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Old 01-03-2013, 02:09 PM   #1
SaraJayne
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Smile Traveling Sports Teams? Update #41

DS told us last night he wanted to try out for an elite baseball team, based in a city 2 hours away.

We've never done a traveling league (other than 15-20 mins away) and this team travels all over the midwest during the summer for tournaments (St. Louis, etc) and DH and I have lots of questions.

We will be calling the coach tonight to get answers to all our questions, but for those of you that have BTDT, what was your experience like?

It is *a lot* of money, but I'm more worried about the time commitment (mainly for me, since DH will hopefully be starting Grad School in the Spring).

Am I going to be spending every weekend in a hotel from May through August?

We are leaning towards letting him do it (at least for one summer) if he makes the team. I think it would be a great experience and maybe lead to being seen by colleges, if he keeps it up after this year.

I know if he doesn't make the team, none of the details will matter, but I don't want to have him make it and then be like "ok, what do we do now?" KWIM?

Last edited by SaraJayne; 01-15-2013 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:14 PM   #2
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We did travel soccer so it was a bit different. We had 2 tournaments a month that were hotel worthy and the games were all different days of the week. We had the schedule before hand.

I would think with baseball and rain outs your schedule will have to be a bit more flexible as with soccer we plan in any weather.

I feel it is a great opportunity for a child and if you can afford the commitment and the cost I highly recommend it.

If he makes the team, keep up updated.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:17 PM   #3
SaraJayne
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We did travel soccer so it was a bit different. We had 2 tournaments a month that were hotel worthy and the games were all different days of the week. We had the schedule before hand.

I would think with baseball and rain outs your schedule will have to be a bit more flexible as with soccer we plan in any weather.

I feel it is a great opportunity for a child and if you can afford the commitment and the cost I highly recommend it.

If he makes the team, keep up updated.
Thanks. His try out is the 13th, a few days before his 16th birthday. There are no try-outs here for any teams, so it will be a different experience for him.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:25 PM   #4
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I don't have any personal experience with it, but I know there's a number of those elite teams around us, a couple of them draw kids from multiple states and travel nationally throughout the year. I've always wondered how people manage the logistics of being on a team that's not based anywhere near where they live, not because of the tournaments, but the weekly practice schedule.

My younger son is a club soccer player, but we stuck with a club that practices within 15 minutes or so from where we live.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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My kids play several travel sports and it has been a great experience for them and us. It is super time consuming but they relish the opportunity to play at an elite level.

I guess the big red flag for me (and it is rather huge) is that this team is based in a town 2 hours away. With practices 3 or 4 nights a week, are you really prepared to be driving (or having your son drive), 4 hours a day to play baseball? Does he have a summer job? Does he have access to a car?

The games are one thing...on the weekends and you stay overnight. But the practices are quite a different story. We live and breathe travel sports here but the two hours away home base for this team would be a HUGE hurdle for us to overcome.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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I wouldn't be nearly so concerned abouth the summer travel schedule as I would the weekly practice schedule. Two hours each way? How many days per week?
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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I don't have any personal experience with it, but I know there's a number of those elite teams around us, a couple of them draw kids from multiple states and travel nationally throughout the year. I've always wondered how people manage the logistics of being on a team that's not based anywhere near where they live, not because of the tournaments, but the weekly practice schedule.

My younger son is a club soccer player, but we stuck with a club that practices within 15 minutes or so from where we live.
Unfortunately, where we live, once you hit 16, you "age out" of all the summer baseball programs, until you hit 25.

So, if he truly wants to play on a baseball team beyond his high school team during the summer, we're either heading to Milwaukee or Madison on a weekly basis. *sigh*

He played Babe Ruth last summer, but is now too old to play.

I'm a SAHM, so I have lots of time, but we do have another child (DD11) who will be affected by this.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:31 PM   #8
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I wouldn't be nearly so concerned abouth the summer travel schedule as I would the weekly practice schedule. Two hours each way? How many days per week?
One, either a Saturday or Sunday.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:35 PM   #9
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One, either a Saturday or Sunday.
That sounds like the game day. Are there no practices?
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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That sounds like the game day. Are there no practices?
From what I understand, practices are on the weekends, but we will definitely be asking that question of the coach.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:39 PM   #11
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Only one practice a week? For travel? That seems really low. We have practice 3 or 4 days a week here and that is for kids still in elementary school. On tournament weeks, does that mean no practice at all?

I would double check that. It doesn't seem right.

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #12
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The answer to all your questions (unfortunately) is "it depends on the team". DD was on a travel softball team one summer. It was based ~30 minutes from our home. That wasn't bad. However, practice was only twice during the week (again this is during the summer), and tournaments 2-3 times a month, but most didn't require a hotel.

Questions to ask:
1) How often will the team practice? For how long?
2) How many tournaments do you go to during the summer? How far?
3) What is the financial commitment? Is there any fundraising opportunities (if that's your thing)?
4) How do you notify the team about changes? Email? Text? Web? Do you contact the parent or the player?
5) Are parents allowed to stay for practice? Trying to find something to do 2 hours away from home multiple times can get old.
6) How have they finished in tournaments? If they only play the minimum games and then go home (because they lose) every week, that can get frustrating.

For you... are these organized tryouts or just trying out during a practice? Either way, watch the organization (assuming there is some). How do the coaches work with the kids?
Can you search online for tournament results from last season to see how the team did?

The softball team my DD was on had GREAT coaches. Can't say enough about them. That being said, things didn't work out and we were done after that season. More because DD lost interest in doing the work required outside of practice than any kind of falling out.

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:43 PM   #13
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Only one practice a week? For travel? That seems really low. We have practice 3 or 4 days a week here and that is for kids still in elementary school. On tournament weeks, does that mean no practice at all?

I would double check that. It doesn't seem right.

Good luck!
Depending on where they're drawing kids from, I can believe it. During the summer they should ramp up, but during the school year most kids would be playing on their school teams and not available for a travel team practice.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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My son plays for an AAU team. We play lots of games at home but we also travel for tournaments.

It is expensive. It is time consuming. it is very competitive so make sure your son can take being benched if he doesn't perform well for a game or even practice. Also if another kid comes along who is a little better then your son, guess who plays.

My son had one coach, all he did was yell at the kids when they made a mistake. They learned to shake it off but some it really bothered.

My son is at a practice right now for an hr at an indoor facility then going straight to a strength training session with his team. He practices 2 x a week with this team. They play double headers every sat and sun when games start.

Travel expenses are on you. The only thing the team covers, is the tournament fee. You also have to pay to get into the games everyday so that is another little expense. Some teams try to raise money fund raising but you can't count on that.

With that being said, my son has a blast. He loves playing. Traveling is always a great time. We are lucky, our families bonded and make it really fun for all the kids when we are away.

After all the expenses we have each year for this team, it's still a heck of a lot cheaper then other sports like hockey.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:11 PM   #15
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Depending on where they're drawing kids from, I can believe it. During the summer they should ramp up, but during the school year most kids would be playing on their school teams and not available for a travel team practice.
That obviously differs by school, district and state. In our district, kids are not allowed to play on both school and travel teams for the same sport in the same/overlapping season/s. It is one or the other due to all the obvious conflicts.

OP, I would check out the rules in your area and make sure you don't have any issues.

Good luck with the tryouts!
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