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Travel Ball is Killing Rec Ball

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
640
18
Where I live, travel/competitive ball definitely killed off Rec at the older age groups. A decade ago, there were still viable 14-18U Rec leagues in my area. With the growth on the travel/competitive side, there simply aren't enough pitchers to go around, and even a relatively weak pitcher can find a spot in a rotation on a team that only plays tournaments.

What's really killing off Rec at the younger ages are the organizations that establish 6U-10U teams. That sucks away the kids that can make a younger Rec league viable. To survive, the Rec leagues allow these hand-picked club teams to enter and beat up on everyone else.
 
Mar 21, 2019
107
28
Where I live, travel/competitive ball definitely killed off Rec at the older age groups. A decade ago, there were still viable 14-18U Rec leagues in my area. With the growth on the travel/competitive side, there simply aren't enough pitchers to go around, and even a relatively weak pitcher can find a spot in a rotation on a team that only plays tournaments.

What's really killing off Rec at the younger ages are the organizations that establish 6U-10U teams. That sucks away the kids that can make a younger Rec league viable. To survive, the Rec leagues allow these hand-picked club teams to enter and beat up on everyone else.
Yeah and I don’t mind it at the 14-18 age groups. By then kids know what they like what they want to concentrate on or if they just wanna play and have fun only. It’s the 6-12that is my issue elementary school kids should be able to play multiple rec sports without having to travel all over just to find semi decent competition. When the daughter plays all stars she’ll get to play all these travel teams anyway since they play in the rec all star tourneys


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Feb 26, 2018
184
18
While I do think the explosion of travel teams has some effect on rec programs, it's all the other sports and activities that are available that softball is competing against. All the girls on my DD's 12U TB team play multiple sports whether it be basketball, volleyball, track, etc. Our coach and our org encourages multi sport athletes. But they also emphasize that when March comes around, it's softball season. We don't do much between November and Feb besides practice, and our coach will even give the girls a week or two off because he wants to give them time away from the game so then they're wanting to come back. My DD has made softball her priority, but she still runs track and plays basketball for her MS.
 

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
2,424
63
Yeah and I don’t mind it at the 14-18 age groups. By then kids know what they like what they want to concentrate on or if they just wanna play and have fun only. It’s the 6-12that is my issue elementary school kids should be able to play multiple rec sports without having to travel all over just to find semi decent competition. When the daughter plays all stars she’ll get to play all these travel teams anyway since they play in the rec all star tourneys
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I understand your sentiment. The only thing that I will say is that my DD loves the TB tournament environment. Most of the time, even after they have exited from the bracket, she still wants to stick around and watch the other teams. Usually I am hungry as heck by that point so we say no, but the point is she is having a blast. I don't like paying but seeing how much fun she has doing something that doesn't involve a device (which we don't let her have) is worth it to me. I am not doing it for a college scholarship, we are putting money away for college, we are doing it because she has fun doing it.
 
Mar 21, 2019
107
28
I understand your sentiment. The only thing that I will say is that my DD loves the TB tournament environment. Most of the time, even after they have exited from the bracket, she still wants to stick around and watch the other teams. Usually I am hungry as heck by that point so we say no, but the point is she is having a blast. I don't like paying but seeing how much fun she has doing something that doesn't involve a device (which we don't let her have) is worth it to me. I am not doing it for a college scholarship, we are putting money away for college, we are doing it because she has fun doing it.
My daughter loves it too but she has to understand she can’t play for every team in town. If it was up to her she’d quit school mom and dad quit their jobs and do nothing but shuttle her from sporting event to sporting event. She has a lil brother too and he plays sports so he has to be able to get to his too. Travel sports all play the same time basically all over lapping between volleyball basketball and softball. Her rec volleyball is fine, the other two sports leagues there’s so many travel teams that rec league is a struggle. Is what it is. She can decide when she’s older what to concentrate on. For now rec leagues in softball.


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Aug 23, 2016
231
18
DD plays for a USA Softball rec league in Southern California. There are at least half a dozen nearby USA Softball leagues, and some of them are struggling and some are thriving.

DD's league is thriving - things aren't perfect around here but even in its most dysfunctional moments the board is focused on recruiting and retaining good coaches and making this league a place where girls want to come and play (and most of the better players stick around until second year 12U).

The local leagues that are struggling are poorly run - financial mismanagement, power struggles that seem more appropriate for Game of Thrones than rec softball, that sort of thing. These leagues aren't being killed by travel ball, they're killing themselves.
 
May 27, 2013
308
18
What is killing rec league softball in my area is that baseball always gets put ahead of softball. Our softball teams did extremely well over the past 5-6 years by making it all the way to the LL State Championship more than once, yet baseball couldn’t even win Districts but they still always got practice priority, field priority, social media publicity, etc.

I joined the BOD the last couple of years my dd was in LL and it was insane how much of a good ole boys club it was. There were two of us from softball and the rest were baseball guys. We did the best we could to change things to better the program but could only get so far. The girls saw it, the parents saw it, so many decided to move on.
 
Feb 8, 2019
130
18
What is killing rec league softball in my area is that baseball always gets put ahead of softball. Our softball teams did extremely well over the past 5-6 years by making it all the way to the LL State Championship more than once, yet baseball couldn’t even win Districts but they still always got practice priority, field priority, social media publicity, etc.

I joined the BOD the last couple of years my dd was in LL and it was insane how much of a good ole boys club it was. There were two of us from softball and the rest were baseball guys. We did the best we could to change things to better the program but could only get so far. The girls saw it, the parents saw it, so many decided to move on.
So why would you stay with little league (a baseball organization) instead of starting an ASA, or whatever they call it now, league that is softball only?
The ASA league, where my DD started with when she was 7 and left for travel when she was 9, has their own fields at the parks while LL and PONY have their own leagues and parks in town as well.
 
Last edited:
Feb 8, 2019
130
18
Where I live, travel/competitive ball definitely killed off Rec at the older age groups. A decade ago, there were still viable 14-18U Rec leagues in my area. With the growth on the travel/competitive side, there simply aren't enough pitchers to go around, and even a relatively weak pitcher can find a spot in a rotation on a team that only plays tournaments.

What's really killing off Rec at the younger ages are the organizations that establish 6U-10U teams. That sucks away the kids that can make a younger Rec league viable. To survive, the Rec leagues allow these hand-picked club teams to enter and beat up on everyone else.
They beat everyone else up and then show the players on the beat up teams that they need to go to travel teams to get better and play on better teams
 
May 24, 2013
9,493
83
So Cal
Where I live, travel/competitive ball definitely killed off Rec at the older age groups. A decade ago, there were still viable 14-18U Rec leagues in my area. With the growth on the travel/competitive side, there simply aren't enough pitchers to go around, and even a relatively weak pitcher can find a spot in a rotation on a team that only plays tournaments.

What's really killing off Rec at the younger ages are the organizations that establish 6U-10U teams. That sucks away the kids that can make a younger Rec league viable. To survive, the Rec leagues allow these hand-picked club teams to enter and beat up on everyone else.
For the spring season, rec ball for HS-aged players isn't an option. HS rules (for us) require that a player on a HS roster cannot play on another team during the HS season. The result is that 14U league teams are only 7th-8th graders. There aren't enough players older than that (that aren't playing HS ball) to even make one team.
 

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