When kids show potential and an interest in playing sports at a highly competitive level, parents should understand both the opportunities as well as the sacrifices involved with participating in youth travel teams.
Youth Sports Travel Teams Explained
A travel team is comprised of young athletes who show significant potential and dedication to a sport. As the name implies, they regularly compete at out-of-town locations. But, there is more to it than simply the distance traveled. These young athletes are considered to be on an elite level for their age group and acceptance on a team is by invitation only after try outs. Teams are run by private, for-profit organizations. Professional coaches determine player acceptance, placement and play time. Everyone on the team is expected to have a high level of commitment for improving their technical skills, game knowledge, and sportsmanship. And when it’s time to compete, players often travel long distances to participate in games, tournaments and showcase events. Accordingly, parents must be prepared for the considerable time and financial commitment required to support their child.
To help further clarify youth travel teams, consider the contrast to local recreational sports. Rec leagues are open to all kids in an age group regardless of experience or skill level and players join a team upon registration without try outs. Typically, everyone on the team will be given an opportunity to participate in all practices and all games, which are held at local courts or fields.
Youth travel teams operate at a higher level. With professional coaching, demanding practices, and frequent opportunities for competitive games, participation on a travel team can help kids earn a leadership role on their high school team and get recruited for college.