So Many Camps, So Little Time

Which camps should you send your player to? It depends on what you want to get out of them. Not all camps are created equal.

Editor’s Note: Many softball players hope to play softball at the college level. Understanding the recruiting process is one of the most difficult tasks facing a softball player and her family. We are going to share our insight into this difficult process through a series of weekly tips.

Once upon a time we ran camps because we wanted to help players learn more about the game.  Players went to camp with the goal of becoming a better player and, hopefully, having a little fun.

Things have changed. Camps have become big business over the past decade. They’ve also become a crucial part of the recruiting process.

First and foremost, all camps are not created equal. Different camps are designed with different agendas.

Exposure Camps: These are where many schools are represented. The idea is that these schools are there to actively recruit players in attendance.  Having worked many of these camps I can say that many of the coaches attending are there to recruit. Others are there to supplement their income and have no interest in any of the players there.

Harsh, I know, but no one said we would like the truth.

If you attend an exposure camp hoping to be discovered by one of the big-name schools working there, I think you’re likely to be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you already have a relationship with a school and they are represented, then I think this can be a useful recruiting opportunity for you to take advantage of.

On-Campus Camps: With these, a school’s coaching staff is hosting the event are another option. If you are seriously interested in a school, you need to attend their camp. These are a great opportunity for you to get to know the coaches better and for them to have the chance to get to know you.

Having hosted many camps over the years, I can tell you that when a player misses out on these opportunities that it sends a negative message.

The real challenge for you as a player is to decide if the school you are interested in is interested in you. If you aren’t sure, before you pay for camp, contact the coaching staff and ask them what they think.  You may have a great camp and show them why they should be interested in you.

You can also go old school, and attend a camp to learn about the game, with out the worry of recruiting. For younger players, camps that are big on instruction are opportunities to improve your skills and are still a homerun!

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