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Costs of playing

Jun 16, 2008
How much should I expect to pay for my daughter to be on a "travel/elite" squad?
My daughter was recruited by an organization to play on their 10U team this spring.
This is my first experience with "pay to play" and I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it at her age. We pay around 90 per mo. for organizational and facility fees. Tournament fees are 35 per coach per day, plus mileage, in addition to the regular tournament fee. There are usually 2 or 3 coaches at the tournaments. This makes the tournaments about 3 or 4 times higher for each kid on the team. We pay for a trainer to work with the girls twice a week for extra conditioning as well. A percentage of any fundraising each team organizes also goes back to the organization.
When you add that into the private lessons, we are probably spending between 300 and 400 a month to play for this team.
Any ideas or advice on whether this is the norm?
Jun 17, 2008
Fond du Lac, WI
Well as softball gets bigger, just like anything else you will pay through the nose for things.

I know that when I played I never spent money like that. It wasn't that long ago either. I think that its great for kids to learn and all but at the age of 10 this is not necessary. I mean if coaches expect parents to pay this much money for their kid to play come on. I can understand the expense of travel and room and board being expensive but at her age? I guess you have to look at is she getting a chance to be a kid. There is nothing wrong with practice and being aware of physical fitness but at 10 girls are so under developed and I would worry about her getting hurt, bored or burned out. Then you spent all this money for nothing cause she won't want to continue in the future.

Maybe talked to the team and see if there are finical things that can help ease the cost. Also what about finding a sponsor for your DD? Someone local maybe? Try cutting down on these things, will she be off the team if she doesn't do all the stuff you are paying for now? If so thats ridiculous. She may like the sport but she also might like to have a life as well. The biggest thing is can you afford to keep spending that? Sometimes its not an answer of should we but can we, Thats a lot of money for me that would be part of rent and electric. If you have to choose between food on the table, gas, and softball practice????? you get my drift.

I hope this helps in some way.
Jun 16, 2008
Thanks for the feedback. We do some fundraising and they work with you on the finances. The tournaments and organizational fees have to be paid. The rest they let you work out or fundraise to cover. The private lessons aren't required but we we're paying for them before we went to this team so we didn't really count this as an extra expense. The extra conditioning isn't mandatory but it is recommended to help prevent injuries and as they get older they will have to meet certain fitness requirements to play.
Overall they have a pretty good grasp of what to expect from younger players and the coaches are probably better than the parents at realizing that developing the players is more important than winning all of the games.
No gripes with the organization. I just wanted an opinion from someone who had played or coached at the higher levels.
May 7, 2008
Morris County, NJ
On the plus side, having professional coaches is nice...they are unbiased and can offer the players great feedback....the downside is they cost $$$.....most elite travel soccer clubs have professional coaches here in the East...it runs about $2,500 to play for one of those programs.
As a former coach, and current treasurer of my youngest daughter's team, I can tell you that most parents don't quite grasp the expense of a traveling team. Entry fees, insurance, equipment, uniforms, etc. all add up. Sponsors help, but with the current economy, many businesses are refusing to give. My daughter's team has a player fee of $600 (not paid all at once) and it is barely covering the team's expenses. We also do some fundraising. The manager should be able to put together a budget at the beginning of the playing year (usually in the fall) and determine the cost per player that needs to be collected in player's fees.
May 28, 2008
That's alot of money. My dd does Little League and we also have a travel team made up from girls from our park that has played in 4 tournamants to date and will be play 3-4 more after all star season is finished. This has been our first year of travel and the following is what I have noticed:

It would be hard to travel every weekend, but there seem to be enough games close to home so that you can drive back and forth. Although gas is getting out of control. ( thank goddness for company car and gas)LOL

While every tournamanet has some talented teams they also have teams that are no better than our little league travel team. I guess I would question these teams that we are beating on a regular basis. Here you have a team who doesn't practice but maybe once a week together and they beat you everytime you play.

Most teams are equal as far as position players and with hitting. The good teams have a great pitcher. Our team is average at pitcher. A good pitcher and we would beat even more teams.

The amount of money some of these teams have invested must be staggering. Everything is top notch from cleats to bags to warm ups and everything in between.

Those are just a couple. My concern with travel softball is when are we letting kids be kids. This is for every sport. I don't know the exact numbers but I'm sure they would scare all of us. Too many parents think their child has what it takes to be a stud, when in reality maybe 2% really have it.

Are we as parents taking their fun time away from them? I know our kids love softball, but I worry about their future. I just think every kid should do as many sports as possible. Competetion is healthy and playing different sports makes it fun. But today we are saying to be good you need to do a sport 12 mths out of the year.

Don't get me wrong......I am questioning myself more than all of you. I just wonder sometimes what happened to playing 3 sports in high school and then choosing one for college. Now, they are choosing their sport in grade school.

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
The general amount that a parent of a fastpitch girl can expect to spend is $5,000 a year. (and that figure is pre-gas inflation.) That amount is all encompassing for gas, rooms, equipment, team fees, and lessons.

Many of my friends spend more than that depending on how many family members go and how far the team travels.

One man that I know in Phoenix, recorded every cent that he spent on his daughter's softball experience for 2007. She plays year round. He recorded every penny and would include even the suntan lotion, extra socks, etc. It included HS ball and camps.

His DD was 14 and he spent $10,400.
Jun 22, 2008
Those kinds of fees at 10U are pretty rediculous. At 10U the girls just need to be having fun and learning, not doing a ton of traveling. Work a girl that hard at that young of an age and they will be totally burned out on softball by the time they are 14. I cant tell you how many good players I have seen just walk away from the game because of burn out.

On average, every team my daughter was on has run roughly $100 per month, sometimes slightly more in basic team fees. If they were playing in a lot of tournaments, then the fees could be slightly more. Travel expenses were totally the responsibility of the individual families. The coaches for the most part have all been volunteer. The ones that were not, and who didnt have children on the team had thier travel expenses paid for by the team funds. In these cases, the fees were slightly higher.

One thing I will tell you right now, if you are doing this to try and get a college scholarship, just put the money in the bank and pay cash for the education. We have spent far more on softball than we would have ever paid for college. But, I will tell you that it has been worth every penny we have spent. She has learned the value of dedication, has had her time occupied with sporting activities, has seen more of the US than I ever dreamed of as a kid, has been around like minded peers who were all good kids and it kept her out of the kinds of situations that kids shouldnt be in.

I would hate to add up how much our family has spent on softball. I have never kept track because the number would scare me. But, even the $10k in a year may be a little light for some years we have played. Nationals alone one year probably ran us $5k, family of 4, airline flights, rental car, hotel, meals, etc, etc, etc. And dont forget the $300 bats, $100 gloves, $80 cleats that seem to need to be replaced every 6 months to a year.

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
I agree that 10U is pretty young to start this rat race, but it is getting younger and younger all of the time. Many coaches at try outs are looking for 9 YOs "with experience."

Rec ball, in many places is awful, so girls that want to play are looking for TB teams by the time they are 10.

The girls that I meet at lessons that are 10, remind me of 12 YOs. They just seem to act older.

As far as cost goes, I added up everything that was in DD bat bag one night and I got up at midnight to go retrieve it from the car in the hotel parking lot.

Bat bag - $40.00 glove $80.00 back up glove $135.00 3 bats - $850.00 cleats $90.00 helmet $40.00 sweatshirt $45.00 plus sliders, compression pants, visor, etc.

I often wished she had just played basketball. :)


May 13, 2008
Don't get me wrong......I am questioning myself more than all of you. I just wonder sometimes what happened to playing 3 sports in high school and then choosing one for college. Now, they are choosing their sport in grade school.

I have spoken to a few college coaches and most want to see multi sport athletes. My DD has always been a multi-sport athlete. She will continue to play 3 sports in high school but we have cut the travel teams to 2 this year, she dropped travel volleyball, it was just to much. And next year one team will become major priority over the other. She is fortunate that the coaches we are working with right now understand and are willing to work with each other. I assume by her senior year (next year) she will completely drop one of the two travel sports she plays now.

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