends on your objectives.
If your purpose of attending a college summer camp is to get better as a player, then you should choose a multi-day camp. Spaced repetition is the best learning tool and you will have an opportunity to learn many new techniques and have the opportunity to practice them over several days to get better. If you are an underclassman, i.e., sophomore, freshman, or junior high, you should be attending this type of camp.
However, if you are a senior to be and your purpose is to impress a college staff for recruiting purposes, then your choice should be the mini-camp. Attending three different mini-camps in three days triples your “exposure” vs. attending one school’s three-day camp. The first day of a three-day camp often resembles a mini-camp anyway, with some sort of “combine test” (40,shuttle, bench press, vertical jump, etc) and some basic position specific drills. If the camp is a multi-day camp, these tests and drills serve to ability-group players for the drills that follow. If the camp is a mini-camp, then you go home at the end of the day. Either way, you have probably tested the same things.
If you haven’t yet received a scholarship offer, then by all means, you should be attending camps. Summer camps form the third evaluation window that we discussed a last week. It provides you with an opportunity to further impress a college recruiter. After the first of May, college recruiters are allowed to call junior prospects on the phone. As a prospect you should pay attention to which schools call you, because they are showing a lot more personal interest that those schools that have only sent you form letters. Your camp choices should probably come from that group.
If your choice is to attend a mini-camp, remember that most of those are not overnight camps, so no advance deposit is necessary to hold a bunk in the dorm. You do have time to see who calls and then decide which camps to attend.
If you are fortunate to have received a scholarship offer (s), then you should be deciding to attend camps held by the offering schools. With the pressure on for early commitments, this gives you a chance to visit the campus, work with your potential position coach, and perhaps reach a decision. Those schools recruiting you who have offered scholarships will be expecting some type of feedback following your camp attendance.
So take your time, consult with your parents and high school coach, and make good decisions.
Next week we will discuss the spring evaluation period and what happens during the May phone calls.