I’ve read through these forums and have found the information very helpful! I have a few questions if anyone has a moment to answer.
My son is only a high school freshman and he is 14 years old, 6’1", 270 lbs with a very large frame. He only started playing football last fall but he is in love with the game. He’s done many other sports but has never shown this sort of motivation and dedication. The feedback is that he has natural talent and is coming along quickly. He also wrestled (heavyweight) this year and is currently participating in the daily off-season football workouts as well as club wrestling three nights per week.
He would very much like to attend some football camps this summer and it is very expensive for us due to where we live. We are trying to determine if we should take him to camps this summer or wait till next summer since he is only a freshman? We want to give him the best chance at continuing to play but he is very young and we are unsure of the timing…
Would your recommendation to be to give him some time to see how big/good he will be as he ages? Are the summer camps worth it at this age? At what point to you starting thinking about and planning for college sports? Sophomore year?
Thank you so much for your time!
I wouldn’t even consider camps until after sophomore year. Then talk to his HS coach, look at where some of the older players in your program are getting recruited, and pick one camp that you think will be a rough athletic fit. In my opinion, the best thing for a young lineman to do at this point is continue to wrestle, which is excellent for his core strength, footwork and overall conditioning. Keep lifting, and over the summer work on the basics; flat back, kick step, hands. The danger with really big kids is it is likely his size is ahead of his athleticism, and he needs to work on avoiding being stiff until his coordination, small muscle groups and core strength catch up to his size. Sophomore summer and junior fall is when you can really start to think seriously about where he slots at college.
I second Ohiodad’s sentiments. No camps until after sophomore year. The summer summer before junior season is a good time to show up at a camp or two. It’s also a good time to contact coaches so that they’re looking out for junior film in a few months after making contact. We saved camps for after junior season. The reason being that we had varsity film by then and could get good feedback from college coaches on where he stood. Attended camps of interested parties, along with one big exposure camp in the summer prior to senior year.
We had a different experience. Son never played youth football. He went to “the down and dirty lineman camp” to learn proper techniques. His coach recommended he attend because of his size. He was taller than your boy 6’4" not as heavy. The 3 day camp cost was a donation by an alumni in the quarterback club, he went to camp between 9&10 yr.
His recruitment started from the coaches he met there.
Never forget how he got off the bus and kissed the ground after the camp.
I think there is a difference between an instructional camp and a recruiting (NE Elite, college run) camp. While many of these recruiting camps are billed as instructional, the primary purpose is for recruiting. I assume from the OP’s post that there were asking about recruiting camps. If in fact the question is about instructional camps/classes, then if your high school program is not terribly sophisticated they can be very helpful, particularly at the pre varsity stage. One point of caution. If you want to send your son to an instructional camp, make sure the high school coach is on board to ensure the instruction given at the camp is consistent with the goals of the program.
NE Elite is where S got the most exposure. Rising sophs and rising juniors took a backseat to rising seniors there, in my opinion. Showing up didn’t hurt them, but if cost is a concern like it was for us (coming from out west), save it for pre-senior year.
Thank you all for the feedback.
We are looking at instructional camps, not recruiting. Mostly because of his late start with the sport.
He is working on his athletics. He has always been very big for his age so in some respects he is “used to” his size, if that makes sense. He can move pretty quick for someone his size. He’s played sports like soccer and Lacrosse for years. Regardless, I’ve noticed his movements have gotten faster since he’s been doing wrestling.
Thanks for the tip about talking with the coach. I’ve emailed him asking for camp recommendations so we’ll see what he says!
If you are looking for instruction, I would check out some local options for regular classes instead of a camp. Depending on your area, there likely will be some facilities with football specific speed/strength training classes, and maybe some lineman specific classes. In my opinion, regular classes over a couple of months are likely to do more good than a two or three day intensive camp, because kids get better by repetition. As a big kid, my guess is your son got by last year being bigger, faster and stronger than his competition, a physical difference which will likely narrow or disappear as he gets ready for varsity competition. My son was similar, and didn’t need to worry about technique thru freshman ball. He worked with LeCharles Bentley (before he moved his O Line Academy to Arizona full time) during the winter and spring between his freshman and sophomore years. It really helped him work his technique, and get ready to play against guys more his physical match. Your high school coach, or parents of kids who are or recently were recruited, probably know what is available in your area.
Just a word of warning. Unless your son is a freak athlete, a 14 year-old male at 6’1" weighing 270 lbs, who has played one year of football, is well advised to avoid contact camps where he may be seriously overmatched playing against experienced, varsity starters, who have spent years in the weight room and on the field. As always, the advice of OhioDad is spot on.
Hi all…just thought I’d update. The information here was very helpful!
Son is still playing football, going into Jr year in high school. He just turned 16 and is now 6’2" and about 290 lbs. He has a heavy weight lifting schedule and continues to do wresting and track each year to supplement football. He continues to grow (slowly) but has grown into his size (he is knows how to use his large frame to his advantage). This year on the off season we plan on hiring a trainer/skills coach. He’s a starter for both O and D Line and has developed his skills so much over the last two years.
We also plan on taking him to skills/recruitment camps this summer. He’s like to attend a D2 school to play football, but we’ll have to see how it goes. He’s working on film and just very focused on his fitness and skill development.
Thank you for all the feedback a few years ago - it was very helpful as we don’t come from an area where there is a large football culture so we’re just sort of figuring it out as we go…