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Thread: First Travel Ball Tryout

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    Certified softball maniac MNDad's Avatar
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    Hopefully this happens to be a great program with wonderful coaches. Either way there will be lots of highs and lows. Be patient and try not to be overwhelmed. Nothing that happens in one season will make or break her. Use this year to watch other teams and get a feel for the local travel ball circuit. Focus on the positives and your DD will have a great time. Best of luck on a great career!
    Relax and enjoy the ride

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    Always learning... Eric F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lancer360 View Post
    Just happened to come across a flyer for a 10u travel ball team near us having open tryouts tomorrow. I asked my DD if she wanted to try out and she said yes. I have never watched any travel ball to know how she compares. She is above average in rec ball which can be pretty competitive. I guess we will find out tomorrow. Talked to the head coach on the phone tonight and got the info on practice schedules, dues, etc. Any advice or questions we should ask tomorrow?

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    In our area, travel ball ranges from that of a mediocre all-star team to levels that will shock you...even in 10U. At this age, if your DD is pretty much an automatic pick for your league's all-star team - one of the dominant players in the league - it's probably worth considering making the move the travel ball. If she's a player that's on the bubble of being an all-star, she might be better off working on her skills more before making the move. If the TB coach is looking for a 12th player to fill the bench for injuries and absences, and she will only be getting partial playing time in pool games and friendlies (coach may not tell you that up front), it might not be a great place for her to be spending her time. She needs to be somewhere she will play regularly.

    All that said, if she's motivated to go to the tryouts, go for it. Get a feel for where she stacks up, and what the coaching is like. It might turn out to be a very good thing for her. If nothing else, it will give you and her an idea of what the TB players in your area look like.

    My DD tried out for her first TB team at 10yo. She knew she wanted to make the jump, but was scared out of her mind about being way out of her depth, and didn't want to get out of the car. As soon as she stepped on the field with the other players, she realized that it's just softball. They warm up the same, they throw the same, they run the same. They just do it a little better. A couple of years later on, as a coach, I saw plenty of new-to-TB players coming to our tryouts who were nervous and worried. I reminded them that it's just softball. Just go play the way you play.
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    Allergic to BS Strike2's Avatar
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    If your DD is going to continue much past 12U, then competitive/travel ball is the way to go. No harm getting some experience now...it might be good, or not. Most everyone has been with a team that they wish, in retrospect, that they might have avoided. You've got to start somewhere.

    11-12 players on a team is normal. At 10U, it's likely that the HC and the ACs all have daughters on the team. Youth FP softball wouldn't exist without parent coaches, so that really shouldn't be an issue. My DD is older, and some of the very best teams we see are coached by parents, and for those that aren't, I wouldn't send my kid anywhere near those people.

    Yeah, you'll probably have to put up with some daddy-ball decisions sometimes, but it's the whole picture that's important. Youth sports, like many other things in life, is a series of compromises. You'll probably won't find the "perfect" team in every respect. Some of the more important questions include...

    How effective is the coaching?
    Are the coaches reasonably fair in how they deal with the players?
    Is the team balanced and reasonably competitive on the field?
    Do the kids get along?
    Is there parent drama?
    Is the team's schedule and financial requirement within your comfort level? Previous comments notwithstanding, I wouldn't worry about the high-dollar trips just yet. "Travel ball" has many different levels.

    **Most of the above questions are only answerable after actually being on the team.

    Notice that I said nothing about you personally liking the HC, or agreeing with every decision. I can guarantee you that he'll do something that bothers you at some point. Resist the urge to share what bothers you unless you're ready to end that conversation with your DD leaving the team. NEVER confront the coach during a tournament.

    With regard to playing time, honestly evaluate where your kid stands relative to the rest of the team. If she's at the back-end of the roster in terms of ability, commit to working with her and helping her get better. At 10U, it is about development, but the team has to win some games to remain viable. If she's legitimately among the best nine, she should get plenty of work. With even minimal mental effort by the HC, everyone should be getting reasonable playing time with a 11-12 player roster.

    I assume your DD plays an IF position? Keep working on that, but also start teaching her how to play the OF now. Kids can hit in 10U competitive ball, and an effective outfielder will be a stranger to the bench. I don't care how slow you think she is...work on it, and start doing speed and agility training.

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    I'm a fan lancer360's Avatar
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    My DD has primarily been playing CF and 2B, but has gotten some time at SS and 3B. My biggest complaint with rec ball is once the season starts, they typically don't have practice. Generally play 2 games on week nights and a tournament once a month. With 10u rec ball having so few hits, the only girls who really get much of any action are the pitcher and catcher. She made the 3rd All-Star team (8u) after playing softball for the first time last spring and was the #1 hitter on the team. Played 10u for the first time this fall. Coach didn't want our pitchers throwing to our hitters in practice as he didn't want to psych out the pitchers or the hitters if they got hit by their team mates. So we didn't get much batting time. Hitting in 10u has been a bit of a struggle making contact. She has great mechanics and quick hands, but misses a lot. The expanded strike zone we have seen in rec ball has been a bit of a challenge to have to swing at almost everything. Really have no idea how she will compare and how they are going to evaluate the girls. Her fielding is good, her throwing accuracy is pretty good, she is fast, she is smart, but she is small. She is projected to only be 5'2" and with a Dec. birthday she is one of smaller girls. With this being the only travel ball team in the area, there could be a lot of competition. Guess we will find out tonight. One slight benefit, is my wife knows the head coach as they work at the same company. It is a very large company and they aren't in the same chain of command so I don't expect nor would I want any favoratism, but if it came down to a tie breaker knowing my wife and her great reputation at work might help. Coach said he evaluates the parents too when considering the girls for the team. He has let girls go in the past due to issues the parents were causing.

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    Being that she's so new to the sport, I would generally recommend a little more time in rec ball. However, the games-only schedule you described is not a good way to develop skills. That being the case, I hope she is getting lots of work with you outside of team events. If not, and she really has a desire to play TB, she needs to be. Especially since she is so new to the game, reps are critical. Lots of them - throwing, catching, fielding, hitting, etc.
    A TB parent's life...Drive. Write checks. Eat tacos.

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    There was a thread about 3 weeks ago which was a DFP user inquired about what questions to ask when looking for a new program. I suggest you look that thread over.

    With a somewhat established team you should really have her go to a full team practice and you sit on the side and observe. In fact go to a couple before you commit. Donít chat with other parents til it ends. While they practice, take note of the coach and player interactions, efficiency at which they run drills and transition from drill to drill.

    Instead of the usual how much is my daughter going to play or what position she plays, really observe the human interaction. People can lie when asked these questions but generally let their guard down when not on the spot. How the coaches run practice, connect with the players, and provide encouragement go a long way into telling you how they will treat your child and how the team runs.

    Do they run drills for individual skills where they help everyone or are people favored? Do they run team drills and encourage players to extend, provide input and ask questions? Do they provide feedback in a manner that is positive? Do they make some of the drills fun? IME coaches who value the kids as individuals and encourage working together donít bury little Susie on the bench so generally the team experience is a good one.

    How high the level of training is a bit hit or miss based on coaches experience, age, enthusiasm for softball and effort the coach puts in outside of practice (just like kids). At your daughters age a good team experience will be what she remembers most and either make her like the sport or not. Rest can be sort later.

    Good Luck!

    CoC






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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lancer360 View Post
    My DD has primarily been playing CF and 2B, but has gotten some time at SS and 3B. My biggest complaint with rec ball is once the season starts, they typically don't have practice. Generally play 2 games on week nights and a tournament once a month. With 10u rec ball having so few hits, the only girls who really get much of any action are the pitcher and catcher. She made the 3rd All-Star team (8u) after playing softball for the first time last spring and was the #1 hitter on the team. Played 10u for the first time this fall. Coach didn't want our pitchers throwing to our hitters in practice as he didn't want to psych out the pitchers or the hitters if they got hit by their team mates. So we didn't get much batting time. Hitting in 10u has been a bit of a struggle making contact. She has great mechanics and quick hands, but misses a lot. The expanded strike zone we have seen in rec ball has been a bit of a challenge to have to swing at almost everything. Really have no idea how she will compare and how they are going to evaluate the girls. Her fielding is good, her throwing accuracy is pretty good, she is fast, she is smart, but she is small. She is projected to only be 5'2" and with a Dec. birthday she is one of smaller girls. With this being the only travel ball team in the area, there could be a lot of competition. Guess we will find out tonight. One slight benefit, is my wife knows the head coach as they work at the same company. It is a very large company and they aren't in the same chain of command so I don't expect nor would I want any favoratism, but if it came down to a tie breaker knowing my wife and her great reputation at work might help. Coach said he evaluates the parents too when considering the girls for the team. He has let girls go in the past due to issues the parents were causing.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

    DD was small, never felt it effected the coaches opinion. Sure it is annoying when she goes back for a ball at SS and the ball goes a little over her mitt. If she was only 5'4". The taller players on her Team would never have a play which seems OK because they are not close to the ball to begin with. Sure DD could not get it.

    10U for us was kind of lousy. DD played 1 year then moved to 12U. Batters seemed to swing at the ball opposed to hoping for a walk.

    Good luck to your DD!

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    Find out what position the HC, AC, team mom kids play. If it's the same as yours, keep looking. It's critical for 10u kids to play. Pessimistic, but oh so real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by #10 View Post
    Find out what position the HC, AC, team mom kids play. If it's the same as yours, keep looking. It's critical for 10u kids to play. Pessimistic, but oh so real.
    Maybe. Maybe not. AC's DD on my DD current 14U team is also a catcher. My DD earned the #1 C job over the AC's DD by being an undeniably better player in that position. That said, there are certainly plenty of examples that confirm your point. My advice...Proceed with caution, but don't make it an automatic deal-breaker.

    All that said, it sounds like this is the only TB option available in the OP's area. It's either this or back to rec.

    EDIT: At 10U - and even 12U - if players aren't playing multiple positions, the coaches are doing it wrong. This is the time to build all-around ballplayers with a complete set of fundamental skills.
    Last edited by Eric F; 12-05-2018 at 06:02 PM.
    A TB parent's life...Drive. Write checks. Eat tacos.

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    Certified softball maniac ANNASDAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by #10 View Post
    Find out what position the HC, AC, team mom kids play. If it's the same as yours, keep looking. It's critical for 10u kids to play. Pessimistic, but oh so real.
    Haha, what #10 said, then go back and read post #10. Of course me and #10 say this in jest.........right #10?? I'm not even going to speak for my DD, I couldn't imagine MY life without TB!! I have met so many great people and made friends with some of the coolest people that I know will be lifelong friends, had some of the best weekends with some of these people, but most of all I got to spend so much quality time with my daughter!

    TB can be ugly, it's definitely expensive, and man.......so time consuming, it seemed for the longest time for us there was never any middle ground, just extreme highs and even worse lows. Getting into a solid organization with solid, connected coaches is THE key to success! Trust your gut, if your gut says heck no, run away! Having said this, I'd do it all over again, just with many less mistakes!

    OP, good luck with your decision, if it works out hang on, it's a crazy ride you'll never forget!
    Smile and run everywhere, someone very important is watching!

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