Pro’s and Con’s of Travel Ball and Little League Ball By Coach Tim Wampler
Playing in both Little League and travel ball can be a great experience for a player. On the one hand, it’s great to have the opportunity to play in a competitive environment and learn important skills. On the other hand, playing in both leagues can be very demanding and it might be difficult to do both along with school homework. Both could have practices and games at the same time!!
Little League Pros
- Little league is a great place to start playing the game of softball, especially for a player that is just beginning to play the game and still learning the basic fundamentals.
- Little league is also a great community experience playing with other players from your school and community gives you an opportunity to build lifelong friends and talk a little smack around the lunchroom.
- Most Little leagues (Babe Ruth) have a mandatory playing time for every player so if you’re just developing your skill this is a great place to get that much-needed time on the field.
- Little League has the All-Star Season which is a wonderful experience with travel that can create forever memories.
- Little League is Inexpensive compared to travel ball and the Parades and Snack Bars are the BEST!!!
Little League Con’s
- The Quality of Coaching is generally not as good as travel ball.
- Limited practice time, most leagues only have room for one practice a week and many times teams will play games that have had no to very few practices.
- Competition and skill level are usually much less than travel ball, especially pitching. Facing bad pitching and playing a game that is long and filled with errors and baserunning mistakes not only takes a long time but can create bad habits such as chasing slow or wild pitches.
- The season is very short usually 2 months, and practices and games are limited.
- Rules are not designed for competition but for recreation.
Pro’s of Travel Softball
- The level of team building and camaraderie in travel softball is unmatchable. This is because your daughter will spend a ton of time with her teammates during practices, games, traveling, and even hotel stays. Your daughter will learn some key social skills as well as potentially make life-long friends!
- Travel Softball can have the high-quality coaches many that have been dedicated to the organization for many years. Normal Practice time is usually 3 times a week.
- Travel Softball competition can be extremely high sometimes playing against some of the best players in the country.
- Travel ball games especially showcases give players an opportunity to be seen by college coaches who can give them the scholarship to further their education.
- Many travel teams practice 9 to 10 months out of the year and also incorporated strength, speed, and agility classes to help the athletes get stronger and more explosive.
- Travel softball not only improves social skills but also emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Playing any sport is a means of balancing humility and confidence. Players experience moments of beaming self-pride along with more embarrassing moments. During this experience, they will learn a lot about themselves, learn how to handle stress, make sacrifices for the good of their team, and overall gain some serious life experience.
Travel Ball Con’s
- One of the biggest drawbacks of travel softball is the hefty price tag. The price of paying for a year of travel softball could be anywhere from $500 to $5,000. This price includes dues, uniform(s), and some pieces of equipment (if they are provided, which happens most times). However, this price may not include some pretty expensive items, like catcher’s gear, face mask, gloves, and bats which can run about an additional $1500.00
- Playing travel softball requires major sacrifices, including your time. There are varying amounts of practices per week, tournaments and games almost every weekend, a lot of traveling to both practices and games, and even time needed for private lessons can interfere with family vacations and impact other children in the family.
- Travel expenses for tournaments can run in the thousands with gas, hotel, food, and possibly airfare.
- Competition is stiff and sometimes cutthroat; you may find yourself with limited playing time cause many are playing for the future possibility of playing in college.
- Travel softball and the extensive amount of practice and playing time can lead to many injuries some career-ending.
- Lastly, please do your homework when choosing a travel team. Once you have made that commitment it’s not easy to change organization till the end of the year if you’re not happy with the coaches, players, parents, or playing time.