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Finding a Travel Baseball Team

by Joe K
(USA)

Question: What is the best way to find a 13U team in our area, which is not coached by the fathers of players and manager/coaches will be fair and impartial based upon ability and proven performance.


Dear Joe

A friend of mine was talking about the same subject you were asking about recently. He made the comment that in his experience with youth baseball and travel baseball in particular there are basically two scenarios.

You either have a maniac baseball coach that is mean and viscous and thinks every game is the World Series…or you have a really nice guy that knows nothing about teaching the game of baseball. Rarely if ever can you find the happy median.

There just are not many knowledgable coaches that treat kids well out there coaching baseball. This is an almost impossible combination to find anywhere in youth baseball. It is estimated that 85% of youth baseball coaches are dads or moms of children on their ball teams. Daddy ball is the nickname for many travel ball outfits. To find a ball club that is not coached by a daddy is going to hard to find.

Occasionally you will have a few high dollar organizations that charge a big fee to play for with hired coaches. My suggestion is to do some really good research. Talk to other parents that will give you an honest perspective and I would talk to the players, too. Do your homework.

Chances are you may never find the perfect fit but check around to minimize the risk. You might want to go to a local travel tournament and talk to the parents and coaches and see them in action.

Travel ball does not have much of a screening process for coaches. Nor does travel ball provide any coaching clinics or training for their coaches. Everyone just starts up their own ballclub and plenty of tournament directors will gladly take the money without any questions asked if coaches can coach or treat kids with respect.

Believe me I have seen them all. There are plenty of adults out there that have no business on a ballfield with kids but just about anyone can start up their own team if they can get 12 families to buy in. I would say it is a remote chance you will find the perfect situation but do your best to get as close as you can. I don't know any other way except start digging and interviewing people that know which coaches are doing a good job.

Thanks for your support!
Dave 'Skip' Holt

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Jun 14, 2015
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Paid or un Paid? Free Coaching?
by: Coach Dave

Economics is the real issue. How do you find a non-partial, unrelated adult with some baseball knowledge that will volunteer all this personal time to coach a bunch of kids for free?

They are not out there. Oh maybe here and there you might stumble on to someone who needs a hobby coaching baseball.

Likely you will have to pay a stipend to someone to coach. That is why you see the baseball academies and organizations charge kids to play on their teams. They have to pay coaches to coach.

This is not ideal because it prices many families out of the game. I don't know how else to find a non-related (dad) to coach without paying them, though.

Coach Dave Holt

May 13, 2015
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The "nice" guy you speak of
by: MLC @ Seminole Wild

Very good points and also very true in every respect. In our case however, we have put together the "team of dreams" as opposed to a dream team.

I fall into that nice guy category you mention with no baseball background but a great deal of organizational and marketing experience. In our case, I have started a 12u travel team with no coaches related to the players. Two are currently in college and play ball while the other is less qualified but has been coaching for three years. These are volunteers and our monthly fees are minimal to cover expenses related to travel ball. Yes, my son is on the team however my contribution is strictly organizational. The Coaches make the coaching decisions however, what makes our team most unique is the kids, based on games and rules knowledge, take turns as Assistant Coaches for each tournament! Check out all of our different characteristics at www.seminolewild.com.

You'll note we are in Florida. So why do I post here? Because perhaps, others will see this, follow our lead and hopefully, just let their kids enjoy the game.

Aug 23, 2013
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Tough find
by: Brian

I was looking for the same thing in Arizona, at the 13U level. After about 3 months of trying to find a coach we could hire, at a reasonable fee, we all but gave up.

Then I was approached at the end of the school ball season by a local club ball organization, who wanted to put together a 13U team, originally centered around that schools 7th graders.

That part didnt work out entirely as we wanted, but we did end up getting what seems to be a great, development oriented coach who doesn't have a child on the team, and he charges a reasonable salary for himself.

Goodluck.

Aug 22, 2013
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Trussville, Alabama Little League coach
by: Major Wiley B. Channell USMC (ret)Anonymous

It is indeed a rare find when a real coach has it all in one bag. The rarity is that coach with a superb knowledge of the game and the ability to use that knowledge in translation to the young players.

The rarity is when the coach has more interest in the well being of that young man learning to play the game than the win of a game.

One such gentleman coaches Little League players in Trussville, Alabama and his name is Joey Williams.

Joey Williams is a winner if his team is on the field the final score is never important for every kid becomes a winner.

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