Travel Baseball Should Focus on Player Development

When travel league schedules revolve around tournament play, winning inherently becomes the primary focus. Rarely do travel baseball teams have time to practice because of the number of scheduled games and the associated travel.

This is a glaring problem with travel baseball. Kids need a combination of practice and games to best facilitate athletic development.

Simply throwing young kids out on the field to play as many games as possible does not necessarily facilitate athletic development. Younger athletes need considerable practice time to develop their hitting and defensive skills in a pressure-free environment.

In its current state, travel baseball places 8-11 year olds in a setting where the pressure to win and perform takes precedent over the emotional and athletic development of the players themselves.

As a result, the travel baseball coaches act as if they were managing professional players. Yelling. Throwing equipment. Arguing with umpires. Sulking after losses.

To many parents it appears that these travel coaches know what they are doing with their custom-made dry-fit coaching shirts and Oakley Sunglasses resting on the brims of their fitted caps. In reality most of travel coaches possess the same amount of knowledge as your average house league coach. A majority of these coaches are parents who don’t know the first thing about teaching baseball or the social and emotional development of kids.

Rather than winning, the focus for youth baseball needs to be on development.

Athletic excellence and success cannot always be identified at an early age. If given the right opportunity to compete and develop their skills, inferior athletes will frequently blossom and attain success in later years. We’ve proved this time and time again with players we have worked with.