USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Jason Smith is a former NCAA DIII athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
Want to squeeze in a college sports camp before the end of summer? We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re an underclassman looking to get extra training and conditioning at a skills camp or an upperclassman looking to forge connections with coaches, there are still hundreds of college camps left in 2019. Check out NCSA’s definitive list of remaining college camps for every sport except football, volleyball and soccer. Each event on the list includes the camp date, state, division level, camp type, age/grade level and cost.
Read more: Best remaining 2019 college sports camps
What does a college camp invitation mean?
Not every college camp invite means the same thing. If you got one from a coach you’ve been in touch with, that’s a great sign and probably means you’re on their radar. But if your camp invite looks generic, they most likely haven’t scouted you and see you as a camper—not a prospect. But don’t worry, a generic invite can be a great reason to break the ice. If you are interested in the camp, answer the invite by sending the coach your highlight video and asking a few recruiting questions.
How to make the most of your camp experience
Follow a few simple tips to get the most out of your college sports camp:
Get there early. Getting to camp early is a great way to make a positive impression on a college coach. It gives you an opportunity to warm up and chat with the coaching staff before things get underway. Double check registration and start times to ensure you’ll get there with plenty of time to spare.
Bring all the essentials. You’ll want to be at your best when competing in front of college coaches. Make sure you have all the equipment you need for your sport, as well as other essentials: water bottle, healthy snacks, athletic tape, running shoes and anything else you might need for an overnight camp. The camp website often has a detailed packing list, as well.
Stay positive. Coaches will be evaluating your character, perhaps even more so than your athletic ability. Coaches want to see how you compete against top competition. They want to see your reactions to success and failure on the court. It’s not just about your skills — coaches are looking for recruits who are coachable, resilient and have good chemistry with their teammates.
Check out campus. Stick around after camp and take a tour of the campus to determine whether you could see yourself going to school there. If there’s another college nearby, make the most of your time and check out that one, too. Seeing a campus in person can help you fall in love with a school — or bring a few red flags to light.
What are the three most common types of sport camps?
Prospect/ID camps: If you’re a rising junior or rising senior looking to get evaluated by specific coaches at specific schools, prospect/ID camps are the way to go. The schedule typically includes a few drills, followed by scrimmages and tournament play. In most cases, only the host school’s coaches and players will be in attendance to lead drills and evaluate recruits. If you’re hoping to get discovered at a prospect/ID camp, be sure to establish contact with the coaching staff before the camp.
Position-specific camps: Many sports offer specialized camps that are focused on offense, defense or a specific position. These camps mostly entail drills and instructional sessions as coaches from several schools teach campers about strategy and specific skills. While coaches and scouts might be there to evaluate a few players on their radar, your focus should primarily be on developing your game.
Skills camps and clinics: Like position-specific camps, skills camps and clinics typically emphasize training over evaluation. They are often geared toward underclassmen and offer campers a chance to improve on the basics and have fun playing sports. Coaches in attendance are mainly there to teach campers and lead drills.
Follow up after the camp
Reinforce the connections you made during your camp. After everything wraps up, be sure to follow up with the coach and send over any updates. Thank the coach for the opportunity and ask for feedback on areas to improve. Building relationships with college coaches is essential to staying top of mind and getting an offer.
Read more: How to email college coaches