Summer Camps & Tournament Q&A with Lauren Benner
Virginia goalie Lauren Benner answers all your most important questions about summer camps and tournaments.
1. What’s the appropriate follow up with coaches after camp? E-mail coaches within the first couple of days after returning from a camp. Let them know how much you enjoyed the camp and specifics on what you learned and thought you improved on while attending. If you met and enjoyed a certain one of the team’s players mention how much you benefited from working with that specific player. This is also a good opportunity to let the coach know your upcoming tournament schedule if it applies and tell them how you can’t wait to see them again soon.
2. How do you become a better player and improve your skills at camp? Be open to learning. You have skilled players and coaches helping you at these camps. After a session if there is still something you don’t understand or something you want to work on, ask someone to give you a little one on one attention. Just a couple of minutes of attention can make a difference in you kind of understanding a concept or you dominating it. In between session right down things that you learned, drills that you think can help you in the future and other information you received and find valuable. It is so important that you do not forget what you have learned. By doing this you will be able to go back and pick and choose which techniques you liked or what drills you can work on to help a specific area of your game. After a couple of camps you will have pages of information you can refer back to. This can really make a difference in improving your game.
3. Is it too late to add additional camps or tournaments to my summer schedule? Look at your schedule. You don’t want to get burned out but if you feel you can handle the time commitment and that it will benefit you in exposing yourself to coaches go ahead and take advantage of the opportunity. The normal number of camps high school student-athletes trying to be recruited should attend are between somewhere between 2 to 5 camps. (2 being the minimum and 5 being the maximum.) Choose camps wisely based on what schools you are looking at and what other schools will be attending the camp. Camps are also a great way to get to know the team’s players and coaches and also an opportunity to see their campus and surrounding area.
4. Are my recruiting chances at and advantage or disadvantage because of the number of camps I am attending? This really depends on what camps you are attending. You need to look at both your camp and tournament schedule. If there are events that overlap decide which will benefit you more. Take into consideration what coaches will be at each camp or tournament. Talk to people who have attended the camps in the past. You may be looking to go to camps for more educational and skill development purposes rather than exposure purposes. Talking to former camp attendees will help you decide which camps will help in what areas. Also, very importantly and something that can’t be stressed enough is don’t get burned out! You want to perform at your highest level at these camps and you need to be open to learning. In order to do so you need to give yourself time to rest and be involved in something other than lacrosse. If you sign up for eight camps in a summer by the time camp five or six rolls around you probably have exhausted your energy. Camps take a lot of energy. You are up early, going to bed late and playing a lot of lacrosse during the day in some very hot weather. Like said before attending between two and five camps in a summer should give you the right amount of exposure. Talk to you advisor to find the right amount that will maximize your recruiting opportunities.
5. Should I still go to a camp even if I might miss a day? Absolutely. If you are strongly looking at a school but can only attend their camp say two out of the four days e-mail the coach expressing this. Tell them that you would love to come to camp but can only make if for half of the time for an important reason. More than likely coaches may give you a pro-rated camp fee. Also by telling coaches in advance you give them the heads up on what days you will be there so they can focus on looking at you during that time. Coaches will recognize the effort you are putting in to dedicating yourself to their program and the potential you could have as a member of their team.
6. How do I bring up the subject of admissions support or a scholarship to a coach if they have not made an offer yet? This can be an awkward subject to introduce but is a critical one also. You may want to begin by asking some general questions about admissions support or scholarships. For example, how many athletes do you support in admissions? How many athletes on your team are on scholarship? Or do you give out both athletic and academic scholarships to your players? This will give you an idea of how the coach tends to spread out his or her scholarship money. If you are an exceptional student you may want to further the conversation of receiving an academic scholarship from the school rather than an athletic one. You never know, I’ve seen many cases where athletes receive more financial support this way. A good time to bring up scholarship is when you feel you are ready to make a decision as to what school you would like to attend. Do not set your expectations too high but rather work with the coach to receive the best offer. This does not mean you have the right to negotiate but for example if the offer is less than you expected you may want to ask if there will be an opportunity for the amount to go up the next year based on your player development after the first year.
7. When should I commit? What should I say if I don’t want to commit right away? Deciding to commit is a personal choice and you should not feel pressured to do so right away. Weigh your options, talk to important people that are helping you make the decision and imagine your future down the road based on which decision you make. Once a coach makes an offer he or she will more than likely give you a time line as to when they need to know your answer. More than likely coaches will want to know sooner rather than later but feel no need to give an answer right away. Politely express that you would like time to discuss it with your parents and high school coach. College coaches respect this and will allow you to do so. Click here for more information regarding this topic.
8. What happens if I commit and second guess my decision? You may have anxiety whether you made the right decision after you commit to a school. In avoiding this situation it is so important that you explore all options. Talk to your friends, family, coaches and any one else who may be able to give you valuable information on your decision. Visit the campus and meet with player and coaches of the team multiple times so you truly have a fell of what it will be like if you were to attend that school. By taking these precautions you minimize the chances of second guessing your decision. In unique cases however athletes reconsider where they commit to. Be open with your coach. Express that you are having these feeling and they may be able to help for example by inviting you down for another visit. You may get there and have a blast with the team and are able to put aside all ill feeling you were having before. If you do come back from the visit and feel that this is not the school for you must weigh the pro and cons of de-committing. De-committing can hurt your high school and club programs in future recruiting. However, you must think about yourself and do what you think is best for your future. Athletes have done it in the past and more will do so also in the future.