Updated: Jul 22, 2020
If it's possible, attending the right camp this summer is even more important in your recruiting timeline than it has been in the past. Even while I write this I understand that schools could very easily NOT have the opportunity to have camps this summer. But we will deal with that when we need to.
Camps and clinics have always been a great recruiting tool. For those athletes that aren't able to make a campus visit, it is the best way to get them excited about a program. I think most college coaches across the country feel the same way, "If we could just get them to campus..." then they would fall in love with the school and program. For the most part that is what camp is all about; getting recruitable athletes to campus so they can experience everything the school and program has to offer. But there is another side to camp as well and that is to make money for the program. Now, this differs between programs because there are some schools whose location is a huge detriment for big camps, so many of these programs do simple smaller camps that tend to be way more recruiting focused. In many ways club volleyball has created this scenario because parents don't want their daughter attending a large, mass populated, camp. They want to be "invited" to a small, "elite" camp. In general that's how a lot of college programs are doing their camps, with smaller more focused clinics. Which can sometimes make picking the right camp even harder as some schools will still hold large (40+ athletes) camps, because they only have a short window to even host camps in their facilities.
Families are also restricted in the amount of time they have to attend camp. The club season stretches until the 1st week of July with club tryouts the following week and high school season starting the week after that. Most families barely have time to take a break or go on vacation, so they certainly don't have the time to run across the country attending camps.
So, one of the things I started doing in my recruiting seminars was telling parents that "they needed to get past the camp talk with college coaches." The new rules have made it mostly impossible for a young athlete and her family to figure out which schools are the most interested. Unless the family has someone working closely with them to help wade through the countless emails and snail mail many athletes receive.
When looking at your camp options for the summer I think it is important to consider many different variables and situations. Camps could potentially cost hundreds of dollars and days or even weeks out of your summer. Not to mention the physical toll on your athletes that it takes to participate in these camps. Below I've listed a few things to think about and consider when making your camp decisions.
5 Things to consider before committing to a camp:
1 - Does this camp match with some of the other camps I have been invited to?
2 - Have I received anything other than an email camp invite?
3 - Have I seen the coaching staff on my court?
4 - Do I know if anyone else on my team has been invited to this camp?
5 - Will they know my name when I arrive on campus?
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