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Old 01-03-2013, 03:12 PM   #16
SaraJayne
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Originally Posted by sam_gordon View Post
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.
Thanks! All questions we have on the list, but at least I know we're asking the right kind of things!
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:21 PM   #17
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DDs are playing on a travel hockey team this year, although it is not an elite team and practices are all within about 30 minutes of us. Game travel has been up to 3 1/2 hours away.

A couple of thoughts:

We find ourselves as parents irritated with our girls at times when they do not seem to be trying as hard as they could. We are spending A LOT of money on this program, the equipment, the travel, etc., and we want them to ge the most out of it. They are there to improve their skills, but also to have fun, and sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that.

Second, our association pays for one tournament and the state tournament. The cost of any other tournament in which we choose to participate is divided among the players. This was a cost we did not anticipate. There is one tournament which requires the team to supply some sort of $75 raffle item, the cost of which is split among the team members as well.

Is the cost of uniforms included in the fee? Some associations require parents to purchase practice jerseys, warm ups, etc.

DH and I both travel with our girls, but a lot of families car pool, which cuts down their expenses and travel time. Your son's team should have a team manager who can help coordinate this.

Good luck to your son! Good luck to you, OP!

Eta - check on how the team deals with family vacations. Are they "forbidden" during the season?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:23 PM   #18
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DDs are playing on a travel hockey team this year, although it is not an elite team and practices are all within about 30 minutes of us. Game travel has been up to 3 1/2 hours away.

A couple of thoughts:

We find ourselves as parents irritated with our girls at times when they do not seem to be trying as hard as they could. We are spending A LOT of money on this program, the equipment, the travel, etc., and we want them to ge the most out of it. They are there to improve their skills, but also to have fun, and sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that.

Second, our association pays for one tournament and the state tournament. The cost of any other tournament in which we choose to participate is divided among the players. This was a cost we did not anticipate. There is one tournament which requires the team to supply some sort of $75 raffle item, the cost of which is split among the team members as well.

Is the cost of uniforms included in the fee? Some associations require parents to purchase practice jerseys, warm ups, etc.

DH and I both travel with our girls, but a lot of families car pool, which cuts down their expenses and travel time. Your son's team should have a team manager who can help coordinate this.

Good luck to your son! Good luck to you, OP!
From what DS relayed to us (after talking to the coach), the fee includes uniforms/hats/cleats, tournament fees, travel expenses for DS and a couple other things he mentioned that I've forgotten.

We will be finding out exactly what the cost covers and other things we can expect to pay for during the season.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:25 PM   #19
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Eta - check on how the team deals with family vacations. Are they "forbidden" during the season?
That is another thing we'll be asking. Our niece is getting married locally in June and we will NOT be missing her wedding. Period.

So that needs to be considered, too.

Thanks for bringing it up, though.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:29 PM   #20
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My DD is doing the same thing with Softball. She wants to play in college and being a part of a travel team is pretty much the only way to be seen by college coaches.

In addition to the previous questions, also ask about playing time. I know that's normally a taboo question to a coach, but when you are investing this amount of time and money, you don't want your son to be the designated bench warmer. When we play college showcases, the coach will rotate the girls in and out pretty well. He knows they are there to be seen by the college coaches. When we play tournaments, he wants to win. Therefore, play time is based on who is doing well. Don't freak out if the coach states there are 15-18 on a team. Most weekends there will not be a full roster and at times might even have to cancel a tournament due to not being able to field a team. This is very common with the teenagers.

My DD has been doing this for the past two years and I have to say it's been the best bonding experience for us. Nothing like having her trapped in the car for 4-6 hours to discuss "life"!

We've also had the discussion about commitment. I've told her that if I'm committing my time and money to this, I expect the same from her. So, the sporting life comes before the social life and yes, you might miss Homecoming and the big party Susie is having. Heck, I've spent my last two wedding anniversaries on the fields eating grilled burgers!

Ask a lot of questions and make sure your son understands the commitment from you as well.

Good luck to you and your son!
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:45 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
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?
I wouldn't worry so much about the weekends, I'd worry about 4 hours round trip for practice. Unless they are practicing on weekends your after school routine is in for some very long nights.

My nephew plays competitive basketball and it's a commitment (we ALL travel to support him so it does often kinda wear you down, but I will say that out of 10 to 11 boys there at least 3-5 everytime where the parents do not attend. Whoever is going often has an extra boy with them. Parents are still expected to pay thier kids way (fees/lodging/equiptment)+food+spending money but not every parent is at every away game.

If you get a good group of parents that are willing to cover when one boy has to travel without mom or dad then it is often doable. (it helps that our team started out with kids who knew each other from school and rec league so the parents already had relationships before the travel began)
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:24 PM   #22
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We're a soccer family, not baseball, but the same basic ideas would apply.

It really all depends on the team itself, and the league or tournament schedule the team plays in. That would definitely be a question for the coach.

DS plays 'premier' soccer, and in the past 3 years (u13-u15) we have traveled from Massachusetts to games/tournaments in: NH, VT, ME, CT, RI and each year, the boys have 1 game in Ottawa, ON Canada! Yes, we travel to Ottawa for a soccer game.

This year our travel will actually be less, as the boys will be playing in 7 college showcases, and all but two of them are local, not requiring hotels.

DS has a friend who also plays 'premier' soccer, and the furthest their team goes is just south of the border to RI and just north of the border to NH. So it really depends on the league, and how it's set up.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #23
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I talked to DS to get some more info about what the coach said last night.

Practices are once a week, on Sundays. They play in northern IL and southern WI (so much closer than I was thinking).

DS thinks fee covers uniforms/hats/cleats, insurance, tournament fees and possibly his travel costs.

Right now, there are 9 kids on the team.

We've already had the "this will be costing us a lot of money and a LOT of time, so we expect the same commitment from you" talk. I emphasized he will more than likely be giving up almost every single summer weekend. He said he was ok with that.

Until we talk to the coach, that's about all I know right now.

Thanks everyone for the input. I appreciate hearing things I may not have thought about.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
I talked to DS to get some more info about what the coach said last night.

Practices are once a week, on Sundays. They play in northern IL and southern WI (so much closer than I was thinking).

DS thinks fee covers uniforms/hats/cleats, insurance, tournament fees and possibly his travel costs.

Right now, there are 9 kids on the team.

We've already had the "this will be costing us a lot of money and a LOT of time, so we expect the same commitment from you" talk. I emphasized he will more than likely be giving up almost every single summer weekend. He said he was ok with that.

Until we talk to the coach, that's about all I know right now.

Thanks everyone for the input. I appreciate hearing things I may not have thought about.
Find out how many kids the coach plans to have on the team. You need enough so if 1-2 can't make a tournament, you have enough to play plus some subs, but not so much that you have a bunch sitting the bench.

ETA: Also ask about team specific "rules". The coach may have rules against swimming on tournament or practice days, or could even designate a curfew (doubtful, but possible).
Is there a "code of conduct" players and/or parents need to sign/follow?
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:14 PM   #25
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Find out how many kids the coach plans to have on the team. You need enough so if 1-2 can't make a tournament, you have enough to play plus some subs, but not so much that you have a bunch sitting the bench.

ETA: Also ask about team specific "rules". The coach may have rules against swimming on tournament or practice days, or could even designate a curfew (doubtful, but possible).
Is there a "code of conduct" players and/or parents need to sign/follow?
Thanks, I just added those to my list.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:23 PM   #26
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DS wasn't on an elite team (it was basically our rec league allstars, mostly the same kids every year, but they were really good) but we did travel. We loved it! We definitely have great memories. Our families became one big family, and believe it or not, we were all on our best behavior through the years.

Good luck with his tryouts!
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:41 PM   #27
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Ask about other expenses such as practice uniforms, batting practices, snacks, parent/sibling tshirts. Is he expected to have a certain bat bag and is it included? What costs are covered for him during the tournaments? Room? food? Is he expected to have money to chip in for pizza/snacks/etc during trip?

Are boys allowed to stay with their parents when traveling to tournaments or do they stay in team rooms? How much contact can you have with him during the tournaments? Each team/league is different.

What happens if he has to miss a practice/game. What is the consequence? (sit out so many innings, miss one game, etc)

Do they expect a parent to be present at each tournament? Ask if parents are expected to stay in same hotel as team or a different one. Does everyone make their own reservations or does one person?

Does your son travel with you or with the team?

How far in advance will you know if practices are cancelled?
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:53 PM   #28
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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.
You age out, or your Little League or American Legion don't offer programs? Little League goes to age 18, American Legion to 19. My son played LL until age 18, then played 1 year in AL at age 19.
I am not a fan of traveling teams. Players in LL and AL get tired of playing and quit......Traveling team players get burned out, and worse with the teams traveling so much, and looser rules, and nobody monitoring pitch counts, kids suffer permanent injuries.
My son was approached about playing on a USSA Traveling Baseball team when he was 13. $7,500 up front per player, practice 4 hours a day, 6 days a week before the season started, then 6 days a week combo of games and practices. One game was in Dallas, 1700 miles away! Paid off, team wo the world series. Those kids are all 24-26 now, all played high school ball, but by college, only 2 were still playing, and none were drafted by MLB, and half of them were amazing players.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:52 PM   #29
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You age out, or your Little League or American Legion don't offer programs? Little League goes to age 18, American Legion to 19. My son played LL until age 18, then played 1 year in AL at age 19.
I am not a fan of traveling teams. Players in LL and AL get tired of playing and quit......Traveling team players get burned out, and worse with the teams traveling so much, and looser rules, and nobody monitoring pitch counts, kids suffer permanent injuries.
My son was approached about playing on a USSA Traveling Baseball team when he was 13. $7,500 up front per player, practice 4 hours a day, 6 days a week before the season started, then 6 days a week combo of games and practices. One game was in Dallas, 1700 miles away! Paid off, team wo the world series. Those kids are all 24-26 now, all played high school ball, but by college, only 2 were still playing, and none were drafted by MLB, and half of them were amazing players.
Little League goes to age 12 or 13 here, then Babe Ruth until age 15. Legion ball is 21 and up.

Holy cow, if that was the cost for DS to play, we wouldn't even consider it!!!
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:26 AM   #30
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His try-out is at 3 this afternoon.

We don't know if he'll find out today whether he makes the team or later this week.
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