Travel baseball is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences any baseball player will have during their career. The memories and experiences of traveling to different towns and states will last them forever.
What are some of the important steps needed to start a travel baseball team? When should you begin your planning? How do you choose your team? How can you afford to pay for all of the expenses?
These are all important questions that we will address in this article today. As a former coach of traveling baseball teams, I know the importance of building a team, developing a sense of community, and playing with pride as they represent their hometown. Even as a former player, some of my fondest memories of baseball were when I played on a travel baseball team.
It is a great experience for the kids, parents, and the coaches. You really get to develop a lot of friendships along the way because of how much time you spend together on a travel team. There really is no experience quite like travel baseball. Let’s get the ball rolling on what you can do to start your own team.
Steps To Building A Travel Team
1. Determine The Age Bracket
When you sign up a team for a travel baseball team, you will be asked to register them in a particular age bracket. If you are coaching a 10 and under team, you will want to look for tournaments that are 10u.
2. Determine The Number Of Players On Your Team
Travel baseball can be a little tricky because of people who may schedule summer vacations during weeks or weekends that you have games. You want to make sure that you have enough players to fill a team, but not too many players that many kids have to sit, which could upset parents who paid for them to play.
The ideal number of committed players would be 12. I highly suggest that you don’t go above 15 as it will be a nightmare trying to juggle playing time for all of those kids.
3. Determine The Cost For Each Kid To Pay
Each tournament that you enter will have a price you need to pay to enter. Go through the web to find baseball tournaments to register your team for. If you do a Google Search with specifics about what you are looking for, you will be able to find plenty of tournaments. You will want to register well in advance, probably up to 6 months in advance, because they will fill up fast. You can also check out https://www.usssa.com/baseball for a list of tournaments as well.
The second financial factor that you will have to include in the price is the cost of the uniforms. Check out local sporting companies that supply uniforms or check out https://www.boombah.com/us/uniforms/baseball.html to find some great uniform ideas.
The third financial factor you will need to consider is equipment. Most kids today have their own equipment, but if you will need to purchase catcher’s equipment, team bags, helmets, or baseballs, you will have to add that to your price. You may also have to pay to rent a field or batting cages. Increase your final number by 10-20% to cover any unforeseen expenses.
The cost can add up quickly, so you want to make sure that you are giving potential players a figure that they will be able to afford. The more tournaments that you enter, the higher the price will be. Many parents may be ok with this because they want their child to play as much baseball as possible.
4. Host A Tryout
If you have a team in mind, you can certainly ask kids to join your team. If not, you will need to host a tryout to select a team. Advertise for tryouts at local youth leagues and baseball facilities. Determine your coaching staff that will help you out, secure a field, and select a tryout date(s).
Write up a plan for the tryout and research some plans ahead of time that you could use such as Baseball Excellence Tryouts or 14 Tips for Hosting a Baseball Tryout.
5. Host A Team Meeting With Parents
One of the most crucial steps you can take in this baseball process is to be upfront and honest with both the kids and the parents. Develop a list of expectations that you will have for the team. Discuss your coaching philosophy so there will be no confusion on playing time. After the meeting, have parents and kids sign an acknowledgment of the expectations in case you run into any trouble later in the season.
6. Develop Team Name And Practice Schedule
Once you have informed the players that they have made the team, you will want to create a team name, begin collecting money from the parents and outline a practice schedule. You may decide on setting up indoor batting cage time during the winter or, depending on the weather, setting up field practice days. Keep it consistent. Parents are more likely to plan their days around the baseball schedule.
Quick Reminder Checklist
The initial starting of a traveling baseball team can be a bit overwhelming. Once you have developed a team and a rapport with the parents, the process, moving forward, will be much easier. Here is a quick checklist to remind you of the steps you need to take:
1. Age Bracket
2. Number of Players
- Tournament Entry Fees
- Uniform Costs
- Equipment Costs
- Field/Facility Costs
- Unforeseen Expenses
4. Tryout Date
- Tryout Agenda
- Coaching Staff
5. Team Meeting Date/Location
- Team Name
- Cost Breakdown
- Practice Schedule
I hope that this step-by-step explanation of starting a travel baseball team was helpful. It can be a little bit daunting at first, but there are plenty of resources on the Internet that you can use to help get you started. But, everything mentioned above will have you covered for the initial set up of a team.
You will want to plan 6-12 months in advance of the season. This will allow you plenty of time to iron out any potential issues that could arise. It is also difficult to enter tournaments at the last minute.
Having the opportunity to experience a travel baseball league will be one that no one will ever forget. The hard work of setting everything up in advance will be worth it when you see the joy on the faces of all the baseball players and parents.
Please feel free to share this article or leave any comments that you may have if you need any further clarification on the things mentioned above. The time and energy you put into building a travel baseball team will be well worth the effort. I am happy to answer any questions you may have as you start your travel baseball coaching journey! Enjoy the experience!