Taking your player to the next level

Articles For Those New to Travel Baseball

What is Travel Baseball?
Clarkstown Baseball Association provides a cut and dry overview of what travel or elite baseball is and the differences between it and "Recreational" baseball.

Choosing a Youth Travel Baseball Team
This is a great introductory article for those new to the travel baseball scene that can help you narrow down what you are looking for.

Picking the Right Travel Baseball Team
By John Pinkman
Taking a look at Coaches, Mission, costs, size of team and much more.

Overuse Injuries in Youth Baseball
Pitchers aren't the only ones with overuse injuries in baseball. Check out the latest data and prevention tactics.

Pros and Cons of Parent Coaches and Being One Yourself
Parent coaches in travel baseball, good thing or bad thing? Is it a good fit for you?

Youth Sports: Maintaining Reasonable Expectations
What are the chances your kid will play college baseball or softball? Professional baseball or softball? You should read this article.

Where the Elite Kids Shouldn't Meet
By Tim Keown, ESPN Writer
A raw and honest look into Travel / Elite Baseball

Sites, Organizations and Articles We Like

American Legion Baseball
Teams from 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Regional tournaments, State tournaments and a World Series make this one of the most popular baseball organizations around.

Dixie Youth Baseball
They play great baseball and players have an opportunity to play in tournaments and a league World Series. Find a team or start a franchise.

Babe Ruth League Youth Baseball
Great organization and great baseball. This is another option for youth baseball players to continue developing their skills. Start or find a charter here.

Travel Ball Select
Travel Ball News, Forums, Scores, Travel Ball TV and other cool stuff.

Game Changer
Sign your team up, keep stats during the game, track other teams. It's great!

Little League News


College Baseball News


MLB News and Rumors from Yard Barker


pitcher in travel baseball
baserunner travel baseball

Pros and Cons of Parent Coaches and Being One Yourself

Are you the one to wear the whistle and the title “coach”? It could well be! Youth teams often depend on parents stepping forward.

Yet, as sports psychology professionals remind us, there are cautions. It’s not so much whether parents should coach their own children but when it's appropriate. The decision should be based on the personalities of you and your child and (sometimes) on the level of competition you face. If you of are in a league of elite teams, there will be more issues to navigate.

The Perks of Coaching Your Child’s Team

What’s great about being coach – besides that you are taking on a role that there aren’t always enough people willing to take on? Quality time with your children! Parent's lives are scheduled. Children's lives are scheduled. Parents often feel they don't have enough hours in the week to spend with their children doing things they both enjoy.

You may also be your own child’s best coach. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) notes that parents can be very good at making coaching decisions for their children based on knowledge of personality and moods -- they may be the experts when it comes to informed decision making (

Your experiences as the parent of a ball player could also give you insight and empathy. After all, you’ve made trips to the pediatrician yourself.

Separating Roles

However, there are potential pitfalls. The AASP notes that it is important to separate out parent roles and coaching roles.

A child may have a problem with swinging too high or too low, but some conversations are best not brought home to the dinner table. Interestingly, it may be easier to find balance if there’s one parent who is not knowledgeable about the sport.

Unfortunately, even when a parent is careful about separating the two roles, the child may not do so. Some young children will be confused by dad speaking to them differently at practice than at home. If the parent isn’t usually the one who does the teaching, they may even confuse technical correction with discipline.

The issues will be different if your child is older. The Coaches Network, geared toward the career coach, notes what an awesome experience it can be to coach your own child, provided you are prepared for little things like the pre-season rumors about what position the child will be playing ( It’s better if you have the kind of relationship with your child where you can discuss difficult issues -- like the forces that may make it difficult for you not to be harder on them.

Issues of Favoritism... and Overcompensation

Among the toughest issues a parent coach faces are accusations of favoritism. These may come from parents who want their child playing a particular position or seeing more pitching time.

It may be that your child is right around the same level as other youth on the team. It is harder to make fine-tuned comparisons when it’s your own child. And however hard you try to be unbiased, there may be people who don't see things the same way. Some parent coaches overcompensate and are harder on their own children.

How difficult it is to navigate will depend in part on the level of competition -- and on the personalities of the other parents. Many parents see baseball as a game. They won't necessarily be counting pitches. They may be willing to believe your child is the more skilled catcher. They recognize that you're putting in hours that they aren't.

Still, there are exceptions. Educated Sports Parent notes that the negatives are more likely to creep in when you're coaching in a more competitive league ( Ultra-competitive parents who opt for select teams sometimes refer to Little League as "daddy ball". Here 'daddy' doesn't have its usual pleasant connotations.

Other’s perceptions may also depend on the qualifications of the parent-coach. The parent who has played the sport will know more -- and may command more respect.

If you are considering a travel baseball team that involves a parent coach, make sure to dig deep, asking other parents how they feel about it, do they see favoritism? Does the parent coach play their kid and their other “favorite” kids at infield positions without giving the other players a chance in those coveted spots? There are definitely red flags that come along with parent coaches. Investigate what the parent coach’s background in baseball is. If the parent coach played high school baseball and nothing beyond, you may want to reevaluate if the program is the right program for you and your child when there are so many other options out there where you will see coaches with collegiate level coaching experience, minor league experience and MLB experience. Ultimately, it all depends on what you want out of the program and coach for your child.

Preparing for a Coaching Role

If your only experience is as mom or dad, you also have a learning curve. Your expectations may be based on your own child, even when it comes to the physical aspects of the game. You may not have as much knowledge about typical development at different ages.

The learning curve is not just about the sport, but about the process of coaching. Coaches who compete for their positions typically do have more training. They may have education in teaching health and fitness (PE).

Fortunately there are many organizations that can help you. The National Alliance for Youth Sports has plenty of resources for volunteer coaches (

Some organizations, for example, the Amateur Athletic Union, not only provide but require training (

Despite the tales you may hear, it often works out just fine to be a parent and coach! A study published in the Journal of Sport Behavior did not find significant differences between youth sports players’ anxiety levels based on whether or not they had a parent as coach (

Please contact us with your thoughts or stories on this topic.