starts with the many terms used to describe a recruiting camp. You will see recruiting camp, prospect camp, evaluation camp and others but, are they all the same?
Essentially, there are two basic types of events. First are ones which NCAA coaches are allowed to participate on the field as “instructors”. Second are those that have the feel of a softball combine where players showcase their skills in front of college coaches. In the latter event, the NCAA coaches do not participate on the field or in any fashion, they are merely recruiting. The NCAA prohibits their coaches from working this type of event unless it is a “camp” with instruction an integral part of the event. (Note: Junior College and NAIA coaches do not have any restrictions when it comes to recruiting events and, therefore, may participate in either).
Most of the confusion arises due the lack of standard terminology and the mixing of terms crossing over between both types of events. The NCAA allows an event to be called anything. This means Evaluation Camp, Prospect Camp, Recruiting Camp, etc. may all mean the same type of event OR, maybe not! Does that help clear things up? I don’t think so! Bottom line, do your homework, they are not all the same.
For clarity, let’s call a camp an event which NCAA coaches participate and a combine is an event that players showcase their skills without an instructional component. Based on this description, below are some points to consider when deciding on attending these types of events (remember, this description isn’t what you will always see at these events, we are just trying to differentiate between the two for the purpose of this newsletter)
Do college coaches actually attend?
Camps – Camps are generally geared around specific college coaches that host the camp. For instance, say your favorite college softball team hosts a softball camp. This event will be designed to provide instruction by a handful of college coaches, and sometimes the college team’s players assisting, which does give the opportunity to be seen by these coaches. However, the number of coaches is limited to the specific college or maybe in combination with two or three different colleges working together. Yes, these coaches may be “recruiting” as well, but only and handful will attend.
Combines - College coaches like the combine. The coach is guaranteed they will see a player perform their skills and can see many players in a very short period of time. Just attending a college showcase, a coach doesn’t have this same guarantee. Based on how a game plays out, the player may never get a ball hit to them during the game and/or maybe walked every time they come up to bat. This is what makes the Combine a great partner to the college showcases. The coaches can attend the combine, assured to see the players’ skills and then, for those that they are interested in pursuing further, they can watch them during the game to see the intangibles such as attitude, leadership, game presence, hustle, etc. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly.
The number of recruiting combines has exploded and coaches do not attend them all. It is not unheard of to attend an event and no coaches show up. Buyer beware! Research your event to see if it has a good reputation for college coaches attending. Potentially, in a combine you can be seen by more college coaches than at a camp type event where you most likely only be seen by the coaches working with you.
It is also important to remember that as a potential college recruit, the best approach to the combine type event is to invite your list of college coaches to attend. Recruiting is most successful when the player has continued contact with specific college coaches and builds a rapport with them over their recruiting years.
The bottom lines, if you go to a camp or a combine, know which you are attending and insure your expectations are set accordingly. Do your homework, communicate with coaches and then attend the event giving your best every second.
What college coaches are participating in the Combine and which at the Camp?
For the college camp, look at the list of college coaches participating in the event. Ask yourself, what schools are they from and are they a good fit for my skills as a softball player? You don’t want to bank on showing up at one of these events hoping to be discovered. There are limited number of coaches and part of what they do is to fundraise for their team. Do your homework ahead of time and research the schools and email the coach if you decide to attend.
What about the Combine? As we mentioned above, insure you are attending a quality combine. College coaches don’t always say they are attending these events because they don’t want to be slammed with thousands of emails, most of which come the week before the event. Don’t expect to be discovered by the attending coach, market yourself, let the colleges you are interested in know you are attending and invite them to come see you. Don’t wait until the last minute, start talking to them about attending the event weeks or even a couple of months ahead of the event and invite them to come see you.
Are you getting value?
What do you get with the event? Are you being seen by the schools you that fit your academic and athletic requirements? What else comes with the event? Answer these questions to help understand what you will get out of the camp or combine event. When looking at the combine event, look for companies and event hosts that have a reputation for their quality and features that assist you in the recruiting process. Some events have more value than others. Again, do your homework!
FPOS Recruiting Camps with Virtual Showcase
The great feature of an FPOS Recruiting Combine is that not only are you seen by college coaches at the event, but a video is taken at the event and made into a “Virtual Showcase”. This Virtual Showcase is emailed to over 2000 college coaches with information about each player so that when they find a player of interest, they have the ability to contact them for future recruiting. This way you are seen by the coaches at the event and many, many after the event is over. Additionally, the college coach has the video at their fingertips should they want to take a look again. Once you leave most Combines, all that is left as a college coach is the memory and written notes of a specific player. Coaches love the ability to look at a skills video to refresh their interest.
FPOS Recruiting events come with a 1 month Gold membership where you can learn about the recruiting process and how to find the right fit in a college. Our eBook on recruiting answers your questions and our Resource Center has the tools needed to be successful in your recruiting quest. Participants in an FPOS recruiting can also purchase a “miniskills” video of just their performance in the event and upload it to their personal recruiting page as well as to email it to college coaches. This is a very inexpensive way to get a skills video to better market yourself to the colleges.
In evaluating recruiting events, keep your expectations in check. These events are tools in the recruiting process. It is still up to you to have a plan and execute that plan. Ask questions and find out the details of the event. Treat this like any other purchase and ask yourself if you are getting value for your purchase.
Find FPOS recruiting events near you http://www.fastpitchonlineshowcase.com/FPOS_Events.aspx