At Signing Day Sports, we understand the importance of being well-prepared for summer football camps, combines, and showcases. These events hold significance for college coaches and recruiters who depend on the in-person connections and evaluations in order to build relationships with recruits.
To provide you with valuable insights, The Wire interviewed Coach Jeff Hecklinski, a highly experienced college football coach who has organized numerous camps and worked closely with aspiring athletes for more than two decades. Coach Hecklinski emphasizes the significance of both mental and physical preparation, and he offers valuable advice to help you make the most of these opportunities.
According to Coach Hecklinski, one of the key elements in preparing for summer camps is having the right mindset. He stresses that you should approach these events with the intention to perform at your personal best, regardless of specific metrics like the 40-yard dash time. Each day brings a new chance to showcase your skills, and every effort counts towards your improvement.
“It’s not one isolated event. It is a continued build as you continue attending camps,” said Hecklinski. “You have to be prepared and understand how to introduce yourself, talk to those people, get their contact information so that I can stay in contact with them and build relationships.”
Coach Hecklinski encourages athletes to view the journey as a continuous process. From January to June, it’s essential to strive for progress and growth. Remember, the goal is not just to excel at a single event but to consistently develop your abilities and better yourself every day. As you progress towards college camps, focus on building relationships with coaches and fellow athletes. Coach Hecklinski highlights that networking is a vital aspect of the recruiting process.
To maximize your opportunities, Coach Hecklinski emphasizes the importance of establishing connections with coaches and maintaining communication. During the months leading up to summer camps, make an effort to meet as many people as possible. Exchange contact information, including Twitter handles and cell phone numbers, to stay connected.
“Recruiting is about relationships,” said Hecklinski. “The more relationships (a student-athlete) can build, the more chances you have to increase your opportunities.”
When engaging with coaches, simplicity is key. Introduce yourself with your full name, clearly expressing your interest in playing for their program. Coach Hecklinski suggests requesting their Twitter direct messages (DMs) as a means of ongoing contact. Remember, coaches have limited time, so keeping your introduction concise and genuine will make you memorable among the crowd.
“Your name should be the first thing that you always say,” reminds Hecklinski. “That’s what you’re trying to get them to remember. Your name is the most valuable part of who you are as a recruit.”
Maintaining Realistic Goals
While it’s natural to aspire to catch the attention of renowned college programs like Alabama or Ohio State, it’s essential to maintain realistic expectations and keep an open mind during the summer camp season. As Coach Hecklinski points out, there are numerous Division II and Division III coaches present at these events who are actively seeking talented athletes to join their programs. But they are often overlooked by recruits who focus their attention on the top-tier schools instead.
Coach Hecklinski shared valuable insights from the perspective of a coach recruiting at an event: “Never assume I’m here to talk to everybody that I can talk to. You never know where that coach is a year from now, two years into that relationship.”
He emphasizes the importance of engaging with coaches from various divisions, as you never know how their programs may evolve or what opportunities may arise down the line. It’s crucial to approach every interaction with genuine interest and an open mind. Take the time to introduce yourself to D2 and D3 coaches, showing your enthusiasm for their programs.
Coach Hecklinski highlighted the significance of maintaining a respectful and straightforward approach: “I’m very interested in playing for you, and I look forward to building a relationship. Can I get your Twitter DMs? Is it okay if I continue to stay in contact with you?”
By expressing your interest and seeking ways to stay connected, you demonstrate your professionalism and genuine desire to explore all available opportunities.
As you gear up for summer football camps, embrace the advice shared by Coach Hecklinski and the team at Signing Day Sports. Develop the right mindset, focusing on continuous improvement and showcasing your best self. Take advantage of every chance to connect with coaches, introducing yourself with sincerity and simplicity.
Remember, recruiting is about building relationships, and the more connections you establish, the greater your opportunities become. Stay determined, work hard, and let your name be a symbol of excellence that coaches will remember.
At Signing Day Sports, we are here to support you throughout your athletic journey and help you succeed both on and off the field. Good luck as you prepare for upcoming summer football camps and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead!