Dec 22, 2011 8:08 AM
I am often asked by parents whose athlete is making the jump into travel or competitive softball what factors they should consider in deciding which team to place their athlete on. The answer would be the same if your athlete currently plays travel and is considering making a change (perhaps for the spring 2012 season). Here are what I would consider the most important factors to consider:
1. Assess her motivation for playing the game. Does she like softball or love softball? Is she playing to get better or playing for social reasons or simply to have fun? What are her (and your) goals for playing the game: college, high school, travel, recreational only? How hard is she willing to work to get better?
2. Assess as objectively as possible her softball and athletic skill levels. Does she possess mad skills or does she not? How does she compare to other players? What are her strengths and weaknesses as a player?
3. Assess, as a parent or guardian, how much of a time and financial commitment you are prepared to make to your athlete's softball activities? Travel or competitive softball entails endless weekends of three to five games per day in far flung locations when leaving home before dawn and returning home after dark are not uncommon. The average family spends several thousand dollars each year for the overall cost of participation (dues, travel costs, private lessons, equipment)
4. Attend several tryouts and do your homework on the strengths and weaknesses of any team or organization you're considering joining. Go watch some of their games to get a better idea of how the coaches coach, how they utilize their players, how competent their players are? Do they have fun playing?
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