"Elite" Youth Baseball

Funny article on “elite” youth travel teams. Much truth, in my opinion. Don’t miss the cartoon. LOL.

There is no question that this article is right on, there is a fine line between kids playing this type of baseball for themselves or for their parents. I do think the cartoon is halarious too. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for sharing

Glad you guys enjoyed it. I thought of sending it to some parents I know, but it would hit too close to home for them, you know what I mean? :lol:

:lol: I hear ya

My .02

Travel teams have a place just like rec league. We love travel ball. It means being together as a family most weekends doing something the kid loves. Not sure how you put a price on that.

When I was a kid the better players started and got the majority of playing time. The weaker players were 2nd string and were encouraged to get better and earn playing time, and that was rec league. Did lesser players get discouraged and drop out, yes.

Now days if you have a stud player it’s almost treated as something to be ashamed of. And it’s made clear he’s going to sit the bench while the weaker players get equal playing time. No reason to work hard and improve, I can play xbox at home because come game time I’ll play no matter. And guess what, no small amount of the better players get discouraged. Now that makes sense.

So in my book rec and travel ball both have their place. If some parents are taken advantage of who’s fault is that?

I often read about the supposed “equal playing time” in “rec leagues,” and I assume that’s a reference to Little League, but in Little League I haven’t seen that at all.

As per its rules, Little League (Minors and Majors) requires only that a kid play at least two innings and have at least one at bat. Especially in Majors, the less talented kids get just that - one at bat and two innings on the field - and the more talented kids play virtually all the time. There is no “equal playing time,” in the rules or on the field.

My son is 10 and in Little League Majors, and spent the last two seasons in Little League Minors. I can tell you that on all of his teams, the better players played more and the worse players played less. There was and is no such thing as “equal playing time.” At least in Little League.

If other local leagues impose “equal playing time” rules, that’s something I’m not familiar with. I do know that Little League of America does not require it.

[quote=“SomeBaseballDad”]My .02

Travel teams have a place just like rec league. We love travel ball. It means being together as a family most weekends doing something the kid loves. Not sure how you put a price on that.

When I was a kid the better players started and got the majority of playing time. The weaker players were 2nd string and were encouraged to get better and earn playing time, and that was rec league. Did lesser players get discouraged and drop out, yes.

Now days if you have a stud player it’s almost treated as something to be ashamed of. And it’s made clear he’s going to sit the bench while the weaker players get equal playing time. No reason to work hard and improve, I can play xbox at home because come game time I’ll play no matter. And guess what, no small amount of the better players get discouraged. Now that makes sense.

So in my book rec and travel ball both have their place. If some parents are taken advantage of who’s fault is that?[/quote]

Where is facebook? I need a like button for this lol

I never meant to imply it was a rule, and talking with people on other forums it was apparent different areas addressed the situation differently. In my area it was made plain that there would be equal playing time in rec and also most middle school sports.

That was our experience. That and that winning wasn’t important.

[quote=“SomeBaseballDad”]My .02

Travel teams have a place just like rec league. We love travel ball. It means being together as a family most weekends doing something the kid loves. Not sure how you put a price on that.

When I was a kid the better players started and got the majority of playing time. The weaker players were 2nd string and were encouraged to get better and earn playing time, and that was rec league. Did lesser players get discouraged and drop out, yes.

Now days if you have a stud player it’s almost treated as something to be ashamed of. And it’s made clear he’s going to sit the bench while the weaker players get equal playing time. No reason to work hard and improve, I can play xbox at home because come game time I’ll play no matter. And guess what, no small amount of the better players get discouraged. Now that makes sense.

So in my book rec and travel ball both have their place. If some parents are taken advantage of who’s fault is that?[/quote]

Where is facebook? I need a like button for this lol, I think kids need to just play ball somewhere, wait till high school to try some travel ball. I didn’t play travel or showcase ball until the summer going into my senior year and I got plenty of looks from college coaches and currently play college ball. It was great to play showcase and maybe there is no price on those weekends with your teammates and their families in the hotels and at great college facilities, but I suggest save it for those last few years before you head to college if your goal is to play at the next level. But most people that would pay the money for travel ball I would assume are pretty serious about baseball…

south paw, you send it to those parents you are talking about and “most” won’t even know you are implying them in the context of it, most don’t even have a clue.

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How can an article trash “travel ball” and glorify “Little League”? Little League is televising 12 year old baseball, but yet the author has no issues with that? He trashes local papers for publishing articles on youth teams, and in the left center of his column there is an ad for watching the 2011 LLWS on ESPN and ABC. I’m not sure a bigger hypocrite exists in this world.

My son played rec ball from 5-9 years old. He started playing travel at 8. It started as his rec team looking for better competition. We planned to play 4 tournaments, but everyone loved it and we ended up playing 9. The next year we skipped an age group in rec and played 10 year old ball as 9’s and played travel ball. With four kids from our 9u travel team we won the 10 year old rec league. Someone tell me how my kid is going to improve by being walked over 50% in rec league vs less than 5% in travel? Tell me how he is going to improve as a pitcher by striking out probably 90% of the batters he faced in rec ball vs maybe 20% in travel? Near the end of the season he told me that he didn’t want to play rec ball anymore.

This year he is playing 10u travel ball. Our schedule consists of 12 tournaments and all but two are within an hour of our house. We will play up in the 11’s in probably half of our tournaments in order to stay closer to home and reduce expenses. As far as playing with his friends, my kid is playing with his friends in travel ball. Something that he wouldn’t be able to do in rec ball.

Pro’s and Con’s to both of course. But let’s be honest with each other, in my opinion one of the biggest issues with Select/Elite level ball is the damage that is done to the father/son relationship. The expectation for these young boys who play for some select/elite level teams is that the youngster work like he is playing at high school level ball. The love of the game is being stripped from the young ball players hearts and its just plain sad! I already know that some of you are going to say this is the exception and not the rule, but I say to you that that may be true but there’s a lot more ball players being mistreated then not. The bottom line is when in Rome do as the Romans do, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it. Give me back the days when kids were able to play seasonal sports with out having to worry about not making their high school squad because they didn’t play on a select/elite travel team.

We actively advise our kids not to play for expensive select teams. We work with select teams in the area that are affordable, travel very little (no reason to go to Hawaii to play baseball), and have solid coaches.

Kids just need playing time at the highest level they are competent at. And they shouldn’t pay thousands of dollars to do it.

You don’t improve by playing for a “select” team that is better than another one. As said in Talent is Overrated: “Musicians know what makes them better at their craft - practice, alone in their room, for hours and hours on end.”

The same is true of baseball athletes. You get better by having a limited amount of coaching, a video camera, and thousands of hours of working your ass off alone or with a very small group of dedicated people. It’s not fun. It’s not supposed to be. But it’s how you get better. Not by paying thousands of dollars and taking what amounts to 12 minutes of batting practice twice per week and traveling to other states.

Practice, a video camera, and some timely instruction. Oh, and just by growing up and being more mature.

I hear the same thing from everyone as my son has chosen to stay with LL and be with his friends. [/quote]

90% is a little exaggeration, but I see the point. Why only 20% in travel? In the few travel games my son has played since ten, I admit his strikeout % wasn’t as high as in LL, but it was still 2.5 K’s per inning as a 10U and 2.2 Ks/inning at 11U. See, he learned from practice how to throw strikes, hit the corners and keep the ball low, so whether he played LL or travel, the results were the same.

Sounds like he’s following his dad’s wishes. He knows what pleases you. I hear this quite often as well. Then I talk with the mom after the season has ended, and they say how their son is worn out and hates baseball. I always say the same thing. Take a break, play rec basketball for the winter, and come back fresh in the spring. The time off usually rejuvenates the kid and he forgets how tiring it was the previous year chasing a baseball from state to state and starts over.

That is true. And unfortunate. We’re now ostracized by travel team families because we didn’t join them and leave LL. It’s sad, because my son had some very good friends on the team, and these relationships will need to be mended before HS ball.

BTW, my son wanted to stay in LL because he couldn’t stand the elitist attitude developing among his friends. It was his choice to stay in the LL program and not develop.

(p.s. I know he won’t develop as a baseball player by staying in LL, but I’m wondering if a kid without the travel experience, elite coaching and friends can throw strikes with three different pitches at 75+ MPH in LL? Probably not. I’m sure it’s the travel and better competition, and not the practice and dicsipline, that make a player better.)

:roll:

What are the “issues” with ESPN televising the Little League World Series? My son and I love watching it. It shows him what hard work can lead to.

Let me guess. Your objection to ESPN televising the LLWS has nothing to do with the fact that your son does travel ball and ESPN doesn’t televise that, right? :roll:

What are the “issues” with ESPN televising the Little League World Series? My son and I love watching it. It shows him what hard work can lead to.

Let me guess. Your objection to ESPN televising the LLWS has nothing to do with the fact that your son does travel ball and ESPN doesn’t televise that, right? :roll:[/quote]

So, it is ok for ESPN to televise LLWS, but as the author says “we have completely lost our minds, gone crazy” when three or four sub 20,000 circulation papers have articles about local travel basketball/baseball teams. I’m simply pointing out the hypocrisy of the article, nothing more.

It has nothing to do with my wishes. We don’t play year round and we don’t chase a baseball from state to state. In my initial post I stated that we play most of our tournaments within an hour of home, with half of them in our home city. When baseball was over, we went to football, and now he is finishing up basketball. Last year our travel team had 8 kids play rec ball, this year there are none. We have two sets of parents that don’t like travel ball, but their kids don’t want to play rec ball in our area anymore. We don’t have LL in our area, maybe things would be different if we did. I think you and the article are stereotyping “travel ball” players as this elite group, when in reality most teams are not like that.

razorbacker, I don’t completely understand your argument, the poster here initially said we should read this “funny article” on elite teams, if your comments are based on that Elite teams and top Little League teams are no different then I agree. My feeling is if you have a sticker on your car with your kids name, number and team he plays for then you probably wont understand what I am talking about, do you take a cowbell or a vuvazella to the game to annoy the other team then you might not understand either, does your team play music namely “Wild one”, when you are taking the field then you are going to be totally in the dark, do you and all the other parents on your team wear during every game with team signs dragging all the brothers to and sisters to every game pissed off at every ump that makes a bad call…totally disrespecting the game…then you are the ones I am talking to and you probably don’t even know it.

My kids play where he can get the best coaching, not where the best 10 players can play together, oh no more than 10 because the players might have to compete for playing time and you don’t want a player the coaches might have to “coach”. This isn’t just from the coaches but the parents too, we need to win games, that will give little Johnny a positive feeling about baseball and what his future can be, well I have seen little Johnny get cut more than once from a high school team when he isn’t coach-able or teach-able or a team player. My kids don’t win as many games as others but they get what they need to progress in baseball, that progression isn’t playing in Florida or Texas or New York next week, its about hard work, playing baseball, coaching and more hard work.

Guess I’m not making any friends today. Sorry to those teams that expect a rollover against my kids teams and run into a buzz saw pitcher but it happens, even if your team is #2 in the country (happened last year in a local tournament and the team blamed it all on the umps), you still gotta play the game.

Little league is no different, I think most would agree, I would say some of it is for TV since it’s nationally televised, if there wasn’t energy and excitement then we wouldn’t watch. But when we see it at a local tournament with no exposure you wonder what is in peoples minds.

razorbacker, you still have to admit the cartoon is funny as heck!

Images are often so much more powerful than words. For all the truth in the text of the article, the cartoon may say more. My favorites are the two parents in the stands with their check books out writing out checks, and the back of the third baseman’s cap. :lol: