When the schedules of travel leagues focus on tournament play winning is the main goal. It is rare for these teams to have the time to practice due to the high volume of games and travel. This is a major issue in travel baseball as youngsters require a mixture of games and practice in order to help them develop their athletic skills. Throwing young children onto the playing fields to engage in the most games they can will not necessarily help their growth in athletics, as young athletes require a lot of practice to build their hitting and defensive abilities in a relaxed environment.
What traveling baseball does is placed young people between the ages of 8-11 in a setting created by adults where the competition to be successful and perform has precedence over the mental and athletic growth of the players.
One of the consequences of this situation is that coaches behave like they are managing professional athletes. The yelling and throwing equipment as well as the fight with umpires and crying after losing. It may seem that these coaches know the ropes by wearing custom-made dry-fit shirts for coaching and Oakley Sunglasses tucked into the caps’ brims however the reality is that the majority of travel coaches have the same amount of experience like your average home league coach. In reality the majority of players are instructed by parents who don’t understand what baseball is, or the emotional or social development of children. Many of these coach parents aren’t even able to properly supervise their own children!
Instead of winning, the emphasis for youth baseball should be on developing. In the end, when these children reach puberty, it’s not going to matter what team your son played on and how many championships they took home. Success and athletic excellence is not always evident from a young age And less skilled athletes are often able to develop and be successful in later years if given the chance to play and improve their abilities. Regular practice is an essential element of this growth.
While some may not agree with some of the claims in this account, know that my aim is to share in a straightforward and honest way what I have found to be the truth from my extensive experience working with baseball players of all ages. I do not have any hidden agendas. Children’s health is my main concern that is why I wrote this article.