Developing a real love for the game. Learning how to lean into adversity. Not making things about “you”. Being able to take direction. Learning how to compete with confidence. Travel baseball can help young ballplayers develop these skills.
Is Travel Ball Worth It?
Short answer. Yes, if you want to become the elite-of-the elite.
Here’s the truth about your talented ballplayer/kid playing baseball at the highest level.
If I get in my car and travel to Georgia, Florida, California, Texas, or the Dominican Republic among other places around the world, walk to a tree and shake it - dozens of players with your kid's talent or better will come falling out.
Talent comes dime a dozen.
The benefits of travel baseball is almost essential if you aspire to have baseball be your early life's work.
Listed below are a few key principles that playing travel ball can teach a youth player as well as their parents.
In-game Experience (Repetitions)
What’s the key to getting better? Repetitions.
How do you collect repetitions? Playing as much baseball as possible.
Travel baseball clubs are one way to do this.
The other way is to simulate live at-bats in our web and IOS app 😉
The reality is, perfectionism is a trap.
Mechanics are important but what players need to learn at a young age is how to compete and develop an approach.
How do you do that?
Say it with me. Repetitions!
Developing Thick Skin
Taking instructions without internalizing constructive criticism is a non-negotiable.
We’ve all had that one coach who seems to always be riding our butt. The borderline micro-manager who yells on occasion but isn’t quite the "Johnny Testosterone Coach". (More on them down below)
They are firm, but offer quick heals.
Sometimes, the player feels singled out. They’re thinking “why are they always focused on what I’m doing wrong?”.
In many cases, it’s because they see something in you that you don’t, and they want you to achieve the vision they have for you, which is to your benefit. Period.
If it feels like a burden that your coach is riding your hide, imagine the coach who actually doesn’t care.
The coach who sees you as a Chess piece to get the "W" at all costs - even at the expense of your physical health or long-term development.
Those coaches can be quiet as a mouse. Their damage is under the surface.
Hopefully, with travel ball, you get aligned with a coach who can toe that line. Someone who’s able to push you and help you become something beyond what you’re capable of.
Do coaches have favorites? You bet your butt they do. Make sure you’re one of them.
You don’t have to be Johnny-Hustle or an All-American. Just a player who shows up to the field prepared to compete and to learn. When a coach is criticizing you, your job is to not take it personally.
Instead of internalizing the feedback, use it as motivation.
Prove them wrong if they underestimate you and prove them right when they see potential in you.
A big part of playing baseball is about building trust and rapport. A young player’s ability to build and establish bonds with teammates will help them in life in ways it's hard to measure.
Selflessness, support, and patience are soft skills that can be learned when competing in a group effort.
Building Confidence With Past Successes.
I’m not a firm believer in “fake it until you make it”.
You can’t lie to the subconscious, and this is where confidence comes from. Your underlying beliefs about yourself and your abilities dictate your level of self-belief.
What you need is proof.
Proof that you can beat the pitcher, and proof that you’re better than every player on the other team.
What is the proof? Past successes.
Young players build confidence by collecting a series of successful performances. Period.
This is why it’s so important to belong to a team where you can achieve playing time if playing at the next level is a priority.
Avoiding Nut Job Parents
Every team has at least one. The Mom or Dad who thinks their kid is the next Mike Trout.
The best way to deal with nut-job parents is just to smile and nod.
If playing at the next level is your goal, then this is a reminder that building relationships and bonding is for the player and not the parent.
Forgive The Johnny Testosterone Coach
Every player has experienced at least one Coach like this. The yeller/screamer who has to kick a bucket or dirt to get their point across.
When you’re dealing with a coach that’s creating a toxic environment, you have to see it as an opportunity to learn.
Playing baseball on a short leash is a challenge, but it’s also temporary. Most players usually don’t play with High-Heart-Beat coaches their entire career, and you’re no different.
This too shall pass.
As harsh as this type of coach can be, try to see them as a teacher. Usually, they have their own story, and if you knew the extent of it, you’d probably feel sorry for them.
Similar to the coach who is hard on you but wants the best from you, try not to internalize bad treatment, and compete through adversity.
It starts with your intention. What you focus on expands.
Burnout is real. If you’re not excited to show up to the field, it usually means a break is called for in the near future. For a lot of players, playing multiple sports is a great way to disconnect.
It also helps with learning how to compete in a different context, which is another bonus.
In all, Travel Baseball is about having fun and building memories that you can look back on with gratitude. These moments will set the tone for everything else you strive to take seriously.
Playing as many games to master the fundamentals is a prerequisite, but it can only happen if there’s joy.
I hope you got something out of this Travel Baseball Tips. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.
Are you currently playing Trave Baseball.If so, I'd love to hear your story or read about some things you're working on our dealing with. You can reach out to each at our contact page.
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