At some point, your son or daughter may approach you and tell you that they want to try out for the travel team. This is normal. Kids who love the sport will eventually be interested in playing at a higher level.
Travel teams practice more hours and play more games per week. And they do this by traveling outside the immediate area of competition, taking them to other towns and other states.
As a parent, it’s natural to have some hesitations and concerns about whether or not your child should try out for a travel team. For one, the level of competition is much higher. Also, your kid may be away from home more nights, especially if they are playing out of state. And you will worry if they are ready emotionally.
Here are some things to consider when deciding if your child is travel team ready:
Your child shows interest
Your kid may already feel that they are ready for the next level. Your young athlete’s desire for the game will be the biggest factor that will help them cope with the level of competition and the added pressures that come with playing on a travel team.
Explain to them the level of commitment it will require and how a huge chunk of their free time will go into practices and games. If they insist that they can handle it, this shows passion for the game.
Their coach recognizes your kid’s potential
Youth sports coaches have the ability to see athletic potential while you may only be able to see how your kid plays now. Your child’s coach can recognize if your kid picks up new skills quickly. They’ll also know if your child has the discipline and drive that it takes so that they don’t easily burn-out or give up.
Your child’s coach will also be the most honest with you if they feel your kid has the skill level it takes. A good coach notices raw talent, and they will advise you if it would be best to keep your kid at the level they are at now to allow them to grow.
Your child is doing well academically
If your kid is already struggling with their studies while playing at their current level, then they’ll likely do even worse if they participate on the travel team level. Travel teams devote more time to practices and games which means less time for other activities.
They want to join the travel team for the right reasons
Ask your child why they want to join the travel team. If they say that they are bored playing at their level now, it may be because they don’t feel challenged enough. And it they’re not challenged enough, this could mean that they’re ready to play at the next level of competition.
Unfortunately, some kids feel pressured to play at the next level by their peers. Maybe they have friends who already play on a travel team and have shared their experiences with them. They may also be pushing themselves too hard.
You have time to decide. Observe your child over the next few weeks. Analyze their behavior at games or their attitude as they leave for practice. It’s a good way for you to gauge just how much they still love the game.