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Travel Ball is Killing Rec Ball

Aug 12, 2014
540
18
As I'm sure you know, it's really 98% up to them.

My daughter didn't like soccer. She was pretty inept and indifferent to basketball. So we tried softball. Whoa!

So she loves the sport, which warmed my heart. But she sucked. A year later she's doing great on her 10U B travel team.

It just took playing catch daily and lessons. Hmmm... ok, maybe it's 97% up to her. :D
That's my daughter, except she never wanted to play travel ball. She played her freshman year in HS, then didn't play this year because the coach was an a-hole. He stepped down so she might play this fall, but they haven't hired a new coach yet.
 

John Robertson

The Voice
Feb 23, 2020
25
3
Anyone wanna refute the statement or tell me I’m wrong? Shame seeing all these sports for kids being ruined by travel teams. It’s not about how good the kids are for the majority of the teams it’s about who’s mommy and daddy can pay. Football is even being ruined at the rec level now since travel football is becoming a thing. It’s stupid. These travel teams aren’t turning kids into college athletes, sorry that’s just the facts. Travel ball can’t put two of the biggest factors on a kid that colleges look at in virtually every sport, size and speed. You can’t coach em or wish em into fruition. Sure there’s some footwork drills to enhance speed or reaction times but you ain’t ever gonna turn a slow kid into a burner. So instead of letting these kids have fun and play rec league every mommy and daddy have these ideas their kid is the next college sensation and has to play travel ball. It’s killing rec league and destroying having kids be multi sport athletes. There’s another big factor for college recruiters. These travel kids are gonna find out come recruiting time the cream rises to the top and there’s nothing mommy and daddy can pay that puts you on a college team. They gonna watch multi sport athletes who only played rec and school ball get recruited and wonder what went wrong. It’s all sports that’s being effected but it’s for sure killing rec softball. There’s more travel teams than rec teams in our town. Can barely get enough girls to make rec teams.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

John Robertson

The Voice
Feb 23, 2020
25
3
Anyone wanna refute the statement or tell me I’m wrong? Shame seeing all these sports for kids being ruined by travel teams. It’s not about how good the kids are for the majority of the teams it’s about who’s mommy and daddy can pay. Football is even being ruined at the rec level now since travel football is becoming a thing. It’s stupid. These travel teams aren’t turning kids into college athletes, sorry that’s just the facts. Travel ball can’t put two of the biggest factors on a kid that colleges look at in virtually every sport, size and speed. You can’t coach em or wish em into fruition. Sure there’s some footwork drills to enhance speed or reaction times but you ain’t ever gonna turn a slow kid into a burner. So instead of letting these kids have fun and play rec league every mommy and daddy have these ideas their kid is the next college sensation and has to play travel ball. It’s killing rec league and destroying having kids be multi sport athletes. There’s another big factor for college recruiters. These travel kids are gonna find out come recruiting time the cream rises to the top and there’s nothing mommy and daddy can pay that puts you on a college team. They gonna watch multi sport athletes who only played rec and school ball get recruited and wonder what went wrong. It’s all sports that’s being effected but it’s for sure killing rec softball. There’s more travel teams than rec teams in our town. Can barely get enough girls to make rec teams.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You hit the hammer all over the nail. It’s happening in Louisiana we’re I’m from there are so many travel teams popping up it seems like every day. They talk a good speech but they are there with there hands out wanting money for uniforms and to pay for what they call a World Series. Parents are buying into this crap it’s unbelievable. You have kids that have private everything and still can’t produce just because little Jane has a private pitching coach little Jill needs one to. It is so dam frustrating. Both my girls play rec plus travel and school ball I told my wife I’m finished with travel ball she tells me we already paid so we’re stuck with a bunch of coaches playing DD ball who can’t even freaking coach period.
 
Mar 8, 2020
4
3
Anyone wanna refute the statement or tell me I’m wrong? Shame seeing all these sports for kids being ruined by travel teams. It’s not about how good the kids are for the majority of the teams it’s about who’s mommy and daddy can pay. Football is even being ruined at the rec level now since travel football is becoming a thing. It’s stupid. These travel teams aren’t turning kids into college athletes, sorry that’s just the facts. Travel ball can’t put two of the biggest factors on a kid that colleges look at in virtually every sport, size and speed. You can’t coach em or wish em into fruition. Sure there’s some footwork drills to enhance speed or reaction times but you ain’t ever gonna turn a slow kid into a burner. So instead of letting these kids have fun and play rec league every mommy and daddy have these ideas their kid is the next college sensation and has to play travel ball. It’s killing rec league and destroying having kids be multi sport athletes. There’s another big factor for college recruiters. These travel kids are gonna find out come recruiting time the cream rises to the top and there’s nothing mommy and daddy can pay that puts you on a college team. They gonna watch multi sport athletes who only played rec and school ball get recruited and wonder what went wrong. It’s all sports that’s being effected but it’s for sure killing rec softball. There’s more travel teams than rec teams in our town. Can barely get enough girls to make rec teams.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I agree! We need to work together with Park & Rec. Most players come out of Parks & Rec.
 
May 9, 2019
263
43
Travel ball can’t put two of the biggest factors on a kid that colleges look at in virtually every sport, size and speed. You can’t coach em or wish em into fruition. Sure there’s some footwork drills to enhance speed or reaction times but you ain’t ever gonna turn a slow kid into a burner.
As a father of a player who is lacking in the bolded attributes, it pains me to say you are spot on. All the practice and play time isn't going to help in those facets. It's like those stories you hear of football players who didn't pick up the sport till they were in 10th or 11th grade. Some people are just naturally gifted in athletics.
But, with knowing all that, as a father, I still choose to let my daughter play at the highest level that is available to her. Often the process is more enjoyable than the reward.
 
Oct 2, 2017
1,304
83
This thread has going in a lot of directions. This is a really complex subject. Lots of things going on that are causing the issue. Not the least of which is that this game is hard and takes work. There are too many other things to do that are easier.

Even other sports are easier. Go watch a 3rd or 4th grade basketball or soccer game. Girls with little to know skills but hustle and aggressiveness can be productive and feel good about themselves at the end of a game. Even if they did not score. They have time to grow to enjoy the game.

In Softball everyone is looking at you and only you standing there. Striking out. I coach a 10U Rec team, 14 girls. There are only 3 girls on the team that go home and practice with parents or siblings. Through 5 games, I've got (IIRC) 6 girls that have not made contact yet. How are they going to get any love for the game if they can't succeed on any level. How are they going to want to come back next year?

All of the girls on the local 10U and 12U travel team play rec as well. But as Eric pointed out, the difference in skill level is so great, there is no competition. How much fun is it to win when you know that the opponent doesn't belong on the same field as you do? And great googly moogily, it is downright demoralizing for the rec players who can't even sniff that TB pitcher.

There are lot of reasons for rec ball to have issues. Laying it all at the feet of travel ball is not fair.
The bolded above is what I feel has the biggest impact on the difference in skill level for Rec and TB. Even Just Local TB team like my DD plays on. I feel there is a false stigma that is put on REC ball that its just for fun etc. Because of the false stigma players and parents, not all, but most, feel no need to work with players outside of team practice. Since they don't practice outside of team the level of play at the rec level is very low, at least in my area and I'm not even talking about the difference between REC and some "A" elite TB team, just you average Local "B" or "C" team. That said, it cause players and parents to put the child on a TB team or start one. IDK if that makes sense, just my opinion.
 
May 29, 2015
1,749
113
I agree! We need to work together with Park & Rec. Most players come out of Parks & Rec.
This. Local programs are only as good as the people who put them together. I believe rec ball (meaning: local, community based programs) could be on the verge of a rebound in the coming years. Players and parents are burning out on burning cash and time. The problem isn't that travel ball is killing rec, it's that it already has killed rec. Those parents and players who have had enough travel ball currently do not have any alternatives.

KEYS to bringing rec back (which will benefit the sport as a whole):
  • Interested, committed, and qualified volunteers to develop and lead organizations
  • Ability and resources to play the long-game -- realistically it will take two to three years to get a foot hold on team counts
  • Honest recognition of the value and place for BOTH rec ball and travel ball -- it really is not an "either/or" proposition if done correctly
  • Quality programming that engages participants
If organizations like Little League and PONY were smart, they would be embracing this and be out there aggressively recruiting local organizations who they can help support.
 
Jan 3, 2019
51
18
Florida
You hit the hammer all over the nail. It’s happening in Louisiana we’re I’m from there are so many travel teams popping up it seems like every day. They talk a good speech but they are there with there hands out wanting money for uniforms and to pay for what they call a World Series. Parents are buying into this crap it’s unbelievable. You have kids that have private everything and still can’t produce just because little Jane has a private pitching coach little Jill needs one to. It is so dam frustrating. Both my girls play rec plus travel and school ball I told my wife I’m finished with travel ball she tells me we already paid so we’re stuck with a bunch of coaches playing DD ball who can’t even freaking coach period.
That's unfortunate and it sounds like you need to find another travel team. I would venture to say that most travel teams are not like that, at least the many that I've seen aren't.

I ran a travel team for 2.5 years and we never charged a dime to the families, other than their initial uniform/equipment purchase. We were able to raise money to practice 3 days per week and play two tournaments per month through fundraisers and sponsorships. The problem we ran into was that because the parents weren't paying monthly/seasonal dues, they took everything for granted. They weren't "invested" with their wallets so some families decided that they'd just leave in the middle of the season because the grass was greener on the other side, leaving the rest of the team in jeopardy of folding. Don't get me wrong, I don't think you should have to take out a second mortgage on the house just to have your kid be able to play at a higher level, but I do think you need something to keep the parents in check and get them to stay until at least the season is over.
 

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