With the explosion of baseball and softball travel teams, players and parents have more options today than ever before in selecting a team that fits that child.
Get real and have realistic goals:
What's your end game? If it's about making the big leagues, get real. If your son is that good, they will find him! Select a travel team that will allow your child to accomplish his short term goal of being a Little League All-star, make a modified team or start on the school varsity team by his or her sophomore year. The younger the player, the more emphasis should be focused on skill development and tactical (learning game situations) skills. Winning is great, but evaluate your son or daughter's team on whether he or she improved. A training schedule and the level of instruction your child gets between the ages of 12-15 will matter more than the name of the team he is playing on!
Watch for Daddy Ball:
Parents coaching their own slightly-below-average talented son or daughter is a recipe for disaster. Ensure that the coaches objective in making the team was not based on making sure his child plays all the time. More than three coaches in a dugout is a red flag that the coaches are more interested in winning than developing players. It's great that parents coach at the younger level, but make sure the coach does not treat his own any better or worse than the other players.
Time to leave the Nest:
Once in high school, your child will have to decide if it's time to leave the local team with all of his or her school friends and select a team that plays a tougher schedule and has an overall better level of play.
Tough decision- but if they have any real interest in pursuing college baseball or softball at the Division 1 level, it’s a must. Costly is not always the best choice in teams. Evaluate past player placements, playing time issues and strength of schedule before spending upwards to 5k for some teams, not including hotels and having no summer vacation with the rest of your family.