The topic of travel baseball will come up in your baseball circle if it has not already. If you have been around youth baseball very long, you will soon hear from other baseball parents and baseball coaches the topic of travel ball. Parents will likely hear how much their child will improve once they switch over to travel ball and feel the pressure to provide their child with the best opportunities. Before you listen to the hype, hear from a college baseball coach about the reality of Travel Ball and if it is worth switching from recreational baseball. We spoke to Mike Correa, a baseball coach from Faulkner University, and here’s what he had to say about Travel Ball:
What do you think of Travel Ball?
I believe if run correctly, a Travel Ball organization can do great things for players. It allows them to meet new players and play in various tournaments in different parts of their region. Some of my best memories in my early baseball career were playing in tournaments with my Travel Ball organizations and the relationships I built with the other players that have lasted to this day.
Have you seen a difference in players that played Travel Ball?
For the most part, no. Some organizations pride themselves in player development and really help a kid improve their skills. While some organizations simply try to gather the best players in order to win tournaments. We’ve had players come through our program who never played travel ball due to the cost that are just as good if not better than the ones who did play travel ball.
Advantages of Travel Ball?
Along with meeting other players and creating great friendships, it allows them to play in front of a good amount of college coaches and sometimes professional scouts. Some travel teams play in large tournaments around the country which creates a huge opportunity to be seen by a large number of colleges that aren’t geographically close to where they live.
Some issues you have seen from Travel Ball?
Each tournament the team plays in charges a fee for each team to participate, and it’s up to the players (parents) to help pay that fee. But some organizations charge a ridiculous amount to play by selling the fact that they’ll get the best exposure playing for them versus other organizations. A lot of parents cannot afford certain Travel Ball organizations’ costs with the fees, travel expenses, jerseys, etc.
What percentage of players on your team played Travel Ball?
I would say just about all of our players at some point in their career have played on a Travel Ball team. Some have played for very well-known Travel Ball organizations and some have played for smaller local travel teams.
Is Travel Ball participation considered in recruitment or scholarship offers?
For our program, Travel Ball participation isn’t factored at all in our recruiting process. We just try to find the best players available, regardless of if they have played in a Travel Ball organization or not. While Travel Ball provides a lot of benefits and exposure for student-athletes, any baseball player has the capability to be just as skilled and receive the same consideration for scholarships. If Travel Ball is an affordable option, it does provide positive benefits, but it is not the only way a baseball player can succeed and make a college or professional team.