Since I am a baseball enthusiast, I like to think I’m pretty knowledgeable on the subject!
And, in my defense, a lot of my friends and colleagues agree!
Many of them usually ask me how travel baseball teams are better or worse than conventional baseball teams and Little League.
And so, today, I decided to talk about precisely that.
To help parents and young baseball lovers understand the concept of travel baseball, I have decided to compile a detailed guide on this topic.
By listing all the travel baseball pros and cons, I want to help everyone make a well-researched and adequately thought-out decision about their sports life!
Travel Baseball Pros
I will start this list of travel baseball pros and cons with the advantages and benefits of a travel baseball player’s lifestyle.
Increased Passion And Dedication
You might think this is a dumb opinion, but it’s true!
And apart from my personal experience and observation, even experts have stated that athletes who are a part of travel baseball are more focused and work harder.
Here’s the logic behind it:
When players travel around for their athletic careers, they become more serious and dedicated. (Well, that’s true for at least a majority of cases).
Since they travel hundreds and thousands of miles at times and spend a considerable amount of money, they want to make the experience worth the effort and make sure they give their all to the field.
This motivation is enough to make them work harder, be more productive, and come back with great results!
Better Coaching And Training
Usually, coaches for travel baseball are more qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced.
Teams even have coaches that were former professionals.
So, basically, in such a case, former successful players are training beginner players themselves, which is always great!
These coaches are selected based on a strict criterion and are paid well.
It makes them stay true to their jobs and put more effort into the coaching and training of travel baseball players.
Hence, as bizarre as it may sound, it is a frequent observation that training and coaching are better when you are a part of travel baseball.
It is not easy to be selected in teams you want, especially as a travel baseball athlete.
Since you are not local, you can often be discriminated against based on geographical facts and access.
And apart from this bias, other technical aspects make it hard for you to get in.
Hence, you must work hard and have excellent skills to be chosen.
In addition, you have great competition, so you work much harder to excel and stand out from the crowd.
This enhanced competition ultimately makes you a better player!
Traveling around is great for everyone; it allows you to experience different cultures, learn about different traditions, have geographical exposure, meet all kinds of people, and all that great stuff!
But, apart from that, even in your professional life traveling around can give you excellent exposure in your field.
For example, how do different players from different areas play?
What are their tips and tricks?
What can you learn from them that is not common in your local baseball teams?
This exposure is excellent for you as a professional athlete.
Great For A Travel Enthusiast
This one is pretty obvious but usually forgotten:
If you are a travel enthusiast or like to travel often, being a travel baseball professional can be the best thing that ever happened to you!
You get to live two of your dreams: baseball and traveling!
Everything that is a flaw or a drawback for other people can be an advantage and a plus point for you, which gives you an upper hand when compared with other people in your competition.
People who genuinely like to travel enjoy the process and are, thus, more productive than those frustrated by it.
Aids Character Development
Traveling around as a baseball player helps you be a part of different kinds of environments.
Sometimes, you’re sitting in professional settings, sometimes in casual and informal ones.
You learn different etiquettes and are more educated about different environments.
It helps build the personality and character of an athlete.
Moreover, travel teams are generally more professional and serious.
Productivity, composure, focus, organization, and management are essential in this field; these habits and behavioral training further develop an athlete’s personality.
More Family Time
I know what you are thinking:
If you are traveling around as a baseball player, how do you get to spend more time with your family?
Well, here’s the deal:
If you travel with your family, go on road trips for your baseball “gigs” and adventures, you are automatically spending more quality time with your family members and friends, right?
If your family enjoys traveling just as much as you do, you can set up frequent trips because of your baseball career.
Then, long drives and trips with your loved ones can compensate for the time you spend away on the field.
As I said, travel baseball forces you to be more organized in your life and habits.
You cannot afford to be sick or physically unwell, so you automatically opt for a healthier lifestyle to stay in good shape.
This also means that your workout routines, sleep cycles, diet, and other aspects of everyday life get better over time.
Overall, you start making better, healthier life choices in general.
Broader Mindset And Perspective
Traveling around gives you more than just incredible Instagram posts and new places to eat!
When you visit places, you meet different kinds of people and witness different cultures.
You’ll learn different things about countries and their people.
This experience and exposure automatically broadens your mind and gives you more perspective about everything in life.
You become more forgiving, open-minded, creative, and knowledgeable, regardless of your age and education.
Or, as I like to say, “One becomes wiser!”
Apart from witnessing different cultures, you also engage with them.
You make friends and colleagues everywhere, and sometimes, these relationships last a lifetime!
Being friends with people from various cultures also greatly impacts your personality and character, as an athlete and as a person in general.
Besides, having friends from different parts of the world can never do any wrong!
Whenever you need help or information, you always know you have someone you can go to. Everyone wants that, right?
Travel Baseball Cons
As great as travel baseball is, like anything else, it also has its drawbacks.
Moving on with my list of travel baseball pros and cons, let’s start talking about the potential negatives of this lifestyle, shall we?
Travel costs and expenses are no joke!
Continuously going on road trips or flying back and forth can cost an arm and a leg.
And, in the long run, it can be impractically expensive.
So, you do have to consider your budget and financial limitations when you join travel baseball teams.
And it’s not like you can take up part-time jobs because traveling so much takes most of your time.
Unfortunately, most jobs don’t give you the leverage and flexibility to take off days whenever you want.
In addition, job timings can coincide with your game schedules, and it can be tough for players to manage these two aspects of their life.
It Consumes A Lot Of Time
If you are a student, a travel baseball player, and you somehow manage to get a job too, you can say goodbye to free time!
Since traveling for baseball takes most of your time, there is barely any of it left for your education or earning any money on your own.
So, me-time will probably become a fantastic idea for you for a very long time.
And, because of this, your lifestyle can become a little hectic. And for the first few weeks or even months, it can be hard for you to manage your time.
Leads To Exhaustion
Well, you probably saw this one coming!
Travelling, training, playing, and balancing your social life, education, and sports career can be exhausting!
It leads to physical, mental, and sometimes emotional exhaustion.
Fixing this exhaustion and taking a break is also very hard.
It is improbable that you can pause any of these life aspects for some time at your convenience.
Difficult Work-Life Balance
Balancing your social life and your baseball career is almost impossible, especially in the beginning.
As I said, you barely have time for yourself, let alone for your friends and relatives.
So, creating that balance usually takes a lot of time and effort.
But, in the end, your passion for this lifestyle is what decides whether you can put in that effort.
Higher Risks Of Burnout
Baseball itself is a very physically draining and demanding game.
But being on a travel baseball team is even more difficult.
The competition is higher, the training is more challenging, and continuously traveling takes a lot out of you!
So, ultimately, your risks of breakdowns and burnouts are much higher!
These burnouts are more than just “being tired.”
They can range from mild to severe, leading to physical and mental signs and symptoms.
Some of these symptoms can lead to being physically unable to perform.
And the timing of these burnouts can be detrimental!
For example, if the baseball player is burnt out while in an essential part of their sports career, that could be the end of their dreams.
The Specialization Can Be A Con!
Being a travel baseball makes you a specialist or an expert in a particular niche.
While many consider this fact as a pro, it can actually be a con for some.
Players on travel baseball teams usually don’t get the time to play anything else.
Even if they manage to add multiple sports to their routines, it can be very stressful and even more draining.
So, they are forced to specialize in one particular field, and most of them don’t get the chance to participate in other sports activities.
Regular baseball involves less financial, physical, and emotional investments.
Hence, if you lose or don’t make it into the team you want, it’s not “that bad.”
On the contrary, travel baseball is pure commitment!
Players invest a lot of money and energy into it.
But if you don’t make it into your dream team, the loss is much heavier on people’s pockets as well as their minds.
Overall, the risks are pretty much the same as regular baseball. However, they are much more severe.
Is Travel Baseball Better Than Little League?
Indeed, travel baseball is different from Little League. But is one better than the other?
Only you can make that decision!
Little league is less competitive, more economical, and has an easier lifestyle compared to travel baseball.
So, there are some obvious benefits and perks of it which give it the upper hand.
But are these perks important to you?
That’s what matters.
For example, Little League does not involve a lot of traveling. But is that a benefit or a drawback for you?
It depends on whether you like to travel or hate it.
Similarly, a lot of people choose travel baseball because of the better training and coaching.
But, to some, it doesn’t matter since they are not very serious about sports.
So, which one seems better for you depends on your personal criteria of needs and wants,
Understanding travel baseball pros and cons can help you decide whether this sports lifestyle is meant for you.
You can decide by prioritizing your preferences and see what cons you can compromise on.
However, before anything else, the most important thing to consider is whether you like to travel or if you are horrified by the idea of it!
If you love to move around and explore, travel baseball might be just the right thing for you!
However, if you are the opposite, and the idea drains you, it might not be the best long-term plan.