Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself before Your Daughter Plays Travel Ball

 

  1. Do you really want your daughter to face extremely tough competition?  Some kids and parents crave competition and a higher level of play.  Others don’t.  In travel softball, you will likely face teams who will have no qualms about putting 15 to 20 runs on you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  It is a humbling experience that can help teams grow and be stronger.  It can also be devastating for those whose egos bruise easily.
  2. Are you ready to have your daughter to compete for her spot? Unless you or your friend are coaching the team, your daughter will likely have to earn her spot on the mound, in the lineup or any spot on the field, including the outfield.  Many coaches just keep it very simple.  They want to win.  And they’re going to (ideally) put players in the best spots that help the team win.  That could mean the bench for some players.  Yes, some coaches may get worn down after persistent begging, pleading, angry text messages, etc.  But she’ll have to compete for her spot on better teams.
  3. Are you ready to put over 20,000 miles on my car per year? They don’t call it “TRAVEL” Ball for nothing.  That lease for 12,000 miles/year just isn’t going to cut it.   You may have to travel further for practices, ‘friendlies’, batting cages, fitness workouts and, of course, tournaments which can cross many state lines.
  4.  Are you ready to spend $3,000 to $10,000 on dues, tournaments, hotels, meals, socks, jerseys, cleats, bats, bows, gloves, etc in a year?  The $200 you spent on a season of recreational softball will merely pay for one month of dues.  Depending on what club you join, it may be over $200 a month.  Depending on the level of your team, you may travel all over the country playing softball tournaments.  While that may sound really cool, the cool factor stops when you get your credit card bill.  Then you can add up all the expenses of flights, airport meals, trips to Starbucks, room service and the list goes on.  You club team may require you to buy specials socks for cancer awareness month or require you to pay a penalty for tardiness.  It all adds up.
  5. Are you ready to fundraise for the team to try and offset those costs?  Get ready to start trying to raise money for the team to pay for some of the travel, meals and other items that come with running a team.  You may find yourself hosting several teams on the weekend, requiring you to work the snack bar, drag the fields and take out the trash.  You may even start spamming family members and friends with emails begging for money.
  6. Are you willing to have your daughter give up all other sports for softball?  Your daughter may have played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball in the spring.  You can kiss that goodbye with most travel ball teams.  Between travel ball, school, homework, other family obligations and life in general, there may not enough time in the week or energy in your kid’s body to handle another sport.
  7. Are you ready to spend a lot of time with people who are absolute strangers?  While Rec Softball allowed you to be on the same team with a neighbor or your daughter’s childhood friend, this may not be the case in travel ball.  She may join a team where she does not know a single person.  She and you will be spending lots of time with her teammates and parents.
  8. Are you ready to give up your weekends?  Maybe you liked Sunday brunch with your friends and family.  Gardening can be incredibly satisfying.   College and NFL games are fun to watch on weekends.  Maybe you can just watch the highlights on ESPN after you get home.
  9. Are you ready to join legions of other parents who obsess about their kids playing in college?  Maybe that’s not the goal.  Maybe you just want her to learn and compete at the next level.  But there will be many parents who are laser focused on getting their kid to college on a softball scholarship.  They might make you and your daughter obsess about it too.
  10. Are you ready to give your daughter what could be the greatest experience of her life, playing the sport she loves, making new lifelong friends and learning life lessons along the way?  Yes, it can be amazing.
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