FAQs about Youth Sports and Travel Teams

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Youth sports have improved greatly throughout the lifetime of most grandparents. When we were youngsters, most sports were unorganized. We played tons of classic outdoor games, together with touch football and sandlot baseball. When our kids were old enough to get involved in sports, they generally played on school teams, Little League teams or on teams sponsored by the YMCA or other associations. Nowadays various youth athletes play on what are considered as select teams or travel teams. For grandparents looking for a crash course, listed below are answers to several of the most frequently asked questions about select teams.

1. What is a select team? A select team is one comprised of better-than-average players who must undertake to make the team.

2. A travel team is one that travels to compete with teams in other cities and towns. Most select teams are travel teams.

3. What is the cost of being on a select team or travel team? Teams often sponsor fund-raisers or solicit donations to defray the cost of travel, but the cost of being on a select team can still hit a thousand or more dollars per year. In addition, select team members usually use more expensive equipment than those playing on a recreational team.

4. Families who are involved in select teams or travel teams do spend a great deal of time together. For talented young athletes, participation in a select team can be a stepping stone to a spot on a college team or even a pro tryout. It is important to realize, however, that most players on select teams or travel teams will not go on to glory in college or in the pros.

5. What are the issues of taking part in a select team or travel team? Aside from the cost, the ultimate drawback is the time commitment needed from the young athlete and the athlete’s family. Obviously, this drawback can become a positive aspect if the entire relatives enjoy the travel and the games. Also, the demands of being on the team may keep families far from celebrations, church services and a host of other tasks. Each family must choose where to draw the line.

6. What issues do some have about taking part in select teams or travel teams? Parental misconduct is among the most usually cited concerns. The unacceptable behavior may be a demonstration of poor sportsmanship toward the other team or verbal abuse of a player who makes a mistake. Coaches are even sometimes liable of being too hard on team members. Some young athletes have problem handling the pressure of competition on this level.

7. Young people who play on select teams are sometimes pushed to specialize in a single sport and sometimes play that sport for much longer than a regular sports season. The results can include more frequent injuries and the possibility of becoming burned out on that sport

8. If their children and grandchildren make the decision to participate in select teams, the grandparents must support that decision. If it is possible for grandparents to travel to the games, they can share in the family and team camaraderie. If they cannot travel with the team, there are still lots of ways they can provide fan support for their grandchildren.

9. Grandparents can help monitor the physical and mental well-being of their grandchildren. If a grandchild has a concern about team participation, he or she may feel more comfortable discussing it with a grandparent than with a parent, who may be more invested in the team’s success.

10. What’s the most important issue to ask about a select team or travel team? Actually, there are two. Are the young players having a good time? Do they seem to have a real love of the game? Chances are that all is well if both of these questions can be answered in the affirmative.

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