Age to start travel ball

I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on what age a chid should start playing travel ball? If you start to early do you think it will burn out a child by 14 or 15? Thanks!

I believe travel ball really gets started at about 10 here in the Phoenix area. But your concern about burn-out is legitimate. The solution is to not let young kids play one sport all year round. If they play different sports throughout the year, they will avoid both physical and mental burn-out and they will be more well-rounded in terms of physical skills. That’s important because as they get older and different sports become available to them (e.g. volleyball, golf, tennis, etc.) they will develop new interests and being well-rounded will allow them to succeed in other sports.

Totally agree. When I was in professional ball and talking with my teammates about how they got there … almost every one was a multi-sport athlete. At least two sports. Sometimes three. And most pro ball players could have made it to college on a scholarship playing another sport, but chose baseball. The athleticism and competitiveness translates very well.

HOWEVER … as a pitcher, pre-season preparation is super important. And winter sports like basketball can get in the way of your training and prep. So I’d recommend playing baseball in the spring and summer. Another sport in the fall (I played soccer), and then a winter sport like hoops (i played indoor soccer) only if it allows you to train for the baseball season. I used to weight train in the winter.

I played three sports through 8th grade, but dropped hoops in the winter in 9th grade. While entertaining offers to play college baseball, I was also entertaining offers to play college soccer. Which is pretty common with my pro teammates.

From one father to another, I think six-seven months of baseball is plenty (we start in March and end in September).

Besides, although you get better at baseball by playing baseball, you don’t become a better athlete by just playing baseball. My philosophy is that kids need to train to be a better athlete.

I plan on training with my son during the off-season. 50% of his training will be soccer drills and throwing a football. The other 50% will be baseball-specific strength training. The other 50% will be spent working on the fundamentals :slight_smile:

Oh the urge to give a hard time…to tease, to smirk and then I think hummmm…Steven played professionally as a pitcher…and in my mind I just shut up…but oh man SOCCER :shock: …Superb for conditioning…not a big sport for shoulder or arm injury…somebody here is a lot smarter than me :wink:

My son played league ball in the spring (Including All-Stars), participated in camps that were put on by a reputable major D-1 program for a month in the summer and league fall ball. We didn’t travel at all until he was 17…he has had extensive success (His second sport/activeity was martial arts).

As a dad there are a few of interesting points here.

First, I would agree that it’s important to try other sports and be well-rounded, and I’d also say that baseball isn’t a sport that most kids are going to be able to play much as they become adults. Tennis, golf, squash, and basketball are all better life skills - though I did play a heck of a lot of softball in my 20’s and 30’s.

Second, I think it makes sense to follow what the kid likes and nudge as appropriate. For example, my eleven year old plays soccer fairly well but lacks the skill and desire to ever be a travel-team level player, so when he hits middle school next year, I plan to nudge him toward cross-country, where I think he’ll do very well because he truly loves to run - and runs a 6:15 mile. My nine-year-old has speed but not much distance, so he’s naturally dropped soccer already in favor of fall ball, which he loves, and plays hoops. Basketball does interfere with the start of baseball in the spring, but both are great sports for him.

Third, within reason, I don’t think there is anything wrong with nudging your kid toward the sport or other activity that will earn him admission or even a free ride to the school of his/her choice. If your kid is a stud soccer player and an average baseball player, at some point I think it makes sense to double up on the kid’s better sport.

Finally, when I was a kid, 3-letter athletes were the norm; that’s the way it was done. But it’s worth looking at what people are doing different these days and how well it’s working. I’m thinking specifically of the Dominican Republic. Hasn’t that country proved beyond any doubt that total investment in training for one sport year round will produce superior players? Didn’t China prove the same thing several times over in the Olympics?

…but of course those DR kids don’t have MBA or JD degrees to fall back on if they don’t make the bigs, so I’m not saying that I’m raising my kids like that or that anybody should. My kids are not allowed to even pick up a ball unless their homework is done and their grades are where they need to be.

My experience as a father and a coach and a player (dang that was a long time ago) :roll: is that each kid has a different burn out point. As a father you should be in tune with when he is approaching that breaking point. My son played basketball as well as baseball until just this year (senior). It was a struggle to get him indoors to throw during the winter after basketball practice but he was able to do it. The other factor was academics. He gave up basketball to concentrate on strength and conditioning during the winter because the college he’s looking at asked him to get in the weight room. He can also get an additional scholarship if he keeps his grades up. Basketball helped him tremendously with coordination as he grew. So I can see where a different sport like (God I can’t believe I’m saying it!) SOCCER :twisted: could be a better fit. Me…I also played golf and tennis :lol: .

I never would have thought soccer, either.
However, my daughter started playing soccer, and I have to say that it is fun to watch.
It’s not boring like the games on TV. It is a fast, physical, and mentally challenging game. It’s almost like basketball, except no dunking.

It’s hard enough not to be giving Steven our traditional hard time we give him over soccer :shocking: :crazy: :disbelief: :puke: :puking: :puke1:

OR scoring…If your so into boring (Or non…just teasing mind you)
how bout wrestling…no better flexability enhancing and whole body conditioning sport out there…Almost everyone has a wrestling program…very similar to my sons swing into the martial arts (Which proved also beneficial for concentration and confidence as well as strength and conditioning).

But no programs around here for an 8 year old. My son is also into Tae Kwon Do during the off-season.
Now, at what age should a child join the MMA travel team :slight_smile: ?

Mine fought in the Jr Olympics as a 12 yr old Ga State Champ and Fla runner up, got to compete inside the Metrodome :shock: . We traveled a bit with that. All the younger kids seemed to really enjoy it but it wasn’t near as intense as baseball travel, they might have had 3 matches in a day if they won, one if they didn’t…not like double headers on Sat and double headers on Sun 2 hrs a piece and 80-95 degrees…