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How Football Camps Can Help with College Scholarships

Learn about the best football camps with help from NCSA

Football camps play a significant role in the college recruiting process. If you're hoping to get one of the roughly 30,500 NCAA college football scholarships available each year, expect to attend some sports camp, combine or showcase. Even a high school athlete hoping to play as a walk-on or get noticed by a non-NCAA school should go to an offseason football training session. 

Sports camps offer a way for student-athletes to improve, learn new techniques and show off their skills. While the high school football season may present the most glory for a young player, college scouts don't get to attend many of these games. That's why most camps are scheduled during spring and summer when college coaches have more time to focus on recruiting. Some invite-only football exposure camps explicitly target players who are already far along in the recruitment process.

Since there are many types of football camps, it's important to consider which ones will be right for you. For example, many youth football camps are designed to help players just starting to develop their gridiron skills. Advanced players may get more out of attending one-on-one clinics or combines that test their abilities.

How do football camps make you better?

The best camps will feature reputable organizers along with experienced instructors who have played at the college level. Many programs are built around different practice regimens, such as football weight training, or have access to professional-level facilities.

The goal is to offer you something different from what you would get out of a regular high school football training camp. When you go to a skills-building football camp, you can expect the program to include any of the following:

  • Position-specific drills
  • Small-group learning sessions
  • Team scrimmages
  • One-on-one workshops
  • Off-field lectures
  • Game footage studies
  • Football weight training
  • Football speed training

College camps also help players get used to practicing in new surroundings under different types of coaching methods. While you may not like the style of training at first, it's important to get exposed to new techniques. Such details will be important when you're looking for a college program that suits your talents. Ultimately, a football camp should provide you with some healthy challenges or some recruiting benefits.

How much do football camps cost?

When you search the internet for "football camps near me," you'll find programs at many different price levels. The cost of attending a one-day showcase at a college will usually run under $100. For a local multi-day football camp, expect to pay over $100. The price could go up to $2,000 for a week-long stay at an elite high school football overnight camp.

Generally, the more expensive football training programs include charges for room and board, food and equipment. These high-end sports camps often feature famous instructors and current professional players. While a more expensive price tag usually denotes a higher quality football camp, this is not always the case. It's generally more worthwhile to pay for a program with experienced instructors rather than just a superstar guest.

What types of development football camps near me are offered?

For younger players who have yet to start the football recruiting process, there a variety of development camps. Most of these are summer camps with sessions divided up by age and weight. Athletes as young as eight years old may attend day camps, which could last anywhere from four to nine hours. While younger kids usually start without pads, older players will get a mix of full contact and pad-free drills.

Overnight football camps are generally available for players starting at middle school age. These youth camps are meant to give early teens a head start on high school competition. However, some colleges will start looking at players before they ever put on a varsity jersey. Therefore, these summer football camps present the first opportunity to get noticed by coaches. As student-athletes get older, the overnight programs also offer a great chance to meet new friends and get a taste of the college lifestyle.

Some of the most elite programs are college football camps for high school players. These on-campus sessions often utilize the same facilities used by the college teams. As development/skills-building football camps, they are designed to help underclassmen reach the next level. Nevertheless, it's essential to compete at these sessions like you're fighting for a starting position. In a way, that's what you'll be doing. Members of the assistant coaching staff will be in attendance providing instructions and scouting for talent. Furthermore, you'll be able to get highlight clips that could attract recruiters.

What are the best football camps to go to?

In addition to the on-campus college programs, there are many great football camps put on by established third-party organizers. These football camps run the gamut from position-specific sessions to skills competitions and combines. The following are some of the best organizations you'll find when you search for "football camps near me."

USA Football camps: As the national governing body at the amateur level, USA Football partners with a variety of notable associations, including the NFL, NCAA, and AAU. There are more than 100 annual USA Football camps held in locations across the country. The non-profit organization is specifically known for promoting its Contact System, a framework for blocking and defeating blocks.

Nike football camps: Nike is partnered with US Sports Camps, an established leader in athletic development training. Together, they offer dozens of camps in 12 states for players ages 8-18. Many Nike football camps focus on football speed training and programs modeled off NFL mini-camps.

Under Armour football camps: UA's season for high school football camps, which runs February through April in various cities, often attracts significant media coverage. This is because some of the top camp participants earn the right to play in the UA All-America Game. Under Armour, football camps feature position-specific drills and combine-like competitions.

IMG Academy football camps: The IMG Academy is a prep boarding school in Bradenton, Fla., known for featuring state-of-the-art practice facilities. If you aren't lucky enough to attend as a student, you could still go to one of the IMG Academy football camps, which are available for ages 8-18. Virtually every position gets its dedicated football camp at the IMG Academy.

NUC football camps: If you perform well at a National Underclassmen Combine event, you can expect recruiters to notice. These combines/showcases held in dozens of cities challenge high school football athletes to a variety of skills competitions. More than 10,000 NCAA scholarship recipients have attended NUC football camps.

Read about the best football camps with help from NCSA

Are there specialized football camps near me?

Every camp has drills and groups that break off to focus on specific positions. There are also some important showcases just for linemen, such as B2G Battlefield, and quarterbacks, like the Elite 11 Finals. However, many traditional high school football camps don't focus on two of the game's most important positions — kicker and punter.

Student-athletes hoping to get recruited for their team’s abilities should consider attending dedicated football kickers camps. Clinics have instructors experienced in the nuances of kicking, punting, long snapping and every other facet of special teams. While many college programs don't offer scholarships to incoming freshmen kickers and punters, they're still looking for football commits at these positions. Some highly regarded football kicking camps include:

What are football showcases and combines?

Development camps are meant to help players get better. Showcases and combines give upperclassmen a chance to show off their skills. These events are essentially evaluation tools for coaches. That's why all attendees should show up in good health and ready to compete. Even though these events are put on by third-party organizers rather than college programs, they're often covered by media and help players gain an online presence.

Showcases are generally invite-only football camps featuring the best high school players in the nation. Even if your game footage looks great, coaches will be even more impressed to see highlights of you playing with other blue-chip recruits. The trend among many showcases is to hold 7-on-7 competitions. After participating in an exposure event, a top player may get ranked on a football recruiting website.

Combines give players the chance to collect verified stats to use in a recruiting profile. While you may have clocked yourself with a fantastic sprint time, coaches will only trust the numbers collected by reputable third parties. A typical combine will test players at drills such as the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. Before attending, it's important to complete some football weight training and football speed training.

Do division 1 college football programs recruit from camps?

Find out more about the best football camps with help from NCSA

Third-party showcases will attract recruiters, but on-campus college football camps are still how most players get in-person attention from coaches. All major NCAA Division I programs (both FBS and FCS) hold college football recruiting camps. However, the most massive recruiting gets done at the invite-only showcases for upperclassman.

VIP recruits and potential football commits will likely get invited to one-day evaluation camps, which could include everything from combine drills to 7-on-7 competitions. This is where you can seal the deal and win a scholarship offer. These college football recruiting camps also give you the chance to see the campus and get a taste of the playbook. If you're considering offers from multiple schools, such visits are crucial.

How to get an invitation from a coach to football camps

Players who've ranked on recruiting websites can sit back and wait for coaches to contact them. For the other 99 percent of athletes fighting for scholarships, however, it's necessary to be more proactive in the recruiting process

Researching programs and being realistic about where you might fit in as a player and student is essential. You should reach out to coaches personally and send them your highlights. Unless you're playing at a top prep school, chances are recruiters won't see your team play. Attending a non-invite football camp will increase your visibility.

What are recruiters looking for at camps?

The athletic potential may be the No. 1 quality that coaches are looking for in recruits. However, several off-field qualities rank nearly as high. Coaches will be observing you the moment you arrive at a football camp. The way you carry yourself and interact with others is essential. If you prove yourself to be a leader and good teammate, you could earn a spot on the roster. Coaches also like players who have their academics in order. After all, a scholarship won't do much good if you can't pass admissions into the college.

How do I find football camps near me?

If you're chomping at the bit to earn an athletic scholarship, you're probably asking, "where can I find a list of college football camps?" You can start by browsing through this NCSA list of camps, combines, and showcases. Be sure to think about which type of football camp will be best for your goals and skill level. Ask your coaches and teammates for recommendations as well. Even if you don't want to attend a local college, it's wise to inquire about football training programs at nearby campuses. You can check out this free NCSA database of college football camps for high school players.

Get more about the best football camps with help from NCSA

Connecting with college football coaches

Everyone knows that being a standout football player involves a lot of practice and dedication. Earning an athletic scholarship also requires plenty of effort. That's where Next College Student Athlete can be helpful. With NCSA's vast online network, players and coaches can find each other and take the next step in the recruiting process.

There are more than 35,000 coaches that use the NCSA platform. This expansive network has resulted in more than 90 percent of U.S. collegiate athletic programs having at least one NCSA athlete on their rosters. Coaches like the network because it's easy to use and provides a variety of recruiting tools. With over 2,000 reviews, NCSA has earned a Google rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Finding the right college football program

Be more proactive in your football scholarship hunt by creating a free profile on NCSA. The interface allows you to include relevant information, statistics, highlight clips and more. On the coaches' end, they'll be able to view your profile, follow your progress and send you notifications. NCSA also employs a team of recruiting experts standing by to help you through the process. Start your profile today or call (866) 495-5172 with any questions.

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