No matter which level of camp you choose, there may be varying skill groups within that camp. Participants may be put in the lower group because of their age, despite having the experience of kids in the upper levels. If you feel the athlete would benefit more from a different level, don't be afraid to ask if they can be moved up or down.
Finally, if an athlete has their sights on playing at the collegiate level, there are two main camps to decide between, and it would be good to experience both if you can afford it.
The first are camps specifically for recruiting, often called elite training camps. These offer some instruction, but mostly offer a great opportunity for players to show their skills in a game setting. The sole purpose of these camps is to be seen by college coaches, and to provide a setting for coaches to see a large number of athletes in one place at one time.
Since these camps are expensive, make sure there will be college coaches actually attending. Research the camp before registering and call the camp to request a current list of coaches that will be there. College coaches are busy and their schedules can change, so the list of coaches on the camp brochure may not accurately reflect the list of coaches present the day of camp.
Also, if the individual is interested in a specific school, be sure to email the coach. Let the coach know the player is interested and which camps and tournaments he or she will be attending.
The second type of camp is a college-specific camp. The majority of colleges offer their own camps and this is a great way for student-athletes to be seen and show the coach they are really interested.
Ronald Baum of Homerun Softball says, "Going to a camp at a college is still the best way to check out a school and meet the players." If you are interested in a certain school, and they have a clinic, you should attend.
Baum does warn that if you're looking at a college camp, with the hopes of being recruited, make sure that college is looking at you. Find out if they are still recruiting for that year and check the school's website for additional information.
At these elite-level camps, athletes should be on their best behavior. Coaches are not only watching how the kids react on the field, they are also watching how the kids behave off the field. Many players blow their chances with a school by goofing off with friends or showing up late. It is really important to be on your best behavior at all times.
Remember to keep your options open and have an open mind. The one thing that hasn't changed when it comes to memories of camp is that they should be fun, so above all, enjoy your camp experience.