Player development is one of the catch phrases we keep seeing in the world of travel ball. Many different organizations market themselves as groups that are committed to making their players into a better version of themselves. They talk about winning being less important than working to help their players improve and seem to be hoping that this attitude will help them draw more players.
My question is a simple one. Shouldn’t all teams or organizations be about player development? Sure, some teams are more transparent in their desire to emphasize winning and there is nothing wrong with wanting to win but at the end of the day, every team practices at least a little, right? If you are practicing, are you not developing players?
So what is the real translation for “player development” and what should players and parents be thinking about when they hear that term thrown around.
One thought is that “player development” is code for either we are not focused on winning or we are not good enough to win very much. Now I don’t mean that to be a derogatory thing. There is nothing wrong with having a team that is more focused on playing for fun and learning without much emphasis on winning. There is also nothing wrong with being a team that isn’t talented enough to win very much, at least yet.
For players and parents looking for a team to join there are many things to be aware of. As we have mentioned in other blogs, understanding the code is a big part of making a good choice. Choose wisely!