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Rec ball and travel ball

My dd plays 12u rec - 3rd season of playing rec.. Not ready to travel yet - most of the girls who play competitive around here have been swinging a bat since t-ball. Nonetheless, she also played for a State Championship team last season for our school. We have begun practicing with the rec team. All of the parents were present during school ball practices last season. Most of the parents are present during the rec league practices. The major difference I have noticed btwn the two is that the girls on the rec team are there to have a "good time". Now, I am not saying that it shouldn't be fun for them because it should. However, they should (at this stage) know that they are there to win and if not win, to at least behave like they WANT to win! We have so many immature girls on our rec team - every single practice they are (believe it or not) playing with the dirt, picking wildflowers in the outfield, chasing butterflies, doing pirouettes, etc.. It is SO frustrating because I've been to practices where that is just not allowed. You don't talk unless it's about a play and you certainly do not pick up dirt and throw it to make a dust bowl! I have caught myself many times during practices yelling at my child (who will fall into the group of "twiddlers") asking if that was proper practice behavior. She will straighten up and the others just keep on diddling. The coach says nothing until it gets on his last nerve (generally the 2nd hour of practice) and then he'll ask "do y'all want to be here or not?" that far into it, IMHO, is not the time to be asking - it should never get that far. It should be understood when they step on the field, it's "game on" and nothing else.

During a pre-season tournament game, one parent looked at one of our coaches and said, "My dd looks so sad on the bench - you need to put her in the game." This child has never played softball, rarely comes to practices and, that game, lost us the game b/c she was in outerspace when a line drive went straight THROUGH her legs and rolled to the fence...winning run barrelled on into home and the game was called. The girl cried and cried - may sound very ugly of me, but I had absolutely no sympathy for her b/c my child is there to play and to win.

Our coach wants to enter us in some weekend tournaments. The way most of these girls act, I'm wanting to leave my child at home! It's one thing to behave like that at practice, but when you have them get on the field and act like they are oblivious to their surrounds, it's a disgrace.

I have also found (comparing rec league to high school ball) that sometimes the coaches need to have some positive motivation - make each child feel like they are truly a part of the team and boost their spirits. After all, they are there to play and learn while they are there. Our coaches are constantly telling the girls at bat to "lift up that elbow" - basically to hold the bat like baseball. My dd gets up there, they say it and she lets it go in one ear and out the other. I have tried to instill in her to listen intently to what her coaches have to say BUT if they are offering up advice that is not what she has been taught by her high school coach or her batting coach, to simply say, "yes, sir" and keep on keeping on.

Even tho our team is an absolute mess, my dd is still very interested in playing. It is hard once you loose the discipline (or respect) of the players to get them back on board and on the right track. All it is going to take is one solid win, IMHO, for your team to get back on track. Winning feels great - even losing is okay when you know you have put 120% into the game! :)


Crazy Daddy
Oct 31, 2008
My dd plays 12u rec - 3rd season of playing rec.. Not ready to travel yet - most of the girls who play competitive around here have been swinging a bat since t-ball.
My DD started at 10 and by time she was 12 she hated playing rec for most of the reasons that you listed here. She is in her second season of travel ball and the decision to move was the right one. DD is enjoying being with girls that actually WANT to be there and learn. In the last 12 months she has improved 10 times as much as she did during her first 2 years playing rec.

I don't think a kid needs to play for a certain amount of time before they are "Ready for Travel Ball", I think what you are going through right now and how you are reacting might be the trigger to send you and DD to the next level. Let her play with others who 1) want to play and 2) might drive her to be a better player.

Good luck and most of all HAVE FUN!
Jul 16, 2008
Good advise Coach-n-Dad. It sounds like she has outgrown the Rec program and IS ready for Travel Ball.

Hollyrockartist don't hold your DD back because you don't believe she is ready for Travel. If you want look at the local teams and see what is a best fit for her both in team members and her ability. Try-out for as many teams as you can. This will both give you something measurable to use, and 2 you just might be suprised what your DD can actually do when surrounded with like-minded players.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
"Rec softball" means "recreational softball". So, kids play it for fun. If you and your DD don't believe it is competitive enough, then she should move to travel ball.

My DD#3 played travel ball for two years, and then decided to put her primary focus on basketball. She played travel basketball, and tried to play rec ball for a summer. She didn't even last two games at rec ball. Although she enjoyed softball, she hated playing in a rec league.

Team Inquiry - ADVICE, please

Figured I'd put this post here and hope someone with sage advice knows the "how to's"...

Our coach mentioned tournament play (as stated in earlier thread). He has now gone beyond that and mentioned forming a team to travel. I have a few questions for all of y'all who are seasoned at this, as I am still WAY wet behind the ears. When he and I discuss this issue again, I want to make sure I have all of my ducks in a row! :)

When forming a team for tournament play, would try-outs be recommended? I know there are several girls who are not nearly as committed to playing ball as some others. Our coach is a good, sweet fella and would not dare want to "hurt feelings" by not "choosing" this child or that child. The monkey would be off of his back if he held try-outs, wouldn't it? Last season, he chose every child on our softball team for All-Stars and we picked up a few from other teams, as well. When we got to the World Series, it was disasterous. The better players played every game and were slap worn out after a double header in 100 degree heat, but there was no one on the bench "good enough" to get out there and get the job done. Well, until a parent of one of those children chewed on our coach for not playing her dd - after all, HE chose her to play!

If try-outs are to be held, when would that happen, exactly? Fall, end of Summer season, Spring?

Sponsorship - I have read numerous posts about fundraising here. I have seen pros and cons on both ends of the spectrum. How would one go about setting a "per player" price to play on a travelling team?

Which association to choose? A friend's dd is on a 14u competitive team. They recently broke off from an area where they had been playing for a couple of years. They are now playing in the ASA league. How does one choose which direction to take their team, league wise? Is one more competitive than the next? Are tournaments closer to "home" in one league than the other?

Commitment forms - should parents and/or players be asked to sign a commitment form prior to getting on the team or should the coach explain to them, in depth, that the team will be relying on the player to be at every practice and certainly every game? I realize this is probably a crazy question, but we do have some who feel "priviledged" and choose to not come to practices yet almost demand to get field time during games.

I am going to research on the world wide web about this subject, too. I figured I'd ask here because everyone is so forth-coming with positive and informative feedback! I want to thank y'all, in advance, for your help!


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
The monkey would be off of his back if he held try-outs, wouldn't it?
Yes and no. There is no good, objective way to evaluate talent. You will always have problems picking the last 4 or 5 kids on the roster. It isn't easy.

If try-outs are to be held, when would that happen, exactly?
In the fall. If you wait until the spring, your best players will already have found other teams.

How would one go about setting a "per player" price to play on a travelling team?
Basically, add the cost of the uniforms plus the tournament entry fees plus the insurance divided by the number of girls on the team. Then, add 25% for miscellaneous costs (softballs, bags, umpires for home "friendly" games, etc.) You'll end up somewhere around $500.

Which association to choose?
You are confusing league play with tournaments.

Some travel ball teams, especially those at 12U or 14U, play in a league in addition to tournaments. There is no requirement you play in a league, but it makes it easier to schedule games in the middle of the week. If you want to play in a league, find a league that is convenient. (It is bad enough to be driving 45 miles every weekend to the "Dolly Parton Pig BBQ and ASA Qualifier" at Dogrun Fields, Ohio. You don't want to start doing that on Tuesday night.) Competition level is irrelevant for league play--it is a chance to try out new stuff, let your #3 throw, and give the girls that don't play as much on weekends a chance to play. So, you find a league that is convenient and do whatever they tell you to do to play in it. Some have an end of season tournament, but it usually is just more games scheduled in the middle of the week.

Tournaments are ASA, AFA, NSA, AA (no...that is where the coach will go to after the season). You pick the tournaments, and pay the fee. There is nothing else involved. The big difference in organizations is whether you call the umpire "blue" (ASA) or "black" (NSA). (As in, "Come on blue, she was out by a mile.")

Should parents and/or players be asked to sign a commitment form prior to getting on the team or should the coach explain to them, in depth, that the team will be relying on the player to be at every practice and certainly every game?
Sure, have them sign whatever you want, as long as it says, "The fee for playing on the team will not be refunded under any circumstances." People who are going to blow off practices aren't going to feel constrained because they signed a piece of paper. They are still going to assume that because they paid $500, their kid is automatically entitled to play 7 innings of every game.

Generally, you need to relax. If you and your child want to play on a high-level tournament team, then find one and try out for it. If your child makes the team, you will find that those teams have psycho parents just like your current team.

When it comes to DDs playing softball, all parents are idiots.

Feb 16, 2009

Sounds like you are ready now for a change. We were at that point w/12U and went to 14U travel and never regretted one moment. But since you sound like you are at the end of your rope already, I would advise going to an already established travel team. Your coach sounds like a good man but I fear you will pony up hundreds of dollars for the joy of being frustrated yet again. Look on eteamz.com come end of July/beginning of August. Tryouts for most travel teams in our area (Midwest) are in August right after ASA nationals have completed. You can find area teams by state and look at their websites. Go to numerous tryouts asking questions about costs, commitment, letters of commitment, what if I leave - reimbursement? How many tournaments a season and how far away are they? Do you practice in the winter? Where? Costs Extra for that? How much for uniforms? What if other sports my daughter plays interferes with softball? Most experienced travel teams have an accounting of all these costs, etc. Waiting for your present team to work out all of this and still develop players is a hard task for one guy who is not "in the know". The grass isn't always greener on the other side but sometimes you can fertilize it a little and it grows just fine!
Round and Round we go!!

Okay, apparently we are not going to have an All-Star team for the 12U. The coach called and asked my opinion - play All-Stars or get a tournament team going. I thought the latter would be better. Here is the situation - how can he go about choosing who goes and who stays behind without getting into a yanking competition with the parents of those who won't be moving forward? There are some tourneys coming up locally that we'd like to play. I explained to him that the cost is going to run about $20/girl per tournament to cover the fees. I also told him that the parents of the girls will have to pay a fee at the door to get them in (yes, that was an issue with some last year). He has in his mind who he wants to get for this team and there are a few from another team in our rec league. Once this transition takes place, the 12U rec teams are finished - will not have enough to field a team. We now have FOUR make-up games b/c the fella who runs our parks/rec has made us not play on days like today - beautiful outside. He says it's "too muddy". There are pot holes behind 1st and 3rd that have been there forever and he won't fix them. The field was fine to play on tonight, as it was the last two times he said we couldn't play. Our rec league makes it HARD to play here, so we figure we'll just take it on the road. Any really good advice on how to approach it with the parents of the girls on the team? Our coach is very, very mild-mannered and truly never wants to hurt anyone's feelings. Not that I do but if we are going to progress to the next level, we need dedicated and committed girls on the team who are there to play to win and are willing to give the time it's going to take to get them there. Thanks, in advance, for any advice. We are playing Thursday night and then going to have a double header Friday night to get 2 of the make-up games out of the way. We need to move on this team if we're going to play in a tourney next weekend, so I'm guessing he's going to do the chatting this week! HELP!!!


Crazy Daddy
Oct 31, 2008
OK, here is my .02…

I recommend that your DD try out for already established teams for the fall. This recommendation is based on the experience that we had this spring. A brand new travel team is a difficult thing to put together and make work, especially if the coaching staff is inexperienced. If you commit a bunch of money and time to a start up team that hasn’t been well thought out, well put together and/or isn’t well run the chances are that your DD (and probably you) will end up getting discouraged on more levels than you can imagine. If your DD tries out for and earns a spot on the roster of an established team, the chances of her and you having a great season is much much much higher.

What ever direction you decide to go, remember that softball is supposed to be fun. Keep everything in perspective.

Good luck!
Dec 19, 2008
Go tryout for an established TB team. I have been down the road you are getting ready to go on. It sounds doomed from the start. Daughters team has tryouts every year, and the existing players have to re-tryout. Last fall, they cut 2 players to bring in 3 better ones. The players are not guaranteed a spot on the team every year. They have to earn it.

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