I remember it like it was yesterday. The smell of a sweaty, musty gym and the feeling of spilled Gatorade sticking to the bottom of my basketball kicks. Days filled with hot shot competitions, 3on3 championships, unlimited cafeteria dessert, sleepless nights filled with pranks, and plain old competitive fun. For these reasons and more, basketball camps were the highlight of my summer. Camps provided an opportunity for me to improve a wide array of skills while enjoying old and new friends and doing what I love; competing.

As I became a collegiate basketball coach, I saw the value of camps rise beyond the skills acquired and fun to be had as a kid. Camps served as an invaluable recruiting opportunity for the programs I coached for.

NCAA rules allows for coaches and all campers to engage in on-campus conversations as long as it doesn’t involve a recruiting conversation. I used this contact time at camps to get to know potential recruits and their families to evaluate if they would be a good fit with our program. It also allowed our coaching staff to evaluate players in-depth over the course of several days in a multitude of different skills and competition drills. There were several years that we started recruiting a player based on her camp performance and her overall fit with our program that was determined during camp.

There are many reasons to attend camps. Here are a few things to focus on when choosing and attending summer basketball camps (Please note this is targeted for players entering into high school and older)

1. Resources are likely limited so pick 1 or 2 camps.
If resources are very limited, check the camp website or ask if they have scholarships available. Some camps will also offer a discounted rate if two kids from one family attend.
2. Choose a camp at a school that you are interested in attending.
Camps serve as a great opportunity to get familiarized with campus, get to know coaches and current players on the team, and determine if the University and program could be a good fit.
3. Choose a camp that the level suits you.
It’s important to attend a camp that is in the range of ability. If you’re not sure what level your ability is, ask your high school coach or club coach.
4. Always play your hardest.
It’s more fun that way and you get more out of the camp if you go into it seeking to improve at all times. Also, coaches are always watching and want to know who the true competitors are.
5. Be a team player even though it’s an individual camp.
When competing in team drills or competitions, always involve your teammates. It’s also important to be a great sport. Give high fives, encouragement, and have a great attitude.
6. Ask coaches what you can improve on.
It shows a commitment to getting better and coachability. It’s the reason camps can be a great tool to helping improve skills. You just have to ask.
7. Come early and stay late.
Be the first to arrive and get extra skill work in. College players may have open gym after hours of camp as well. Ask to play!
8. Have fun!
Go have fun learning new skills, sharpening those you have, and making new friendships that could last a lifetime. The rest will follow.

If you want advice like this and so much more, consider partnering with me through the recruiting process. Call me now for a free consultation!

-Mandy Close Kavanaugh