3and2Fastball posted:RJM posted:
First, I'm defining travel as high level competition, not community based. I'm also discussing starting from the high school level and college exposure.
Is travel ball a necessity? No. Is it the advised path? It depends on what a player is looking for in his future for baseball. I don't believe a D3 prospect has to play travel. He needs to attend the appropriate showcases or camps for exposure.
A D1 and D2 prospect is going to get better exposure through playing travel.
This is a question I have thought about a lot, and I think RJM sums up my thoughts very succinctly here.
Travel Ball can be very very expensive. And it seems like everyone and their Grandma is starting a Travel Program these days. A vast majority of these teams are filled with future D3 talent and they play other teams filled with future D3 talent, and the programs cost $2500+ plus gas & hotels etc. if not more
Travel Ball can be fun, no doubt. Staying in hotels with teammates, fancy uniforms, playing tournaments etc. If money is no object, then the "fun" aspect of Travel Ball might be worth it regardless. To me it is only worth the expense if you are playing on one of the top travel teams that features mostly D1 talent and plays against mostly D1 talent.
For the rising Freshman or rising Sophomore, if you are not good enough to make a top team of future D1 talent, then the $$$ you would have spent on a D3 level Travel Team would be much better spent on training to help you have a better chance of making a Top Team at tryouts a year later. Focus on your weaknesses that prevented you from being selected for a top team whether that be Speed & Agility training, strength training, hitting, pitching etc. You will have money left over to spend on an academic tutor or two. Great grades and good Baseball skills can get you noticed at a Showcase such as Headfirst much more than good grades and great Baseball skills at a local D3 Travel Ball Tournament.
I wouldn't advise taking a summer off if you love the game. Play in a local summer league, play Legion Ball, go to some college camps, go to a Showcase or three and do the training, all for the same cost of playing 2 months worth of local/regional tournaments and weekly winter practices with a lower level team. You'll be in a better position to compete for a spot on a higher level team a year later....
If you get to your rising Junior year and especially rising Senior summer and the game is continuing to tell you that you just are not a D1 talent, well that is different, then play for a 17U team that plays more D3 level tournaments, but earlier on in High School I think it can be a waste of money playing for lower level Travel teams
Just my 2 cents
After having gone through the process over the last 3-4 years- son is now off to his summer before entering freshman year- I've had a few parents of some younger players ask for my advice on this topic, and the whole recruiting process in general. I struggle a bit with the travel ball scene. obviously, there are many options, and some are better than others, but the statement above got me thinking. Are there really any top travel teams that feature mostly D1 level talent that truly "play mostly against D1 talent". Obviously there are a handful of the very top travel teams that have mostly D1 talent, but when they travel do they really play against teams of their same caliber a majority of the time? It seems that the travel ball circuit has become so popular, and thus a bit watered down from the talent perspective, that these top level teams may be playing inferior talent a majority of the time? I don't know, looking for perspective here. If I am correct, is it truly worth the time and expense to play for one of the elite teams?