“Making it” in baseball is a whole lot harder than it used to be. When Hall-of-Fame baseball legends were kids, all they had to do was be bigger, stronger, and more talented than the rest of the kids they were playing with at the park or sandlot, but now getting to the higher levels of the sport requires opportunity, exposure, and whole lot of extra practice. The Wheatland Ducks travel baseball team is a way for talented young baseball players to increase their opportunities in all three of those areas.
Of course, starting travel baseball is a huge commitment, both for the players starting the program and their families, so consider the following a sort of “cheat sheet” that spells out some of the most important aspects of this endeavor. It can be incredibly rewarding to see a young ball player make tangible progress through travel baseball, but the decision to jump in with both feet should be an informed one.
What is Travel Baseball?
Recreational baseball leagues, like those hosted by your community’s park districts, are wonderful for those who consider baseball a mere pastime. For those that want a higher level of competition, however, travel baseball pits players against some of the most talented kids in their age divisions while also allowing for travel and more frequent high-stakes games.
What is the Time Commitment?
It is significant. Before signing a young player up for travel baseball, it is important to speak with them about their level of commitment to making the endeavor work. The Wheatland Ducks play long schedules and travel quite a bit, which can be taxing on players that aren’t properly motivated to put as much effort into baseball as they do school.
What Sorts of Things Do Travel Baseball Players Do?
This all sounds very serious and daunting, but those young players that actually participate in the system typically love the experience and have a great time getting a better sense of baseball rules and playing against tougher competition. As for the day-to-day operation of travel baseball, it really isn’t any different in terms of activities. Players practice playing baseball so they can play baseball at a higher level on the diamond. The biggest difference between this and rec-league or school baseball is the time commitment and level of competition. Everything else should feel pretty familiar!
What Do Young Players Get from the Program?
There was a time when kids played baseball at the park in the summer, sandlot-style, but that simply does not happen that often anymore. In fact, there are many areas all over the country where Little Leagues are either devoid of participants or don’t even exist, which means our job is to get kids a head start on rigorous baseball training at a young age, then push them along as they get older until they ultimately find themselves in front of college and pro scouts who more and more often scour travel teams for young prospects. This is the way kids get better at baseball, plain and simple, and to have the opportunity for regular competitive play.
Our coaches genuinely want to help young baseball players improve their baseball fundamentals and their exposure to programs for older players that could lead to an opportunity playing baseball at the high school and college level, and ultimately professionally. It is not an easy road, but it is one that the Wheatland Ducks can help young players navigate. We, of course, are happy to do it, and we eagerly anticipate the next batch of talented young players finding their way to our program!