A mere symptom of what's wrong with travel softball

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by hititwhereitspitched, May 22, 2021.

  1. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    its a tough one because i see certain circumstances where it is better in my opinion to leave a team over winter or early, early spring IF the circumstances are not good. A Team doesnt want a cancerous player or parent just hanging around for their 1 year commitment to end if they dont want to be there or if they will make it crappy for everyone else with their bad attitude and pouting all season long. I as a coach actually told a parent / player that in my opinion it would be a better fit to find a lower level team where she will get playing time and develop as a player rather than stay on this team and rarely play especially on Sundays. Reality sometimes is the hardest thing to admit what is best for the kid.
    08DDF2 likes this.
  2. I agree with all of this .... certainly don't want a girl on the team who doesn't want to be there. Bottom line is such situations should never occur, or even be discussed, or be an issue. Players who gripe should be told by parents they are now part of a TEAM and it's not all about the individual wants and needs. They should be taught to play nice with others, show character and honor the 1-year commitment. On the flip side, coaches should not be enticing players and parents to quit their team and join his. Softball is a TEAM sport ... the TEAM is larger than the individual .... and softball is not dying, because the SPORT also is larger than the TEAM .... and so on.
  3. Rerun

    Rerun Super Moderator Staff Member

    In are area we had 5 local rec programs with around 400 girls, now they only have enough girls for 8 teams between all them program and age group. But rec in are area is declining. But travel ball has filled the void for a very few.
  4. Captain_Thunder

    Captain_Thunder Super Moderator Staff Member

    THE PARENTS - there is the biggest problem with your comments! It's usually the parents that start the drama or add to it to a boiling point!

    Over the last decade, I can only think of 1 incident where the kid was the problem and the parents were trying. It is usually started by what they hear at home and in most cases it is the parents that are flat out the problem!
  5. Passion4theGame

    Passion4theGame Super Moderator Staff Member

    A lot of places the Rec Leagues are failing miserably. Some closing down completely. They are not marketing it right in the Elementary schools and creating that buzz.
    CARDS and daboss like this.
  6. HITTER23

    HITTER23 Super Moderator Staff Member

    At least at the one park around here that still has softball, its treated as 2nd class behind the boys programs right down to field scheduling. T-ball even gets better times. Now go to soccer fields and its a different story....

    I dont see the interest like before, Maybe Olympic softball will bring back the interest. I know when my DD's were playing, there was tons of interest and they followed the players.
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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  7. Rerun

    Rerun Super Moderator Staff Member

    i still believe as rec leagues fall so will travel ball.

    I don’t like it, but rec leagues and youth leagues are the foundations for future softball players.
  8. ChrisDennis13

    ChrisDennis13 New Member

    I am fairly new to the travel ball world and have no commentary on the original post, but I can comment on what Travel has done to Rec in my area. I think it has not complete destroyed rec ball, but it sure has done it's damage. Especially at the 10u level. Any pitcher decent enough to get the ball over the plate consistently is being grabbed by travel teams. This in turn makes for some slow and painful walk fests at the Rec level. As a parent with a somewhat talented daughter, do I sign her up for Rec with a coach that was asked to coach without experience and slide by with once a week practices, no winter work, and watch games where she never gets to take a grounder or hit a ball because of all the walks. OR, do I find a travel team that will develop her and give her competition that challenges her? I realize I am a hypocrite on this as, at the end of the last rec season, I moved her to travel. I am part of the problem, not the solution I guess.
  9. SonicMojo

    SonicMojo Active Member

    Rec teams are great opportunities for the 3 and 4 pitchers on young travel teams to get innings
  10. Chardon Storm

    Chardon Storm Member

    A 12 year old may know what she wants but she sure as hell doesn't know what's best for her. The parents job is to help her make a decision that she can look back on and say "thank you" for, years from now. Letting a child make a decision to abandon her teammates and not finish her commitment has more to do with failed life lessons than softball lessons IMO
    coachjwb and IRdad09 like this.
  11. CARDS

    CARDS Active Member

    I would say if you look at several areas one will see a trend. Naturally; some areas have a strong recreational programs that is involved with primary age athletes to keep a sound foundation. These are also generally consistent areas for HS ball as well.

    #1 Recreational Leagues/Teams
    In the early 2000s our local area (Colerain) supported 5 local recreational parks that would get one to three teams in each age range for girls softball.
    About 2008 the large league in SWO folded that had about 30 parks and a couple hundred teams. Most areas in SWO are now in one of two leagues, Greater Miami with around 10 communities and north Cincy with around 20 communities within an hour or so drive of Cincinnati.
    If you go to the league's website's not all areas field teams in each age group (some only have HS and 12U). In my direct local area if a family wants to stay age specific depending on coaching they may have to go to another team within Colerain or just take them out of the area or join one of the shrinking catholic teams.
    We have 4 large Catholic churches in Colerain that has their own fields/teams. These teams were a big rivalry with the local community rec leagues but not so much anymore since they too are struggling with numbers in softball. Volleyball and Soccer is staying strong though. . http://www.gwacsports.com/

    #2Travel Teams
    From 2005-2015 there was about 6 A level organizations and more than 20 B level organizations in our area. These organizations fielded teams in several age groups some 10u through 23u. What I mean by A level teams/organizations is the goals of the organization was to play in an ASA,PGF upper tier National and played a qualifying schedule around the Midwest-South East to do so. The B level teams/Organizations would stay in Ohio maybe venture to Columbus Indiana or NKY generally a 2 hour or so range of play. Going through tryouts it looks like its down significantly with A / B organizations.

    High School / Middle school
    At the HS level outside of your large suburban districts in SW Ohio a lot of schools struggle to field Varsity and JV programs where 10 years ago schools had 2 or more programs easy. Working with the REDS they tried to grow softball by offering leagues at their facility in the fall or trying to get recreational teams to play in other leagues but even with reduced cost (or, in some cases no cost) they still struggled to field the number of teams they were hoping for and it was evident in the CMAC where several schools could not field a team or folded the team after a few games.
    The Travel teams for the REDS do well but those kids would be playing for another travel organization if they were not with an RBI team.
    Go to the OHSAA website and search programs http://officials.myohsaa.org/Outside/SearchSchool. Many have no middle school programs a lot only have varsity. Mt. Healthy folded softball mid season. WW in the ECC dropped JV and struggled with only 12 ladies for varsity.

    #4 Social media/websites
    Sites like the SBZ don't seem to have the traffic they had 10 years ago. I remember you could go to the big 4 softball sites and there was daily chatter / discussions in a variety of areas. Now it is mostly teams looking/tryouts that gets hits or moderators starting threads to get hits. When you go to the USSSA or other sanctioning body sites search your area and look at how many teams are registered. Seems to me there is a decline over the past 10 years especially in the 14 and up ages.

    There are a lot of tournaments no longer running some due to last year cancelations others because they cannot field enough teams to cover expenses or find umpires. This is not just the local smaller under 10 teams per age group events. Even some large 30 team per age group events are dropping or shrinking to half the numbers they once drew. Some of the bigger events are surviving because they locked in fields, umpires etc. and can absorb teams that may have been playing in B/C events now playing A/B events. I took a quick look at the USSSA B/C team list for the Greenville event June 11th-13th. I was surprised to see a lot of these 14/16U teams that use to be sanctioned A just a few years back and would be at Lasers on this date...

    Fall ball/leagues and practice locations
    We use to have a half dozen options locally for fall ball weekday evenings or weekends that were always filled. Now its a struggle to find one or two leagues and most of them are blended. 14 and up 12 and under.
    Training facilities are also closing up or catering to teams that are part of an organization to keep cash flow. We had 3 nice ones with batting cages and turf that had good rates that has closed up over the past 5 years.

    Why the decline?
    IMO, Cost and commitment needed for softball is the main reason. Not only for players and parents but for coaches as well. As the opportunities shrink coaches have to look harder for talent, tournaments etc.
    (Seems like every organization is looking for coaches same with HS/Middle school). Second is other sporting options or ladies deciding to leave sports all together especially at 15 and up...

    The void has also created situations with Pitching and competitive balance that is nowhere near where it was 10 years ago.
    Yeah there were perianal losing programs but if you go to the GWOC, GMC, ECC, SWOC websites and look at the game scores it seems like there were more 15+-0 games than I can remember.
    This year was so bad that some schools scheduled league DH on week nights with the lesser programs. I cannot ever remember HS varsity programs in our area playing league DH during the week but it happened this year.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2021
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  12. Edward Melcher

    Edward Melcher New Member

    Let's be honest with ourselves. Most parents move their kids to other teams before during and after seasons all the time. They are seeking more exposure for their daughters whether it is warranted or not. If you play on a good team that goes to good tournaments that's only a starting point. Now speaking of the older ages if your daughter puts the time emails and the parents help her you can get recruited. We are currently going through this right now. This past weekend she had multiple colleges watch her and will have more this weekend at Lasers. She has been asked multiple times to jump teams before during and end of the last 2 seasons. We have stayed the course with current organization and WE are doing the work needed to get her exposure. Do not rely on any organizations to solely get your daughter to the next level. Your daughter and you need to put the work in. I truly believe jumping teams is only the result (most of the time) a parent issue. Do your homework fir whom your going to play for. If you jump to bump another out expect the same could happen to you.
    08DDF2 likes this.
  13. As someone who has seen several of those Greenville teams that used to play Lasers a few years back, I can contribute to a couple of points. Some of those teams are now so watered down, they would get ran over at Lasers this year. Also some of Lasers "business practices" have chased a few of these teams off from ever playing that event again. I will not hang them out to dry but when several teams tell you the same story like what happened to teams the year before Berliner went completely to turf and how refunds were handled or how refunds were handled last year due to Covid............it makes you go hmmmm.

    And there are also about 30-50 brand new teams popping up every year. Some not bad, some purely a substitute for rec ball disguised as Travel. As a tournament promoter, good for business as most of those teams play in our B/C & C program. As a guy who enjoys watching a well played softball game, not so good all of the time.

    Don't confuse this with me being critical of brand new teams as everyone was a beginner at something when they started, just amazed at the number of new organizations and teams that come out of nowhere every year it seems. And trust me the rich keep getting richer as Lasers, Outlaws, Hawks, etc keep gobbling up the teams with potential or good coaches and they get the premier kids at their tryouts for the teams in the org already.

    Just one big cycle every year but the top is getting smaller and the middle is also shrinking.
    CARDS likes this.
  14. CARDS

    CARDS Active Member

    Well said, When I see the Buckeye Heat, Valley Storm playing in a C or recreational tournament I say WOW...C level play is truly rec teams B is more all star rec. I just did not think these mid Ohio organizations would fall that far. But...At least they have teams and are playing!
    daboss likes this.

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