In today’s world there are many parents that think they need to attend every camp under the sun. The fact is many people are being exposed by for profit entities that only want to get into parents wallets and not help kids. Many hustlers are promoting activities targeting the 3rd grade through 9th grade sports enthusiasts. A travesty because these events have no value and are revenue generators. These monies you are spending should be saved for college visits during the athletes sophomore to junior transition and/or most definitely the spring and summer of the athletes junior to senior year. The media often sensationalizes stories like youngsters being offered a scholarship as early as six grade and put on some arbitrary recruiting website. Even a younger golfer that can swing a club. All great achievements but rare instances that marketing companies thrive on to sell you their products after focusing on some rare talents that will of course turn your athlete from good to better. The fact of the matter is no college really is actively recruiting at such a young age. Especially since the body develops well past the teen years. However, It is different for the female athletes because they tend to develop quicker than their male counterparts. That is why you see soccer, volleyball and lacrosse players gain more attention and receive committable offers at ages 15, 16 and 17. The common practice is for a rising junior in high school to be evaluated when headed into his or her senior year. However, now everyone is trying to fast-track their college programs into a winning program. So we are seeing many schools jump the gun prior to the national letter of intent day often called signing day to secure athletes.
In past years we always saw closers, these were normally the head coach that came to visit you at your home in order to sell you their college or university. Now the trend seems to be graduate assistants and player development departments that will identify you after obtaining varsity film on your athlete. Depending on the high school it could be a freshman or it could be a rising senior that is what leads to a lot of confusion. Many people feel they have to be on the radar at such an early age and the mere fact is many universities or colleges want to get to know you not only as an athlete but as a person. So it probably in your best interest if you research and attend three or four schools you really want to attend before you decide to go to 40 different camps over the course of two or three years. Attending multiple events shows most coaches interested in an athlete that you may not be interested in them and they will move off of you during the evaluation process because you are not committed to one program.
Many college coaches have stated probably the most important persons responsible for a student athletes success is the head coach and councilor. These names or persons are always requested on college questionnaires and they are part of the process of 4 years of high school.
The jury is still out about supplementing your progress with specialized training. Many question if athletes are starting too young and risk future injury. Also being away from your teammates and coaches who are trying to bond and form a cohesive unit. Often the agenda of a college coach is to seek quality athletes that buy into team work and have good character.
One college football coach said, ” specializing is not a requirement. We like multiple sport athletes. Also I never had to spend money on sit ups and push ups and had a hell of a core body. I get it but wouldn’t suggest spending large amounts of money outside the four walls of your high school. In recent years high school programs have upgraded facilities and have fine strength and conditioning staffs. Recreation centers are also a great source for FREE. But I get it, people need to be motivated and congratulated on a daily basis so that’s what you pay them for, motivation, I guess. Different from my day when it was about sweating your ass off with your brothers. Yes sir the dynamics are changing and I am not sure if it’s healthy in this me, me, me climate.”
Another confusing subject was moving away from traditional high school sports. While some coaches agree you are seeing better competition, many are saying otherwise. “Club sports, well it’s not fool proof. Often it’s the parents with the financial means that position themselves to gain notoriety. We might attend a couple heavily populated events to identify athletes. However, we use this information for our reporting to give to our staff members recruiting that area or state. We still believe in the high school model but will attend showcase events if we have some prospects that reach out to us, but we heavily rely on high school coaches for information.”
Another coach said, “Yes it is fine if you have a club sport reference or a personal trainer but sometimes that shows you are the ‘all about me’ recruit and function independently and not as a team player. Of course they will state how great you are, as that’s what you are paying them for unlike the high school coaches that are brutally honest.”
All in all the biggest reason many college coaches visit high schools is to determine how self-motivated athletes are and to strengthen relationships to evaluate the future athletes over time. The visits often include interviewing coaches and obtaining transcripts. In addition to invite athletes to their campus.This is part of the process to see how much you are dedicated to their schools and see if it’s a good fit. Many-times the process is a year long engagement with the intent of making a Committable offer!
There is a reason for 5 official visits and not 40. It only takes one coach to believe in you, So be patient and prepare for your future. Come up with a plan and remember one thing is for sure, hard work pays off and if you Ball they will Call!If the goal is to obtain an education then spend some time in the books by preparing for the college board exams. Those are the scores that matter for the 55-60 years after post secondary education and sports activities. Its about your future so start now!