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  • Starting a Travel Team

    There might be a million threads around here about this very topic, but here's another...

    I joined forces with a few other local rec ball coaches. One guy heard that I was interested in creating a travel team. Apparently, he has 2-3 kids who have been practicing together, but they weren't able to build a whole roster. So we're throwing together my 6-7 and his. His daughter already plays for a travel softball team, and that organization is receptive to expanding into baseball. It's a nice organization. They have a community service component and have nonprofit status. So we can sort of piggyback of their model. I'm about to speak with their president, and I imagine he'll help me through the process.

    I know almost exactly what I want to do. Our goal is to focus on developing kids' talent and allowing them to have fun. All of these kids play rec ball, and I'm firmly committed to making rec ball a priority. So we'll be playing around the rec ball schedules. We're not looking to play a lot of tournaments. We'll play maybe 6-8 with a half-dozen DHs. We're not concerned about trophies, and I'm not committed to giving all of our kids opportunities to play key roles (pitching, SS, 1B, etc.). I know there will be headaches, but I think we have a good group of parents and great kids who could benefit from taking their game to a new level.

    And so, I have some questions. Feel free to give it to me straight. Here goes...

    1. There is one child in particular who is dealing with some difficult stuff. His dad is a drug addict, and his mom is having trouble, too. He lives with his grandma, and she doesn't have much money. He really needs someone to guide him, and he has an older cousin who has been helping me prepare for the rec ball season. He also has a younger cousin who also is playing for me. The kid can't afford travel ball, and I'm not sure his cousin can afford it, either. So I came up with a plan to create 2-3 scholarships. I'm figuring these scholarships into the team budget and plan to use a portion of the annual fees to pay for these kids to play. But I can see this causing some issues. For example, what if Dad X wants his son to play third base and thinks his son should have dibs because he paid to play and another kid did not. All of the parents seem okay with the scholarship idea. Have you ever used scholarships? If so, how did you set it up? I should also point out that we are hoping to offset a portion of the annual fee through fundraisers. So it's not like the parents will pay out of pocket for these scholarships. And I have agreed to cover the tournament fees for these kids.

    2. How many kids should be on the team? I was planning for 10. One dad said 11 is better. The last few roster spots might be shared by a few part-time kids. Do you charge a part-time player a reduced annual fee? Should that family only pay tournament fees? My thought is that I will collect a fee from the 10 main players and allow the other players to fill-in as needed. And I will also allow them to practice with the team. Am I doing this the correct way?

    3. What do you include as part of the uniform? Obviously, pants, shirt, hat. But what about socks? Anything else?

    4. What are the best fundraisers? Car washes? Restaurant spirit nights? Coffee can at the grocery store? Bake sale at City Hall farmer's market?

    5. Am I crazy?

  • #2
    Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
    1. There is one child in particular who is dealing with some difficult stuff. His dad is a drug addict, and his mom is having trouble, too. He lives with his grandma, and she doesn't have much money. He really needs someone to guide him, and he has an older cousin who has been helping me prepare for the rec ball season. He also has a younger cousin who also is playing for me.
    There are several here who have been through these trials and tribulations... Maybe they will reach out to you.

    The kid can't afford travel ball, and I'm not sure his cousin can afford it, either. So I came up with a plan to create 2-3 scholarships. I'm figuring these scholarships into the team budget and plan to use a portion of the annual fees to pay for these kids to play. But I can see this causing some issues. For example, what if Dad X wants his son to play third base and thinks his son should have dibs because he paid to play and another kid did not. All of the parents seem okay with the scholarship idea. Have you ever used scholarships? If so, how did you set it up? I should also point out that we are hoping to offset a portion of the annual fee through fundraisers. So it's not like the parents will pay out of pocket for these scholarships. And I have agreed to cover the tournament fees for these kids.
    I would definately NOT suggest you have scholarships... this singles the kids out and puts them in a bad situation. Handle it discreetly and pay for it without bringing attention to them.
    "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


    • #3
      Based on my experience with 2 yrs of travel ball I would build in some sort of tryout every year where you are able to cut kids who can't compete either because they don't have the skills or are a problem child (or have problem parents). This will be hard if the head coach is good friends with any parent on the team.

      I'm assuming you would be the coach but the head coach needs ultimate and final authority in decisions.

      I think eleven is a good number because you will lose at least one kid along the way for various reasons. After the tryouts have 2 alternates picked to fill in for those who can't make tournaments or quit.

      We sold sheets as fundraisers which was an easy moneymaker because it's practical.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
        We sold sheets as fundraisers which was an easy moneymaker because it's practical.
        Sheets of acid?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post

          I would definately NOT suggest you have scholarships... this singles the kids out and puts them in a bad situation. Handle it discreetly and pay for it without bringing attention to them.
          So, should I just approach these parents and offer to pay for the kids to play? Do I pay it out of pocket or should I still use the fundraiser money and just not tell anyone. I definitely see what you're saying.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
            So, should I just approach these parents and offer to pay for the kids to play? Do I pay it out of pocket or should I still use the fundraiser money and just not tell anyone. I definitely see what you're saying.
            We run two Legion teams (Senior and Junior) and only charge $125.00 for 62 games. Equipment, umps, uniforms, field, porta john, etc., are all included. We work hard at keeping the cost low so we can offer the program to all. Those who cannot afford it speak only to the head coach and we pay for them... No one in the program is aware of the situation. It takes year-round work to raise the money needed (In our case - approximately $12,000.00).

            What age???
            "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


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
              We run two Legion teams (Senior and Junior) and only charge $125.00 for 62 games. Equipment, umps, uniforms, field, porta john, etc., are all included. We work hard at keeping the cost low so we can offer the program to all. Those who cannot afford it speak only to the head coach and we pay for them... No one in the program is aware of the situation. It takes year-round work to raise the money needed (In our case - approximately $12,000.00).

              What age???
              For a minute, I thought you were saying that you were able to play 60 games with just $125 per kid. Then I read about the extra $10,000!

              This is just a 10U team. Like I said, we're not all that serious about it. I determined that it would cost about $300 per kid for uniforms, insurance, registration, equipment, etc. I figured in about $600 for scholarships to cover kids who can't afford it. Then I figured that we would try coming up with half of the $300 through fundraising to cut the family contribution to $150. But that doesn't cover tournament fees. Fees are about $35 per family for a tournament. Ultimately, I'd like to raise about $5,000 so the kids can play for free. But that might take a little time. The organization has a softball program, and they do a fundraiser at a major race track that brings in about $5,000. I'm hoping we can get into that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
                So, should I just approach these parents and offer to pay for the kids to play? Do I pay it out of pocket or should I still use the fundraiser money and just not tell anyone. I definitely see what you're saying.
                IMO, you approach the parents and player and tell them that you want them on the team. Then, you discuss what needs to be done to make that happen without making it uncomfortable for anyone.

                Keep in mind that anytime you are going to start a new team, YOU HAVE TO HAVE PITCHING!
                Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Something we did for an easy and quick fund raising effort was hold a "tag sale". The whole team got together and basically had a big yard and bake sale in the parking lot of a local grocery store. Of course we had their permission, but that's never a problem. We raised 1000 in just 5 hours. Don't forget about "sponsorship" from local businesses. They get to write it off as a business/marketing expense as long as you're putting up a banner at your games with their business names on it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
                    IMO, you approach the parents and player and tell them that you want them on the team. Then, you discuss what needs to be done to make that happen without making it uncomfortable for anyone.

                    Keep in mind that anytime you are going to start a new team, YOU HAVE TO HAVE PITCHING!
                    That sounds good. I have never been comfortable asking anyone for money for anything. So this is a tough role for me to play.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fundraiser: You are going to hold a "Golf Ball Drop." You will need to be able to get some lift or someway to drop golfballs from a height and you will need some field where you can make a cup/pin like the cup on a golf course. You are going to drop numbered golf balls out of buckets and the first ball to go into the cup gets a percentage of the money you have generated from the sale of the golf ball numbers or you can set a specific amount which is typically $500. So, each player will collect a minimum of $100. Each player can sell more. If you have 14 players on the team and each sells 20 golfball numbers and you awarded $500, you will make $900.

                      You have your players parents, friends, ... donate old used golf balls. Golf courses will sometimes donate old balls that they find on the course. You will need 280+ of them. Then, you tell each of your players that they are responsible for selling 20 "golf ball numbers" at $5 each. Next, you create a document for players that they will fill out and turn in. Each page represents 10 golfball numbers. Also, that sheet will say that for every 10 golf ball numbers sold, there will be one winner of a prize. Each player sells 20 numbers so they will have two prize winners. So, Player sells golf ball number, takes name and contact number from whomever they sell number to but tells purchases their golf ball number. You go around the community asking for donations for local business people. This can be resturaunts, hardware stores, services, ...

                      Next, you write numbers on golfballs one through how ever many golf ball numbers you sold. However, you keep golfballs seperated in groups of ten because there will be a drawing per player per 10 golfball numbers sold. Each player draws two numbers from a bucket that has the golfballs with their numbers on it. After this, they pick envelopes that state what donated prize their people have won. So two of the people that they sold numbers, two will win some prize that was donated from the community. BTW, ask the golf course if they will donate a round of golf when you ask for the used golf balls.

                      Now, what we did was have the golf ball drop on some occassion where we showcased our team. We invited the public to come and watch the kids play a scrimmage game with drop to follow at a specific time. You might consider some other way to generate money if you think that you will get a lot of people to come to the drop.

                      I hope this makes sense and is complete enough for you to get the idea. It is a great fundraiser and I have seen teams make big money with this. They were members of a "program" and so, they had kids/parents selling for 4 and 5 teams total.
                      Last edited by Cannonball; 08-06-2012, 07:14 AM.
                      Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                      I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've heard of that golf ball fundraiser before. It's huge and works great from those that have done it.

                        For 10U, I would take at least 12 kids if you can. Vacations, injuries, warming up pitchers, etc.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
                          Fundraiser: You are going to hold a "Golf Ball Drop." You will need to be able to get some lift or someway to drop golfballs from a height and you will need some field where you can make a cup/pin like the cup on a golf course. You are going to drop numbered golf balls out of buckets and the first ball to go into the cup gets a percentage of the money you have generated from the sale of the golf ball numbers or you can set a specific amount which is typically $500. So, each player will collect a minimum of $100. Each player can sell more. If you have 14 players on the team and each sells 20 golfball numbers and you awarded $500, you will make $900.

                          You have your players parents, friends, ... donate old used golf balls. Golf courses will sometimes donate old balls that they find on the course. You will need 1400+ of them. Then, you tell each of your players that they are responsible for selling 20 "golf ball numbers" at $5 each. Next, you create a document for players that they will fill out and turn in. Each page represents 10 golfball numbers. Also, that sheet will say that for every 10 golf ball numbers sold, there will be one winner of a prize. Each player sells 20 numbers so they will have two prize winners. So, Player sells golf ball number, takes name and contact number from whomever they sell number to but tells purchases their golf ball number. You go around the community asking for donations for local business people. This can be resturaunts, hardware stores, services, ...

                          Next, you write numbers on golfballs one through how ever many golf ball numbers you sold. However, you keep golfballs seperated in groups of ten because there will be a drawing per player per 10 golfball numbers sold. Each player draws two numbers from a bucket that has the golfballs with their numbers on it. So two of the people that they sold numbers two will win some prize that was donated from the community. BTW, ask the golf course if they will donate a round of golf when you ask for the used golf balls.

                          Now, what we did was have the golf ball drop on some occassion where we showcased our team. We invited the public to come and watch the kids play a scrimmage game with drop to follow at a specific time. You might consider some other way to generate money if you think that you will get a lot of people to come to the drop.

                          I hope this makes sense and is complete enough for you to get the idea. It is a great fundraiser and I have seen teams make big money with this. They were members of a "program" and so, they had kids/parents selling for 4 and 5 teams total.
                          If fourteen players sold 20 golf balls each (280 total) why would you need 1400 golf balls?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            because I was thinking this up at midnight while watching the Olympics and not thinking too much. Also, because as I was typing this, I was reading off of the fundraiser crude hand written notes where a program did the fundraiser. Finally, because I ran out of toes and fingers.

                            Thanks, I edited the previous post. Some other parts of the description might need tweeking as well.
                            Last edited by Cannonball; 08-06-2012, 07:16 AM.
                            Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                            I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
                              because I was thinking this up at midnight while watching the Olympics and not thinking too much. Also, because as I was typing this, I was reading off of the fundraiser crude hand written notes where a program did the fundraiser. Finally, because I ran out of toes and fingers.

                              Thanks, I edited the previous post. Some other parts of the description might need tweeking as well.
                              I just thought I might have missed something important.

                              Although if you sold 1400 golf balls at $5 each the cost of belonging to the team would low.

                              Comment

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