It’s not just a Game

It's not just a Game

Imagine it’s 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, usually your day off, right? Well, instead you have to be at the field at 8:00 a.m. ready to play in the semi-finals of your sport’s current tournament even though your legs are stiff and sore from the eight hours of play from the day before. This is travel ball.

Devoted athletes looking to play at a more competitive level most of the time dedicate most of their weekends to playing the sport they love. To play at such a competitive level, most student athletes play on “Club” or “Travel” teams. Travel teams are the next big thing for college recruiting and playing sports at the next level.

A travel team is generally a competitive team for any sport that the student athletes choose to play outside of their high school athletic teams. Travel teams go across the state or even the country to get more exposure to scouts who offer the allure of scholarships to college. Playing on travel teams is similar to playing on any other athletic teams, however it can be significantly more time consuming and competitive. Weekends are often spent traveling to tournaments and or games. Since travel teams tend to be more serious about developing athletes, a lot of dedication is required to stand out and be successful.

Major factors impact students’ decisions for joining travel teams. The biggest reason most students cite is for college recruiting.  Along with more exposure to scouts, many athletes also enjoy the increased competitiveness of travel team play. Another reason for playing on a travel team is that many coaches on the teams have connections to colleges from their own years playing as well as from working with others in the field. They have a lot of experience and offer great advice that players need to play in college.

To the players that want a more challenging experience, travel teams are perfect. The competitiveness is greater than in high school sports and the commitment from the players is real.

“My brother isn’t even in high school yet but he’s already playing club baseball, so he will get recruited,” says senior, Ashley Munroe.

Expenses can also be a major factor in travel teams. Often it costs a great amount to be apart of a club team. It can be expensive to play on a club team, but parents and students often see it as an investment to play because they get a greater opportunity to play their sport at the collegiate level.

“You have to be really committed to it or otherwise it isn’t really worth it,” says junior, Reanna Gregory.

Some players say the pressure of travel team play can be intense also.

“At my tournaments all of the college coaches are sitting down on the sidelines lined up with the name of their school on their shirt or hat so you can literally see all of the college coaches watching you. It can be quite nerve racking because you know you have to play your best the whole time you are in the game,” says junior Carson Jungers.

As playing club sports involved playing in several tournaments, a lot of time is consumed by traveling. Many tournaments are played out of state, so flying to the tournaments is required. This is quite a  hassle for families but in the end it can pay off.

So if you’re interested in taking your game to the next level, find a travel team for your sport and go to the tryout. You never know what might happen, all you have do is try.