Travel ball is all about the parents. There is nothing than a parent loves more than saying their kids play travel ball. Now that your ego is out of the way lets dissect what playing travel ball really mean.
How do you want to spend your weekends?
Do you want your kids to play one game and go home and do something else with their weekend? Or, do you want to be at the ball field at 7am and stay until 10:30pm (or later). That’s the worst case scenario, but sometimes it’s a two-day tournament and you have to repeat the early wake up the next day, sometimes just to go home after the first game.
How much do you want to pay?
Rec-ball is usually a flat fee for spring, summer, and fall season. Travel ball has a larger sign-up cost with commitment and per tournament fees. There is fundraising to help offset the costs of the per tournament fees. If you like to raise money or have deep pockets, then travel ball is a good option. Don’t forget your family will have a pay a fee at the gate if you don’t head coach, that will run you at least $7 per person.
What do you kids want to do?
Are your kids super competitive or do they just enjoy the playing game? There’s a balance of what you know is good for your kids and what they want to do. You have to let them learn on their own sometimes.
Do you like to hear parents nonstop bragging about their kids?
Before the first practice even begins parents are already setting the bar high for their kids. If they fall short of that expectation then venom is spewed towards the child in the form of correction. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s about 90% of the time.
I typically don’t yell at my kid’s games, but one time I had the honor of being the head coach and pitching to the 7 and 8-year-old kids but something got under my epidermis. Upon the start of the game, the opposing coach and I agreed that we would only let the kids take one base on missed plays. That was all well and good as we abide by the rules and my boys started racking up the runs on the scoreboard.
The other team kept running their kids and sneaking in a run here and there. I finally had enough when they kept doing it until they got within 2 runs on their bottom of the 6th at bat. We had 2 outs and they just ran no matter what. Kids overthrow the ball? Take as many bases as you can. Kids holding the ball? Keep running. Win at all costs!
It’s a frustrating part of the game for sure. Kids are learning the game, and what is the takeaway? Run and capitalize on others mistakes. This is all fine and dandy when the kids are 11-12 and they should be catching the ball. But kids who are more interested in playing in the dirt than knowing how to execute a force out run down, you’ve got to know you’re not teaching them the fundamentals by just running bases while kids are looking the other direction.
As a kid I don’t remember it being this way, I had plenty of fun playing baseball and I hope my kids do the same. Jerk Parents/Coaches are ruining the game.
Taking your children to a baseball game can be a memorable experience. Here’s how to make the most of it
Bring a tablet/smartphone
This way they can watch videos or play a video game and not the actual ballgame
Buy them all the food they ask for
Hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, cotton candy, funnel cakes, dippin’ dots, etc. This keeps them busy instead of watching the game.
Things like “First game”, “It’s my birthday” and waves them in front of players or coaches so you can collect as many signed baseballs as possible.
Pose them for shots
Take pictures with all the gear you’ve collected for them. Post them immediately on Instagram or Facebook with the false narrative that they are big fans of the game when they haven’t actually one inning.
Actually, watch the game
Here’s an idea, watch the game. Eat a stadium classic food and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the ballpark. No distractions just baseball.
Kids don’t want trophies, they just want after game snacks. This was confirmed once I saw a parent asking to take a picture of their kid after the baseball season ended. The parent wanted a pose with the trophy, but the kid held up his post-game hot dog instead. These participation trophies are to make the parents feel better about their kid not being good at their sport. Kids love to play the sport, they like the free snack after the game and just to get away from you for an hour or so.
Once a kid reaches a certain age the trophy needs to be earned. Trophies for kids who make the all star team is where it should begin and end. If you have a travel ball team then hand out awards for different catagories such as “best hitter” or “best defense”. Other than that, the after season party with free food should be enough.
It’s tempting to coach from the sidelines, but if you must, remember these helpful tips.
Tell your kid to hit the ball when they are up to bat
Also to swing at strikes
And don’t swing at balls
When they hit, tell them to run, ruN, rUN, RUN!
Tell them to run hard!
Tell your kid to throw the ball when they catch it.
If they are a pitcher, tell them to throw strikes.
Stand as close to your kid as the fences allow. You can also put your mouth between the steel cage diamonds and shout unimpeded. Have some prearranged after the game system of punishment if they didn’t measure up to your expectations? Let them know during the game that you are keeping track of all their mistakes.
Also, don’t do any of these things. Let the coaches coach and you keep your mouth shut unless you are simply cheering your kid on.