1. Brad Jerome
    March 3, 2019 @ 8:35 pm

    Thank You! I hear so many horror stories about year-long travel ball. I Love my son, and I Love Baseball, but the last thing I want him to do is burn out. I wanted to enroll him in a trial session of youth wrestling but he didn’t want you do it. He’s 6! I didn’t force him to. Asked a few times, but the answer was always no. We will try again next season. He loves Baseball and for the last few summers I pitch foam balls to him in the back yard. He’s played t-ball, but wants to be pitched to. I also like having the time to take him to see Major League Baseball during the season. I live 6 hours away from the nearest MLB team. This takes time, but I am not about to stop spending time with he or my daughter so that travel ball occupies our lives. Baseball is fun to us, and I want to keep it that way! Thanks Again for the reassurance!


    • Andrew Butcher
      March 7, 2019 @ 5:06 am

      This is very insightful and very well written. You’re right “the lure” for semi-athletic 7 year old can be ferocious. After reading this blaugue the main thing that sticks out to me (As a coach of my oldest daughter (12) for 6 years and my middle daughter (8) for 3 is the BURNOUT! I’m going to have a heart to heart with my oldest first and make SURE she enjoys this as much as I do. Thanks again for the great advice!


  2. Chad Morris
    March 4, 2019 @ 11:30 pm

    People that hate the writers thinking, either are part of the group getting paid or have been sucked into the mindset.

    I saw the link on a Facebook group for select baseball. They were bashing it to say the least.


    • kevr
      March 5, 2019 @ 4:22 pm

      And people who love the writers thinking are probably not part of a good experience. There are good and bad programs at all levels whether local or travel and the success depends on the people running them. Pros and cons either way. If the situation is bad for your kid, get him out no matter local or travel. Parents still have to parent. If it is a good situation then have at it as long as it is a positive experience for the player/parents. This writer obviously is doing things right in his community to get the results he shares. Travel programs can take away talent. No one likes that.


  3. Mike C
    March 5, 2019 @ 3:49 am

    U are putting all travel programs in one big boat! Pisses me off to no end when peao do exactly what your doing. I run a travel org in the Bay Area. Guess how much money I make? $0 what u fail to realize is that there are a lot of leagues out there that do not have a few things. Number one is coaches. Your son is lucky, u understand and can teach the basic fundamentals. 95% of the happy go kicked coaches are just that, happy go lucky… they know nothing about baseball. Then they play against a bunch of booger pickers and tell the better kids not to throw hard at the 1st baseman because he can’t catch! Look I agree there are a lot of scumbags out there taking peoples money! Not us. We give good instruction, play every kid, Bat our entire line up, play every other weekend (to give families time together and for rest) and we stick to MLB pitch smart rules!

    The point is, if your kid is any good u will find out very quickly that Little league will not be for him.


    • DNic
      March 5, 2019 @ 6:28 am

      Case. In. Point.

      And you were the backup right fielder on your high school team that thinks this is best for the kid.


    • Coach R
      March 6, 2019 @ 1:05 am

      You obviously do Not know who this is. lol! It may help in the future to do some homework before you start on somebody. He’s right, the travel baseball at the age of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and even 12 is crazy. After that you do what’s best for the individual. They need nothing more than a good league with basic fundamentals. Which, if you watch local high school games you’ll see that 99% need basic fundamentals desperately.


  4. Jason Gray
    March 5, 2019 @ 3:52 pm

    Agree with a whole ton of this. My 13u team in south Florida takes the whole summer off while other teams play another 40 games, and has since we started travel. Most of my kids play other sports in middle school also. The problem is that because of travel, rec has become unplayable.
    Ps. Why you do lale like that lol


  5. kevr
    March 5, 2019 @ 4:13 pm

    In our experience, travel ball is a good option for kids that want/need more. It is a great option when local teams lack good leadership/structure. Parents need to be mindful of costs, coaches, time etc., but if the kid loves it don’t shy away. You however are making some very good points. Kids benefit from youth sports and it sounds like you have had many good experiences suggesting you were blessed with connecting with kids and can coach as well. All part of the overall positive experience. Not all kids are that lucky to have that leadership, whether local rec league level or travel level. My son plays travel baseball started at age 10, but he plays football and basketball too with his school teams. He likes to be challenged and that is why he plays travel. He was asked to fill in at a travel game and he never looked back, He absolutely loved it. Our county league is “instructional” and even though he plays with his buddies there, there was no denying he loved it more where the kids played at a similar level and had the same love for the sport. His travel team from what I can see has good instruction and it gets better every year. They want to win but focus on decision making, competition, and overall baseball knowledge. The decision making coaches do not have kids on the team which is a bonus. Baseball has always been his favorite sport. But if it ever stops being fun for him, we will never force him to play, no mater what sport it is. My advice is to place your kid where the people involved are looking out for him/her, whether local or travel. Both is best.


  6. Tom Morris
    March 5, 2019 @ 5:51 pm

    My son started travel ball at the nine-year-old age. I had him participate in all the local instructional leagues: T-ball, pitching machine and coach pitch before we considered even going onto travel ball. Why should I spend a whole weekend in a town 100 miles away on the whims of a 5, 6, 7 or eight-year-old son? Talk about a long weekend. When he could appreciate the money being spent and the time being allocated to travel ball did we even think about getting into it. We only joined a travel team that played approximately every other weekend. We started our season in late February and finished by July 1 to allow for at least one month of a decent summer before school started again. I will say this,though, our son become an all star in the final two instructional league seasons and going to the final World Series did take up all summer up until the opening day of school. Our local league at his age was transitioning with most of the good coaches/players committing to travel ball, so many communities do not have a choice but to look to travel ball for proper development.


  7. Nelson Pichardo
    March 6, 2019 @ 1:19 am

    Loved the article. Feel the same way. I feel like the odd dad out there always saying no to all these hacks asking my son to play on their travel team.


  8. Michael Morelli
    March 6, 2019 @ 2:13 am

    You have shared my thoughts exactly. My daughter started travel ball on a B level team. Stayed on it and learned a bit. She’s now playing DIII college. She was an ice skater. She is still a soprano with a killer voice majoring in voice at the college. The kids need to be well rounded. If the player is going to be a major leaguer, they will be with or without travel ball. Either they have it or they don’t. I coached a few exceptional high school baseball players. One or two went on to double A ball. They were the exceptionally good ones. Then it’s a numbers game. Thank you Aubrey.


  9. Cool Dad
    March 6, 2019 @ 2:44 am

    I’m calling a little bull on this. Unfortunately, I don’t like travel ball as much as the next guy, but unfortunately that is the era that we are in. I too, remember playing local rec ball with my friends. We shared two bats, catching gear and 4 helmets. Those were definitely good times. But those days are long gone. Things change, people change, the game has evolved.

    The real reason for the blog is exposed near the end in the last paragraph, and pretty much sums up the sense of anger from the author. He is so mad that he forced his kid to play ball, that he eventually drove his kid to hate the game. Daddy is mad at the world because little Johnny doesn’t like baseball anymore. Rather than take responsibility for being a crappy parent who was forcing his own kid to play a game he probably didn’t like….he writes this blog telling us how much travel ball is a scam. The irony of this whole blog is amazing. I think Aubrey Huff needs to look in the mirror, take responsibility for being a pushy dad and move on. Stop trying to put all kids and parents in the same box, by telling us how horrible we are for having kids that are passionate for a sport.


    • Daniel Neiswender
      March 8, 2019 @ 10:06 pm

      What a douche bag response.


    • Joseph M
      November 30, 2019 @ 8:25 pm

      You’re the only one to come away with that opinion.


      • Raimie Blake
        February 6, 2020 @ 5:17 pm

        I’m a mom. I never played baseball or softball and do not regret not playing. My son is 10 and does year round travel. He also plays football and basketball and video games and rides his bike. He started in a rec league, then part time travel. We left because the coaches (dads) reached the limit of what they could teach the kids. I don’t think he’s going to the majors (he does), but he is working with coaches and trainers that are teaching him baseball while developing his character and teaching him 21st century life skills. He loves it and I am very happy with the organization. Not right for everyone but it’s not destroying his childhood or body or passion for the game.


  10. Bubba Booey
    March 6, 2019 @ 3:18 am

    I enjoyed the article, and agree with many of Mr Huffs thoughts on it. However, our experience has been mixed when it comes to travel ball. Our older son is now in high school and grew up in a dad coached rec league, who by 12, had outgrown that league and the dad coaching and needed a travel program to take the next step in his development. There were 30 kids trying out just for the JV team, all of which, with the exception of 2, were from different travel ball teams. I honestly believe that without the reps and coaching he received from his travel organization that he most likely does not make his team considering how many of those travel ball kids that were cut. We also experienced the opposite with our 10 year old, who , like the authors son, reached burnout this year having played travel since he was 8, and has decided to go back to rec to “just have fun”, while also learning tennis. Initially , i felt the same insecurities of him not making his school team because he won’t get the reps and coaching but i finally reached the acceptance stage and am just embracing the opportunity to help him enjoy the game again.


  11. Dr Tommy John
    March 6, 2019 @ 4:19 am

    Love this. Just released a book found at Dontcutmykid.com That touches upon this very subject. Having been in performance and healing for 20 years I’ve seen the trend chang to epidemics in ALL sports. Little did my dad ever imagine that a surgery he had in 1974 they named after him, that was supposed to be for the professional to continue his career would be happening in youth more than pros. Concussions, pediatric ACLs, stress fractures, medicated for anxiety and depression due to their inability to perform in youth sports, it’s a race to the bottom, and the kids are losing.

    Thank you for positing this Aubrey. We need PSA announcements from the highest level of players saying this is not the best way to go about achieving your sports dreams.

    Take care. Let’s keep these kids from having to rehab from their childhoods.

    Dr Tommy John


    • Rachel Tommasini Darbonne
      July 17, 2020 @ 5:46 am

      Yes, more people need to stand up and speak out. Most parents I talk to don’t want to do it but feel like they have no other option or their kid will get left behind. So frustrating and really has taken the joy out of youth sports! Crazy. And it’s the parents that are doing it! Speak up and let the kids be kids while they still can.


  12. East Cobb Astros Coach
    March 6, 2019 @ 10:46 am

    Some points I do agree with like it being crazy expensive and some travel coaches are complete garbage. On the flip side travel ball is where all the talent is. If you want good competition then you have to do travel ball. I’ve coached Rec league and I’m coaching travel ball now. Rec league was fun, but hardly a place for good players to grow when half of each practice is focused on one or two players that can’t play the game and don’t want to be out there. It was tolerable at ages 5-7, but after that the kids should have some grasp on the sport. My teams dominated every game and never with the same group of kids, but run ruling teams every game doesn’t help kids understand how to recover from a loss. In travel ball the competition is fantastic and you’re not guaranteed a win every game. It pushes kids to get better and practices are more productive.

    There is a balance between playing and down time and that is the responsibility of the coach. Paid coaches will expect year round commitment. I don’t take a penny and encourage my kids to play other sports. Practice attendance in the off season is not mandatory or held against the kid if they are in another sport. My own child plays other sports and has conflicts with travel baseball. The sport that’s in season gets the priority. My son wanted to play travel ball. He asked to do it because rec ball got boring for him, which happens to a lot of kids that have a higher skill level than most of the kids in rec ball. Now in travel ball the practices are more productive, and the kids can focus on building skills like turning double plays, diving correctly, and honing in on proper mechanics. Something that’s not really an option in rec. I will say some parents get a little intense in travel ball. Screaming at coaches because another kid missed a ball or isn’t perfect. I’ve asked parents to leave over that before because they are 9-11 years old. Kids will mess up. Putting a burden of perfection on a kid isn’t an option for me. It’s play your best and have fun. If we lose the so be it. Main thing is to keep learning and having fun.


    • Anita
      August 6, 2020 @ 12:15 am

      My issue is this: If your kid is indeed talented but does not play travel, then some school teams do not consider them at all. I’ve seen this happen to a PHENOMENAL middle school girl…a pitcher (and no, not my kid) whose middle school would not even CONSIDER her, because she only played recreation ball. The irony is that the middle school team who would not have her, lost the City Championship to my daughter’s middle school team, and my daughter’s team was a mix of girls…just as many recreation leaguers were on the field, as travel team girls, and played the whole season. Our school’s team won, in part, due a one girl’s tenacity and excellent base running skills, who was NEVER on a travel team.

      But at our particular highshool it is the opposite. Several girls who did not make varsity, are just as good as those who did (some notably better). The major difference….the talented girls who didn’t make varsity only played recreation league, while some of their less talented counter parts played travel. It almost seems like travel is a “buy in” to varsity teams.

      While there are talented players on travel team, you also have players that are mediocre and only there because their parents can pay the club fees. And around here, there does seem to be an ‘air of superiority’ of some who play travel. At the same time…I’ve seen girls leave to play travel, and come back to a particular recreation team because the recreation team because they found their travel team sub par to their recreation team. I’ve seen travel teams also disband because things did not work out as envisioned. I’ve watched travel teams play in tournaments, and there are some very high level, top notch teams. But most of them played on par with the above average, and some slightly above average, recreation teams.


  13. Cheryl Hansbury
    March 6, 2019 @ 12:14 pm

    Totally agree with everything you said! My daughter played intramural softball… we were clueless about how good she was until the coaches said, “she should be on a travel team.” She was 14 at the time! We educated ourselves about the “travel world” and signed her up. She loved it, she thrived, she was seen during a game by a D3 college coach who literally pulled her off the field and begged her to come play for her in her junior year. We knew nothing.. we visited the school, loved the coach, they offered some nice academic money… and that is where she went. Fast forward several years later, my now 17-yo son basically grew up on a softball field watching his sister… and his love for baseball started at 3 years old. He BEGGED us to let him play travel… we said NO. We did not see the value at the age of 9. Everyone told us how “late” we were joining the travel world with our 14 year old daughter… but guess who got the scholarship and got recruited? We told our son he also had to wait until he was 14. He is now a junior in HS. In his sophomore year, he was seen by a D3 coach who told him he will wait for him and wants him to come play for him. Of course, that is too soon to make a commitment. Our son works his butt off… he is just as good, or better, than those kids that have been playing travel their whole lives. It is his passion… and we will feed that passion if he asks us, but it has to be within reason. Our next journey is to now get him recruited to the right college and team. His name is out there… coaches know who he is….that is the best we can do. The rest is up to him.


  14. Rudy
    March 6, 2019 @ 6:14 pm

    People can agree and disagree with this article and both are right. It all depends on the travel team you are playing for. They are not all the same. One program in my local town costs $1200 to play and the other was $150 plus tourney fees. Both provide more instruction for a player than the run of the mill dad who is coaching just to help out the local LL. My problem with Little League is that it has become to liberal. It is about being fair, and not caring if you win or lose. I teach my kids to compete, and travel ball does that for them as they learn. My boys play both travel ball and youth football so they are not sport specific. The repetition and instruction is good as long as a decent coach is helping them do it right. My only advice is, do what your kids want to do (don’t force it on them to play), and do research on the program your kid is going to be involved in.


    • TTom
      July 28, 2019 @ 6:34 pm

      Travel ball has destroyed our varsity baseball program. Our school district has a significant number of low income families. We have at each grade level a singular travel ball team consisting of 12 players from the class. These players are “the team” with high hopes of a state championship someday unfortunately by the junior/senior level we are lucky to have 6-7 of the original 12 playing and the majority of the 5-7 are no longer (if they ever were) the best athletes in the class. I have coached for 50 years in the community and am not certain baseball as a sport will survive in the community. It may come to a discussion of turning baseball over to the travel ball teams. I have been involved in baseball for 50 years from t-ball to high school baseball as well as legion ball and I am not certain we can maintain a viable program in the near future. 5/7 kids out 125 potential participants per age group at the 7-8 year level does not speak high for travel ball.


  15. Tyler
    March 8, 2019 @ 4:16 am

    I can understand your viewpoint,somewhat. But, that’s where it ends. Our kids play travel ball and it’s been great. Number 1, we wouldn’t play if the program didn’t align with our beliefs and expectations. In season sport takes precedence, no questions asked, end of story, take it or leave it, but it’s never came to that, bc The Program has the same beliefs.
    I don’t understand parents complaining about this. Either find a good travel ball program or don’t play, very simple.


  16. Daniel Neiswender
    March 8, 2019 @ 10:09 pm

    Great article. Can’t think of one point I disagree with. Only thing I didn’t see mentioned is the fact that a lot of this for the parents. It’s a clique/social hour/weekend for a lot parents. It is really quite funny to watch.


  17. George Groce
    March 8, 2019 @ 11:04 pm

    This up is right on the spot. Let the kids play what sport they want (baseball, basketball, football, ect. This will produce a well rounded and hopefully injury free young adult.


  18. Bob
    March 13, 2019 @ 6:56 pm

    totally agree. travel baseball is absolutely nuts and waste of precious family time. my experience was that it was a bunch of dads who teach bad mechanics and strongly favor their own kids. baseball does require repetition to become better but the extra experience can be obtained in a summer camp outside the control of helicopter parents. other sports should be played and enjoyed. let the kids be kids and have fun. keep the helicopter parents away from your kid. stay out of travel ball at least until the kids are close to or in high school. that’s when sports should be a serious commitment.


  19. Janet lin craft
    March 13, 2019 @ 9:42 pm

    Thank you from an athletic trainer


  20. Janet lin craft
    March 13, 2019 @ 9:42 pm

    Thank you from an athletic trainer.


  21. Frank Williams
    July 25, 2019 @ 1:51 pm

    Your an idiot !!!!
    Your probably a daddy ball Little League kinda guy whose kid got cut trying out for a travel ball team.


    • Joseph M
      November 30, 2019 @ 8:32 pm

      Funniest comment so far. The derp factor is strong in this one.


    • Anita
      August 6, 2020 @ 12:22 am

      Good on Frank. Where we live lots of kids make a travel team. Lately, it’s more about whose parents can pay those club fees.


  22. Azzhole
    September 17, 2019 @ 2:47 pm

    You are a moron Haha Did you ride the pine or something?


  23. Dan Nault
    September 23, 2019 @ 6:42 pm

    Less is more, played with Eric Young at Rutgers, he never played baseball until 9th grade, 5ft 10 , played in MLB for 20 years, you can throw all the money at it all you want but you can’t buy talent.


  24. Ron Booker
    October 15, 2019 @ 2:58 pm

    I like that you said that taking your kids to sports clubs can help them gain more confidence in themselves and the ability to interact with others. My wife and I have been talking about taking our kid to a sports club so that he can develop his skills. I’m going to look for a place where I can take my son to develop his skills.


  25. Evelio Vergara
    October 23, 2019 @ 9:19 pm

    Former Player, Coach HS, Club and LL for 20 years. With all due respect, the title of this articule is not right. There is good Travel Teams, and bad. There is good LL Coaches and bad. There is good HS Teams and bad. There is Private Baseball Coaches with Profesional background that can’t teach at all…The reality is more simple guys, If you want your kid to just have fun and be active and he has no inclination to pursue a career in Baseball just have him play Little League. Why would you pay for Piano lessons if your Son have no ear for music or he doesn’t like it? Now, if your son is showing some potential and is dreaming with Baseball, you should First pay for private lessons with a former player that can actually teach, and second do your research for a decent Travel Team with good Coaches with College or Pro experience, don’t chase Trophies..but good Coaches. It is not the old days, if you want your Son to play for his Varsity Team they need to play Club Ball, I see it every day..kids going straight to HS with never play Club and they struggle and ended up quitting because they can’t keep up with the other guys that have the fundamentals and are use to the regimen. The reality is that they won’t get the Instruction they need in LL period. All you have to do is first, do it for the right reasons, to help your kid fulfill his dreams, not for you to socialize or get rid of the kid for a couple of hours, not to brag about your 11 year old stud that already think is Major League Prospect…but to contribute with what you can to his future and second Don’t commit to a Team until you see what they teach and how they teach and at the end of the day if you feel your son is not getting better or the Coaches are yelling etc… look for a different Team, keep this in mind Your #1 Commitment is to your Son..some Travel Team Coaches like to twist that around. MONEY, The average out there is between to $250 to $300 per month including dues and tournaments, you gonna tell me you can afford it? but you can pay for him to have an Iphone and PS4…Get your Priorities straight that’s all. Good Luck everyone!


    • Joseph M
      November 30, 2019 @ 8:36 pm

      Travel ball is fine after they get into their teens. Before that age it’s nothing more than an ego trip for parents with misplaced priorities.


  26. Braxton Wiggs
    November 1, 2019 @ 6:20 pm

    This was mostly a very good article. However, one thing you fail to consider is the level of players these days. Rec ball when we were kids was a lot better. You could say that the proliferation of travel/advanced teams has hurt rec ball, and you would be absolutely correct. However, there is no putting the horse back in the barn. If your kid wants to play and is having fun, then let him play. If he wants to go back to rec ball only at some point, then do that.

    Another thing: when I was in little league it was a conglomeration of kids from many different schools. My best friends were at school, not on my little league baseball teams. However, with respect to my 10 year old son, most of his best friends are on his travel/advanced ball team. I’m a little envious that he is able to form those types of sports buddies early on, whereas I had to wait until high school and later on.

    Finally, I couldn’t agree more that the arm needs major time off. My son hasn’t played any summer ball (outside one little league all star season), and there definitely needs to be a 2 to 3 month period without baseball – especially taking time for the arm to rest.

    Thanks for your article, Aubrey!


  27. Stacy Blum
    November 17, 2019 @ 5:04 pm

    What all fail to forget is genetics is 90%+ of the overall equation. If you or your wife weren’t great athletes chances are your kid is along the same lines. There are exceptions but few. Spend all weekend playing games…..what a bunch of dreamers….


  28. Glenn Miles
    November 17, 2019 @ 5:06 pm

    I like to cover my nipples in tuna fish oil and hang out with my 3 rescue cats.


  29. Jordan
    November 26, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

    As a manager of both a travel team and a Little a league team, you literally have no idea what you’re talking about. I certainly advocate for Little League but what you are forgetting is travel ball is for a different type player. Travel ball is NOT year round. Travel ball is real baseball. Little league rules are fine until about age 10 then they should play real baseball. I have coached probably 1000 baseball games and every year my feelings get stronger. It is on the coaches to manage pitching and game play. This article is crazy!


    • Joseph M
      November 30, 2019 @ 8:41 pm

      Real baseball is played with 90 foot bases. No child is ready for “real” baseball. Biggest misnomer ever is when people call baseball a “child’s game”.


  30. Joseph M
    November 30, 2019 @ 8:17 pm

    My brothers and I loved baseball. It’s all we did in the 70s. But we never played more than the 18 official Little League games a year. The rest of the time we played whiffle ball, or tape ball, or 3 on 3 baseball on a made up field. Or we played pickle, or just catch. Even if baseball is your only sport, it shouldn’t always be organized. I’m so glad that travel ball didn’t exist when I was growing up. Otherwise I’m sure i would have convinced my dad to let me play and I would have burned out too. Instead, I played forever. Sometimes softball, sometimes whiffle ball with family and other times in beer leagues, until my arm fell off at age 45.


  31. Craig Johns
    November 30, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

    I don’t agree with everything here but some of the stuff is spot on.

    My wife and I have 2 sons playing division 1 college baseball. Great kids, well rounded and passionate about playing.

    My advise would be to guide your kiddos to fun activities with some structure.

    As they get older and have the capacity and capability to make more adult like decisions allow them to have a bigger part in the process.

    Our two sons are very different and we helped manage their lives to a certain point and now we get to set back and enjoy the fruits.

    It’s a roller coaster no matter how to handle it.

    Enjoy the ride.

    My input would be this:

    Let kids be kids

    Encourage athleticism

    Buy a kid a jump rope, a bicycle and grippers for their forearms.

    Let them run in the woods and swim in lakes, streams, the ocean and pools.

    Let them climb trees and get dirty

    Let them have FREE play with no parental supervision.

    Play multiple sports through 8th grade.

    If they play baseball, let them play middle school baseball. Enjoy the camaraderie and rivalries

    Teach middle school baseball players how to play team baseball and sharpen their baseball iq and play situational half speed baseball at workouts.

    In HS, join a travel team that enters the good showcases

    Spend as little time and money on recruiting camps as possible.

    If it’s free and your kiddo was invited then you should consider it.

    Take 2-3 months off from overhead throwing. So pitchers in baseball should not be quarterbacks in football.

    Kids need to listen to their arms… and bodies…

    Have fun and make friends

    Learn to compete and learn to be accountable and to work hard and play harder

    Have balance:
    Athletics / activities

    Craig Johns
    951-972-2906 call/ text


  32. Gary
    December 1, 2019 @ 4:44 pm

    Aubrey, you are 6’4″ 245 lb’s and a gifted athlete. Ypu didn’t need travel ball to hone ypur skills at a tpu ger age just tomake your high school team.

    95% of all coaches are taking a guy on the team based on sheer potential….and i doubt you had 45-60 kids trying out for your freshman ball team who were all very good athletes.

    A normal sized kid can’t just show up for freshman ball tryouts with only having played rec ball in the spring for 3-4 months having received coaching from dads who know nothing about the game.

    I’m seeing kids get cut from freshman ball tryouts who has the potential to probably go play D1 ball in college.

    Playing ball for 9-10 months of the year is probably necessary for most kids just to make theor freshman team.

    Can you imagine looking a 14 year old in the face after recommending he only play rec ball and then get cut because he hadn’t received the level of coaching needed to develop and refine his skills?

    Big giant guys like you have no clue the amount of bias coaches have against smaller guys just because they aren’t giants.

    Those shorter kids need to have 10 times the amount of skill than a 6′ freshman to overcome a coaches preconceptions that a giant kid will out perform the shorter kid. Thats the real sad part about youth sports….not that some kids want to play year round against other kids who are similar to them in skill.


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  34. Scott McGowan
    February 6, 2020 @ 6:59 pm

    I agree with most of why you are saying. I get frustrated with parents on year round baseball. I don’t mind the travel ball or select as some call it. As long as its local. Most parents don’t understand that D-1 has very limited scholarships. NAIA gives more than D1 and very seldom do they give a full ride. I think kids should play multiple sports. Plus parents will spend enough on travel to have paid for college. I’m trying not to get started on these guys who give so called ( private lessons). I’ve had parents tell me his trainer says he should be starting. Hold on a minute your paying him to say that. Would you really go back if he said your kid sucks. You think baseball is bad don’t look at AAU basketball. Thank you for the story


  35. Kim
    February 7, 2020 @ 5:27 pm

    Very interesting, my son plays baseball after only playing football since age 4. He started rec in 2018 and wanted to play more, so in 2019 we made the switch because he could play & practice more. We don’t play for the pay, I 100% plan on him receiving an academic scholarship. I know this is addressing a larger group, but I only see a harsh focus on baseball, although you used football images. I have personally seen and experience more of the NFL push on kids from weight training as early as 9 years old. TYFA, TYSA, etc.

    I can say keeping my son busy as we go deeper into the critical teen years is something that year-round sports helps with. A positive outlet, something to commit to as far as making good choices to stay in good standing with the team is never a bad thing, especially in a world of “everyone wins” mentality.

    Again, I understand you are probably trying to shine a light on the part that most people try to ignore, I just think there is a little more to be had and a true evaluation of all travel sports would resonate better. But this was definitely an interesting read.


  36. James
    February 8, 2020 @ 5:26 am

    You know who doesn’t play travel ball? The kids in the DR are not spending $1000s for their kid 8 year old to play baseball.


  37. Sam
    February 8, 2020 @ 7:37 pm

    Don’t lump all programs into this. I guess your in a state where teams are just taking cash from people and will have 2 or 3 per age group! That’s not how all programs are run. My program has 4 teams total. All my players are required to play a different sport and none of them are allowed baseball activities year round, even our Seniors who are getting looks. Keep an open mind and stop lumping your bad experiences into a SCAM alert.


  38. Mississippi Sixers 9u
    March 17, 2020 @ 4:29 am

    This is BY FAR one of the STUPIDEST articles I have EVER read. You are putting all travel teams in one box. Not all travel teams take your money. Some will rip you off and travel all the time even if they aren’t good but most teams know their place. Where I live most travel teams that aren’t very good might travel once or twice a year but they mostly play games in local tournaments. Only the good teams travel consistently, mostly because they have to go find good competition somewhere else. Also, rec ball is just a big joke now. It is for players that don’t care much to play and aren’t any good. Our team team is mostly made up of players that played on one of our local rec ball all star teams when they were six. We had a really good team and formed a travel team with the all star team the following season. We left rec ball because we were too good for it. Since then our team has dominated, winning the state tournament every year, winning a World Series last year and also finishing 5th in the nation last year. Our team plays baseball with passion, our players love the game and know how to play it the right way. We don’t have parents that are insane about it and worship baseball like you made out most travel parents to be. Also, travel ball is not as demanding as you make it out to be. Our team practices twice a week and plays about 2 tournaments per 3 weekends. You also can’t play year round unless year live near the coast where it is warm all of the time. Our team plays about 6 months out of they year. We only travel about a third of the time and we always ask the parents ahead of time if they can. As I said earlier, most travel teams KNOW THEIR PLACE. If a team isn’t good, most they time they will play locally. There are a few exceptions to this that I know of but the vast majority of teams are fair, not demanding, and cheap. 99% of the time teams that are always traveling consist of very talented players that take the game seriously, play with passion, and have parents that want to travel and understand how good their kids are. If you want to see first hand, look our team up on USSSA, and come see how we play the game and how travel baseball actually is.


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  84. Joel G. Mosier
    April 21, 2020 @ 1:39 pm

    Thank you. Though my son is all grown up with kids of his own, we didn’t buy into the travel ball racket when he was playing. But many of his friends did. And the farthest anyone got was college. Then they were done. Currently, I have a neighbor who has his sons playing ball year round. I, when I can, nicely tell him I didn’t do that with my boy and he did fine. I am not one to stick my nose in other people’s business nor one to tell a dad how to raise his kids. But I see the writing on the wall. Thanks. And by the way I am old enough to remember your career.


  85. john
    April 23, 2020 @ 2:24 am

    what happens


  86. Justice
    May 18, 2020 @ 6:20 am

    I found this while googling why little league sucks.

    I switched my son from our city league to little league this year. He’s six. They got together a team of 7 players… yes, 7… and our practice area is a patch of grass out in a park. They said we needed to do a fundraiser of $40/kid with the prize being a custom computer that only some computer person would want

    To top it off, they’re offering refunds minus $45 for kids who don’t want to play when the season starts in June… this is after we paid $65 and raised $40. All to get a super cheap uniform that cost less than $10.

    Worst of all is that we live in the California desert and summer will be 90-110 during games which is stupid for kids to play in. I see these older kids and their coaches and parents are so serious by 10 years old I almost don’t want my kid to play. He really just wants to play on a sandlot everyday


  87. C. Priore
    July 7, 2020 @ 7:00 am

    Im sorry this article is dumb. My kid loves baseball and doesn’t want to play other rec sports. Our community rec league is also a joke barely able to make 4 teams to play inter-league play. It’s the most boring baseball on the planet. Some ball players just want more excitement and competition.. they Want to be better and train year round. If that’s not for you or your child that is fine.. but don’t bash the kids who love it


  88. Rachel Tommasini Darbonne
    July 17, 2020 @ 5:37 am

    Yes! You have nailed it. Parents are literally ruining sports and learning/school as well (but that’s a whole separate story). This subject gets me so fired up since I am just entering it with my 9 year old. It literally makes my blood boil! It has taken the fun out of the experience of playing for fun and just being a kid. And I agree, it puts pressure on parents that have played at higher levels and know better to still question putting their kid on a travel team. My husband and I both played college level and are struggling with the why and the when is it appropriate. Stop the madness! Why can’t more parents unite and just stop! And why can’t everyone just play rec ball and start the travel nonsense at around 12-14 if they are so desperate to spend their life savings on getting their kid a scholarship…which, from what I hear, ends up being more than college would have cost if they would have just saved the $ instead. Please, please, start a movement! I hope you don’t mind me sharing this post!


  89. Priscilla
    July 23, 2020 @ 2:18 am

    There are dad’s out there coaching and ruining the game. Daddy Ball sux. Then all his friends’ sons Daddy Ball maximum sux even more. If a dad is coaching and his son and his friends’ sons on the team are not the absolute best players, RUN! Travel ball helps hghly motivated kids play with other highly motivated kids. I spent too much time.playing baseball with my son to watch him hate playing with kids who could not catch or throw. So travel ball was a good choice. The Daddy Ball teams are hard to avoid. Ugh!


  90. Gary
    August 10, 2020 @ 6:27 pm

    I totally agree with this article, I have a friend who’s son played travel ball, went to a very nice Catholic HS won 4 Championships, went to a D1 school — all to find out he wasn’t happy with the choices that was made for him (he just wanted to be a kid and enjoy his friends — but the parents had other success building plan) — the kid is lost now because of all the birthday parties and social get togethers he missed out on. Parents guide (instruct) your kids — don’t lead (dictate), to them.


  91. kevin nicholson
    September 15, 2020 @ 9:12 pm

    This is a really broad brush you are painting with. It is so easy to take the worst examples of travel teams and coaches and amplify them like they are the norm. Travel in our area comes in so many shapes and sizes. If you want purely developmental you can find it, if you want tournament competition but don’t want to travel more than 15 miles you can find it, if you want to play Little League in the Spring and travel in the fall you can find it and if you want to find a team of douchebags who want to steamroll teams so their parents feel great on Instagram you can find that as well. To assume that parents motivations are driven for college scholarships or because they think Billy will be a pro is pretty small minded as well. There are many of us parents who have zero aspirations of this being a long term thing but it being a pretty cool experience for now. It seems like both Little League and travel baseball both offer distinctly different opportunities for people. I know for our family we embrace both as well as soccer, flag football and basketball.


  92. Mark Brown
    November 2, 2020 @ 2:16 am

    I agree with everything you said. However, the issue for me is that in our area travel ball has killed Rec ball. There are so many travel teams that every kid who is halfway decent is playing travel. So playing Rec is a nightmare. It’s all about getting walked. There is no development or fun.

    My kid loves to play. We stay local but playing weekend tourneys is the only fun option for him.


  93. Lorenzo Bey
    November 17, 2020 @ 4:57 pm

    Thank you, been a tiger dad for far too long myself and am having second thoughts on how much effort (20 hours a week of training) we put into basketball at the age 12. We have to be patient and nurture their talents like you said and not always look for the immediate gratification of wins, home runs and three point shots (makes).

    I hear in high school all the baby ballers (kids too short but positioned by height) and daddy ballers go away.


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    Spot on and thank you. Dealing with this issue currently with a successful rec program that actively guards against this travel ball BS but are currently losing the battle that will result in our program going from 350 kids to less than 100 if it continues. A Tball coach for fks sakes wants to start a travel team. Have any of the naysayers ever wondered why the travel ball coaches don’t simply coach in the rec leagues and bring players with them? It’s money and ego and nothing more. You are born to run a 100 yard dash in under 10 seconds or you’re not. You are born with a 90+ fastball or you’re not. It really is as simple as that for the vast majority of kids.


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