College Athletic Recruiting Misconceptions: College Camps, Showcases, and Recruiting Services

As we stated in our last college athletics recruiting post, there are many misconceptions when it comes to college recruiting.  Below are answers to additional recruiting questions. True or False: Showcases are the ONLY thing that student-athletes need to get noticed. False. The chances are slim for student athletes to be discovered at college showcase. College coaches use showcases as a means of evaluating players they already know. In other words, many college coaches attend showcases with a list of players they are interested in evaluating and who the coaches have had prior contact with. If you are not on a coach’s radar prior to the showcase, chances are slim that they will be watching you when it is your time to perform.

While showcases can indeed be an important step in the process, in all reality it is just the tip of the iceberg. Identifying specific schools and being proactive is really essential. Realistically targeting schools that are a good fit, contacting those coaches, making a concise highlight tape, and educating yourselves about the college athletics recruiting process are the most critical steps.

Are college camps worth attending? Similar to showcases, college coaches use their camps to evaluate players they already know. The chances for student athletes to be discovered at a college camp are slim. If the college coach does not know who you are prior to the camp, chances are slim that they will not be seriously evaluating you for their program during the duration of the camp.

College camps can be a valuable recruiting tool for student athletes if they have had prior contact with the college coach.  Attending college camps gives student athletes a great opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a college coaching staff.

If a highly personalized letter accompanies your camp brochure, or you receive a phone call from a particular coach inviting you to their camp, then attending the camp is certainly worth considering. If you are interested in a particular school, and you believe that the coach is indeed actively recruiting you, it is in your best interest to find out if they are either hosting a camp of their own or if they will be in attendance at another college camp.

What if my student-athlete only wants to play DI ball? Division I baseball is extremely competitive.  If the desire to play collegiate baseball is sincere, then the level of competition should not matter. Being realistic is critical to finding the right fit and achieving a better overall athletic experience at the next level. Unfortunately, there are many great high school baseball players who sit the bench at D1 programs when they could have had an opportunity to compete and strengthen their skills at a smaller school. The first step in this process is finding out if your student-athlete wants to play college ball, and if so, determining a realistic level of competition.

Are recruiting services worth the money? Recruiting Services will never hurt you in the process – in fact, it can only help. The essential question about recruiting services is evaluating whether or not the benefits of these services justify the cost. Many of these recruiting services cost thousands of dollars for the creation of a profile and/or video, which they then email to hundreds of coaches nationwide. The overwhelming majority of the schools these services send your information to are probably schools you would never consider attending anyways.

Because there are numerous recruiting services doing the same thing on a daily basis, college coaches are inundated with similar emails from recruiting services who are recommending prospects that the services themselves barely know. In short, many of these emails are considered nothing more than junk mail, and are consequently never opened.

Secondly, any college coach will tell you that they want to hear directly from the student athlete, not mom or dad, and not from an outside source that is being paid to recommend and represent you. Contacting college coaches on your own is a proactive approach to the recruiting process that shows maturity, poise, and responsibility—aspects that college coaches are looking for in all of their potential players.

If you decide to go with a recruiting service, understand that it is still really critical that you do some work on your own as well. At the end of the day, you need to be your own advocate. In addition, be sure that you consistently communicate and follow up with your recruiting service, and hold them accountable for everything they say they will do for you.

The Facts about College Showcases

Many student athletes say:  “I am going to 10 Showcases during the fall and summer, and each showcase company has provided me with a list of 30 schools who will be in attendance and names of past student-athletes who received scholarships after attending this showcase.  I will certainly be discovered at this event.”

FACT: The chances for student athletes to be discovered at college showcase are slim.

College coaches use showcases as a means of evaluating players they already know. In other words, many college coaches attend showcases with a list of players they are interested in evaluating. The players on this list are student athletes they have had prior contact with. If you are not on a coach’s radar prior to the showcase, chances are slim that they will be watching you when it is your time to perform.

FACT: Many showcase companies do not provide the proper forum for college coaches to entirely evaluate a student athlete’s strengths and capabilities.

Fielding 4 ground balls, making 4 throws from the outfield, taking 10 swings, and throwing 5-8 pitches in a bullpen is not nearly enough for any college coach to make a true evaluation of your talents.

FACT: It's debatable either showcases are fully responsible for Division I or Division II scholarship offers.

Many showcase companies list names of past high school athletes who attended their events and were later awarded an athletic scholarship from a Division I or Division II school. You can be sure that these players did not need the help from this particular showcase to get signed. The truth of the matter is that they would have received their scholarships, regardless if they attended this showcase or not.

FACT: College showcases are revenue generators for the companies who sponsor them.

The main priority for college showcase companies is to make every event profitable. Student athletes come second to this. This is not to say that many showcase companies do not care about student athletes, because I am sure they do at some level. However, it is important to keep in mind that student athletes are not number one on their list.

FACT: Showcases can be a valuable recruiting tool if used properly.

If you are interested in going to a showcase, choose one that will be attended by schools that you academically and athletically qualify for. Before you go to any showcase, find out the schools that will be in attendance, and contact those coaches at least a week before the event. This will help ensure that you will be evaluated by your schools of interest.