Choosing the right club, select, or travel team is an important aspect of a young athlete’s career. Finding the perfect team will benefit your child in developing his sports skill and increase his confidence. Eventually, it may provide an opportunity to play in front of college coaches.
Perhaps the most important factor in finding the perfect club team for your child is the experience of the coaching staff. If the team is successful you will be able to sense it immediately from its players, player’s families and from the team record. Teams that have been established for a long time will be proud to show their accomplishments and records to anyone interested in joining.
DO THE DETECTIVE WORK
Check the coaching staff’s references. How long have they been coaching at this level?
What other teams have they coached? What is their coaching philosophy and how will they help in developing your child’s sports skills?
Another good idea is to see where past players may have gone to college or if they advanced to professional levels. This information is not always readily available so some digging may be required.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Travel team costs for a season can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. If finances are a factor in choosing a club team check to see if there are fundraising opportunities to assist with covering costs.
Find out up front what your family is looking at spending. This will help you avoid sticker shock when your child makes the team. Don’t forget to consider extra expenses too, including fuel, lodging, food, and free time.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE GETTING IN TO
How will the time be spent? Ask to take a peek at the team schedule in order to get a good grasp on the travel involved.
Find out how many big tournaments the team will be attending. If your child is expecting to gain college exposure from the club team have them ask if the team will be attending any major events or showcases where they will gain exposure to college coaches. Most families choose to join club teams due to gaining college exposure so if that is your child’s goal make sure the team can provide it.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Find out how players for teams will be selected. Does the coach actively recruit top players from a large region or is it mostly players’ parents getting the word out and inviting their child’s friends to join the team? If players are being recruited without having to try-out how high will the level of competition be?
PLAYING ON MORE THAN ONE TEAM
See what the team’s policy is about playing school sports–some teams prefer athletes who play on only one team, especially during the same season. Find out what the schedule will be and if it will interfere with other sports.
Travel teams are a great way to bond as a family since joining will involve lots of traveling and lots of weekends spent on the ball field. Do the research and take your time to find the team that will be the best match for your child and most importantly make sure that your child and you are ready to make the commitment.