For travel baseball parents and players, some very hard decisions will have to be made in the coming weeks. All across youth baseball websites and social media, there will be posts announcing tryouts for 2017 teams. Kids will go to baseball fields all over the place to show off their skills for coaches with a clipboard and a stopwatch. Some may even have a radar gun.
If your kid can play, he will be courted by many coaches and teams. Some coaches will promise fancy uniforms, road trips and playing time. They will pump up your kid by telling him how he has a cannon and can mash the baseball. They will tell you how he should be a star pitcher and bat in the three-hole.
That’s all great to hear. But what do you and your son want to get out of this process? What are your goals? Why are you spending huge amounts of time and money with travel baseball?
Every parent should sit down with the coach ask how he can help their son become a better baseball player. Instead of clamoring over his positive attributes, focus on areas of needed improvement. The coach should be someone who can teach the game, not just fill out the lineup card.
Talk about the team. Where does your son fit in? This has as much to do with his personality as it does his baseball skills. Are the boys together off the field? Does the team do a lot of non-baseball activities? If you know someone who plays for the team, ask them about their experience.
Do your research. Ask questions. The bottom line is you want to find a place where your family will be happy and your son can become a better baseball player.