What’s Wrong with Travel Ball?

Here you go, the bottom of the seventh inning, which unfortunately many travel teams never get to play (see the last installment of this series) which means the end of the series about what is wrong with travel ball.

21. Rosters are too small and non competitive.

Now I get it. When you join a travel team you are making huge investment in time, money and effort. For the investment you all want to get a return and that return is measured in just one way, playing time!!!!!

So teams are built on the guarantee that all players will get to play a specific amount of time, all the time, no matter what. Rosters are kept small to insure that all the players get to play and everyone feels like they are getting their “moneys worth” out being on the team. Players usually get to play no matter how they perform, whether they come to practice, whether they are ready to play that day or not and there is usually no discussion about it.

We see it every day on social media, teams looking for players because the already streamlined roster lost a player to injury or defection, and now they desperately need to add to their team. This is just an indicator of one problem with the too small roster but not really the biggest reason for this blog.

Quick review: Most players who play travel ball are doing so because they want to play in college.All college programs are very talented and the players there have to win their starting spots and playing time by proving they are a better player than their also very talented teammates. College coaches get paid and get to keep their jobs because they win so they are highly motivated to run teams with great competition for playing time.

And here is the real problem!

Most travel ball kids play in a world where they never have to compete for playing time. They are guaranteed time on the field and if they don’t get it on one team they will jump to another to get it there. BUT they are trying to get recruited so they can play in a program where they will have to compete for every inning they ever get.

Kind of crazy don’t you think?

How many players and parents are having this discussion with themselves? I have no idea how to compete for playing time but I am spending all this time and money to get seen by coaches who are going to expect me to compete for playing time when I get to their school.

I understand you want to see a return on your investment but the reality is that your financial planning is a little off target. The return shouldn’t be measured by how much your daughter is playing on her travel team. It should be measured a few years from now when you can see how much she is playing on her college team because she learned how to compete in travel ball.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?