Don’t Buy Into The Hype: Overexposure
Parents are being deliberately misled! Yes, all summer tournament and camp organizers are misleading you. Parents shell out thousands of dollars for exposure camps and exposure tournaments (showcases) for their sons or daughters. The organizers of these camps & tournaments tell you that attending a certain camp or playing in a certain tournament will improve your chances of catching a college coach’s eye, or making the team, or getting a scholarship. What they neglect to tell you is that many if not most of these organizers earn their living from summer camps and clinics. Most high school or college coaches derive at least 50% of their gross annual income from camps, clinics and tournaments.
The bottom line is that camps and tournaments aren’t what get your athlete noticed! 4 days of camp will not drastically improve your child’s play. Neither will 7 hours playing 4 games in a 2-day, weekend showcase tournament. Parents make a critical error when they choose exposure over training. The most critical time in any young athlete’s career is the off-season – the summer. This is when a young athlete needs to train to prepare to have a great next season. However, a significant number of parents of athletes with potential often drink-the-coolaid and choose exposure.
The results are always the same. An athlete attends 5 or 6 exposure camps to be seen by college coaches. Instead of spending their summer training, growing, preventing injuries, developing, and preparing, that summer becomes about travel and being “noticed”. The final result is often that the athlete is not physically as well prepared for the next season as they could have been and they end up getting injured or having a mediocre season. College coaches that might have had an interest suddenly disappear. Sure things turn into maybes. All of that summer time spent on “exposure” becomes a waste-of-time.
The road to college athletics should go right through the weight room. I know this sounds old fashioned, but that doesn’t make it untrue. If your child’s dream is to play college sports, then they must prepare to play. They must prepare to prevent injuries. Don’t spend all summer trying to convince coaches how good you are. Spend the summer trying to get better so that coaches will notice you – can’t help but notice you! College sports is the-real-deal. You can’t network your way onto a team if you don’t have “the goods”. In this day and age of the internet, you don’t have to see a coach at a camp to have him or her notice you. Simply send an email and highlight video. If you’re an athletic player, he or she will notice.
By all means, spend your summer focusing on 1 or 2 camps that have the most value – then focus the rest of your time on training. Athletes who spend their off-season training hard, always improve and always have their choice of colleges. In today’s system of Camps and Tournaments the ideals of Athletic Development and Athletic Exposure are almost polar opposites. The key is for athletes and parents to balance the need to be seen and meet college coaches with the need to be able to train to impress coaches during their critical junior & senior years.
Every sport has entrepreneurs and organizers who swear that they know the answer. The problem is that they all have a vested financial interest in you and your child. They need you to make money. The truth is, so do sport performance training centers. However, sport performance training centers help young athletes do exactly what all of the most successful professional and collegiate athletes do in the off-season, train hard. The TopSpeed program is modeled on other programs that have helped the best Olympic, professional and collegiate programs succeed for decades. It is not flashy. It is not sexy. In fact it is difficult and demanding. It is designed around a successful formula, not a quick-buck strategy. This summer you have a decision to make – actually work at getting better, stronger, faster for next season, or travel around trying to show everyone how good you are today.
Nicholas Sita, PhD, LPT, MSOT, CSPC, CES, LMT