Millions of kids are preparing for the youth baseball season. Around the United States, teams will take to the diamond to play games for their respective teams. Levels of play vary from recreational teams to kids playing high-level baseball with the expectations of making it to college or the professional ranks.
One of the most common forms of youth baseball today is travel baseball. The idea of travel baseball has been around for some time, but it is now bigger than ever as parents sign their kids up for travel teams.
You may know travel baseball by one of its other many names. It is also called select, club, premier, and elite baseball. Whichever name you choose to call it by, it all means the same thing. So, what is travel baseball?
Travel baseball Versus Recreation Baseball
Travel baseball is a form of high-level competition featuring players that are classed as “elite”. Teams play in tournaments against other elite teams and players in extremely competitive competitions. Some travel teams will train and practice at their own dedicated facilities.
What separates travel baseball and recreational baseball is the quality of competition. There is a focus on competitive play amongst players which in turn makes each individual player better. Recreational players and teams are not quite as competitive and their focus is more on playing. You may find that all players compete in recreational league games while in travel baseball the focus is on winning.
Travelling the Country to Play Ball
The biggest difference between travel baseball and recreational baseball is found in the name. Travel baseball teams typically spend weekends on the road travelling around to different towns and cities to play tournaments. Teams do not stay within their specific area and may go to adjacent stats for games.
The skill levels of teams vary in travel baseball. There are typically three different levels of competition from the lowest level of development to the highest level. Players, or their parents, must pay fees to compete. They must also cover the cost of each trip out of town to play. This includes hotels, food, and gas to make the trip.
What are the advantages of travel baseball?
There are advantages to playing travel baseball that can pay off in the future. The biggest attraction to playing travel baseball is the competition. Players compete next to and against high-quality kids who are able to improve each other’s skills.
Not only are the players more competitive, but the coaches have more experience in the world of baseball. While a recreational league coach is typically a parent, a travel baseball coach tends to be an ex-high school coach, college baseball player, or from another high-level form of the game. Players will also receive better training in practice sessions.
Travel baseball is not only able to help a player improve due to the competition level, but it allows players to get exposure. It may sound silly to some parents, but college coaches, scouts, and elite high school coaches will attend travel ball tournaments with aim of luring the best players to their side.
Is travel baseball for you or your child? That is a difficult question to answer. It is one only each player and parent can truly answer.