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Starting a 12U Travel softball team

Nov 29, 2009
2,912
63
Amen to that. I wish coaches could tryout the parents before accepting the kids on the team. I am not joking. I wish the head of our organization had seen some of these parents on the sidelines of their daughter's previous team before accepting them onto the team my DDs play on.
When my DD was playing. The head of the organization would send some of the established team parents into the stands to sit among the tryout parents incognito and listen. If there were some real clowns out there the parents would report back to the head of the org. They passed on some good kids because of the parents. Usually those were the kids who ended up with a whole closet full different color bags and uniforms from all the different teams they played on.
 
May 15, 2016
926
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They passed on some good kids because of the parents. Usually those were the kids who ended up with a whole closet full different color bags and uniforms from all the different teams they played on.
Good for the organization, sorry for the kids who were born to such difficult parents.

Makes me wonder, how many kids who are genuinely good teammates have lousy parents? Sorry for the thread hijack.
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,848
83
Gah, pitching. Yes. The high level pitchers usually go to the big names, where they rotate between orgs on an endless loop it seems. Our DD is a pitcher and in the late fall we picked up a great pitcher from a somewhat lower level team who was definitely ready to step it up. All fall we really only had one bracket pitcher til the very end. We just had to make do. Spring's been much much better with 2 and it's really still not enough. We really could use one more but have given up on finding one til at least fall.
 

Vertigo

Jersey Girl
May 27, 2013
693
63
Been there, done that at the 14U level for a year as an independent team. First thing I would do is decide what type of team you want to be. Is it a low level travel team playing mostly C tournaments or are you going to start B with the hopes of moving up to A eventually? You need to lay this out at tryouts so the parents are informed. I put together a little handout with our team philosophy and a little background about myself and my assistant coaches which each parent received at the first tryout. Most questions, costs, number of tourneys, etc. were spelled out in the handout. Definitely come up with your budget and get team insurance before holding tryouts in case someone gets hurt during your tryouts. We started at the end of the summer, collected $300 from each family which was enough to get us started through fall with team registrations, tourneys, and uniforms. We were able to get a church field for $600/year. You also need to get a parent or two who can lead your team fundraising, if that is the path you choose. Families were responsible for any hotels if we had overnight tourneys.

I handled everything financial wise. Opened a small business account just for the team. Keep every receipt. I had an open book policy where parents could see the expenses although no one ever asked. I provided a financial update halfway through and showed what was the expected expenses for spring.

I actually was able to have a solid B team with mostly a good parental unit except for a couple who were just a PITA. We were a little over .500 as a 1st year 14U team playing in B and Open classes.

ETA: Running a team without organizational support can be almost like a full-time job at times. Just keep in mind it will take up a huge chunk of your time.
 
Last edited:
Mar 6, 2016
206
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Bump. Just checking in to see what eventually happend?

Im in the same spot now. Parents/Players I have coached over past 5 years have "encouraged" me to create a team and move to full time TB. Ive coached various sports for 25 years now (mostly HS baseball/football level) but last 8 in youth softball.

I like the idea of an independent team and setting our own fees, schedule, name, etc etc but have friends/coaches w big name orgs and they give me the pros and cons of orgs too.
 
May 23, 2018
49
18
Don't mean to sound snarky. Don't... You will be much better off trying to get your DD on an established team. Trying to start a new team without a full team and no to little experience is a recipe for disaster. As for practice facilities, inquiring with your local park district is a good place to start. If you need indoor facilities you'll have to do some searching. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

The amount of parent issues can be limitless. You don't have the backing of an established organization. That can make things difficult with tournaments and facilities. I'm willing to bet you don't have a good handle on the costs of running a team. There are soooo many things that happen off the field financially many people are caught off guard. Do you know what you are going to do with the team? What level will they play? Will they do any out-of-town tournaments? The costs can be $5K or they can be over $35K for a season for the last team I coached, and we didn't attend a national tournament because we were a 1st year 12U team.

I've been coaching for the last 14 years without a DD on the team. I know I would not try to form a brand new 12U team without any support from an organization. I've seen countless mommy/daddy teams come and go over the years. Some make it less than a season. Some until the DD ages out. If you have any good players on your team the strong and established teams will try and poach them. Heck, even the the not-so-strong teams will try and poach your best players.

Again, for your sanity and your DD's, work with her to make her the best she can be.
You hit the nail on the head! It's a daunting task. Most independent teams implode after a few years. The cost to start it up can be prohibitive. I've set up organizations that incorporated as a 501(c)(3) entity. This formality allows you to fundraise. One of the problems that you'll face is girls are usually reluctant to go onto a newer formed team. They might have an inkling that the team might not be good. Ask yourself these questions: Is your objective short term or long term? How good are you at recruiting? Can you get "star players" to come to your tryout? Unfortunately, a lot of parents essentially pimp out their DDs to the team that stands the best chance of winning. If you can get a few "ringers" to attend your tryout, it might attract other girls.
 
May 23, 2018
49
18
When my DD was playing. The head of the organization would send some of the established team parents into the stands to sit among the tryout parents incognito and listen. If there were some real clowns out there the parents would report back to the head of the org. They passed on some good kids because of the parents. Usually those were the kids who ended up with a whole closet full different color bags and uniforms from all the different teams they played on.
I've seen it time and time again. Usually, the problem never manifests itself amongst the players, it's usually the parents. A parent will think nothing of poisoning a kid with comments about how inept the coach is, or, "you should be starting instead of .........". During the course of a season parental egos come to fruition, to the detriment of the team.
 
May 1, 2018
361
43
Haha good luck..... but fields are like last on the list. Get a DBA, open bank account, set up invoicing with Paypal, purchase uniforms, equipment, insurance, register for tourneys, background checks ...... just to get you started.
 
Aug 23, 2016
259
28
DD is currently on a startup 12U team, with girls all new to travel. It started with a coach who hand-picked girls from DD's rec league. HC started just wanting to organize practices to keep the girls sharp until the next rec season but realized that he had the makings of a team.

HC and his wife are very resourceful so they've managed to keep costs low. The families all get along and support each other's kids. He has a ton of assistant coaches, and a parent is serving as business manager. But you can see that HC's stress level is through the roof because it's like he has a second full-time job.

From a parent perspective, it's been great. The girls are having fun and the team improves every week. They've already had the experience of getting their butts handed to them twice in one day by a good team, then playing that same team a month later and splitting a pair of close games. So I really appreciate all that HC has taken on with this team. (But I still think he's crazy to take it all on.)
 

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