Younger players (ages 7-12) could participate in a nearby college’s camp for instruction they may not be receiving in recreational softball and sometimes travel softball. For younger players who go to or watch the college’s games, attending a camp at this age is more of a “meet the girls they want to be like when they grow up” sort of thing. No, the coach will not be recruiting your 12 year old daughter.
Older players (ages 13-18) are usually there for one of a few (good) reasons:
- They hope to get on the coach’s radar for recruiting purposes.
- They are already being recruited by the coach, who wants them there.
- They are already committed to play at the school (Verbally or Signed) and the coach wants them there.
Colleges cannot discriminate when they host a camp. They are open to the public on a first come, first serve basis and are often limited to a certain number of players. They can and do give advanced notice to the players they are interested in and their commits when a camp will be posted. A coach may let their recruit know an Elite Camp will be posted online next Tuesday with a “We’d like to see you there.” Obviously if your daughter wants to play softball at that school some day, she’d better sign-up for that camp. In the event the coach is not permitted to contact your daughter (or you), they will contact her advocate or one of her coaches.
For the older players who show up at a camp unannounced hoping to catch the eyes of the coach, it does happen, but odds are better if they know who your daughter is before she gets there. That can be a challenge. The best method to do this is to have an advocate for your daughter make contact with the coaches prior to the camp. The next best way is for the player to contact them.
It is important to learn the rules of contact that are permissible between players (parents too) and college coaches. They do change on occasion, so it would be best for you to read them on the NCAA, NAIA and JUCO web sites. For example, a freshman in high school can call a D1 coach, but the coach cannot call them nor can they have direct contact off-campus (at a tournament or school game, etc.). However, an NAIA coach can contact your freshman daughter and invite her to practice with her team. Confusing….I know right? Know the rules.
That said, the only restrictions for talking with coaches while at their camp is how much time they choose to give your daughter (and you). Parents – It’s okay to talk with the coach at their camp. Be brief and to the point though. And remember, you most likely won’t be able to talk to them at the ball park while they’re watching your daughter.