It’s camp season again and that means it’s time to get out on the field and impress people so that you can go where it is you want to go. Outside of the obvious things that coaches and recruiting writers are looking for, in this article, I will tell you four ways you can impress at camp.
Now we all know that height, weight and speed are the first eye catchers when you are at a camp. For the most part, you don’t have control over those things once you’ve arrived at camp. You are as tall as you’re going to be, as big as you’re going to be, and as fast as you were going to be on that day. So what can you do on the actual day of camp to pull some eyeballs in your direction? Let’s take a look:
This one is simple, but you’d be surprised how many times guys tank themselves by not doing this one thing. There is nothing more annoying to a coach at a camp than having to explain a drill too many times or have a guy that’s at the back of the line mess up the drill when it’s his turn. Do your best to study the instructions given and watch the guys doing the drill in front of you. They’re either doing it right or they’re doing it wrong. Either way, that coach is giving out instructions. It’s in your best interest to take notice and not let your mind wander while you’re in the line.
This is a close cousin of the first one. However, it’s not exactly the same. During a camp, a coach will give out instructions regarding drills. However, he will also talk about some other things that are important for him to get across to you. Some of those things may be the type of attitude you’re going to need to succeed, as well as some things you may need to do in your own time to get better. It is in your best interest to pay attention when the coach is saying those things to you. We pay attention with our eyes. If that coach is talking to you or to the group and you have your eyes down, off in the distance or elsewhere, you are leaving a bad impression on that coach. He only has roughly 2 hours to make an assessment of you. We can argue about whether or or not that is enough time but as they say, it is what it is. Do yourself a favor and lock in every time that Coach is speaking. This way he knows that this DB thing means something to you.
DON’T BE A ONE TRICK PONY
Have you ever gone to a camp and when you go to do 1-on-1s, the coach says he doesn’t want anyone playing press until he says so? There’s a reason that coaches do this. They really want to separate the guys that are true defensive backs from the ones who just pay one on TV. Making a DB playoff off the receiver shows that coach who can play for real. Being able to pedal, use leverage and read a receivers body language to break on the ball or cut off routes shows what kind of IQ you have. It also shows that you may have had some training playing the position. Just because you may not have an A+ coach at your school doesn’t mean that you can’t acquire the knowledge. There are good trainers out there and there is a ton of information available online to help you with your game. The All Eyes DB Camp Member’s Area would be a good example of that. Either way, you should do all that you can to learn about the position of DB before you start going to camps. Showing a coach that you can be good off the ball as well as in press situations, will impress that coach, and make him take a long hard look at you.
HAVE A DOG MENTALITY
Perhaps the most overused term in evaluating players is “he has that dog in him.” Well, what is a dog mentality? In a camp setting, it is a guy that is not afraid to take reps. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen athletes hiding in the back of the line or on the sidelines refusing to take reps while they’re at a camp. You are not there to be a spectator. While I am not saying that you need to go overboard and be completely annoying trying to take every rep, you should be mildly aggressive in trying to get out there and compete. The other part of this is don’t let getting beat on a play throw cold water on your fire. Real coaches know that you will get beat playing DB. What they want to see is how a guy will react after he takes a L. If losing doesn’t turn you up a notch then you may not be that dog that coaches love to see. Or maybe you are a just dog with no teeth. Win, lose or draw, you should be looking to compete and doing what you need to do to win every time you lineup at a camp.
So aside from your 40 time and your broad jump and all of the other measurable things, you now have four solid things that you can work on and present at a camp that could steal a coach’s eyeballs away from the eye candy that may not have these important intangibles.
Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp and author of "101 DB Tips". He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football All Americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.