DD is 2nd year 8u player and 2nd year Babe Ruth allstars. She has a love for the game and is developing nicely. She has indicated a desire to play TB but I dont want to risk burnout. Would love to hear thoughts on pros and cons of TB at this age.
I had the same thoughts with my DD about not starting travel ball at an early age. We waited until 10u after 5 years of local rec league. If I could go back I would have put her on travel team for 8u. I wouldn’t want to travel all over with a young girl playing every weekend. Or like one 8u team I have seen that has players doing push-ups and running for every mistake in practice. But a team that stays local with good practice schedule and coaching I feel sets them up better down the road then just playing games in rec league. All local leagues are different so some areas may be better. Biggest thing at this age is learn to love the game and be learning fundamentals for the future.
Burnout is a real possibility, but each kid is different. Try to determine how much softball is the right amount, and find a team that meets that number. When DD was that age, TB probably would have been too much for her. But she was also trying to balance basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. As she started to realize that softball was her preferred sport, she lessened the other activities and focused more on softball. 8 probably would have been too young for her, but we also don't have 8u travel ball in PA that I am aware of.
If you decide to move to TB, you should consider moving out of rec. DD did both together one season and that was enough. Once she got a taste of TB, she really didn't want to play rec anymore. Again, this could be different depending on your area. DD's move to TB was mostly due to her desire to play the game with other kids that loved softball as much as she did. Most of the girls in her rec league at that time played softball, but didn't love it the same way she did.
My daughter is a first year 10U. Last fall we had her play TB. One tourney and lots of Friendly double headers. She was playing Rec soccer and then CYO basketball practice started before the end of Soccer and TB. As would be expected, the last 2 weeks of TB with all 3 things going she was completely overwhelmed and had to miss things.
Even before Basketball started the commitment of TB was too much for her. She stopped asking to have a catch or pitch or even hit with me all together. Things she asked to do all the time before TB started. She was burnt out!
This spring she did not want to do TB. She is only doing Rec.
The good thing is that she got great instruction last fall and she grew as a player. The bad (and very common I am sure) is that she now is really frustrated with the level play in the rec league and is thinking about doing TB again this fall. But she understands she'll have to give up soccer because she can't do all 3. So she is still deciding.
Good luck, easy decisions seem to be few and far between.
Really depends, if your DD wants to play, then yes, if you want your DD to play it could be an issue. Mine didn't start TB until 12U which she played at 10. She's now in her 3rd year of TB and loves every second of it.
Honestly I am neutral on whether she should play or not. I do have concerns about the local club team as they seemed to care more about winning games than skill development in the past and I feel the coaching is not up to the task TBH. It would be convenient to not have to travel out of town for practice though which would help with burnout. I guess i need to shop around for a team that shares the same development goals that we have. There are several local girls from rec ball looking for a TB home with quality coaching in our area.
My DD started playing 10U TB when she was 8. She is now in her second year of 12U (5th year of TB), This is her first season on an A level team with a very heavy schedule. We don't have any burn out yet. I would start with a local travel team that only plays a couple games during the week and a few tournaments. That way she can ease her way into it. After that, you will need to re-evaluate to determine if your DD was comfortable with that level of play. At that point you either stay where you are, quit, or move on to a team with a heavier schedule. We have zero regrets on our end, but every DD is different.
One of mine played 'travel' 8U. It was all local metro area stuff. All good so far.
But her team was really good (several ended up D1 stars). We got sucked into a vortex of traveling all over and by 10U they played in the first 10U Nationals. We were spending about $5000 per year on travel, lodging, food, etc. It's easy for this to happen to you.
For my later kids, we played on the very best local team that we could and kept them out of any long distance travel as long as possible. However, we have excellent metro area teams that are very competitive.
Travel coaching is about winning, NOT personal instruction. You are better served getting quality instruction where they measure your progress, not just say nice things (which is most of paid instruction). 90+% of kids have bat drag and they don't fix that in travel baseball or fastpitch. Most kids don't advance with bat drag. If you can hit, you will play. If you have velocity, you will play.
Disclaimer: I did not have any girl pitchers so I can't speak to that experience. However, my son was a D1 pitcher and I kept him out of travel until 13U. We used a radar gun in the back yard to work on grips, movement, speed and different techniques. My shins still hurt.
I moved mine to TB when she was ready to move to kid pitch (10U). She could have played machine pitch (MP) another year (she was only 7, would turn 8 in September of that year ) but at that point she had played MP for a few seasons and was ready to move on. The rec league kid pitch was horrific and the league was lucky to field 3 teams. That said, if I didn't think she was ready skillwise to move to a decent TB team I wouldn't have made the move.