Many student athletes say: “My All Star Travel Team is going to be playing in the Holiday Wood Bat Classic in Peoria during the 4th of July Weekend. This is a great opportunity for exposure.”
FACT: There are only a select few tournaments for both baseball and softball where a vast number of college coaches will be in attendance.
In terms of the example above, you can be sure that college coaches will not be spending their 4th of July weekend away from their families on the recruiting trail.
FACT: Getting exposure through tournament play is only possible if college coaches know who you are prior to attending a particular tournament.
Just like showcases, most college coaches come to tournaments to evaluate players they already know. Thus, the chances of being discovered at an exposure tournament are slim, unless you play for a well known elite program, in which case many college coaches are already familiar with the caliber of players that compete for your particular team.
FACT: Travel baseball and softball is extremely watered down.
Playing for a Travel All Star Team does not necessarily mean that you are on a truly elite team, despite what the coaches of these programs may say.
FACT: The connection between travel baseball and the recruiting process is unclear.
Travel baseball was at one time only about player development. Then it later evolved into a contest between coaches to see who could win the most games and tournaments. More recently, several coaches and organizations realized that money could be made if they somehow tied college recruiting to travel baseball and softball, or at least made it appear that a connection between the two existed.
When choosing a travel team, find a coach and program that puts the needs of student athletes first.
Travel baseball and softball is first and foremost about development, not about winning tournaments or getting exposure. If you choose a program that is sincerely about athletic development, then the recruiting aspects will take care of themselves.