From the article: FAQs About Youth Sports and Travel Teams
Youth sports have changed tremendously in the last twenty years. Many young athletes now hone their skills through groups known as travel teams or select teams. Some believe that this level of competition puts too much stress on young athletes. Many parents and grandparents who have shared this experience with their children or grandchildren see it as a unique opportunity to build skills, character and family ties. Have you had experience with travel teams or select teams? Share your insights! Share Your Experiences
Taxing on My Child's Self Esteem
- My son is a natural athlete and has been participating in organized sports since the age of 5. We did not start select basketball until he was 12. My experience is that most of these teams have fathers or close friends or family that coach the teams, and they have only their child's best interest at heart. They are building a team around their son/family member. These teams are expensive, and they need funds to support the team. I found that they always recruited many more children than needed and expected all to pay equally and fundraise equally but the playing time was not equal. My son is now 16 and has played on 3 select teams within 4 years and we are done with it. He received sub par coaching from all but one of these teams. Most teams were well established and more forgiving of on-court mistakes by the veteran players but would pull my son out the game for one mistake. I would rather send him to great camps and get him a personal trainer than go through select team drama again.
- —Guest Nichole
Look Around For A Caring Club
- I played travel volleyball for 7 years. I had many crazy coaches and a director who was in it for the money. My skills did improve, but at what cost mentally? We players were belittled and harassed daily. I was going to play in college, but now have told the coach no. I can't take the stress of college and another crazy coach. I don't know the coach well enough to know what to expect. Maybe this coach would be good, but I am too afraid to find out. The love of the game has been taken from me. I gave up so much over the years, especially on the weekends with so many tournaments. I was spending 20 hours a week between practice and drive time, not including tournaments. Now I can add another class to my schedule and get a part time job, since I will not be playing in college now. I am looking forward to college, because I will have control over my own life again. I will have less pressure and stress. There is more to life than volleyball, and I will find out this fall.
- —Guest Tina
I like It!
- My sons play tournament baseball, and we all have enjoyed it as a family. The teams they are on do not travel very much and only play in local tournaments. We might play in 8 tournaments during the season from spring until the summer. As a parent I like my boys playing tournament baseball because they get a lot more out of it. When they played Rec. baseball they were more advanced than the other kids and were not getting anything out of it. They have expressed they like tournament baseball better because of the competition level and I like it because they are getting quality coaching. We don't play Rec. baseball anymore just tournaments.
- —Guest msplayer
The sports I love
- I am 13 and play on a 14U travel baseball team. I also play on a recreation soccer team. My dad coaches the baseball team and he is so hard on me. I'm about ready to quit the team and play middle and high school soccer instead of baseball. Even though I'm really good at baseball, I'm starting not to like it the more I play it. And I am in love with soccer and I'm ready to try out for a travel team. What should I tell my parents?
- —Guest Bsballplayer
- My 11-year-old daughter played travel softball this past summer, and our family really enjoyed it. There was a healthy balance of competition and support, and while not all the girls got equal playing time, the coaches were careful to give everyone game opportunities. I also felt that even though my daughter felt the pressure to perform well, she was never overwhelmed by this feeling, and it did not diminish her enjoyment of the sport. The coaches, of course, were excited for well-executed plays in the field and successful at-bats, but were also highly supportive and encouraging when the girls didn't perform as well. My daughter also learned a lot more about the game than she did from the rec league, and her playing improved tremendously. I was also really impressed by how supportive the rest of the team parents were of their daughters and of the program. I know we were lucky, though, because we did unfortunately sometimes see less-than-stellar behavior from coaches and parents of other teams.
- —Guest Isochrona
Thoughts from a D1 athlete
- While you do have a point with many families in sports, what about the kid whose drive and passion is 100%? As a parent of three self motivated athletes I only try to be supportive. The time and money spent are well worth it.
- —Guest ScMom
Select Team VS REC League
- My son will be turning 6 yrs old in 2 weeks and was just selected to be on a 7U baseball team in St.Louis. He has played baseball for almost 3 yrs up one level to just to play organized. He started at the age of 4 on a 5U team. 5 on 6U & 7U last fall. This fall he is 6 playing on a 7U select tea. When will he want to play with his own grade level or when will that level be good enough? I want him to learn and have fun. Are there ways to check the coaches out or the team? Thanks! A careful parent
- —Guest z06lang
- I agree with "thoughts from a D1 Athlete" Our 12 year old daughter began playing softball 18 months ago and has gone from zero to travel in that time span. We recognized early that she has the physical makeup to play this game in college (she is already 5'6" and SOLID) but still has a LONG way to go. I was also a D1 athlete and I come from a family of athletes; I have two close cousins that played major league baseball, one that played in the NFL, several relatives that played college, etc. and there is one thing that there is no substitute for.....PHYSICAL ABILITY. During tryouts this last weekend, I cannot tell you how many kids that were out there who simply did not have the physicality to be successful in sports beyond a purely recreational level whose parents somehow think they are the next D1 softball player! There are many things you need to be competitive in sports; a good attitude, drive, etc. You can have all of this but if you are 5'2" /85 lbs, it is time to get real.
good, bad and ugly
- My daughter played select ball for 8 years, so I think I am a fair spokesperson of the ins and outs of the programs. During her tenure she was lucky enough to play with many excellent girls. She made great friends from all over the Houston area and around Texas that she is still friends with today. She learned sportsmanship, built a lot of character and ultimately, how to be a better player. What she never learned to deal with were coaches. These guys (both m/f) are a different breed of human during a game and at practice. I am happy to say she did have some GREAT coaches who were concerned about teaching girls how to be the best they could be. She also had some coaches who had no business dealing with kids. They could be tempermental, obnoxious and sometimes out of control when dealing with kids. In just a few short words, they could tear down a lifetime of self-esteem building. You have a 50/50 chance of getting either, so good luck and remember, it's just for fun!
- —Guest ball mom
- I am writing a story on it in my school's magazine and I would love to have an interview or use some quotes from your submitted results. If you are a coach or ex-player or parent and would like to share your opinion on this subject, Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wouldn't mind talking on this subject.
- —Guest softball1234
Not For Us
- We're a family with many interests, and the commitments of joining a traveling team just wouldn't leave us with enough free time to spend on other passions. We also protect any "down time" we can find throughout the week, and again, I just can't see us finding any if our weekends are committed to traveling and playing. My hat is off to these families who can pull it off, and enjoy it. But it's not anything we'd ever consider.
Good and Bad
- My experience with club volleyball has been both good and bad. I owe the fact that I play in college soley to both exposure and training I got from outside of high school programs. And I wouldn't trade playing in college for anything, so I definitely don't regret the things that led to that. However, most of my memories of club are not pleasant. But for my sisters, club volleyball has been amazing. They love their coaches, the drive isn't bad, their team has great chemistry, and they get to travel all over the US. Plus, we all remained involved in other things. Really, I think it just depends on what team you find and picking a club with coaches and directors who are simply there for the love of the sport. My sisters found it in club ball, I found it afterwards. I'd recommend club/select ball to any kid who wants to play college sports, but also caution them that sports are not the only thing in life, to really try out different clubs, and to not start at too young of an age.
Be careful, it's easy to get burned out.
- I played softball on a select team several years prior to graduating high school. In the summer, fall, and winter I was playing in a tournament nearly every weekend. In the spring I was playing for my high school. I personally lean more to the con side of this topic. For one, all the playing I did provided more opportunity for injury and in the end, due to a bum shoulder, prevented me from playing in college, which is the reason I was playing so much in the first place. Secondly, the cost financially can be incredibly high. It was costing a good two grand a year to play. Another con I find is that nearly every weekend of mine as a teenager was spent playing softball which took away from free time to spend with friends or studying. However, spending those weekends at the ballfield probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. I also am thankful that I got to visit some fantastic places such as being picked to play in an international tournament in Hawaii. I'm just not sure I'd recommend it.
- —Guest Tina Robinson
- The real problem I have with these select teams is the conflicting messages kids can get. Select coaches and school coaches often have different agendas, and then you throw in the influence of parents on select coaches (whose continued employment often relies on the support of parents, as opposed to school coaches), and its difficult to really know if the kids' best interests are at heart. I've just heard too many horror stories of sleazy opportunists hanging around select teams to fully trust that system, given how little oversight it has.
- —Guest Jesse P
practice makes perfect
- want to hone your craft? practice! i guess 'off-season' could be termed 'a chance to make myself a better competitor because i had more time to practice and a chance to compete at a higher level due to the higher general competence of the aptitude of other select players also looking to push their skills...
- —Guest perspektive
1-15 of 20Next