When should my child transition to travel ball?

I’ve recently been asked how to tell when the time is right to make the jump (from recreational softball) to travel ball.

My answer: it depends on several factors.

The first factor—is the family prepared to go to travel ball? If your family does a lot of activities with friends, or other family members, be prepared to say goodbye to those.

The casual travel ball team will usually play one-to-two tournaments a month with a “friendly” on the third weekend of the month. That leaves one weekend for practice, or a weekend off.

The full blown travel ball team has three-to-four tournaments a month, and one-to-two practices each week. Plus, there are usually fundraisers for the out-of-state trips.

For the families with several children, these time commitments can become a hurdle when meshing schedules together.

The second factor—is the player prepared to go to travel ball? Your daughter’s transition to travel ball depends on her maturity, and commitment to the sport.

Softball must be a true desire for travel ball student-athletes, or they will quickly become ex-travel ball players. Giving up outside activities almost every weekend can be tough for any young lady.

Here are four tips to identify if it’s time to transition to travel ball:

1. Your daughter is in the top 10 – 15 percent of her rec ball league. This is a little misleading because the strength and size of the leagues can vary, but—generally speaking—being one of the top league players is a good sign that she might be ready to transition.

2. Your child is bored with players her age, and she seeks playing with older, more skilled players.

3. She can “hold her own” while playing with older players.

4. She is willing to compete for playing time, and a position at a higher level.

What factors do you think affect the jump to travel ball?

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