@2022NYC posted:

Not to over simplify the decision tree, my kid was fortunate to have interest from travel teams and he met with the coaches or org heads. He ended up picking a team that only promised him an opportunity to start and would advocate for him if he could demonstrate the skills to play at the appropriate collegiate level. He appreciated their honesty and I appreciated they told him he was accountable for his recruitment. The costs are somewhat high but I do not have time to sell raffles or other fund raising tchotchkes. I really did not want my kid to go the mercenary route to save me a few sheckles but it did weigh in on my mind more than 10 times.

Agreed.  Everybody has some interesting stories. Again, our experience in the NJ and PA travel ball scene was not that uncommon.

I think Heslel has enhanced his business model.  From my perspective, the true measure of a travel program will be "What percentage of players that you've placed at school xyz, stayed at school xyz for zzz number of years.

Note, there are some variables that are not in anybody's control, but there are some insights that a travel program will have about college baseball programs.

THIS IS GREAT CONVERSATION  !! i appreciate everyone's feedback. My 17 y/o, a 6'8" RHP, throwing in the low 90's got himself into a D1 school by himself. He played for 2 highly touted NJ programs who did absolutely nothing to promote him. Fortunately i had a couple contacts with an MLB team (scouts) who invited him to a showcase. He walked away as their #1 pitcher. 2 months later, the day before his 17th birthday, he had a tryout with their MLB team. He was 1 of only 3 that was recorded. All his stats taken, and offered another tryout after he turns 18. Since then, another West Coast MLB has contacted him. Yes, playing in Marietta. Ft. Myers. And Jupiter all help, but any team can sign up. It takes a great organization to develop and promote talent. AGAIN, THANKS FOR THE GREAT INPUT

@Baseball59 posted:

THIS IS GREAT CONVERSATION  !! i appreciate everyone's feedback. My 17 y/o, a 6'8" RHP, throwing in the low 90's got himself into a D1 school by himself. He played for 2 highly touted NJ programs who did absolutely nothing to promote him. Fortunately i had a couple contacts with an MLB team (scouts) who invited him to a showcase. He walked away as their #1 pitcher. 2 months later, the day before his 17th birthday, he had a tryout with their MLB team. He was 1 of only 3 that was recorded. All his stats taken, and offered another tryout after he turns 18. Since then, another West Coast MLB has contacted him. Yes, playing in Marietta. Ft. Myers. And Jupiter all help, but any team can sign up. It takes a great organization to develop and promote talent. AGAIN, THANKS FOR THE GREAT INPUT

I don't want to seem dismissive of the hard work your kid put in to get the metrics. But from a recruiting perspective I would think being 6'8" and throwing 90s make it easier to consider than the under 6 ft kid hovering mid to upper 80s.

 

Agreed, anyone above 90 is going to get more looks. anyone. Adding the 6'8" is a super bonus and makes recruiting even easier. That's awesome. Congrats!!  

To get back on topic of Best Travel Program, I would echo what others have said. It's the best team you can get on, play, and have a coaching staff with connections to have colleges coaches on the other end pick up the phone. A lot will say they can do that or show you pictures of them with Tim Corbin or whatever, but those that can help with the connections and evaluations at the next level is your best bet. You don't have to travel all over, if you can get in front of the right scouts, and coaches, at the right time.

For us, our Local (Austin) Travel Team (Regional travel to Dallas, Houston and occasional GA or AZ) could do just that. However, my son wanted to get out of Texas and since this team barely left the state, that made it difficult. We ended up taking weekends off to go attend camps (Duke/UNC) and landing on East Cobb Astros in the Fall as he wanted to go to Ft Meyers and Jupiter for both Fall WWBAs and our local team wasn't able to field a team to go.  HUGE gamechanger to get East, for him.  We're sticking with the East Cobb Astros this summer and fall. 

Get a good video and a good profile and shop around. We sent my son's baseball profile (I've posted about it here and shared example), with information, coach's contact, metrics, links to videos and tweet urls for awards, etc. to the top Teams in the country and because he was throwing 90 at the time, was invited to play with Team Elite and East Cobb. East Cobb has been phenomenal, better connections and conversations with coaches and scouts. Way quicker turn around and promotion. Again, it helps to throw 90-91 in Ft Meyers and 92 and a perfect game in Jupiter,  as a Junior, and that caused the phone to blow up, but he couldn't have done that if he couldn't have been there and played.

Know your range of play and go after it. Lots of choices to play at the next level, D1-3, Juco, NAIA, etc. All great experiences and prep. Having a coach or program that will realistically put you in touch with the appropriate programs, at the right time, is huge and that is what makes them the Best, for you.

 

While playing in a 14u tournament with a long break I stopped to watch part of a 10u Arsenal game. I chatted with a circle of six Arsenal dads. They believed every 10u player on that team was going to play D1 and turn pro someday. At that level Arsenal sells the dream. 

I became friends with an Arsenal dad in my son’s age group from all the times the teams competed. When our boys were playing against each other in 17u he told me there were only four holdovers from the 13u A team. Everyone else had been cut along the way. 

Thats a shame, but honestly it is no different than any college team or pro team. Only the best will play. Unfortunately, todays society has babied kids to the point that they think it is their RIGHT to play on elite teams. Why do you think coaches have tryouts ? They want the best for their respective teams/organizations. 

In the preteen years the promotion should be let’s learn how to play the game properly, learn to compete and see where we are when the kids reach puberty. Leave the dreaming to the kids. However, I do understand the avenue to dad’s wallet is paved through his delusions, err dreams for his kid. 

Last edited by RJM
@Baseball59 posted:

Thats a shame, but honestly it is no different than any college team or pro team. Only the best will play. Unfortunately, todays society has babied kids to the point that they think it is their RIGHT to play on elite teams. Why do you think coaches have tryouts ? They want the best for their respective teams/organizations. 

Actually, no  things might have changed, in 2010-12, the Arsenal had 3 or 4 team per age level, per money grab.

Age groups were based on April 30th cut off.

There top teams at each age group had what some people might call ringers, those players based on Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Outliers", due to when they were born (early in the age group), they would be bigger/stronger.  This was especially prevalent at the 10u - 13u age group.

Here was an example:

14u age group  (2010 )

A Team  - 75 % 9th graders, 25% 8th graders

B Team - 25% 9th graders, 75% 8th graders

C Team - sacrificial lambs  (had about 3 players that played college baseball)

D Team  - sacrificial lambs

85 % of their practices were indoors.

Difference between A and B was pitching, B Team had better athletes.

They made sure the groups didn't practice together.

Secondly, A team had a bunch of mercenaries, who only showed up to tournaments.

 In 2011, Arsenal changed their program to reflect Graduation class, this caused a lot of friction in the organization because the  2010 13u (8th grade studs), thought they were better than the 2010 14u (B Team 8th graders)

The Arsenal had 3 teams, and instead of them do true evaluation and create 2 very competitive teams, they kept them separate, had a off year based on their standards and wound up changing back to the age cutoff model in order to stroke certain egos.

One thing I find interesting. In the last three months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of NJ travel baseball organizations have been doing a ton of virtual/internet programming and promoting. Twitter, Twitch, Zoom, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Arsenal has 4 Instragram posts since April 1st. Before the pandemic they were good for that many in a day. 

Unless they are doing things privately online and not sharing anything publically with non-members, they have gone radio silent the last 2 months. 

One thing I noticed with non-national Arsenal now, before the pandemic, was their business model: Get/assemble a solid group of position players and some serviceable pitchers. But, then reach out to the best pitching prospects in the Tristate and have them come into the tournaments for free to showcase themselves and sell/build the Arsenal brand.

My son played with Arsenal for one season. It was a very strong team. They had at least 4 or 5 pitchers who were legit D1 prospects - and all of them played somewhere else and would just pop in for an Arsenal start or appearance in a tournament and then go back to their main team. I am convinced that JC would recruit them off Instragram and have them guest for Arsenal. Personally, it seemed brilliant and it worked. But I think it worked because the Arsenal have that "brand" name and it helps to lure the pitchers. Stalking and poaching on Instagram isn't going to work if your team name is The Bad News Bears and no one has ever heard of you.

I would guess that many 10u-14u top travel teams are made up of Malcom Gladwell outliers - those kids who have early birthdays (roughly half of our 13u team had turned 14 by July) and those kids early on the puberty curve. 

Current Arsenal 14's are split by grade (as of fall 2019) into two separate teams -- 2023's (9th grade) and 14u (mostly 8th with a few 9th). 

 

 

@Fan2024 posted:

I would guess that many 10u-14u top travel teams are made up of Malcom Gladwell outliers - those kids who have early birthdays (roughly half of our 13u team had turned 14 by July) and those kids early on the puberty curve. 

Current Arsenal 14's are split by grade (as of fall 2019) into two separate teams -- 2023's (9th grade) and 14u (mostly 8th with a few 9th). 

 

 

Way back in 2009 - 2011, the big issue was quality practice time, there was limited outdoor practices. 

We did 13 tournaments in 17 weeks, it was all about pitching and simple defense, but as you know the more complex defensive plays,  cutoff, rundowns, etc required extensive practice.

Shagging flys in the sun require practice, their focus was the diamond: pitchers, catcher, middle infield and center fielder.  Outfielders moving on every pitch is a habit and having a good feeling for the game.

Last edited by CollegebaseballInsights

At the end of my son's 15U summer, we got a message on our answering machine from someone saying they were from Arsenal, would our son be interested in playing for them next season (we are nowhere near NJ).  We had no clue what they were.  We figured, o.k., we'll do some research into this tomorrow.  The next day my father had a heart attack, we were at the hospital with him for 2 weeks, then life moved on, we never followed up, son stayed with his same organization.  Since I've learned more about Arsenal and how such teams work, I've wondered, did we miss a great opportunity?  or dodge a bullet?  We'll never know, which goes to show that with coronavirus or any other life event, you can't tell what kind of fork in the road it will prove to be.

At the end of my son's 15U summer, we got a message on our answering machine from someone saying they were from Arsenal, would our son be interested in playing for them next season (we are nowhere near NJ).  We had no clue what they were.  We figured, o.k., we'll do some research into this tomorrow.  The next day my father had a heart attack, we were at the hospital with him for 2 weeks, then life moved on, we never followed up, son stayed with his same organization.  Since I've learned more about Arsenal and how such teams work, I've wondered, did we miss a great opportunity?  or dodge a bullet?  We'll never know, which goes to show that with coronavirus or any other life event, you can't tell what kind of fork in the road it will prove to be.

Sounds like that was their National team - made up of kids around the country- which is totally separate from the NY/NJ/CT/PA more local Arsenal group. Two different guys. One does National and the other does local.

At the end of my son's 15U summer, we got a message on our answering machine from someone saying they were from Arsenal, would our son be interested in playing for them next season (we are nowhere near NJ).  We had no clue what they were.  We figured, o.k., we'll do some research into this tomorrow.  The next day my father had a heart attack, we were at the hospital with him for 2 weeks, then life moved on, we never followed up, son stayed with his same organization.  Since I've learned more about Arsenal and how such teams work, I've wondered, did we miss a great opportunity?  or dodge a bullet?  We'll never know, which goes to show that with coronavirus or any other life event, you can't tell what kind of fork in the road it will prove to be.

I would state that it depends on what team they were planning to place your son.  What school's did they connect on his behalf. You making those contacts to determine if there was real interest.

Again, my son played with them for 3 years, their college placement program was all talk, they didn't have what we might call a 7 step program.

Secondly, they didn't really make connections or guide players to mid majors, d2, etc  as for they didn't have the bandwidth.

Note,  a travel team's recruiting coordinator is a very important job, but the problem was it wasn't full-time. 

That person had to make his money via lessons, coaching, etc.

IMHO, it has gotten better, but to what extent, that is for the newbies to articulate.

Many programs are using social networking tools to make those connections.

NCSA

Field-Level

Sportsforce

Sportthread

or HS Baseball Website

to understand where some of the trap doors might be.

@Francis7 posted:

Sounds like that was their National team - made up of kids around the country- which is totally separate from the NY/NJ/CT/PA more local Arsenal group. Two different guys. One does National and the other does local.

Bob Barth (Joe's son) did a lot of expanding, back then they were trying to regionalize the program. The goal was to create a complex near Erial to rival DiamondNation and create a PG Northeast hub.

You may have been contacted by their Scout team coach - the Scout teams are  composed of kids from all over (not many tri-state kids), vs the "national" teams, which are really regional. 

Well, we'll never know, it's water under the bridge, a long time ago.  I only mentioned it because many people (like us) don't even know what these organizations are, much less that they have all these different levels of teams.  I only figured it out years later, after I started reading hsbbw.

The top teams in the country started grabbing up the top talent in the Arsenal's area. Canes, US Elite, Team Northeast, Citius (at the time) etc.

Arsenal still put out good teams with plenty of committed kids, but the 7-0 deep WWBA runs aren't really a thing anymore. Played for them and played against them, I think it went from having an Elite A and a strong B to having a strong A and average to weak B-D. That is what you need to do to subsidize the cost for the top guys. 

At one point we ran into them, it was Tri State Arsenal Kentucky. I think anybody can franchise the name out. Either way they're still good, but an invite to play for them years ago was a big deal, now there are other programs in NJ I would probably consider first. 

@PABaseball posted:

The top teams in the country started grabbing up the top talent in the Arsenal's area. Canes, US Elite, Team Northeast, Citius (at the time) etc.

Arsenal still put out good teams with plenty of committed kids, but the 7-0 deep WWBA runs aren't really a thing anymore. Played for them and played against them, I think it went from having an Elite A and a strong B to having a strong A and average to weak B-D. That is what you need to do to subsidize the cost for the top guys. 

At one point we ran into them, it was Tri State Arsenal Kentucky. I think anybody can franchise the name out. Either way they're still good, but an invite to play for them years ago was a big deal, now there are other programs in NJ I would probably consider first. 

Tri-state Arsenal Kentucky doesn't even sound correct. lol. 

Was the Tri-state Arsenal Kentucky post 2014?

I would state that it depends on what team they were planning to place your son.  What school's did they connect on his behalf. You making those contacts to determine if there was real interest.

Again, my son played with them for 3 years, their college placement program was all talk, they didn't have what we might call a 7 step program.

Secondly, they didn't really make connections or guide players to mid majors, d2, etc  as for they didn't have the bandwidth.

Note,  a travel team's recruiting coordinator is a very important job, but the problem was it wasn't full-time. 

That person had to make his money via lessons, coaching, etc.

IMHO, it has gotten better, but to what extent, that is for the newbies to articulate.

Many programs are using social networking tools to make those connections.

NCSA

Field-Level

Sportsforce

Sportthread

or HS Baseball Website

to understand where some of the trap doors might be.

That was our sense. If you were committed then Arsenal would promote that as if they made it happen. And there would be promises of "looks" and "exposure." And JC has everyone on his phone. But, the reality is that there was no plan or program for recruiting. You are going to have to do that on your own. I have since seen other organizations who have a plan, programs, software, contacts, and whose primary directive is getting kids recruited. Arsenal is no where near that now.

This is a BIG reason we chose US Elite. They are constantly prodding the players to build their player profiles, videos, gpa's, realistic college selections. State Directors and coaches promote these players religiously . So far, they are everything we had hoped for

@Baseball59 posted:

This is a BIG reason we chose US Elite. They are constantly prodding the players to build their player profiles, videos, gpa's, realistic college selections. State Directors and coaches promote these players religiously . So far, they are everything we had hoped for

How is the current shutdown impact your family?

We're very fortunate. We have a local field that has always been open. We go out and get our workouts in. US Elite has provided webinars, live interactive conference calls with D1, D3, D3, and JUCO  Coaches. Our kuds live it...real questions with real answers.  Alot of interactive workouts via BLAST, and alot of professional webinars for hitting, pitching, fielding, and nutrition. Spent alot of time putting our player profiles together, complete with videos. Have ALOT of colleges reaching out to ciaches and Directors.

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