About Me

Jack Perconte

Is Travel Ball Right For Your Child?

The Dreaded Question that has No Obvious Answer

 

I’ve seen many articles, and some from top level athletes, that rail against travel ball and how it is ruining things for kids. They make some good points that usually revolve around many horror stories about overzealous coaches and parents. Rightfully so, but they do not really offer any solutions. I don’t believe things are going to revert back to the small community sports programs of 40 years ago. Like many things, we must deal with what is as opposed to complaining about it and wishing for bygone days.

 

The question I dread from parents is, “Does my son have to play travel ball to playing high school?” “No, but …” and the but has many parts to it. Every situation is different. I believe the answer begins with answering the following questions.

 

  • Does your son or daughter appear to be bored or unchallenged at their current level? If yes, they should make the jump.
  • Is the sport their favorite and do they envision playing high school in that sport? It may be hard to know this answer for younger players but make sure it is a sport they like a lot, not the one you think they should like.
  • What causes frustration for the athlete? Because they do not perform well or because they get frustrated with the amount of work demanded of them? Figuring that out is important – if the first group, consider travel ball but the second should not.
  • Are we prepared to meet the higher intensity level of travel ball? By we, I mean, the entire family as it will usually affect more than just the player them self. Time, money, and other kids’ activities must be considered.
  • Who is the coach? Parents should research the organization and coach if at all possible to get a feel for their style to know if it fits your child’s personality. The “All in” players will want a coach with greater expertise, whereas the less intense ones will want a more casual experience.