The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
College recruiting has evolved over the years and there is no doubt that showcases, showcase tournaments and camps are an important aspect of the process. College coaches prefer these type events because they can see many potential prospects at one time. Also, these events typically take place when the coaches have time to recruit, not during their season.
These days it is not unusual for families to spend a lot of money looking to land that college scholarship. Given this fact, it only makes sense to have a complete understanding of how these events work, how to get the most bang for your buck and what will render the best results.
Showcases and Showcase Tournaments
First of all, you have to understand that generally speaking college coaches don’t go to showcases and tournaments hoping to discover new talent. They go to these events to evaluate athletes they have identified as potential recruits and ones they already know about. They have a list of athletes to watch. If you aren’t on that list before they arrive, you probably won’t be on that list when they leave. For that reason, the key is to get on as many lists as possible. To do that takes a little preparation.
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Research each showcase you are considering and every tournament you are playing in. Make sure that colleges you are interested in will be attending. Then, reach out to the coaches at those schools expressing your interest in their program. Tell them you will be at the camp or tournament and if possible give them your schedule. You could also provide them with a link to your video and a copy of your recruit resume if you have one. At least that way they know your name before they arrive. Then, follow up with the coaches shortly after the event. Finally, don’t pick a showcase solely for exposure. Be strategic with your selections and factor in playing opportunities, coaching and the potential to improve.
School Sponsored Camps
School sponsored camps are similar to showcase events and believe me, the main purpose is to provide additional income for that particular college coaching staff. Understand this: You are not necessarily being recruited if you get invited to a school sponsored camp. There may be legitimate recruits at the camps, but 99 percent of the attendees are not on the school’s “short list” of scholarship candidates.
You should also spend a little extra time researching college camps. Most colleges are not going to ask the coaches from their rivals to their camp. For example, Auburn probably won’t be asking the Alabama coaching staff to attend their camp. So, just understand that the number of schools represented will most likely be less at a camp than at a showcase event. That being said, if you are interested in the college hosting the event, then attending that camp might be worth it.
Here’s the deal
Attend each showcase or camp for the experience of playing in front of college coaches and competing against quality competition. For every showcase or camp you attend, reach out to the coaches before and shortly after the event. Personal interaction pays big dividends.