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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is 13 and by no means gods greatest gift to baseball. He has slightly above average talent, and he is the type of player thats needs to constantly focus and work on his skills. He is just not one of those naturally gifted athletes.

My son has an opportunity to play on a Tournament / Travel team. Has anyone had any experience with this type of a team? It's my understanding that is the "next level" of baseball for youths. I'm told there will be more training, structure, focus, and conditioning, when compared to your local athletic organizations.

What are your experiences? Any advice?
 

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I'm told there will be more training, structure, focus, and conditioning, when compared to your local athletic organizations.

He'll also see better competition, from teammates and opposing players as well, which in turn should make him a better player because he'll have to step up his game if he wants to complete at a higher level.

Coaches will be more knowledgeable and will give him instruction that he probably wouldn't get in say a "house league".

He must be a pretty good ballplayer or they wouldn't have asked him to be on the team.

My advice is to go for it. It's a great opportunity. Good luck to him.
 

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They are always after my son to do it but unless you want to travel far distances,use up your entire w/ends and spend tons of cash I would say no.A friend of ours drove their son all the way to Cal Ripkins park in Maryland I think it is to find out it was cancelled at the last minute and they were out hotel costs and everything.Plus I have never seen any improvement over these kids doin it.I,ve played alot of b/ball and have been on semi-pro teams and still love to play and my take is either your son has it or he don,t.These camps ARE NOT goin to turn your son into a Roberto Clemente.Stick with your local youth leagues,your son will play with his friends from school and your surronding area.It is more special to play for your home town team in your local rec league.Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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My nephew plays travel ball, cause a lot of miles for my brother and extra bills as well, but my nephew is talented and will probably play big league ball some day , so my brother endorses it and burdens himself for sometimes a couple hundred miles away, like Norfolk, Va., motels, etc.
 

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If they just want your money or if they promised to turn the kid into the next Clemente then I'd say forget it. However, if your boy wants to play at a higher level then it would probably be a good experience for him.

He could do it for one season and then he will be able to decide if he should go back the next year. The rec league will still be there but this chance may not be.


P.S. Tell him not to sign any long term contracts.
 

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I am not sure about AAU, but my daughter has played travel softball since she was 10. My son is away at school so our time is now spent with her. She loves playing, it is now a "lifestyle" and not for everyone. We have probably 4 hotel stays a summer. I see others with other children being drug from tourney to tourney,seems hard on siblings.

We have alot of fun! I enjoy watching her play, and who knows.....might help with some education cost!

I would talk to some other parents who have played before, You might have a blast!
 

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meatpoll said:
Whatever happened to let kids be kids? Sometimes as parents we over stimulate our children!
Really is that for me?
My daughter loves fishing with me and is killed a few deer at the age 14, she loves going shopping with her mom, likes school dances. She just happens to play alot of softball, and is in great physical shape,
So we let her be a kid! She is not a couch potato,She has met a ton of new friends playing ball and is looking forward to playing high school ball this year,We get to spend alot of time together....We have fun!
 

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Really is that for me?
My daughter loves fishing with me and is killed a few deer at the age 14, she loves going shopping with her mom, likes school dances. She just happens to play alot of softball, and is in great physical shape,
So we let her be a kid! She is not a couch potato,She has met a ton of new friends playing ball and is looking forward to playing high school ball this year,We get to spend alot of time together....We have fun!
Sounds like you're letting her be a kid to me.
 

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outdrnut said:
meatpoll said:
Whatever happened to let kids be kids? Sometimes as parents we over stimulate our children!
Really is that for me?
My daughter loves fishing with me and is killed a few deer at the age 14, she loves going shopping with her mom, likes school dances. She just happens to play alot of softball, and is in great physical shape,
So we let her be a kid! She is not a couch potato,She has met a ton of new friends playing ball and is looking forward to playing high school ball this year,We get to spend alot of time together....We have fun!
No, it wasn't directed to anyone, so please don't take offense! It was just a general statement that in today's world we have our kids involved in so much that they can't even enjoy being a kid! Time to just have unstructured play without having to be on the go all the time!
 

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It's a different type of game, much more competitive and everyone knows how to play the game. My son has played the last 2 years on an 8u and a 9u team for summer travel. My daughter is 7 and played on the 8u softball travel team last year. Your summer will consist of practice 3-4 nights a week and every weekend at a ball field. From the 2nd week of June until the end of July/2nd week of August.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dc 21 said:
If they just want your money or if they promised to turn the kid into the next Clemente then I'd say forget it. However, if your boy wants to play at a higher level then it would probably be a good experience for him.

He could do it for one season and then he will be able to decide if he should go back the next year. The rec league will still be there but this chance may not be.
My thought also- the rec league will be there next year, and this opportunity may not.
I am meeting with the coach tonght to get a better feel for his expectations, level of commitment, etc.

It is my understanding that all of the current players are playing middle school ball with this team being their second priority, no time to play in a rec league. My son is in 6th grade, so school ball is out of the question this year. If this travel team is my sons "rec" league it may take away from just going and having fun playing baseball
 

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The rec league is about lettin the kids play ball and learn the game and have fun.Those travel teams pressure the kids and burn them out.My sons rec team was the champs and so was my daughters last year and I,ll put those two teams against any travel team around.I,m not sayin we can beat anyone I,m just sayin they will hold their own with any team.We will never do it.It made me laugh when they would try to recruit us and they would always say that your home team comes first and we are second.That,s a joke.To each his own.
 

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Buck,

Excellent question and some good input so-far. My son was never asked to play on a travel team nor have I coached one. I have coached little league (up to 12 YO). Some additional input, since you asked........
Make the decision based on whats correct for your child. The money and time aspect is your decision and you will know this better after you meet with the coach and he/she explains the costs and time requirements.
The travel teams do raise the bar by selecting players who typically have a good head for the game, a good physical aptitude and really would play every day if given the chance.
The only downside for the child is burn out from long weekends of playing at the tournaments and practice. Sometimes the children enjoy playing the game for the fun of it but dont want to play all weekend at 90 degrees.
One good way to judge the competitive level your child prefers is to look at their past performance during regular league all-star tournaments. If they really like the competitive nature and all of the daily practice of the all-star tournament then they may enjoy the travel team. If they want to skip practice to go swiming with their friends then other levels of play may be more suitable AT THIS AGE. The childs preference may change from year to year.

One interesting story I heard from a semi pro with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Red Barrons was how he did not make his high school team. The point of this is that there are a lot of years ahead and a lot of fun times for both of you......ENJOY THEM.....THEY ARE FLEETING.....TAKE PICS
 

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good ole boy said:
The rec league is about lettin the kids play ball and learn the game and have fun.Those travel teams pressure the kids and burn them out.My sons rec team was the champs and so was my daughters last year and I,ll put those two teams against any travel team around.I,m not sayin we can beat anyone I,m just sayin they will hold their own with any team.We will never do it.It made me laugh when they would try to recruit us and they would always say that your home team comes first and we are second.That,s a joke.To each his own.
Sounds like something that someone who hasn't been around the travel scene much would say. TRAVEL TEAMS DON'T BURN OUT KIDS....PARENTS DO!

I have 2 girls that were involved in several travel teams, I have coached a few, and helped out with most. It's not for everyone...kids or parents. First thing you should do is talk to the coach and some of the parents. Some teams are all about puting miles on and winning at all cost. (not that thats a bad thing if everyone is one board with it) Unfortuantely there are some travel teams that were started because the dad thought his little jimmy (or Jill) wasn't playing enough and now he has a team that will showcase his kid (Daddy ball). Some teams practice a couple times a week, some never practice, just go to tournaments. Some charge fee's, some do enough fundraisers to cover all costs. (my oldest was asked to play on a team that charges $2500 just to be on the team...you're then responsible for weekend costs)

First and foremost, make sure that your son knows how much of a commitment it will be. If he is going to miss being able to spend every weekend with his buddies, then it probably isn't for him (and that isn't a bad thing).

As for travel ball making him better, it depends on the coach and the tournaments they attend. One of the best coaches my kids ever had was their travel coach as well as their local league coach. But, you can't replace the value of facing better competition that you find at most travel tournaments.

I hope it works out for you, my girls still talk about their days of travelball.
 

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My son loves to play ball, but he's not the best athlete on the field. I do what I can to promote him to play whatever he wants to play. I dont force him to play any sport...ie...youth football (glad he decided not too).

That being said...its a lot of running, but it doesnt bother me much......I repeat...much.


I work with a guy whose 2 kids play soccer on traveling teams. Holy crap...they travel constantly...EVERY weekend. And its not just to the next town over an hour away. Starting next weekend, he will be traveling from the Pittsburgh area to Connecticut, Cleveland, Columbus, Richmond, Norfolk, Cincinnati, Chicago.....to name a few. That is WAY overboard for me man........no way. But thats what he chooses too day and maybe his kid will get a college education out of it, but whats the chances?
 

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You,ll notice too ace that they don,t recruit the average or underprivlaged families(finacially).It always is the ones that they know can afford it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Lots of great advice and experiences. thanks.
We met with the coach, we heard his side and he heard our side. it seem like a perfect fit, so we are taking the plunge. its going to be a very busy spring and summer full of baseball. But Im sure by the time its all over we will know if this is the right fit for my son.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
 
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