We’ve sort of discussed this topic in the past on LTP, but I’m seeing Travel Ball continue to become more and more prevalent. What do you think? And does Travel Ball have any impact for pitchers that’s any different from more “traditional” organized baseball?
The recreational aspect of local leagues is important for kids of all talent and interest levels to experience. However, the low levels of local talent and interest can cause kids to look for alternatives. I have also seen such severe cases of “daddyball” that more talented kids needed to find another venue to get playing time because the “coaches” were so focused on making sure “junior” played shortstop no matter what.
Travel ball can be a system where merit and development of players is a higher priority, rather than having 20 minutes of batting practice lost because the coach wants Johnny to make contact sometime before the year is over. Of course it can be more of the same in travel, but at least the parents are free to look for a different team and not be tied to a geographical area.
Our crew had very good experience with a locally based travel team that played relatively inexpensive tournaments and a reasonable number each year. It was more time intensive and more expensive than the local little league but the coaching and competition were so much better it was definitely worth it to us.
I wouldn’t pay the cost of elite travel though and unless your player is physically big early, I can’t see how the exposure is worth the fees.
Pitchers get a chance to face more batters that are able to make contact and not just the local kids who may be unable to deal with a more advanced pitcher.
Sort of unrelated to the topic, but, I saw this this past weekend and I had never seen it before and it made feel…well, honestly, sad.
I was exercising at a park that often hosts travel ball tournaments. While I was finishing up my last lap around the fields I came upon two kids behind one of the fields, teammates, about 14 or 15 years old, fighting. Like a full blown fist fight. One kid was bleeding from the nose and one was cut and bleeding by his eye and his jersey was torn and hanging off. Its an organized travel ball team, not sure from where. I thought to myself, “ok, where is a coach?” He was the older guy in a jersey recording the fight on his cell phone.
I found that rather gross. I bet their teams materials that are given to parents rattle on about teaching character and respect from the game and each other etc as well.