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. Jaimie Duffek was one of the top 50 high school softball players in Illinois and went on to play outfield for Drake University. Jaimie is just one of many former college athletes 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.
Looking to compete in track and field at the college level? Whether you’re a sprinter or a shot putter, college track and field camps can help you perform at your peak and give you the exposure you need to get discovered by coaches. To help you save hours of research time, NCSA has compiled a list of every 2019 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III and NAIA track and field camp in the country. This definitive list includes the state, school, date, division level, name, age/grade level and cost of each camp.
What are the most common types of track and field camps?
Prospect camps: These one-day camps spend around 75 percent of their time on evaluation and 25 percent on training. In most cases, only coaches and athletes from the host school will be in attendance to lead drills and connect with recruits. If you’re already on the coach’s radar, attending a track and field prospect camp can be an important next step for your recruiting progress. Keep in mind that coaches are evaluating more than your time/distance. They also want to make sure you have the right attitude and approach to thrive in their program.
Running camps and clinics: Running camps and clinics spend around 75 percent of their time on training and 25 percent on evaluation. This category covers both basic beginner camps and advanced event-specific camps. These include sprinter camps, middle distance camps, hurdles camps, long distance camps and cross country camps. These camps typically range from 1-4 days and often include meals and room/board. Several coaches will often be on hand to lead drills and strength training. Experts may also lead educational sessions on nutrition, psychology, tactics and injury prevention.
Field camps and clinics: Field camps and clinics spend the majority of their time on skill development. This category covers throwing camps (shot put, discus, hammer throw), high jump camps, long jump camps and pole vault camps. These camps typically focus on strength training and technique to help field athlete improve their personal records.
Which 2019 college track and field camp is right for you?
If you are serious about competing in track and field for a particular school, you need to get evaluated by the coaching staff. Your best shot at getting evaluated in person is by attending a track and field camp. You can either sign up for that college’s camp or find another camp where their staff will be working. It’s not uncommon for Division II, Division III and NAIA coaches to volunteer at major Division I track and field camps.
Three keys to a successful track and field camp experience
You’ve researched your options and made your choice. How do you make sure the camp pays off? Here are three keys to getting the most out of your track and field camp.
Be prompt. When it comes to college track and field camps, early is on time and on time is late. Double check registration and start times and give yourself plenty of time to get warmed up before things get under way. You don’t want to miss any drills or instruction time.
Be prepared. Double check your bag to make sure you have all your equipment. Bring plenty of water, running shoes, track spikes, tape, Band-Aids and anything else you think you might need. If the camp is overnight, you’ll need to pack extra clothes, toiletries and bedding. Check the website — many camps include a detailed packing list.
Be positive. College coaches are looking for recruits who are coachable and consistently demonstrate a positive mentality. They’re evaluating your body language and attitude in addition to your skill. Staying positive and giving your best effort at all times will show coaches your mental toughness.
Follow up after the camp
After the camp is over, make sure to follow up with the coaches you met. Thank them for the opportunity and ask for feedback on ways to improve. Keep the conversation going by sending updates whenever you have something noteworthy to share — a new PR, footage from your last meet and your academic transcript are all great reasons to hit send.