Your son has a pitching arm like no other and can hit the ball out of the park whenever you practice with him on the weekends. He's gifted, and you want to give him the best opportunity to further that gift.
Travel baseball is your son's next step to growth. But exactly how much does travel baseball cost?
If you've ever wanted to start a travel baseball team, you should first consider the cost. Do not be afraid of the expenses of travel baseball, but be prepared for what it takes.
Keep reading to learn how much travel baseball costs and what rich rewards it yields.
As with anything, age makes a difference when considering the cost of being on a travel baseball team.
Travel teams start as early as 7U in some parts of the country and continue all the way to 18U and high school.
Each age group offers a different experience for each group of kids, and thus the cost increases with each age. The older your child is, the more opportunities he'll have for big national tournaments. Those tournaments are usually farther away. So your food and hotel costs will increase because you will be gone for longer periods of time.
However, each age group also offers a more unique experience and opportunity. Bigger tournaments mean your child is typically playing against higher caliber teams and increasing his opportunity to grow as a player.
Your child will need a bat, glove, cleats, and helmet to play baseball. You will have to foot the bill for these items. These are absolutely essential no matter if your child is playing for a local team that does not travel or gets picked up by a travel team.
He will need quality equipment when he goes to a travel baseball tryout so he can show he is serious about his game and so he can stay protected. That does not imply that you should by the most expensive equipment; simply that you should do you research and choose the best equipment within your budget.
Here's the basic breakdown of cost for the essential equipment:
Your kids will have to wear uniforms as well, and the team will not provide these free of charge. Typically a player will need a couple of pairs of pants and then a vest and some undershirts.
Some teams want their players to have an away uniform and a home uniform, and this doubles the cost then. A uniform can cost anywhere from $150 to $250, depending on the size and complexity of the uniform.
You should plan on having some practice clothes for your player as well. Get a couple of pairs of pants and some jerseys so he has something to wear at ball practice. This will cost anywhere from $15 to $50, depending on the brand of the pants.
As far as practice shirts go, your son can plan on just wearing whatever t-shirts he has around the house for practice or a team provided practice shirt if required.
Good teams understand they cannot just practice in the sandlot next to someone's house. If you want to replicate what you'll face in a game, you need a good practice field.
Unfortunately, good practice fields cost money. Teams can rent a field for a cost of $15 to $150 an hour, depending on the field. The team will ultimately split the cost of rental among the players.
In addition to field rentals, some areas are prone to rain and will need indoor training facilities. These training facilities typically have pitching and batting cages, tee stations, weight rooms and other amenities for waiting parents. Renting these on a regular basis can be quite costly.
Travel costs money no matter how you do it. Plan on a big part of your money to go toward the cost of travel.
Because you're on a travel team, the bulk of your cost will go toward travel expenses. You will end up paying for hotel fees and food. Often, you're staying at a medium-range hotel to keep your players safe.
You can expect to spend around $125 a night on hotel costs. If your team goes to two different tournaments in a season, then plan accordingly with $250 budgeted just for the hotel.
One cost saving tip you can employ is to look for a local guest house rental. With that option, 2 or 3 families can share the cost of the rental and have a place to prepare meals saving additional travel expenses.
Boys are notorious eaters, especially teenagers, so you should plan on spending $15 to $20 a meal for your player to eat dinner and $10 a player for lunch while you travel. You can always pack your own food as well to save on costs.
Tournaments have fees as well that will vary. Your team can plan on paying anywhere from $250 a tournament up to $900 a tournament for the high-end experiences.
If you're going to a big tournament a thousand miles away, plan on the cost of plane tickets as well. If you're staying more local, then you need to figure in gas as well. You should plan on spending at least a couple hundred dollars on gas for each road trip you and the team take.
If you're driving, then you also need to plan on the cost of gate fees and parking. Put $80 in the line item for parking just to make sure you've set enough aside.
At this point, you might be thinking travel baseball is only for the families of considerable means.
You can still fulfill your dream of having a travel baseball team or your child's dream of being on a travel baseball team if you're willing to fundraise. All kids should plan on helping fundraise, regardless of their means, to avoid entitlement.
Being on a travel team will take more than just money. It will take your time. You will spend your weekends watching your child do what he loves, and you will see him grow as a person and an athlete.
Plus, your child will find himself a part of a family, a people he can call his own. His coaches and teammates will become like a second parent and brothers. He will bond in ways that he could not bond outside of this team atmosphere.
When teams spend so much time together practicing and playing, they form a unique bond that can last for a lifetime. Playing on a team yields more than just physical fitness.
You will also give your child the gift of opportunity. If your child truly has a gift, a travel team could catapult him into other chances he would not have without the team.
So, how much does travel baseball cost? It costs as much as you're willing to put in; travel baseball costs time, money, sweat, tears, and a little bit of blood. But in the end, you end up with a kid that has made some incredible memories and maybe has improved his skills enough to move up to a collegiate level and even professional level of play.
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