The bottom line is it's not true.
If your child is a football or hockey player four days of camp will not change him or her. Neither will a weekend tournament. Unfortunately, parents make a critical error at the wrong time. The most critical time in a young athletes career is the summer prior to their senior season. This is when a young player needs to train to prepare to have a great senior year. However, instead of preparation, parents 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 senior year 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 weightroom.
I know this sounds old fashioned but, it's true. If your goal is to play college sports, then, get ready to play. Don't spend all summer trying to convince coaches how good you are. Spend the summer trying to get better so coaches will notice you. You can't network your way into college sports and even if you can, in these days of email etc., send a letter and a video.
Last summer I discouraged the coaches and parents of some of the best prep school football players in Eastern Mass to forgo the five camp plan and train. We instead chose to focus on the 1 or 2 camps the coach and parents thought would have the most value and, focus on training.
The results were outstanding. The team had a great season, losing only two games, the players who trained were clearly improved and the players who were seniors are all going to the college of their choice.
It worked 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.
In football it's camps, in basketball and baseball it's AAU, in hockey it's tournaments. 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 I.
However, Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning was founded to help young athletes do exactly what the pro and collegiate athletes do in the off-season, train. The reason we have had such great success is because we do it right.
Our program is 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 good you are in a few camps or tournaments or, you can actually work at getting better and preparing for the seasons that really matter.