At what age would you suggest a player contact a coach at a school they are interested in.
It is best that initial contact be made during the sophomore season once the student-athlete has a little better understanding of what they would like to have as part of their college experience. While freshman year High School students can also attempt to get on a collegiate coach's radar, the fact is that the transition to High School and overall lack of a high school level transcript make the contact slightly less meaningful.
Remember that freshman and sophomore year students cannot have the coach directly contact them via phone/e-mail, so do not take a lack of response as a lack of interest. Be sure to advertise the tournaments and game schedules at which your student-athlete will be appearing in order to maximize the value of the showcase.
In that same respect if a player is attending a camp at a school they are interested in but are on the younger side (freshmen in high school) what would be an appropriate way to contact the coach about their interest.
Generally, our recommendation both here and on the BOTN College Forum is to attend a college-coach sponsored camp for recruitment purposes if and only if the coach has previously seen your student-athlete play and has expressed a direct interest in seeing more. College camps can be an expensive avenue for exposure and to get the most value for your money, it is best to know upfront that there is some mutual interest.
Now, if your student-athlete would like to attend a particular camp for the training first and recruitment second, there is nothing wrong with attending in the freshman or sophomore years. By all means send an e-mail ahead of time to the target coach to know for sure that he or she will be in attendance. Often times, coaches will be advertised as being part of a camp only to find out that a cameo appearance for an hour or less was in the schedule. In order to avoid that disappointment, having engagement ahead of time is critical.