Youth travel baseball gives younger kids, who are getting too old for Little League but who are still too young for school travel teams, a chance to start playing against more and more people. Rather than stay local and play teams within one county or a group of adjacent counties, these travel teams go to other parts of the state or even out of state. This enlarges the pool of people and thus the range of skills that these kids can play against. It also gives the kids and their families a taste of what traveling for a sport would be like. If your child is interested in trying youth travel baseball, you need to be very aware of where your kids go — and whether being on the team will mean actually getting to play.
Does the Team Stay In-State or Travel Across State Lines?
First, some youth travel teams stay in the state, some travel to nearby states, and others go where the games are, which could be farther away. Be sure you understand where your child may go, as longer trips mean more time away from home. For example, a team in Arizona might stay in the state, but it could also travel to California or New Mexico for games. For someone in their mid-teens, that might not be so difficult. But for a 12-year-old, say, who has never been away from home before, a trip to a game a few states away might be stressful.
Do All Players Get to Play, or Do Some Remain Perpetually Benched?
Some players will be better than others; that's natural. But how does the team treat players who aren't that good yet? Are they perpetually sidelined and not allowed to play? Are they sidelined only until they reach certain milestones in practice? Or does everyone get a chance to try at least once in each game? A good team will want kids to get experience in an actual game.
How Do the Coaches Treat Kids Who Could Use More Practice?
For those kids who aren't yet ready to play or whose skills have somehow not been up to speed during the season even if their tryouts were great, what do the coaches do? Do they understand family issues or anxiety and work with them, or do they send the kids home? These teams aren't going to take everyone, of course, so it's a good sign if your kid is accepted into the team. But if your child somehow doesn't play as well when actually playing, you need to know how the coaches will approach the situation.
Youth travel baseball in Arizona should be fun but also be a good skill-building and experience-building event. You need to find a team where your child will thrive; use the above questions to help you find the right team for them.
Reach out to an organization like USA Prime Arizona to learn more.