Youth Baseball Travel Teams - The Challenges and Benefits
By Jake Wyatt
When your son is asked to join a youth baseball travel team, a parent will feel proud at first. Then reality hits - the cost involved, the weekends away from home, the extra practices required. If your son is good enough to make such a team, how important is it that he actually participate for his future baseball prospects?
Your son will benefit in many ways by competing in a baseball travel team. The fact that he has taken part in this type of team will only affect his future baseball career in that he will improve his skills. But it won't guarantee his high school/college prospects.
So, when deciding whether or not to allow your son to play with a travel baseball team, consider the following positives:
1. Playing with and against a higher caliber player will help your son increase his skills. This is noticeable. If your son has always played Little League, you will be amazed at how much better he will play in a baseball travel team.
2. Teamwork becomes much more important in a travel team. Tournaments may involve several games in a day. The coach has to keep his players fresh and may play different kids on the same day. Players will soon realize that playing every game is not possible.
3. Youth baseball players will learn how to win, and how to lose, more professionally.
4. The play is more aggressive, which will require your son to step up his own game. These are not just fun Saturday afternoon games, these games are played for trophies and rings.
5. Finally, travelling with the team can be a lot of fun for the entire family.
But these positives must be weighed against the negatives:
1. The cost - for hotel rooms, possibly airfare, tournament entry fees. This can all add up to a strain on the family budget. Some of this can and should be mitigated with fundraising.
2. The time - what are your commitments during the travel team's play? Can your son commit to the games even if you can't?
3. Possible parental over-involvement, although my experience with travel teams is that even the parents are more professional.
4. Possible win-at-any-cost coach attitude, which can lead to a bad experience for your son. Make sure you know the coach's style and are comfortable with it.
Allowing your youth baseball player to participate in a baseball travel team can be extremely rewarding and will certainly make him a better baseball player. He may even end up with a special trophy or winner's ring!
In order to be the best possible baseball player, training should happen year-round and be a joint effort between the coach, the player and the parents. Get FREE tips to improve baseball performance, reviews of e-products related to baseball, and links to training resources at http://youth-baseball-training.com.
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