College Prospect Camps

When did your son start attending these Prospect camps?

Can you attend one too early (I.e. 9th grader) or is it better to wait? ----For this question, let's assume the RC hasn't invited you. If you've been invited, I think that question of when is already answered.

Is there a downside to attending early as an underclassmen?

Or... is it (attending early) a way to get on the radar as someone to watch over the next two years (assuming attending as a freshman? 

How do RC and HC typically feel about underclassmen attendance -- Let's concede that that like the money the player brings . I know they will pay attention to the campers they invited but will they also focus on everyone else?

Do the coaches at the camps offer feedback on development areas?

Did you use the time on campus to see the university? What did you seek out to see specifically? 

Did you contact the RC or HC ahead of time to let them know you were attending?

How did these camps fit into your overall plan?

Original Post
Florida State Fan posted:

As others have said here buyer beware.

Although my son attended his first as a rising soph.  From my experience these camps focus primarily on juniors and seniors.  They can become expensive so target schools you feel your son can compete in.  Some offer feedback others don't. 

Thanks. The focus on upperclassmen makes sense. That might be a risk that I can weigh against the benefit of my son getting to see what type of player the coaches are looking for (physical maturity, skills, etc.). Since it's early for him, getting to see what he needs to be down the road could be a positive. 

The cost is definitely something to consider. That's, at least some, of the reason that I am considering one this early. I want my son to see a few college campuses-- whether he plays baseball or not. Spreading out the visits (and costs) over a longer period of time could reduce the feeling of being rushed or squeezed in the last 2 years of high school. 

Thanks again for your perspective.

Goosegg posted:

If you've got the budget, there is no downside. 

 

Good point. While this answer is simple, it's extremely valid. Thanks! 

I don't think anyone wants to throw money away but if visiting colleges and attending camps is part of the overall plan anyway....why not go for it.

I know for my son it has been a good experience to see the campus, other ball players and how they compare/where they need to get, and a good way to get used to performing in what can be somewhat stressful.  I like the college camps that have other schools there as I feel like you at least get more bang for the buck.  As FSU Fan said, some offer feedback and others dont.  It is also good bonding time for parent and son.  If finances allow, go and try it out and enjoy the ride.

my 2018 attended his first college prospect camp as a freshman (winter of freshman year). The cost wasn't exorbitant ($150) and it definitely got him noticed to the point that by his sophomore summer they knew who he was and returning calls and emails. It was also a great experience. 

edit: answering the phone and returning calls and emails by his junior year. Didn't want to infer recruiting violations.

We took a different approach to the first camp.  My son went to one as a Sophomore at a college that he had only a remote interest in that was a one-day bargain priced deal.  It gave him valuable experience of what the process is like, how he compared to older kids, etc.  But if he played poorly, it was no big deal because he was not likely to wind up there anyway.  He did this before he ever went to any showcases so it was the first time he ran the 60, did the Pop time drills, etc. 

Looking back I think it was really a wise choice.  It was cheap and he got those first camp jitters out of the way.  Just don't expect much feedback from any of the camps.  The only feedback they provide is when they really like what they see and follow-up with a player.  Which for most camps is like a handful of kids out of a large group.

We found the format for these prospect camps varied greatly.  My oldest son went to a number of them freshmen and sophomore year (in state...little travel....little cost)  and he got a tremendous benefit from it for lots of reasons.  At one camp in particular he got to pick the brain of a Pitching Coach from another high academic school that interested him a lot.  This led to a relationship, eventual recruitment, and offer from that school 18 months later.   The school that hosted the event is an elite baseball school (CWS contenders).   They teach the campers some new things and they are on the look out for talent.....and they will tell you that, but frankly I think they are leading people on.  

I would go to learn, network, figure out what it is about a particular school your son likes or doesn't like.  These camps are a great introduction to see it all and put it into perspective.  At most of the camps, the coaches did offer some sort of assessment in very loose terms....something scribbled on note with their contract information.  In some cases, his travel coach did reach out to the HC to let him know he was coming and his interest level in the school.   The interesting thing about these camps overall was that my son got more traction (freshmen and sophomore year) with the visiting coaches than the hosting coaches.  But again, it was all about learning and networking from what I observed.  

JMO.

IMG_7431Son went to his first showcase camp at a D-2 as a rising 8th grader.  He was probably one of the youngest and one of the biggest at same time.  He was very nervous.  All the kids were directed to sit in the dugout and await further instruction.  So there they waited, like nervous sheep many of them, certainly mine.  

Just minutes before the thing was to start, into the parking lot rumbles a custom muscle car, like a Camaro or a Mustang, just a beauty.  Older HS ballplayer calmly exits the vehicle, wearing shades with the coolest of cool demeanor.  Right out of casting central, like Kelly Leak's entrance in Bad News Bears (30-years ago he'd of had a cigarette dangling from lips).  No rush.  No urgency on his part.  Just strolls thru the check-in and enters the stone silence of the dugout where all the "sheep" were quietly awaiting their next order from the showcase organizers.  This "cool" player, clearly a veteran of many a  showcase and a battle hardened sage, takes in the tense atmosphere and silence of the other kids nervously waiting for the event to start and says, "Hey guys.........relax, it's just F%$#ing baseball!"  As soon as he said it, all the kids laughed and began to relax.  The kid's remark just lightened the mood and allowed my son at least to take a breath and just relax, and get ready to play ball.  

Son told me the story later on the drive home, as I had noticed the kid pull in the parking lot.  We laughed.  And to this day, whenever I am in his company as he heads to the next "most important outing of his baseball career," I usually will remind him of that cool "Kelly Leak" kid and his sage advice so many years ago.

"Relax, it's just F&@#ing baseball!"

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#1 Assistant Coach posted:

Son went to his first showcase camp at a D-2 as a rising 8th grader.  He was probably one of the youngest and one of the biggest at same time.  He was very nervous.  All the kids were directed to sit in the dugout and await further instruction.  So there they waited, like nervous sheep many of them, certainly mine.  

Just minutes before the thing was to start, into the parking lot rumbles a custom muscle car, like a Camaro or a Mustang, just a beauty.  Older HS ballplayer calmly exits the vehicle, wearing shades with the coolest of cool demeanor.  Right out of casting central, like Kelly Leak's entrance in Bad News Bears (30-years ago he'd of had a cigarette dangling from lips).  No rush.  No urgency on his part.  Just strolls thru the check-in and enters the stone silence of the dugout where all the "sheep" were quietly awaiting their next order from the showcase organizers.  This "cool" player, clearly a veteran of many a  showcase and a battle hardened sage, takes in the tense atmosphere and silence of the other kids nervously waiting for the event to start and says, "Hey guys.........relax, it's just F%$#ing baseball!"  As soon as he said it, all the kids laughed and began to relax.  The kid's remark just lightened the mood and allowed my son at least to take a breath and just relax, and get ready to play ball.  

Son told me the story later on the drive home, as I had noticed the kid pull in the parking lot.  We laughed.  And to this day, whenever I am in his company as he heads to the next "most important outing of his baseball career," I usually will remind him of that cool "Kelly Leak" kid and his sage advice so many years ago.

"Relax, it's just F&@#ing baseball!"

That's hilarious. As soon as you said shades and coolest of cool demeanors, I thought of the Bad News Bears.

As with a lot in college recruiting, "it depends" on when to do to a camp.

If your player is a national class talent now and wants to get in front of the schools on his list now, then that's a reason to go. 

Maybe your player is a late bloomer.  A kid who has nothing to showcase now.  And it will ultimately be best for him to showcase for schools the Summer between his Junior and Senior high school years.  It may still be ok to attend now.   He won't be recruited and is unlikely to get on anyone's radar.  Yet, he might learn something from the instructors.  The family might learn some things about college recruiting. 

An invitation from a RC or HC may mean a lot, or it may mean zero.  Camps are money makers for someone.  The coaches.  A showcase organization.  Invitations can be very specific and mean nothing.  Or they can mean your kid is already on the radar...but then you'd probably know it beyond just getting a camp invite.

My guys went for the first time between their Freshman and Sophomore years of high school.  My older guy was a D1 talent and got some experience in the showcase format and some interest.  My younger guy is a D3 talent and got experience in the showcase format and no interest...nor was he targeting any or expecting it.  And they both learned a few good baseball things from the instructors.  

Have a plan.  College recruiting for most players is about the family having a targeted plan of attack engaging the schools on their player's vetted list, i.e., where that player fits athletically and academically.  It's generally not a random "I hope some school finds me at a camp" thing. 

Branson Baseball posted:

As with a lot in college recruiting, "it depends" on when to do to a camp.

If your player is a national class talent now and wants to get in front of the schools on his list now, then that's a reason to go. 

Maybe your player is a late bloomer.  A kid who has nothing to showcase now.  And it will ultimately be best for him to showcase for schools the Summer between his Junior and Senior high school years.  It may still be ok to attend now.   He won't be recruited and is unlikely to get on anyone's radar.  Yet, he might learn something from the instructors.  The family might learn some things about college recruiting. 

An invitation from a RC or HC may mean a lot, or it may mean zero.  Camps are money makers for someone.  The coaches.  A showcase organization.  Invitations can be very specific and mean nothing.  Or they can mean your kid is already on the radar...but then you'd probably know it beyond just getting a camp invite.

My guys went for the first time between their Freshman and Sophomore years of high school.  My older guy was a D1 talent and got some experience in the showcase format and some interest.  My younger guy is a D3 talent and got experience in the showcase format and no interest...nor was he targeting any or expecting it.  And they both learned a few good baseball things from the instructors.  

Have a plan.  College recruiting for most players is about the family having a targeted plan of attack engaging the schools on their player's vetted list, i.e., where that player fits athletically and academically.  It's generally not a random "I hope some school finds me at a camp" thing. 

This ^^^  

Branson Baseball posted:

As with a lot in college recruiting, "it depends" on when to do to a camp.

If your player is a national class talent now and wants to get in front of the schools on his list now, then that's a reason to go. 

Maybe your player is a late bloomer.  A kid who has nothing to showcase now.  And it will ultimately be best for him to showcase for schools the Summer between his Junior and Senior high school years.  It may still be ok to attend now.   He won't be recruited and is unlikely to get on anyone's radar.  Yet, he might learn something from the instructors.  The family might learn some things about college recruiting. 

An invitation from a RC or HC may mean a lot, or it may mean zero.  Camps are money makers for someone.  The coaches.  A showcase organization.  Invitations can be very specific and mean nothing.  Or they can mean your kid is already on the radar...but then you'd probably know it beyond just getting a camp invite.

My guys went for the first time between their Freshman and Sophomore years of high school.  My older guy was a D1 talent and got some experience in the showcase format and some interest.  My younger guy is a D3 talent and got experience in the showcase format and no interest...nor was he targeting any or expecting it.  And they both learned a few good baseball things from the instructors.  

Have a plan.  College recruiting for most players is about the family having a targeted plan of attack engaging the schools on their player's vetted list, i.e., where that player fits athletically and academically.  It's generally not a random "I hope some school finds me at a camp" thing. 

Thank you. Very insightful post. It's a reminder that attending has many potential benefits if you use the knowledge learned appropriately. It may be immediate benefit or it maybe a potential future benefit. 

I guess I'm in the planning mode.

 

Son attended several camps of schools on his radar. We learned that not all camps are created equal, but all can serve a purpose depending on goals. If you are talking young players and just want to get a taste for how they work the skills camps or summer open participation camps provide a good environment. Should note my son and some other players were identified as follows during these camps so while they are more casual than the prospect/showcase invite camps, coaches and recruiters may be using the opportunity as a first look so players and parents should know that while  those may not launch active recruiting, it may be an opportunity to make a first impression.  Not all coaches were at all camps so that is something to check going in if that matters.

The invite showcase/prospect camps he attended were a bit different and there were many more measureables being monitored. Also full coaching staff and RCs likely to be in attendance. Often at least a few Players were identified as follows or recruits at these camps (there is a big difference between a follow and a recruit too). 

Even if your player is not immediately identified as a follownor recruit the camp experience can have a lot of benefits. Helped our son get comfortable with the whole process, he met players from other teams he still keeps in touch with and gets to see on tre summer circuit, and helped build up a network of baseball people who know him which has created lots of other opportunities. 

Interestingly, he did not attend a camp at the school he committed to, but contacts from other camps played a role  in validating him to that school.  As others have shared, the baseball world is small  

 

When my 2020 was in eighth grade (13yr), I played the alumni card at the D3 I attended in PA  to get him into a prospect camp in the fall that was for 9-12.  It was only $60.  I accomplished a few things, getting a chance to show off the campus to him and his younger brother and allowed him to experience a camp.  We also got some neat T's.  He did very well.  HC said he couldn't believe he was just an eighth grader.  He just finished his freshman season on varsity 2A school, but since he didn't light it up at the plate like he does at 14U, I'm waiting till after sophomore year to hit camps again.  We still stop in to walk around colleges when we are nearby during travel ball tournaments.

Goosegg posted:

If you've got the budget, there is no downside. 

 

I disagree. Good friend who retired from college coaching advised me to wait. He said when you take a kid to a camp or showcase, coaches will start a file. If it's good, they keep it open. If it's bad, they close it. Once closed, he said, it's almost impossible to get them to reopen it.

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