Athletic Recruiting Camps and Combines

What Is The Point Of Athletic Camps And Combines?

coach helps football players achieve scholarships to play sports in college

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the modern recruiting process–for everyone, not just for student-athletes–is that it’s complicated, and therefore confusing. The number of college playing opportunities, multiplied by the number of recruits trying to find a roster opening, squared by online highlight videos to the power of your SAT score…

Ugh. Math. This is why I still have nightmares about pre-calc.

While there’s no silver bullet for recruiting, educational resources like our webinars or our scouts’ one-on-one conversations about the recruiting process are starting places to set your expectations about where you are in the recruiting process today, and where you can be before you get to college.

And setting expectations, in addition to minimizing the worry and frustration of seeing the few young recruits who every year create headlines, particularly when their father is LeBron James, helps you keep in perspective the purpose of camps and combines.

Which is…what?

The combine period has recently come under fire as the “Underwear Olympics” in an article questioning what the point of athletic camps and combines is. But as BleacherReport also writes,

It just depends on what you’re specifically talking about. If it’s player rankings, consider them more for the fans and less for the college coaches. If it’s camps and combines, consider it as another avnue for a college coach to put in evaluation time.

Another way to clarify the distinction is to separate out trying to get a gold medal for participating and trying to get the best experience you can, whether it’s learning a couple new skills in a camp, or setting a new best time in a combine.

“The training you can get at a camp or a combine will help you provide coaches with third-party information,” Dane Clark, football account manager at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, says. “That’s why we have the NCSA Verified ID, a full body photo of the athlete that includes their information and measurements, as a free resource at many camps and combines in various sports.”

For example, we’ll be at the 2015 Rivals Combines from Yahoo!Sports, and other camps, tournaments, showcases and combines for players in most of the 29 NCAA sports in which we help students. You can follow along with us on social media with #mytime2win.

But will coaches discover me at a camp, tournament or showcase?

I don’t want to get away from that initial shot fired: Are these events the “Underwear Olympics”?

As with so many witty quips, I don’t think that captures the full picture. It doesn’t account for the expectations you have for the event. If an event in your sport is being hosted at a university you’re seriously considering, at the very least you can see what it’s like to be on that campus, and maybe even meet the coaches and athletic staff. “That’s a major way for college-bound lacrosse players to think about opportunities available to them,” Jesse Churchward, head lacrosse recruiting coach at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, says. “You can think smartly about what camps or showcases you want to attend.”

Former college football coach and NCSA national speaker Bob Chmiel says that players in all sports should ask coaches if they’ll be at an event ahead of time. “I recently visited a combine and was shocked by how large the whole apparatus was,” Bob says. “There are so many time constraints when you’re on the road, as a coach, and doing these things. I’ve seen coaches get frustrated and move onto the next individual because they can’t find a player. Get your information to that coach ahead of time, and you’ll find the coach is happy with it.”

If you’re contacting a coach before an event, remember these tips:

  • Make sure you know who you’re addressing. Don’t write “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • The more conversations you’ve had with a coach before you ask if they’ll be at an event to meet with you, the better; you’ll both have a better sense of how you might fit into their team.
  • Attach a link to your NCSA Athletic Recruiting Profile so they can see your videos.
  • Be enthusiastic, especially if the coach won’t be able to attend the event.
  • The more you help coaches find you at the event, the more likely you’ll see each other at the event.

If you have more specific questions about how you can use events to further your recruiting–and not as “Underwear Olympics”–we’re here to help.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.