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I do think baseball knowelege learned in travelball will be hard to overcome in H.S.

Knowledge of the game, theory of baseball, and instincts are all important to continue in the game. This topic has been skimmed here but only superficially. But travel ball has no lock on that information.

Equally or even more importantly is the mental side of the game and passion. These are critical beyond HS ball which is also merely a stepping stone. When you get to the college level, everyone is good with innate attributes and refined technique. The difference makers are mental.

Finally, if a player is fortunate enough to go on beyond college, the ability to hit effectively with wood is the next stumbling block.

The mental side of the game is the most neglected part of youth baseball. How many times have we seen kids having temper tantrums, crying, and ragging their team mates when the going got tough?

I have no issues with either rec or travel on the small diamond. It is not a factor in future success. But if a player shows promise on the full sized diamond he needs to play with and against the very best he can. It is no longer for fun but has become serious and only the serious will survive. The HS coach couldn't care less about what a player did on the small diamond and how many plastic trophies he has acquired. He probaly won't even read his resume' because he only cares about what the kid brings to eat at his table. The kid will either eat or get eaten and the coach doesn't care which it is. His pay will be the same.

Think about the big picture, a picture not achievable by most. Compared to a pro player all of these puppies suck as ball players. All that can be said is they are good for their age. Unfortunately, only the fittest survive. Refined technique, a history of pitching coaches and batting coaches, camps and travel ball will not cut it. An aspiring basketball player asked a pro player what was the most imortant thing he could do to make it to the pros. The response was this, "Pick you parents very carefully." Innate means born with which means genes.

I know this may be a bitter pill for the 5'8" father and 5'7" mother of an 11 year old stud playing a gazillion travel games per year. But the ride may well be nearly over. He may be in the twilight of a mediocre career. The game will tell him when it is over and the little boy in him will die a little when he clears out his locker for the last time.

Is it all important? Not unless a parent paying big bucks to travel has expectations of a return on his investment. It is the kid's baseball experience. Assist him with moving on when the ride ends and lay no guilt trips on him.

There is such a thing as a sports psychologist. Their biggest client base comes from kids finishing with the ride whose stud days are over. The kids feel guilty about failing the parental expectations and taking so much time and money from the family. How sad is that?

An after thought: I just went back and reread the original post. While I differ slightly from his observations it is worth a read again by those interested in the topic.
Last edited by Daque
All I can say is wow! That is one of the most depressing posts I have ever read. I wish I could blank my memory. Baseball is a great game. Kids of all sizes and abilities can find a place to play if they are willing to work for it. Size means next to nothing. That is why it is the greatest sport on the planet. 5 foot nothing kids can do very well indeed in HS as well as the pros. The size of your parents mean nothing. Success at youth level is a good thing. Success at anything is great for kids. It teaches many things to a child.

It is different from other sports because talent and skill comes in all sizes as opposed to football and basketball where size is everything.

Your focus on bad travel organizations is amazing. Sure, they are out there, but they go away when the parents figure out what is going on and the best survive. My son has never played for a team that acted like you say. We have played against a few like it, but never for them, they never last. The worst I have seen is in JR's. The lower the level of ball , the more Daddy ball and prima donna **** that goes on. High level does not allow that because the coaches kick them off. Life is too short for the truly good teams to put up with players like that.

Baseball is great. Never let anyone tell you you can't play. Kids will surprise you.

I want to emphasize again -- especially having been through this three separate times -- Daque could hardly be more correct from my viewpoint, and I love travel baseball. But I love it not for the training it provides, but for the fun while you are doing it.

There is no guarantee to any kid who plays travel ball even at the highest level. The kids I see from AZ who go off and play for Norcal, for instance, have fared no better and in most cases not as well the the kids who didn't. That is the most obvious case of overdoing things that I have seen here and for no real purpose (unless, as I said, it was just for the fun of it).

Daque is particularly correct when he says that travel ball at a young age is particularly irrelevant when it comes to development. I have lost track of the formerly dominant players who either never make their high school team or who sit more than they are in the lineup. I will take it a step further and say that for pitchers, they are better off not playing travel ball until after 13. I'd far rather be a great pitcher at 18 than at 12 or 13 or 14.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are various degrees of travel ball and there are various degrees of rec ball and not all are equal. In fact, what I would say it is largely what each player makes of it and what each player does on his own to get better.

Without inherent talent, it won't much matter. And great talent can and does easily overcome all the travel experience in the world.
I will take it a step further and say that for pitchers, they are better off not playing travel ball until after 13.

jemaz: I presume that Donghnutman posted but since I have him blocked I am unaware of that content. But you are right in your quoted statement above. I advise the parents of any kid asking me about small diamond travel to carefully limit his pitching so he doesn't get used up before it matters.

I have been accused of being both anti travel and anti rec depending on who is reading when I am neither as it relates to the small diamond. It just doesn't matter.

When I see the anger about my comments regarding travel I suspect that the poster has a lot invsted, both emotionally and financially, and expects a return on investment up the ladder. Any position contrary to their belief is threatening. Playing travel for fun is just fine assuming there is no overuse of your child as a pitcher or a catcher. I seldom see issues about protecting catchers but that is an issue for another day.

Inherent talent (innate attributes) trumps learned skills and also limits them. That is a scary thought to those trying to buy talent.
Simply put, travel ball will not make those without innate ability have the innate ability.

I agree there are those early bloomers that are studs in the early years who become average or below average by 15-17 years old.

That being said, the extra reps and potential better coaching can do the following:

1) help the player with less than stellar athleticism learn and aquire more sound fundamentals. They will also gain more baseball knowledge and instincts by pure game experience.

2) help the player with innate ability to bring their talent to a higher level quicker.

As one of the other posters mentioned, many times HS coaches don't have the time or need to take on projects. If they have two kids with equal innate ability - one refined, one unrefined -they will take the one that is already refined. The other kid may not ever get the opportunity to refine his skills and show the coach what he really has.
I can tell you I have never seen a rec ball player advance beyond recreational BB. I know many who play rec at SR level. I can also tell you I have never seen a serious BB player at 9-10 want to play rec ball.
My son at 10 was a very driven BB player. Rec BB was not even a possibility in his mind. I can't believe there is anyone who could even think about recd as an alternative.
I have known some great athletes who played rec BB and they were left in the dust. A few tried to make the local travel team at Bantam level and they were so far behind they got cut.
My son played fast ball from 5 to 8 and then asked to play real BB. One of the guys he looked up to who played both never made it past mosquito level. My son tried out for the travel team but was carded as a call up. He knew he needed to adjust to the game. Within 3 weeks he was called up permanently. At 9 you could clearly see the guys who stood out Non of the rec guys he played with advanced to travel ball. There were 11 teams with 13 players on each. His rec team was the best team by far. Some of his teammates were top athletes for their age but son made the travel team which was a AAA Ontario BB team. It wasn't expensive like the elite teams that came on the scene about 15 years ago. Approx $300. The rec team was coached by fathers and the travel team was coached by guys who had a minimum of level 2 coaching certification by the OBA. The rec guys had no certification at all. We were fortunate as we had a local MiLB team and the Jays that put on training camps for the serious ball players. The rec players had non of this. There was no dedication to the game but they had fun and some continue to play for fun.
When elite ball came on the scene about 15 years ago I remember stopping by to watch a game between the Canadian Thunderbirds and the Ontario Youth Team. I remember watching the TBird 3rd baseman (Scott Thorman) who became the 1st million dollar draftee from our area. That was 19U and it was unbelievable. If you think a kid can go play rec after seeing that you are kidding yourself.
It's funny you talk about the mental part of the game and it is the mental part that precludes playing low level BB. How can a talented kid settle for rec BB. I remember my son at 13 and earlier and he would never play rec ball as a choice. Its the mental part that makes it impossible for a great ball player to play rec.
I remember going to a pro tryout about 5 years ago. A rec pitcher I have known for several years was there. It was interesting because this kid was a stud rec guy who had tried out for my son's AAA travel team and was put on the roster 1 year. It soon became apparent that he was in over his head. Reduced playing time led to an open blow up with the coach. His grandfather screamed that this guy was the best player and was being a victim of daddy ball.. His parents and grandfather were the typical parents who thought this kid was the best pitcher/player on the team.
After throwing 2 pitches the scout asked for the next pitcher. Truely an embarassing moment. I think they got the message. It kind of reminds me of those guys on American Idol.
I can't even count the number of times I have seen rec guys fail to step up and make a good travel team. You can spot an untrained player a mile away. The way they throw, move their feet and on and on. Pitchers standing there when the ball is put in play not knowing t6heir assigmkents. Too goss to watch.
If Daques problem is with the cost and return on investment. I can see that point but I think that is a given. I watched a SR ball game yesterday which comprised of mostly college players. One parent told me he was spending $6000 a tyear for his son to play. I asked him if he was nuts when I found out who he was playing with. That is what I paid for all the years my son play before college. I do think that people who spend big dollars should be careful who they give their money to.

All I can tell you is that your experience in Canada and my experience here in AZ are very, very different. But that said, baseball is a very different game on a small field than it is on a big field. It is also very different when the physical maturity of each player is such a huge factor as it is up until high school and even beyond.

And, as I have said, I have had every travel experience imaginable with my three sons and they have been good. Yet, I still contend that nearly all that happens before age 13 (other than learning the fundamentals of the game) is irrelevant.

I believe you have personal experience with Ron Davis, the former pitcher for the Yankees and other organizations and father of Mets prospect Ike Davis. Much of what I am typing here is a result of what I have learned from Ron while Ike and my son played together on both rec teams and travel teams from approximately age 10 through high school. Ron has, likewise, been involved with my youngest son for much of the past seven years (my son is now 17).

There are many, many paths to success and hardly any of them are dependent on the level of competition at ages 8 through 12 or 13.

The last thing I will say is this: much of it depends on your definition of rec and travel and the level of talent in your area. There are lots of outstanding players in my neck of the woods who did not venture beyond rec until age 13 or beyond and a number of them have been drafted, many of them have substantial scholarships for baseball at Pac 10 schools and many more became stars in high school. So, it can and does happen.
Last edited by jemaz
Yes Ron was a P coach for the Niagara Stars of the now defunct Canadian pro BB league. Fergie Jenkins daughter was the GM of the team.
I do agree that things can be different in different areas. I make the assumption that there is a reasonable level of organization and opportunities to play. Given that you have those opportunities, rec ball is not an option. In fact it may ruin potential BB players. I can honestly say I have never seen a rec player here play beyond rec. So what I am saying is if the opportunity is there you play up at every chance you can within your budget.
I believe you also watched Marcel Champigne play at Arizona State. My son played against him for a few years. He played for the Canadian T Birds.
jemaz: I note that you have directed your post to BobbleheadDoll but he also is blocked so I cannot comment to his contribution to the discussion. Your observation about coaches taking refined players with innate ability as opposed to unrefined players with innate ability brings up a couple of issues. First, all players have some degree of innate qualities. It is a matter of degree. It would be a rare baseball team indeed that has all excellent innate quality players.

So then the issue faced by the HS coach becomes whether to take a less polished player with greater innate qualities or a highly polished player with lesser innate qualities. The question is how polished and the degree of the innate qualities.

I grant you than many, if not most, HS coaches live for the moment and may well take the more polished (glitzy) player with the mistaken notion that the greatness of their coaching abilities will make the difference. Generally they rue that decision. I have seen time after time where the coach keeps telling himself, and others, that any moment now this player will come out of his slump(s) and be the next coming. It doesn't happen and he cannot figure out why. These coaaches believe that you can improve innate ability in the same manner that you can improve learned skills.

Another issue is the inability of a HS coach to recognize a diamond in the rough causisng him to accept a flashy lesser quality player. Some of these kids survive a year in JV before the coach figures it out. These kids on the bubble boought themselves an additional year by accelerated skill refinement obtained in a number of scenarios.
Last edited by Daque
After spot reviewing some other threads on the this topic of rec players, and for travel players under the age of HS, bla bla bla....And Big diamond, small diamond, regulation diamond, regular diamond, bla bla bla....

Inate this and Inate that, geez! This sermon by DAQUE has been going back to at least june! HOLY COW!

I enjoyed putting in my 2 cents....But, have very little patience for this topic. What were we all thinking? Your right, Rec players once they get to the "regulation field" will be the starters on JV and Vars.....So what, they throw off their wrong foot, and the outfielders won't know what a drop step is, and we can implement the inning over after 6 runs scored, so pitchers can get the side retired without getting outs.

I showed your postings to a HS coach who just won the 4A state title this past spring......He still is laughing and rolling on the floor, and its been 30 minutes.......

I guess the inate talented rec player he is referencing is for the 1A and 2A schools?

Good Luck in your crusade for Rec players.......I'd rather be paying for top notch coaching and let all you daddy coaches promote the Rec player...

You have misrepresented what Daque has said. He has not said that rec or travel is better, What he has said is that what happens before players get on a big field and before they physically mature is largely irrelevant, and in that he is correct. What is important for young players is to learn the fundamentals of the game, and, frankly, they can do that better in practice under the guidance of a qualified coach than they can do it in any game, rec or travel.

Good players can be found everywhere and in any environment. Talent, properly cultivated, is the most important ingredient. And that is what Daque has said. I suspect you stopped reading a while ago.

The answer to your question is hard and easy. The quality of high school ball in Arizona is generally on the upswing, and this is due mostly to a dramatically increasing population more than to the increased amount of travel.

I am not even sure what constitutes travel anymore anyway. It used to be team that traveled to CA on a regular basis, which is not required today. There is more than enough competition in Arizona.

What I suspect you mean is the ability to go recruit players without geographic restriction (as is allowed in AABC -- Connie Mack, Mickey Mantle, etc) as opposed to the restrictions found in LL, Babe Ruth, American Legion etc.

All that said, it is not a straight-line progression. I have seen individual high school teams (Horizon, for instance, with Tim Alderson, Kevin Rhoderick, Tommy Joseph, etc and Brophy with half the current ASU starting lineup) that could beat any travel team I have encounterd. I have seen all star teams of the best players in the west stumble miserable in the Junior Olympics while some "rec" teams with a few key additions have finished in the top 5.

The 1993 Chaparral state championship team that featured Paul Konerko, another top three round draft choice and a whole lot of very successful college and professional players could pound any Arizona travel team you could put together today if you could magically transport them in time, and that was not close to the best Chaparral team.

The 1999 team with Matt Abram and Ryan Hubele and Brian Bannister and a bunch of other truly great Pac 10 and professional players undoubtedly would have won more often than not against the teams that featured Austin Yount, Ike Davis, Jason Jarvis, Charles Brewer, Adam Bailey and Kyle Williams (among others). The first was a rec-based team, the second, which included my middle son, was a team totally steeped in travel.

So, yes, the depth of talent in Arizona has improved but it has more to do with a population that has doubled than with the advent of travel baseball, which has destroyed as many players physically as it has enhanced. The best players today, however, are no better than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

As far as coaching goes, I have seen travel teams with some of the best coaches I have encountered and some who are worse than a disaster. But the best coaches I have ever seen below the college level (and maybe including the college level) are high school coaches like Jerry Dawson, Eric Kibler, Gaetano Giani, Scott Richardson and others of that ilk who simply do not care where a player came from as long as he can play. And, if they see talent, they are all very willing to develop that talent if required.

Obviously the best players will gravitate toward travel teams. But it really is not important below age 13 (at the advent of the bigger field) and that 13-year old season is sheer misery because of the transition that occurs, a transition that sends some of the former "stars" to the scrap heap and tends to greatly reward the smaller guys who suddenly grow.

You are giving too many of these travel guys (and I have been one of them as enthusiastic as any) too much credit. There are many, many effective ways to learn to play well.
Last edited by jemaz
Jemez I think what is confusion is what you refer to as rec ball.
We call it house league which means you play in house teams and now they have gone to interlock which is a form of local travel ball. They had to do this due to falling participation.
Real travel teams here can vary quite a bit. Our City AAA team traveled up to a few hundred miles max and cost about 3-4 hundred dollars. The elite teams travel to tournaments all over the USA and as I am told start at about $5000. That includes a year around program. They started year around to compete with the warm climate players and it was very successful. There are about 25-30 elite team here in Southern Ontario competing for players that travel up to a hundred miles to play for a team.
Our AAA city teams also competed for players but the best players went to the elite teams if they could pay the freight. Our provincial team never competed well against Western Canadian teams because their were fewer teams competing for players and I believe that was because they had to travel further to play for the few teams.
One the Ontario elite players were allowed to play for the youth team they began to dominate the western teams.
The make up of a region can really affect how a region fares in BB. I don't know about Arizona but here rec ball is a total waste of time except for fun. Nothing wrong with that but to subject a serious player to that is inhumane.
I totally agree with doing your due diligence. We refer to ourselves as tryout junkies. We hit them all were possible. I found that due to competition for players you got the teams best training.
My son played rec ball his first year of pitching at 10yo. This was due to a fight between the existing coach and a father who's son was cut on the rookie team. The father accused the coach of picking his son's friends. He conspired to have the coach quit. It worked and then he took over picking all his son's rec teammates. They went from winning 80% to 5%. He was fired about 1/3 of the way through the season. A new coach took over and my son was called up. The coach explained he couldn't play my son because the parents would pull their players. Son continued to play rec and an occasional inning here and there for the travel team. It was an amazing experience and I remember a couple games. One where my son was put in for an inning. Our team was being mercied and he struck out all 3 batters he faced. He was not put back in. My wife sat in the car disgusted and 2 parents didn't know she was there and were talking trash about my son. These people pretended to be friends to our face. The next year every player was gone and the one great player they had quit just before the coach was fired.
My son was on the second worst rec team and that is pretty bad. He pitched in the playoffs against his former allstar teammates and shut them down. They were by far the best team. Pitchers could only pitch 4 innings in rec and we were up by 13 runs when they took him out. We ended up losing.
What really bothered me was that the allstar coach was guilty of what he was accused of. He didn't pick my son in their draft and the coach that got him said he was the last play and he had to take him. He couldn't believe his luck when he saw him play. He confided he had no clue how good he was. O)obviously no one else did either.

I don't know if you had a chance to watch the state LL tournament, but the talent was impressive. And it was all rec ball. And 95 percent of those all stars (or more) will go onto Babe Ruth and various travel teams (more likely a combination of both). Later, in high school, if they are lucky (and as the number of teams contracts) they will play for JO teams, Don Mattingly teams and ultimately Connie Mack teams (which can be classified as rec in the purest sense of the word in that they do not travel to bunches of tournaments that in the end are meaningless).

So, you are clearly wrong when you say that 99 percent of players who play rec (for a long time) will never play high school ball. There would be no high school ball (at least in Arizona) if that were the case.

But more importantly, the argument here is not travel vs. rec. It is at what point is higher competition important. And the contention by me and Daque is that the level of competition does not much matter until the field gets bigger.

I am guessing you are dealing either with your oldest son or your first son to go this route. What I can tell you is that when it is all over, you will be surprised by how you think differently than compared to how you think now (whatever that is).

I will also tell you that high school ball -- both summer and in-season -- is very likely to be very different than what you are anticipating.
Last edited by jemaz

Every player on the Arrowhead team also was a rec player because that is what LL is. I just don't see how you can make such blanket statements. And how do you know where they became good? Probably they joined travel teams because they were already good, which is a manifestation of their talent and their (rec) coaches, some of whom later became travel coaches.

But, again, the argument is not travel vs. rec. It is when does it matter and it certainly is not under 13. I guarantee you that a number of those Arrowhead players will NOT play high school baseball, or play it very well.


I have had three sons play for the Arizona Firebirds, which have played three times in the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington and won it once.

The Firebirds are a bit of a mix. They don't travel a lot (certainly far less than was once the case) and nearly all of their players are Phoenix-based. In the purest sense of the word, they are a rec team, as was my Don Mattingly team a year ago that finished in the top four in the Don Mattingly World Series as was our 13u Babe Ruth team (especially) that won the Pacific SW regionals and advanced to the World Series in Jamestown (a Babe Ruth team is by definition a rec team). Three of the players off of that Babe Ruth team just got done playing in the Area Code games.

Again, the point is that there is no single way to get the job done and a universal dismissal of rec baseball (especially at the younger ages) just is not accurate everywhere.

Tim Alderson, the first-round pick of the Giants a few years ago, played in our Little League's Junior Division, as did Danny Coulombe, who pitched this past season at USC, as did my own son, who will be playing his college baseball at ASU.

Ryan Hubele, who was the catcher for the National Championship Texas Longhorns the last time they won, played in Little League's Big League division, as did Matt Abram, who started for two years at Arizona and played three years of pro baseball. I don't remember for sure, but Brian Bannister, now of the KC Royals might have been on that same Big League team.

The common thread for all these players was uncommon talent and outstanding coaching, including in what is classified as rec baseball.
Last edited by jemaz
Hey Jemaz, I didn't go anywhere. I am getting a kick out of the postings. Daque is stuck on stupid, and your his cheerleader (wrong sport)!

LL's big secret, please don't tell anyone Jemaz and Daque: The All-Stars are usually made up of over 90% of the players that play year-around/travel/club. Go watch your local league during the in season, it is painful to watch, trust me! The teams that go far in regionals and onto PA, usually are stacked with club players.....The teams with INATE ability and only a cpl of club players get eliminated in pool play in their own city.

Usually, the one or two players that aren't club players that make the roster, is either a talented athlete that has some skills, a coaches or board member;s son, or in several cases I personally know a parent sponsor's kid willing to fund alot of the expenses. For the most part the kids you see on TV now, are not the same kids that only pick up their gloves in March for LL tryout and put down their glove in June.

If both you guys think, what your watching now on ESPN is an actual representation of the typcial LL, and that is the standard level of INATE ABILITY, you definately don't know what your talking about and are soooooo out of touch with the current trends in youth baseball....Google some stats, most rec players (only play LL seasonally is my def), will not go on to play HS. The 11/12 U majors division has 12 players on a team. The breakdown, 3/4 can play (probably clubbers) another 3/4 are atheltic enough and can be succcesful due to the level of play overall in the league, but would sink in club world. Another 2/3 are there to try it out and enjoy being on a team. The other 2 are usally there because parents think its good for them to develop social skills and want that team picture for the family album as well as the 3" everyone gets a trophy to show grandpa that his grandson is not a spaz. And those are the kids that get 1AB, and 6 defensive outs.

Doughnut is exactly right with the Arrowhead team. Several years ago, when Chandler LL was at Williamsport, that team were players exclusively from (2) very well established/coached club teams (Blacksox and Express). Again there might have been 1 0r 2 non club players....

Daque, when was the last time you stepped onto a field in US? I suspect its been a while. You also might want to google what Dave Winfield stated a cpl of years ago, that due to the explosion of club baseball, he was working with RBI, an urban MLB outreach organization to help keep african american players on the same level for opportunities due to diminshing numbers of african americans in Professional baseball.....I have a feeling, the train left the station and your still thinking it hasn't arrived yet......

I honestly don't understand your point. Twice now I have responded to you -- and it is very clear if you read it -- that Daque is not posting against travel ball. He is saying that until the field becomes full sized, not much matters.

I agree with him. If you see it differently, so be it.

Good players will thrive. Players without the required talent will fade away. Sometimes (many times) players at the younger ages are good because they are oversized for the field.

Later that changes and guys who were overlooked (including many who did not make all stars) will overtake them. It happens frequently at Chaparral, which has a pretty good record of success. Many players rejected by younger travel teams work at it, improve and become more successful than the players included on the travel teams, including the stronger teams.

My point goes a bit further: Travel baseball does not guarantee success. A player can simply play rec leading up to high school and if he has the talent (and good fundamental instruction, which is not limited to travel baseball) still succeed. I see it all the time among players in the Babe Ruth leagues, including some of the stronger players currently in Arizona baseball.

The last thing I clearly don't understand is the apparent derision in your point of view. You can disagree without the personal insults (at least I hope you can). It is very telling on the one hand, but puzzling and offensive on the other.

By the way, you mention the Express. They had some great players, to be sure, but not all of them have had great success in high school and many have been superseded by the very type player that you are ready to overlook by definition.
Last edited by jemaz
Great post. Some kids get great coaching and instruction at the rec league level. Some do not. Some play travel baseball and get no coaching , some do. I have seen travel teams at the younger ages where someone goes out hand picks the best players at that age and just goes out and plays tourneys with basically no practice or instruction. They win because they are simply more talented than the other teams. I have also seen rec teams that have very good coaches who put their emphasis on player development and instruction. The talent is minimal but the reward in the long term is tremendous for the players.

The most important thing a young player can do is not play travel ball or rec ball etc etc. The most important thing they can do is get in a situation where they are taught sound basic fundementals of the game and learn as they are having fun playing the game. There are two things that can be taught that if taught wrong at a young age can set a player back bigtime. Throwing mechanics and hitting mechanics. There have been a ton of travel ball studs that were simply studs because they were bigger and stronger than everyone else for their age. There are and have been a ton of kids not big enough or strong enough at a young age to be stand out players. But as time goes along they develop into the better players.

Can travel baseball help develop a player? Yes under the right situations. Good coaching , good instruction , top competition etc etc. Can rec baseball do the same thing? Yes under the right situations. Good coaching , good instruction , even if the competition is not as strong.

Baseball is not a sprint its a marathon. Its not where you start out it is where you finish that counts. Travel baseball at the youth level is only as good as the people coaching and instructing the players. The same can be said for rec baseball. My big issue with youth baseball today is everyone is out to develop their son into the next big league phenom. For goodness sake just teach them the fundementals of the game and allow them to enjoy the game and let the rest take care of itself.
I agree with Daque and Jemaz. Innate ability or natural talent will prevail no matter where he plays as long as that talent is developed properly. It doesn't matter one bit where a 9-12 yo kid plays. A kid who plays rec BB for 5 years knows the game. What he doesn't know, that a travel player might know, can be learned in one season or less.

Many travel teams are more daddyball than a rec team could ever be, especially at LL age. Half the time it's more about daddy's ego that anything else. He starts a team with his buddies so their sons can play more.

My son will be a senior in HS next month. He didn't start playing travel until his 13 yo season. That year the core of the team were kids who played mainly travel ball at 9-12 yo. By the time they were playing 15U those players were not a major factor on the team. The more talented kids became the core, and these just happened to be kids who played mainly rec from 9-12. Alot, a real lot, changes between 13 and 16U baseball.

Developing the natural or innate ability is what is really important. If a kid has it and works at it, in the off season, he will have success against the best competition when it matters at 15-17 years old.

Does travel ball provide better competition than rec ball at younger ages? Yes.
Does it mean the travel player has a better future than the rec player? No. IMO.
The problem when someone has so much invested emotionally and financially in a belief, views counter to their own are very threatening. The fear then goes to anger and the anger goes to name calling and other cheap shots. The nice thing on this board is that I can, and have, placed three such abraisive posters on my ignore list. I suggest to them that they do the same with me since my posts cause them such angst.
Re: Chandler LL team from 2003

LL's are supposed to split charters every 20,000 of population. Chandler was such a fast growing area they got to a 60,000 base before LL noticed. That's a huge advantage. That program should have been three seperate LL's. Go figure Chandler didn't turn themselves in. It took other LL's to turn them in.

The Thousand Oaks team of 2004 was the same situation. It was known in 2002 the program was too large. It wasn't until 2005 when the league was broken up. I guess even at the district level people want one of their teams in the LLWS.
Every area is different. Mine has bad rec ball. Period. No coaching, daddyball, politics, kids pitch way more than travel in the short season, people play in it, but just because they want to go to Williamsport and most leave the league by age 11.

Travel practices 2-3 times a week, 9 months a year. Structured practices where they work individually and as a team with the kids. Two tournaments a month and most kids only pitch once a month.

Our HS coaches expect you to be ready to play from the first tryout or you do not make the team. Why would I do anything but travel? Why would I have my son anything but 100% ready to the best of his ability? It starts at an early age. Plenty of kids go by the wayside, but the best come into HS ready to go. My son will compete with a ton of talented kids who have worked their tails off to be the best they can be. The current varsity has at least 5 players that are college bound ball players or draft guys this year. They had 8 last year counting the 5 that are still in the lineup.

Rec only guys don't have a chance to make the team. They are not prepared skill wise, work ethic wise or experience wise. They will never get a chance to show what they can do because they will never make the team.
Other areas are different, of course, but that is my school.
There are always exceptions to the rule.
The rule is that in most areas travel ball is necessary from an early age. In most areas rec ball is far inferior to travel ball even though Daque wasn't specifically judging one against the other. He was indirectly.
The proviso is that you have to do your due diligence just like anything else. If you are in an area rec ball is instructional and as wonderful as jemaz says it is then play rec. After all rec is only a name. If you fill it with stud players you have a travel team that doesn't travel much.
Will someone please relay to Daque that I don't hate him. I do find it insulting that he thinks we can't see what is obvious.
The sooner a player starts to perfect his talent the more likely he will succeed. I just can't see a talented kid playing rec/house BB if there are good travel teams wet her they actually travel much or not. If there are lots of great travel teams in the area you don't have to leave the area. Lets call them Allstar teams like we do here. A team that has the best players.
I personally don't think it matters much until high school. Zack never has had the chance to play travel ball because honestly we didn't have the time or the money to make the commitment. Do I wish he could have? Only from the amount of games played aspect goes. He had a great rec ball coach-someone who we are very thankful for having in Zack's growing years.

I really think the work ethic of the kid outside of "team" will have a lot more to do with whether or not they make it at the HS level. There are kids on the high school team that always played travel ball that make errors and hit .200 (one of the hit a combined .087 between spring and summer ball). Zack had a rough first week or two with the pitching but ended up about .450 combined and no errors. But he/we practice or do something all the time. We went to the field yesterday and called maybe half a dozen or so kids to see if they wanted to come out-none did-they all had "other plans". Zack looked at me and said "noone on the team really loves baseball like I do".

It was a journey last year-since we didn't play "travel ball" the coaches didn't know us or Zack (we also live outside the school district). So when the season started he was hitting between 7th and 9th and although he started he was generally taken out in the 4th or 5th inning. By the time the year was up he was hitting 3rd-5th and never came out.
The belief of some here is that travel ball on the small diamond is somehow necessary for future development in the game and you will be irrevocably behind if you do not.

What I believe is that playing anywhere is important by about age 8 to 10 years of age. So long as the coach in those tender years does not screw the player up or destroy his love for the game all will turn out just fine.

Coming onto the full sized diamond the player should have proper throwing and batting technique reasonably well refined. He should understand the basics of the theory of baseball, team work, the mental side of the game (sadly lacking in most youth coaching), a good work ethic, be a self starter, and have passion for the game.

Bring me a player with the above and I can quickly help him learn the more esoteric nuances. (Note I did not say teach) If he has the innate qualities to go further and has holes here or there, these can be plugged as he moves forward.

Usually there is a year of full sized diamond play before HS tryouts and any gaps in technique or knowledge between rec and travel can easily be overcome in that year.

How long does it take a player, for example, to learn to pitch from the set after coming out of LL? 45 minutes should do it. But becoming proficient takes more time. One season is enough to level the field.

I think both travel and rec are great because they both offer the kids the opportunity to learn. There is no such thing as teaching; there is only learning. The best coaches offer players the opportunities to learn. More players advance in the game in spite of their coaches than because of them.

Would you pick a team for your son that is rec with a great coach or travel with a mediocre coach? Are your son's best interests better served playing 3 times a week and practicing 2 times a week or playing 5 times a week? Would you rather your son plays on the freshman team as a starter or sits a lot on the varsity team? Think about those questions because the way you answer defines you.
Last edited by Daque
Would you pick a team for your son that is rec with a great coach or travel with a mediocre coach?

Now Daque is qualifying his views, You go where you can develop. That is rarely rec ball if ever. Allstar teams generally have much better coaching and play better teams over a larger number of games.
My investment was minimal
Nice of Daque to be concerned with our wasting money on Allstar teams that travel. My son finished college and is no longer into BB.

Would you pick a team for your son that is rec with a great coach or travel with a mediocre coach? Are your son's best interests better served playing 3 times a week and practicing 2 times a week or playing 5 times a week? Would you rather your son plays on the freshman team as a starter or sits a lot on the varsity team? Think about those questions because the way you answer defines you.

Maybe I am an idiot but I will answer just for kicks and giggles.

Assuming pre high school on the first two questions:

Great coach and rec ball
Play 3 practice 2

For the last question Zack had the option. He chose to play.
Assuming you have a choice and can afford either. Would you choose a good coach on a rec team or a great coach on an Allstar team that travels.?
My son chose the Allstar team with great coaches and has a great college degree paid for in large by a BB and academic scholarship. He also pitched against MiLB and college players at 16yo because his team played great competition and was prepared at an Early age and of course had the famous innate ability. He made every team he tried out for including the Provincial team at 15. Played 18U district allstar at 15. Every player on that team played pro or college BB.
Organized well run and coached teams will get you to you max potential. The sooner you start the better off you will be. Ask any MLB coach. Making a HS team in the outback means nada to me. The only way a rec ball player makes a te am here is if there are not enough bodies to fill a roster. Never seen that happen but who knows.
In this day and age, it's very easy to see who the very best players are. Just check the college recruits at the higher levels and check the results of the draft.

Then check to see how the vast majority of those players got to that point. I think the results will answer many of the questions.

That said, there is good and bad in most everything.

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