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Thoughts on Travel Ball and How It Affects High School Ball

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  • TG Coach
    replied
    The parents of your team may not consider themselves "elite" but they have a lot of disposable income if your program costs what ours do and they are free to travel with their kids.

    We play ten tournaments. Nine are day trips. Only one is an overnight. The cost to play is $500. That's not a lot of money. That's saving $10 a week. Some of the kids find their own sponsors to take a bite out of the $500. A big difference may be four coaches giving away training rather than charging for it. There are pay to play academy teams charging over $3,000. To be on the team requires X amount of lessons. The players on these teams can't make the good travel teams. So they pay to play.

    we played in house until 10 yrs age and the KID absolutely loved playing against his friends

    My son played LL through age twelve. The all-star team played into August. It was a great time. The kids played some travel around LL. I believe the level of play in travel ball prepared them for all-stars. In don't believe travel is necessary before the teen years to become a high school player.

    Some local kids are paying as much as $3400 (spring season only) for travel ball + hitting/pitching lessons in my area. The cost is way out of control for some of these programs. But people are paying it so these "real coaches" are doing well..........to say the least.

    We had a two game break one Sunday. To kill part of the time I wandered over to the 10U field. The team was sponsored by an academy known for placing a lot of players in college ball. A dad told me he was paying about 3K a year. He said his son would play college ball because this program gets them there. I upset the guy when I told him the team places it's 18U players in college ball and a lot of these kids won't be around by 14U. By 16U the academy is recruiting talent. They want kids with college potential on the teams. What they do is refine talent and help with contacts for college ball.

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  • Jim W.
    replied
    Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
    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.
    That is why I said: "Find a good coach (period)."

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  • Stealth
    replied
    Some local kids are paying as much as $3400 (spring season only) for travel ball + hitting/pitching lessons in my area. The cost is way out of control for some of these programs. But people are paying it so these "real coaches" are doing well..........to say the least.

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  • Encinitas
    replied
    I personally know a kid who plays the same age group as my son although he's an 8th grader so he is feeling more intense pressure to get on a HS Freshman team next year. He plays Rec Ball, plays for two travel teams, practices with the 33 other 8th grade kids with the high school coaches "recommended" feeder team. They have to be shelling out over $300 a month plus I know they get hitting lessons for $60/hour on top of that.

    My 13 plays on a Sunday League team and his manager was Cy Young winner back in the 90's. They hardly practice right now, they just show up and play some ball on Sundays. The cost extremely reasonable, and considering the two nice uniforms, playing on weekends, and the occasional "facility practices" we are practically playing for free. He's made his big money, so making a little scratch coaching kids is not something he's trying to do. In that regard I am quite lucky. His son is on the team I don't know if it's still Daddy-Ball, but it works for me and there is definitely no favoritism. I wish he'd pitch his kid more often to be honest.

    However when I talk upper class sport or privileged elites I mean the 8-9-10 year old set paying $150-$225 a month for "real coaches".

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  • wrstdude
    replied
    Originally posted by bbjunkie View Post
    The last four words are the key. If the parents of your kids are poor, the parents of mine must be destitute. If I were to suggest their kids would benefit from being on my son's travel team, and then tell them what it would cost in time and money, I would be laughed out of the room. Most simply can't afford it.
    Trust me, our parents were no different. Our previous team worked extremely hard to make it affordable. My parent's haven't paid over $300 for an entire summer of baseball ~60 games. This was only due to car washes, knocking on doors selling pizzas and knocking on business' doors asking for money. It's amazing what kids will do when they REALLY want to play. Rather than scoff at the cost and say, "Well, looks like we're playing house ball against mediocre competition." our parents asked what can we do to make this work. I see that as the biggest difference between the two sets of parents...NOT their paychecks.

    My brother's new team offers scholarships to those in need as they already have the financial backing of quite a few large sponsors. Now my parents aren't paying anything.

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  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Bare in mind when considering travel versus rec that building a love for the game in many cases is much more important than building skill. The timing of both is critical and most parents disregard the former for the latter at the expense of the former.
    Make sense??

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  • bbjunkie
    replied
    Originally posted by wrstdude View Post
    Can anyone explain to me what's wrong with parents spending the extra money, if they have it
    The last four words are the key. If the parents of your kids are poor, the parents of mine must be destitute. If I were to suggest their kids would benefit from being on my son's travel team, and then tell them what it would cost in time and money, I would be laughed out of the room. Most simply can't afford it.

    Leave a comment:


  • wogdoggy
    replied
    Originally posted by bbjunkie View Post
    My point was that there are very few travel players in our area. The rec programs, inadequate as they are, still produce players that do very well at the HS level and some who are recruited by good college programs.



    Serious travel teams (not counting the town teams that call themselves travel) anywhere near where I live, despite considerable corporate sponsorship, still cost a lot of money. The parents of your team may not consider themselves "elite" but they have a lot of disposable income if your program costs what ours do and they are free to travel with their kids. Local businesses, despite being pretty cash strapped themselves, are more than willing to support local teams and players. We are getting great support for the Legion team we're putting together. But, they are not going to put out money for the kind of travel teams my son played on.


    it all depends who is the most physically mature and looks good during tryouts,,also kids who "project' well also get an extra look..


    travel does provide experience more games and generally better playas.but again the coach doent care if you played in house or with the tad poles..

    one thing about in house..we played in house until 10 yrs age and the KID absolutely loved playing against his friends..looked forward to shining in front of his buddies and bragging the next day at school..

    Leave a comment:


  • bbjunkie
    replied
    Originally posted by TG Coach
    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.
    My point was that there are very few travel players in our area. The rec programs, inadequate as they are, still produce players that do very well at the HS level and some who are recruited by good college programs.

    Originally posted by TG Coach
    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.
    Serious travel teams (not counting the town teams that call themselves travel) anywhere near where I live, despite considerable corporate sponsorship, still cost a lot of money. The parents of your team may not consider themselves "elite" but they have a lot of disposable income if your program costs what ours do and they are free to travel with their kids. Local businesses, despite being pretty cash strapped themselves, are more than willing to support local teams and players. We are getting great support for the Legion team we're putting together. But, they are not going to put out money for the kind of travel teams my son played on.

    Leave a comment:


  • wrstdude
    replied
    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?

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  • TG Coach
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • TG Coach
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • korp
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jim W.
    replied
    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).

    Leave a comment:


  • bbjunkie
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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