Camps and Combines football Sport Specific

What Football Camp Is Right For You?

player realizes which was the right football camp for him
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(Flickr – K.M. Klemencic)

When last we talked to Coach Bob Chmiel, college football coaching veteran and recruiting expert at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, we talked about the best ways athletes can spend their summers to be impress college coaches with their progress. How you’ll be able to announce on social media that it’s #mytime2win when you get all of that increased attention.

We only touched on the value of college camps and combines, and which are most worth attending.

Getting countless flyers in the mail at home, at school, receiving tons of email, and hearing what camps friends and teammates plan on going to can often leave a family completely confused.

On top of it all, camps can be very, very expensive. Financially, it may be realistic to plan on one or two camps over the summer which, again, leaves you in the tough spot of narrowing down your choices.

Here’s the bottom line: with the right plan and approach, camps and combines can be used to your advantage in the recruiting process. So: how should an athlete decide when and where to attend a camp?

Coach Chmiel has expanded on the camp and combine portion of his list. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right camp or combine for you.

Find the camp that fits YOU, not your friends.

The value of a camp or combine all depends on your personal circumstance. While it is fun to attend camp with friends or teammates, using a particular camp to your advantage for your particular skill level and/or future possibilities may mean branching off on your own.

Know why you want to attend the camp.

If a college coach has invited you to attend his or her camp, pick up the phone, and call him or her and ask why they invited you. If they can definitively tell you they invited you because they are interested in you for a roster spot – and it’s a school you’re interested in – I recommend you attend their camp.

Know who the coaches will be in attendance.

Now, if a coach is not inviting you because they are interested in you, do not write the camp off until you find out if there are coaches from other schools working the camp. Many coaches from other colleges will work other school’s camps over the summer. If there is going to be a coach from another college you’re interested working the camp, keep it in consideration – it could be a great way for a coach from another school to get to know you and watch you play.

Maximize the amount of camps you can attend.

Hands down I recommend attending three camps that are each one day long over one three-day camp. A coach is going to know in the first day of looking at you if he is interested or not. If you have to pick one or the other due to schedules and finances, risking your time and money on a three-day camp won’t give you half the exposure three separate one-day camps can give you with colleges and coaches.

Use your time at camp to learn about the coaches.

Don’t just consider coaches finding out more about you at a camp. Consider using camps to decide if you are whole-heartedly interested in them. If you are aware of a program’s interest in you, and are deciding between a couple of schools, attending camp can be a great tool in getting to know a campus, school, and staff better.

Always give back to your high school coach and keep the hometown advantage.

A last piece of advice when it comes to college camp attendance that often gets overlooked: if your high school coach is holding a camp, do whatever it takes to be there for him or her and do whatever you can so you don’t miss their camp. Even to attend a college camp. Helping your high school coach at their camp is a great way to be a team leader, help the local community, and build a bond with your high school coach and teammates, (or mend any differences). Your high school coach’s recommendation is going to be imperative in your recruitment – think before doing anything that could jeopardize that relationship.


We’ll keep highlighting Coach Chmiel and other recruiting experts’ knowledge on the blog. And we hope you’ll show off how you’ve used that knowledge with #mytime2win.

But if you want personal guidance on what you should do, our scouts are always available. Get started with a recruiting profile.

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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.