When it comes to the baseball recruiting process, perhaps the most important factor is “exposure, exposure, exposure.” Baseball camps, showcases and tournaments offer the opportunity to put a student-athlete’s skills and talents in front of the very people they need to impress. The fact is, very few student-athletes advance to the college level without participating in them in some way, so making an informed decision on which events will be most beneficial to the athlete in the recruiting process is essential.
Whether student-athletes have been sent baseball camp or showcase brochures because they’re actively being recruited, or are simply in some type of database or on a list that a coach purchased or obtained, the question is the same: How important are these player platforms? Are they worth the money? Will they help in the recruiting process? We’ve provided the answers in this section. Checkout another article on baseball camps, showcases and combines, or read this article on NCSA AAU baseball showcases.
Finding the right event will depend largely on the athlete’s age and skill level. Attending a baseball camp as a freshman or sophomore is primarily to learn more about a program, to meet coaches personally, learn their coaching philosophy and to evaluate the campus. When deciding on camps as a freshman or sophomore, the most important factors are:
For upperclassmen, the best way to decide on college camps is to figure out how interested coaches are in the recruit as a prospect. Again, if the coach has seen the athlete play in a game, at a showcase, or another camp then it is highly unlikely they need to evaluate them at their camp again. The most important factors when deciding on camps as an upperclassman are:
Another factor in choosing a baseball camp is which college programs will be participating. If several programs in which a student-athlete is interested in will be attending, it may be a good event to attend to showcase the athlete’s skills to multiple coaches. Recruits can determine this by attaining a list of participants prior to the event. If there are only one or two programs on the list, then it may be better instead to attend one of their individual college camps.
Insider tip: As a freshman or sophomore, it might be more beneficial to attend a baseball camp closer to home rather than spending time and money to attend camps further away, unless the recruit is going to be in the area for travel or vacation.
Baseball showcases are often hosted by third-party groups and include workouts and at least one game. They do not always include instruction. Some of the most prominent baseball showcases are:
The point of baseball showcases is for athletes to get legitimate, measurable numbers in order to demonstrate their abilities to college coaches and scouts. Showcases can also be a good way for athletes to show off their skills in front of college coaches.
Over the past decade, the growth of travel teams and private-run competitions has superseded the importance of high school teams in terms of generating exposure in the recruiting process. Travel ball tournaments offer coaches the opportunity to watch hundreds—if not thousands—of prospects in one location or weekend. They give student-athletes the opportunity to display their skills in front of multiple coaches—ideally representing schools on their target list—and to gauge the caliber of the competition.
Which event will be most beneficial for the recruit? Attending the biggest events can be a double-edged sword. College coaches will want to be where the largest collection of athletes will be, but that also means it’s easier for the recruit to get lost in the shuffle. Generally speaking, coaches attend these events to evaluate the list of athletes they have already identified as potential recruits, and not to discover new talent. It is up to recruits to be proactive in reaching out to coaches and making sure they get on that list.
Timing is also an important factor. Division 1 coaches, especially, must abide by the recruiting calendar. Student-athletes are advised to confirm that any event claiming that Division 1 coaches will be in attendance is taking place during a recruiting period when they are allowed to attend.
There are some events that generate media exposure. College coaches may not attend these, but may still be monitoring them. Find out what kind of follow-up and outreach these events do with college coaches before deciding whether or not to attend.
Insider tip: Follow up with each coach of interest after attending their university camp or receiving new combine numbers. This is key to staying on their radar and building a relationship. Athletes should ask the coach directly if they had a chance to evaluate them and if they had any feedback. It’s OK for recruits to ask where they stand in their recruiting class. Learn more about establishing contact with coaches.
These camps or events are hosted by outside organizations and are designed to provide athletes with exposure to a broad group of college coaches and scouts. Most third-party camps have hundreds of athletes participating, which makes it unrealistic to expect a coach to evaluate every athlete in attendance. These camps are typically more expensive than the other camps, but if athletes do their homework, they can be beneficial. Similar to baseball tournaments, athletes should make sure they are on coaches’ radars before the event.
At baseball camps (also known as baseball clinics), recruits will receive specialized instruction in fielding, pitching and hitting, often by college coaches and staff from the college hosting the event. In addition to connecting with college coaches, athletes also benefit from instruction at a higher, and possibly even pro baseball, level. Recruits are able to play against the athletes they are competing against for roster spots and see what level of competition is out there. If a coach is unable to come see a recruit compete in person, these events can be a great way to get evaluated.
Most college baseball camps don’t require an invitation to attend, but that doesn’t mean recruits need to attend all of them. Athletes need to be honest about their abilities and expectations. If they are not likely to play Division 1 baseball, they shouldn’t attend a camp at a Division 1 school with Division 1-level recruits.
Insider tip: Multiple colleges might be represented at a single baseball camp. Potential recruits who cannot make it to the specific camp of a target school should find out if the coaching staff will attend other camps. Finding a baseball camp at which multiple target schools will be participating offers more bang for the buck.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.
We are continuously adding new camps to this list, so check back often to find more camp opportunities! If you have any questions, please give us a call at 866-495-5172.