Parents are being mislead. Yes, all the tournament and camp organizers are deliberately misleading you. Parents shell out thousands of dollars for exposure camps and tournaments for their children. The organizers will tell you that attending a certain camp or playing in a certain tournament will improve your children’s chances of making the team or getting a scholarship.
The bottom line is it’s not true. Four days of camp will not change your child. Neither will a weekend tournament. Parents make a critical error at the wrong time. The most critical time in a young athlete’s career is the summer. This is when a young player needs to train to be prepared to have a great season. However, instead of preparation, parents of athletes with potential often choose exposure. The result is usually the same. The athlete goes to 5-6 “exposure” camps to be “seen” by college coaches. Instead of training and preparation, the summer is about travel and “exposure”. The final result is that the athlete is not physically prepared for the season and ends up either getting injured or having a sub-par year. Coaches that might have had interest suddenly disappear. “Sure things” turn into maybes. Suddenly, all the time spent on exposure seems wasted as there is no “product” to expose.
The road to college sports should go right through a weight room. I know this sounds old fashioned but, it’s true. If your child’s goal is to play college sports, then, get ready to play. Don’t spend all summer trying to convince coaches how great you are. Spend the summer trying to get better so coaches will notice you. You cannot network your way into college sports and even if you can, in these days of email etc., send an email and a video.
Every summer I discourage parents of some of the best high school players to forgo the five camp plan and train. Instead, focus on the one or two camps that will have the most value and focus on the rest of the time on training. The results are always outstanding. The players who train are clearly improved and the players who were seniors are all going to the college of their choice.
It works out exactly as I said it would because our plan makes sense.
The ideas of athlete development and athlete exposure are almost polar opposites. The key is to balance the need to be seen by and meet college coaches with the need to train to be able to impress coaches during the critical senior year.
Every sport has entrepreneurs and organizers who swear they know the answer. The problem is they have a vested financial interest in you and your child. They need you to make money. The truth is, so do training centers and sports performance centers. However training centers and sports performance programs help young athletes do exactly what professional and collegiate athletes do in the off-season; TRAIN. Most summer training programs are intentionally modeled on the programs that have helped high school, college and professional athletes succeed for decades. The programs are not flashy or sexy. In fact they are difficult and demanding. However, they are designed around a successful formula, not a quick-buck strategy. This summer you have a decision to make. You can try to show everyone how great you are in a few camps or tournaments, or you can actually work at getting better and preparing for the seasons that really matter.