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Travel Program Questions

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  • Travel Program Questions

    Hi there. I'm new to this forum. I've been coaching for about six years now with out any kids, mostly Babe Ruth and Legion ball. I'm looking at putting together a travel program because I'm not to satisfied with with a lot of the coaching in this area. Has anyone started a travel program from scratch? What are the steps that I need to take in order to put a solid program together. I'm looking at starting with either one or two teams, a 16u and a 14u team. Please let me know the basics off all of this, incorporating, contacting parents, hosting tryouts, etc.... any and all help would be fantastic. Thank you all so much for your future answers.

  • #2
    I've done it. I've also merged with another team. I'll post later tonight when I have time to think through all the details


    • #3
      The first thing you need to do is figure out a budget. Put together the pieces.

      How many tournaments? Cost of registering?
      Team equipment
      - catchers equipment or each brings their own
      - batting helmets get about six ... some players will have their own
      - baseballs ... about fifty for BP
      - will tournaments supply game balls or your team?
      - Jugs net for pregame BP ... usually can't get on field before games
      - pickle balls for pregame BP
      - batting tee
      - medicine kit
      Cost of incorporating team (I'll explain why below)
      Cost of registering team with USSSA, AAU, etc.
      Cost of registering players
      Team insurance (get an annual policy)
      Practice field rental
      Uniforms (Get plain pants without a stripe. Then parents can buy replacements at sporting goods stores)
      Extra uniforms
      Coaches jersies/polos ... some tournaments require coaches to dress alike

      The reason for incorporating is if something goes wrong legally you want the team to be liable, not the coaches. Wouldn't you rather lose the team bank account than your house? The best way to incorporate is through AAU even if you never play an AAU tournament. It's less expensive. They help you through the process.

      Create a team contract. Hold harmless clauses won't hold up in court. But what you want is rules on what happens to paid fees if a player quits or gets kicked off the team. We don't return fees. it was budgeted money. What happens to uniforms if the player leaves the team. Also have behavior rules for players and parents with consequences, first offense, second offense, etc.. Get both players and parents to sign the contract. For the kids it's acknowledging they understand the team rules. The parent signing makes it legal in terms of fees and uniforms.

      Get ear plugs or thick skin. If you think rec parents can be a pain, wait until they are paying $500+ and don't think their kid is playing enough or is playing the wrong position. Establish you don't discuss playing time and positions with parents.

      We didn't do tryouts. We made a list of twenty players we'd like to have and got thirteen of them. One of the pains of running a travel team is recruiting. You will lose players every year. You always need to be looking for new players each season. It means chatting with parents and listening to how great their kids are.

      If you play in a Sunday doubleheader league you will also need to add the cost of field rental, umpires and baseballs.

      Feel free to ask any questions here or PM me.


      • #4
        Having run two seperate travel ball teams, I must say that TG gives a great breakdown costs and explaination of what to expect from the parents and players.

        If I could add one thing, it would be see if there is a reputable travel organization in your area, one that has multiple age groups (9U through 18U) and tie in with them.

        They will already be incorporated, have liability insurance that you will play under, uniform suppliers (if they don't have older ones you can start with) and if they have a good reputation in the area they usually have plenty of players trying to get involved with them, so recruiting is much easier.

        I had been running a single travel team and experienced all of the ups and down that TG Coach mentioned and this year took the team to an well established, well known club and have eased my headaches by about 85%.

        You'll always have the parent problem, but remember, it's travelball and if the parent doesn't like the way you run things, they can always find another team. . . there are plenty of good player/parent combos out there, that you don't have to put up with the nonsense.

        Just remember that no team is made or broken by one player, so don't be afraid of taking a firm hand with the "difficult" parent. Typically, when you give them the option to go elsewhere, their attitude usually changes for the better and you'll be surprised how the "pain-in-the-neck" becomes the model parent/fan in the stands.

        As TG noted, team rules or a "Code of Conduct" for coaches, parents, and players is priceless . . . of everything don't overlook that.

        Good luck to ya,
        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011


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