Current Player Development Model
The Bad Stuff
Current model: Bad Stuff
Emphasizes winning vs. player development:
Travel ball coaches have different motivations for coaching, but the large majority of coaches will play the win-at-all-costs approach rather than put the player’s skill and character development first.
Travel Ball Baseball can get expensive quickly often several thousand dollars per season. Adding up personal equipment, uniforms, baseballs, fancy banners and equipment trailers, renting practice facilities, tournament fees, team insurance, gadgets and aides, travel expenses (food, gas, lodging), tournament spectator tickets, private instruction, paid coaches (most have volunteer dads as travel ball coach).
80%-90% of volunteer coaches have not been trained as coaches or teachers. Yes, the large majority of travel ball select coaches are self taught, go by what they remember when they were kids, watch Youtube videos searching for that ‘magic drill’ or just plain wing it.
Travel Ball Practice:
Coaches have 12 players so only a fraction of time is devoted to each kid. Hopefully your travel ball player will join a travel baseball team that engages in weekly practice sessions. Even then it is hard for the coaches to spend much time individually with one player at a time.
Games and practice provide too few opportunities to ‘touch the ball’. One of my biggest issues with youth baseball is the lack of touches kids get at their ballgames and practices.
Travel ball parents
Naturally get caught up in the hoopla and excitement of the ballgames. But, when you step back and analyze how many times your kids encountered the ball pre-game and during the game or during baseball practice it not enough (especially if the kid did not play Pitcher or catcher).
Play two tournaments per month (4 games per weekend). Plus, weeknight games and practice. Travel baseball families will invest an enormous wedge of time from their leisure activity. Out of town travel baseball tournaments add more time on the road.
Rec-Ball: (Little League, Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth, Pony, etc)
Very few ‘touches’ not many practices, lots of walks, winning-at-all-costs approach, high importance & focus of All-Stars, little if any regard to player development and/or prepping kids to play ball past age 12, very few coaches have been trained, overly intense parents coaching from the bleachers.
Wear & Tear
I do not think playing 4 or 5 games or more in a 2 day, 36 hour window is in the best interest of a baseball player’s performance.
How is any player going to maintain maximum focus, stay fully competitive, be physically at their performance peak playing this much baseball in this concentrated compacted period of time?
That is a lot to ask or expect from an athlete. Too much.