Hey Coach Benny,
Boy oh boy time flies. It seems like a minute ago that my son was just starting out in tee-ball. It wasn’t too long after that travel teams sought him out. Initially it was invigorating as a dad to think that our son was one of the better players at his age level. Heck, I’d imagine any dad who might read this has experienced similar.
Then a little time goes by and more and more travel teams reach out to see if your son might be interested in playing for them. It’s funny, because my son, and I’d imagine most other boys, rarely have any interest in jumping to another team. They’re having fun, making friends and learning how to play a game they are starting to love.
Ironically, helping a young player progress at the appropriate pace in travel-ball seems to be more of a dad-ego challenge than anything else. I’ve watched so many young players weary of the process, not the game. Jumping from team to team is not fun. And, in most cases, it sets a player back instead of advancing him.
You see, learning to work hard, earn your position and deal with some adversity are all part of getting better. That’s true in baseball, basketball, any other sport, school and life in general. Geez, I’m sure if I was a better writer that there’s a great “silver-spoon” analogy I could insert here.
Suffice to say that moving a ballplayer from team to team to get him more playing time, a better position in the batting order or time at the position dad thinks is his best tends to backfire.
Those teams who come after your kid are businesses. They make money by getting dads to bring their kids to their team. Hey, I’m not knocking anyone trying to a make a living. Though, I’d warn any parent, and especially dads, to consider the entire picture before you pull your kid from one team to the next. Ask yourself, what lesson am I really teaching my boy?
We were fortunate, we had a coach when our son was very young who shared a very valuable concept. He asked every parent one question: Do you want your son to be the best 9-year old baseball player of all time or do you want him to be the best player on his high school team?
Think about that. Two choices, and he didn’t mention college or pro ball. What he was preparing those who listened for was the temptations of the next nine-years. Coaches and programs who want to win at any cost compared to those who strive to help players get better every day.
Clearly every parent would choose for their child to get better every day, right? Sadly, it’s not always true. Getting better every day is a commitment to mind, body, education, diet, skills and ability. Your son’s coaches should also be wired that way.
Change will happen. Sometimes a team is not a fit and everyone knows it. When selecting a travel program, ask yourself some very important questions. Do the coaches care beyond what happens on the field. Look at their website, what do they promote? Before switching teams, watch them coach in a game or two. Do they act the way you want them to?
In 11-years of travel-ball our son has played for three programs. Each served him well and taught both our son, and dad too, valuable lessons. We chose TB SoCal Baseball because the coaches checked all the afore mentioned boxes. They are also absolutely the best in the country at representing each player with college scouts. No over promises and they always deliver.
Yes, we have been approached by numerous clubs. And, honestly, it does feed the daddy-ego. But in the end, we stayed with TB SoCal because they are genuine people and fantastic coaches of both baseball and reality. We have no regrets whatsoever. TB SoCal should be at the top of every parent’s wish list.
For those of you wondering why I have not mentioned either our son’s or family’s name, it’s simple. This message is not about who we are, but more so about choices. Don’t make a change because you hope your son will get better, make a change because you know he will be afforded a tremendous opportunity to improve himself. TB SoCal provides that opportunity better than any travel club we have observed.
Father of ballplayer, class of 2018.