Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Thoughts on Travel Ball and How It Affects High School Ball

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Originally posted by Sonny View Post
    I once read an article about the effects that competitive travel baseball was having on high school baseball programs. I guess I see it as a good and bad thing. Obviously, travel ball can afford a kid plenty of quality game time experience and plenty of reps, but on the other hand, overuse and the risk of injury (especially during the Middle/High School season) is a factor. I'm not an advocate for, or against travel baseball (my son has done this for three years now), but I am curious as to what many of you think. In our case, I do think that it helped prepare my son for his middle school team. At this point, he seems much more fundamentally sound than many of the other kids that haven't been afforded the opportunity to play travel ball. Additionally, what do you think about travel teams scheduling tournaments during the school baseball schedule (weekends)? One of our local school programs will prohibit their players from doing both at the same time starting next year.

    Thanks,
    Sonny
    Three freshmen at our high school are starting on the JV team rather then being in the freshman team. What do they have in common? They played USSSA Majors at 13U and 14U. The speed of the high school game is not over their head. They will start on varsity next year. Two of the three may get called up before this season is over.

    The two hitters saw 80+ every Sunday in elimination travel games in 13U and 14U. They saw breaking pitches frequently. They played in pressure situations. They played the game at a fast speed. One kid only pitches. One of the other kids pitches. What did they gain in travel? They faced loaded lineups every time they pitched. It was never an easy lineup with two or three tough hitters to get by.

    The downside of travel is if a team doesn't have a deep, quality pitching staff and burns up pitchers to win. Also, I don't believe kids need to be playing 75-100 travel games in their preteens. I don't believe whether a kid plays 46/60 or 50/70 in his preteens makes any difference at all in middle school. It's still a change in field size. The kids who haven't played open bases but are talented, pick up the new (to them) part of the game quickly.

    Last year (8th grade and 14U) my son played on a travel team that started it's season concurrently with the middle school season. Most of the kids on the team didn't have middle school ball. My son didn't pitch for the travel team until his school season was over.

    In 7th grade/13U we had a team full of pitchers playing middle school ball for an overlap of two tournaments. I communicated with the various coaches to make sure they had priority use and I didn't pitch the kids too much.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by CoachHenry View Post
      I haven't seen anything close to 70% of the kids who play travel ball quit by the age of 13. If that is how it is in your area, they something is wrong in your area. I see far, FAR more kids who played rec ball quit then I did travel kids. FAR more.
      70% is the standard number of kids who quit playing baseball at age thirteen across the board, regardless of where they're playing. This number was around before the proliferation of travel ball.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by BallCoach06 View Post
        Here is my biggest thing with the incoming players I have seen the past few years. The kids that come in do not seem to have baseball instincts. They do not understand situations, how to play the game, etc. Bottom line, they do not appear to be getting coached on the game. The coaches that coach these teams hand pick the best kids at those levels and play games, but many don't take the time to coach, teach, and develop the kids. The kids simply get by on talent. When I was at the ABCA convention this past January, a speaker made a joke about travel and AAU coaches. He stated that in his opinion coaches that can't coach, coach AAU and travel teams. They handpick who they want, fill out the lineup cards, send them out to play, and then pumps his chest with how many wins he gets.
        It depends on the goals and objectives of the team. Our travel teams coaching staff is all former college and/or pro players. Our focus is training and development. When combined with the talent of the players, the team wins a lot. Last fall we played up a year or two in every tournament to challenge the players. They still played .500 ball because they could play the game right.

        There are travel coached accumulating talent that don't know what they're doing. They disappear by 16U when there aren't any more early bloomers to recruit. The kids are now competing for high school varsity roster spots with hopes of a college future. The kids and the parents recognize these coaches can't help get them there and leave the team.

        When we get to a tournament and I see a team holding a runner on third like a first baseman I think, "Are we going to put one on this team." Even if they're big and strong our kids will overtake them by being fundamentally sound and confuse the other team with aggressive play.

        Comment


        • #19
          One other note. By high school age, high school sports are moving towards being irrelevant in terms of being recruited for college. The college prospects are playing for well coached travel teams with contacts. The teams play in showcases and other major tournaments. The new NCAA rules on recruiting are cutting back college recruiting window. The college coaches can see many prospects in one weekend at the right tournament rather than seeing prospects one at a time at a high school game.

          Comment


          • #20
            Now if I were still living in Ohio I might not have signed the kids up for Travel Ball. However here in sunny SD you can play year around, and not have to go very far. I think my farthest trip was about 45 minutes.

            Now when we first moved here and played on one of the "Elite" 8u teams our coach was pressuring me to take my son to Vegas. I told him look I'll be damned if I am dragging my 9 year old to Colorado Springs for a baseball tournament. "but we are nationally ranked"
            "but we won an LA tournament so we are invited to all the big ones now".

            Big deal. So we stopped playing and about half the dads were right there with me. Once we saw how cheap USSSA was, it was a no-brainer. No more $150/month plus splitting tournament fees, gas, etc. $150-$200 per player for the whole season. You want to pay $200/month to be on joe-blow HS Superstar/Low-A Ball dropout coach's team be my guest. As I told people you can still buy lessons from these guys.

            Oh by the way, before I hear the daddy-ball cries, I was often asked by some of the parents to pitch my own kid more often (they obviously thought more of his pitching than I did) There is a flip side to not playing daddy-ball. My older son was on a team where we had "real coaches" who played up to high A or AA ball. Pitching decisions each week seemed odd to me, until I realized many of the kids were paying $60/hour for lessons on the side. How is that an improvement from daddy-ball? I have asked the parents if we want to keep up with our format or bring in a real coach and none of them want to change.

            To me the sport is quickly becoming an upper-class game of privilege with the equivalent of tennis parents with little athletic ability but big mouths sticking their noses in everyone's business.

            What's really aggravating around here now, is having to be on the right "feeder" teams in 8th grade (at a hefty cost of course) so that all the varsity coaches can see your kid. I feel sorry for a lot of these parents paying $2-$300 every month to be on the right travel team, plus playing on the 8th grade feeder team, etc.

            Comment


            • #21
              yeah i would say that the HS coaches post is wrong more times than right wrt to travel ball here.. The teams we play know what to do with the ball. They know different bunt defenses. They back up throws. They have plays for first and 3rd.
              really can think of very few travel teams that would fit the HS coaches description
              Originally posted by Stealth View Post
              That is true in some cases. Some of these teams pull kids from all over and never have time to practice.

              There are however some very well coached teams that I have seen.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by BallCoach06 View Post
                As a HS coach, I will give you my .02.

                First off, travel ball means nothing to me as a HS coach. I hear all the time from parents about what travel team their son has played on, how good he played on his travel team, etc., etc., etc.,. To be honest, I don't care. I am not trying to sound like I have an ego, but I don't care what they did when they were age 6-14, I only care about the future and how they fit into our program for the next 4 years.
                As a former HS coach I couldn't agree more.
                "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Baseball gLove View Post
                  CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) prohibits play or practice by any varsity player in any outside league during the official sport season (I believe there are waivers for Team USA).
                  CT is the same.
                  "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                  - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Thoughts on Travel Ball and How It Affects High School Ball

                    I repeated the thread's title, because folks have digressed and are talking about the effect of travel ball on individual kids, rather than on the HS game in general. TG Coach by contrast has made the salient point that baseball -- like a lot of HS-aged sports (like girls' soccer, for example) is becoming skewed by the desire of many coaches to have a few tournaments or showcases at which they can evaluate kids rather than having to travel around to multiple HS games (which is difficult to do given the tight scheduling of college games). So the incentive for kids to bolt from their HS teams is increasing. This exacerbates the lack of attractiveness of HS games for coaches, so kids who are late bloomers or can't afford travel ball don't get much exposure.

                    But, we shouldn't jump to conclusions that -- for an individual player -- playing on a travel ball team will automatically improve them more than playing on a HS or other youth (e.g., rec) team. Often, the top kids on travel teams are obsessed about baseball and improving at it and would be good players even without being on that squad -- they just want to play more games and to have a chance to be up against top competition. Maybe they've just bought into Daddy's obsession, but I rarely see kids in top flight travel ball who don't want to be there. If they'd really rather be playing the oboe, they'll have found a way to dig their heels in. And rec players can go find top level instruction on the side (even from the travel ball coaches whose teams they decide not to join) -- as Encinitas points out, ". . . you can still buy lessons from these guys."

                    Still, I think there may be an ultimate emotional cost. While the baseball success in some kids helps build their self-esteem, the bolting of rec ball for travel ball may sever them from the kids who live and go to school in their area and whom they learned the game with. And when they flame out -- as almost all will -- they can get to the "know what do I do?" stage. Or, to cling to some glory, they end up going to a Division II school that wants them even though their academics would get them into a Division 1 caliber school.
                    sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                      I repeated the thread's title, because folks have digressed and are talking about the effect of travel ball on individual kids, rather than on the HS game in general.
                      When I wrote my post I used my son as an example because he is just about the only kid his age locally who has ever played travel. (There was one other kid who played one tournament with a travel team as a 12yo) Last year's V team placed second (by one out) in the region and was made up mostly of kids who never played travel. The only exception was one kid who played on a "showcase" team the summer before his senior year. Three other kids played Legion the summer before last year.

                      With those exceptions, all the kids who are currently playing HS ball have played only local rec and school ball. And, the rec league coaching is very uneven with the very best of those coaches being no better than decent. I don't yet know how the V team will do this year, but they're ranked #3 in the regional pre-season rankings. They are expected to do well in our conference because they usually do.

                      My point is that you don't need travel to build good HS programs. I would much much rather build strong local rec programs that are self sustaining over the years. That affords the kids whose parents can't afford travel or can't take the time out of their busy lives the opportunity to excel. Most of the travel kids I've gotten to know have parents who have poured money into their training and travel for years. Travel is an elitist system that primarily benefits those with the money to afford them.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I agree a lot with many posts as well as BallCoach06.

                        My youngest son is now in HS. I too have seen a lot of what HS coaches are talking about and we have very good travel teams around the Houston area.

                        I think, as previously mentioned, to let the kids have fun playing until 12-13YO. As they reach this age their maturity and understanding really begins to improve. I kid with the mental ability to see what he wants is more determined to go for it.

                        Find a top notch DEVELOPMENTAL coach and get him on the team. Rec or travel doesn't matter, find the coach that teaches the right things. Choose developmental over winning. Winning is great but not at all costs. Determining what "winning at all cost" means is what it means to you in regards to your son.

                        Like the HS coach, I have seen outstanding travel players that win national championships get to HS and not know some of the fundamentals. Ex: Pitchers not backing up 3rd or home, MI not talking or communicating properly, not knowing the difference between a two out lead off and a regular lead off at 2B, hitting for the team and not for average, outfield communication, bunt defense, bunt offense,,,,,,,,.......

                        Find a good coach (period).

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          In my experience there never was a middle school team so it was either travel or little league. I prefer the more serious baseball so I stuck with travel because little league tends to be for every one to play and less competitive especially at the older ages. I do not think it takes away from high school ball but it will actually improve the skills and play during the season. The thing about travel is usually the better players play and others will either not play or play very little because they are less dedicated or don't have the money ect. Now if travel ball in high school ends up like jr hockey has then it will hurt high school ball but until that happens it can only help.
                          “If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” - Ted Williams
                          "Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit." - Hank Aaron

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by bbjunkie View Post
                            My point is that you don't need travel to build good HS programs. I would much much rather build strong local rec programs that are self sustaining over the years. That affords the kids whose parents can't afford travel or can't take the time out of their busy lives the opportunity to excel. Most of the travel kids I've gotten to know have parents who have poured money into their training and travel for years. Travel is an elitist system that primarily benefits those with the money to afford them.
                            Your point may be valid where you are. But it's not valid across the board. Rec kids in our area are not making varsity teams. The three freshman who played travel rather than Jr Legion are way ahead of their classmates and class above them. These freshman received varsity tryouts. They are the three best players on JV. JV competition is several notches below the 14U USSSA majors Sunday elimination competition they competed against last year. There is a freshman team.

                            The players and families of my son's travel team would be amused to disocover they're part of an elitist group. Nine of the thirteen families are blue collar. Many of them are the grandchildren of steelworkers. They're good baseball players. Good players get to play on good teams with financial backing. In addition to having former college and/or pro players as coaches, they get half off any training, cage or mound time and equipment at the baseball academy.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Jim W. View Post
                              Like the HS coach, I have seen outstanding travel players that win national championships get to HS and not know some of the fundamentals. Ex: Pitchers not backing up 3rd or home, MI not talking or communicating properly, not knowing the difference between a two out lead off and a regular lead off at 2B, hitting for the team and not for average, outfield communication, bunt defense, bunt offense,,,,,,,,.......
                              While this is true, once this kid gets the right coaching he's going to bolt past the average player with solid fundamentals and leave him in the dust forever.

                              When D1 coaches scout high school players which player do you think they take: 1) the 90 mph pitcher with weak fundamentals, or 2) the 80 mph pusser with control?

                              The answer is #1. The coaches will work with his mechanics to turn him into a 93 mph pitcher with reasonable control. You can't teach talent. You can always improve fundamentals.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by bbjunkie View Post
                                My point is that you don't need travel to build good HS programs. I would much much rather build strong local rec programs that are self sustaining over the years. That affords the kids whose parents can't afford travel or can't take the time out of their busy lives the opportunity to excel. Most of the travel kids I've gotten to know have parents who have poured money into their training and travel for years. Travel is an elitist system that primarily benefits those with the money to afford them.
                                This made me laugh. I'm sure my parents, who are quite poor, spend a good portion of their hard earned money so that they can feel "elitist"....

                                Can anyone explain to me what's wrong with parents spending the extra money, if they have it, so that their sons can get, what they feel, is the best instruction? It's their money, who are you to tell them how to spend it?

                                Comment

                                Ad Widget

                                Collapse
                                Working...
                                X