SHOWDOWN! High School Ball VS. Travel Ball!


I hear it from my HS coach that summer travel ball is a blowoff and that you get recruited thru HS and thats what is important, and from other sources I hear that travel ball is where you get seen if you are not a blue chip recruit. HS coaches hate the whole idea and everything about summer travel ball.

I’d like to hear everyones take and hopefully get a good discussion going!


Most coaches bash other forms of ball (travel bash HS and vice versa) out of their own insecurity. They think they offer more than the other approach…in most cases I have seen they don’t.
Here is my take (just my take) on it.
College coaches/scouts ect recruit skill sets and projection. They don’t care if they see you in high school, in travel ball or in a local rec league. If a guy has rare skill (90 + mph FB, elite speed in the field, hitting for real power) they will find you. For everyone else (that is to say the other 98% of ball players) it is a big mash up and largely up to the player. If you possess average skills (average speed, bat .330 in HS with little pop or an 80 mph FB) why spend money on showcases ect. Your skill set doesn’t matter much. It is average.
High school ball in some areas has been made sort of irrelevant and travel ball is largely based on ripping people off with a bunch of false hope. If I had it to do over again with the lessons learned the hard way my approach would be way different. Way fewer games. No fall ball. Six months a year dedicated to not playing games, but, to developing skill and getting power, big and strong.
Baseball is probably the worst of all the sports at helping players develop. This starts in LL and runs through high school, college and travel ball.
Ask yourself, how is your high school coach really helping you get better? How is your travel ball coach or team really helping you improve? Its not about getting seen with average skills. It should be about developing players and most coaches, travel or high school, suck at it.


My son’s HS coach is a balance point guy. Which is crazy because from the stretch, he doesn’t enforce it. Why should players have a wind up and a stretch mechanic? My son basically pitches from the stretch all the time, but his coach wants him to throw from the wind up with no runners on, just not from my son’s version of a wind up which is mechanically similar to his stretch. He can’t get his front hip out nearly as far from a balance point leg lift and the coach wants him to really elevate the lift. All of this is directly against everything I’ve taught him.

I did the only thing I could think of…I told him to not pitch for the HS. That sparked a phone call to which I said that his delivery is his delivery. Neither of us will bend, and I refuse to have to rebuild his mechanics after the school season. He’ll have to do his pitching in the summer and fall then.

Any opinions?


I agree with you. Try to work with the coach but if he is inflexible do what’s best for your son. Around here we rarely see any recruiting at high schools. Many of the college coaches tell the kids to find a good summer team. Due to limited staff, HS & College seasons played at same time, & larger pools of talent in tournaments most recruiting happens during the summer. I want my son to play his best and contribute to his HS team to the best of his ability. In your situation if pitching for HS team is detrimental to his development I’d hold him out of pitching. Sounds like coach is very rigid in his beliefs, a cookie cutter guy. For the record I don’t agree with teaching balance point.


Tell the HS coach to F himself and keep your son doing what is best for his game and future in the game. That coach is probably a social studies teacher who is a wanna be hard ass and really knows nothing.

Just my opinion.


I agree with you on some points but not all. Yes, colleges do not care where you are seen. They want the best talent and wherever they can find it and sign it they’ll take it! But I do think that showcases are beneficial to kids who are not blue chip recruits. And I totally disagree about you saying travel is a rip off. Thats based on where you spend your money and who you put your faith in as a parent putting your child in a travel program and its also your responsibility to pick the right travel orginazation for your son. And my take on where kids are seen is really in the summer when the scouts have the time to go out and see games as their season is not in. But, most definetelty you can be seen in either one. I feel it is easier to be seen in the summer.

Now, I am 100% with you that there are terrible coaches in travel and HS and also amazing coaches in travel and HS. Also, I feel development is CRUCIAL! But, in my opinion I feel I developed with my travel team. In my HS season, we don’t have advanced approaches and do not really make tweaks or changes. Its really just practice. With my travel we have a indoor facility where we can swing, throw pens, take ground balls and run and we get the instruction that is necessary for us to improve. We learned with the same head coach who taught us the game and how to play it the right way since we were little (which goes with you LL quote which I agree with) and we have ex D1 players and coaches who are always in our facility helping out and coaching us up (which also aids when getting recruited as these guys all have connections in the coaching realm) I will say that this may sound (a lot) biased towards travel because my HS coaching staff is filled with a teachers aid who lives at home with his mom and two social studies teachers who one played in college (HC) and another who has a “How to play outfield for Dummies” book in the back seat of his car.

Also, I agree with limited fall ball.

Sorry I wrote so much!


Don’t apologize for having an opinion, that is a good thing.
In terms of what I was saying, I was speaking in general terms. Its why I said “most” as opposed to all.
I dont bash HS coaches generally because they are doing a thankless job…the politics of HS sports is crazy and they are under pretty strict rules in terms of practicing time ect.
In terms of travel ball, you are right, it all comes down to what you are paying for and how much you are paying. I would not pay for 10u travel baseball or anything, but, that is just me. My son didn’t start playing baseball until he was a young teen and didn’t start travel ball until he was 15. The travel team he was on was inexpensive and played one tournament a month usually, more in the summer. I know people that pay anywhere from $1,700 to $3,000 for each summer and fall season. The team will travel by bus or fly to warm weather locations to play some tournaments in the fall…yeah, thats kind of neat I guess but does nothing for skill development. The big push there (like most travel ball organizations) is they move kids on to college…they may assist with that to some degree, but, there still is not a lot of player development. They have a throwing program and one or two team practices a week…the fact they have a reasonable throwing program is better than most. Spending $6,000 a year? That money would be much better spent hiring a personal trainer a physical therapist and a nutritionist.
I see plenty of travel ball tourneys and mostly what I see is undertrained kids getting harped on about fundamentals. I still see plenty of times where guys are not even given time to warm up before coming into a game to pitch.
For kids that live in warm weather areas they can play every week in tournaments. Way too many games, way too little time training.