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Beware the Camp Trap

Spring means many things, rebirth, life, rejuvenation and the daily onslaught of the College Camp Invite. Thus begins the College Camp season and the daily onslaught seemingly does not end for the entire year. If you are a high school athlete, or a parent of one there’s no doubt that you have been barraged by a litany of invites. I have been asked many question by many parents about choosing a camp for their athlete. My best advice…avoid camps as much as you can and don’t fall into the Camp Trap.

I’m not picking on any one particular camp but I was recently sent information on a camp from one of my parents. This is a soccer camp.
You are looking at a 3 hour camp and they are charging you $140 to $155 dollars. For what?

Your athlete is not going to learn any skills intrinsic to their play and in 3 hours they will not be able to develop anything they are taught. Perhaps they will pick up a pointer or two, but then they have to develop that afterward on their own. And will they? Probably not.

This particular camp has 5 D1 coaches coming (all local to the camp) and the rest of the coaches are all D3 coaches.

Camps are usually disguised as ways for coaches to get their eyes on players that they are recruiting heavily. NCAA rules prohibit any contact outside of a camp and the camp is used to circumvent that rule. They have to charge for the camp and invite a ton of athletes so they can mask the real purpose of the camp, seeing their own hot prospects up close.

If you really want your kids to attend a camp, do so with no expectations. Just have them go and learn something or see how they size up against other players in the market. Understand the market as well. If the camp is in New Hampshire then you are only seeing how your athletes sizes up in New Hampshire. If you are attending a camp in a market where your athlete has no chance of playing in college, or doesn’t want to go to college, then you are wasting your time.

I went to the Penn State football camp between my Junior and Senior years in High School. It was a 3-day camp. We learned quite a bit and that was worth the money, but the most I got out of it for recruiting was one coach walking up to me while I was doing a drill and saying, “You’re going to play ball somewhere.” It was a nice ego boost but it didn’t get me an offer. That came much later on in the recruiting process.

There are no magic wands in recruiting. It’s about exposure, effort and making sure you have a very strong resume (Academics, Conditioning, Performance and Behavior). No camp will magically get you a deal.

Camps in general are a money grab. Proceed with caution and after thorough examination.
Hopefully this information will make you a bit wiser and help you avoid “The Camp Trap”.


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