Lightning Delays: The Myth Of Travel Ball Exposure
It was the fall of 1999 when my son and I first experienced travel baseball.
He had been playing in our local Little League for a few years and I was deeply involved in coaching him and his friends. I really had no idea what this travel ball thing was all about. In our area there were only about 5 teams to choose from and one of them was looking for a pitcher. Ty was a lefty who could throw strikes and he had a good changeup.
I liked the unbridled nature of travel ball, the freedom of self-scheduling and the possibility of coaching a group of talented kids over several years, so I gathered up some guys and a few coaches from our local park and we got to work.
Within a few years I was deeply entrenched in the travel ball scene, leading teams for all 3 of my sons from 14u down to 8u. By the time my 3rd son came through, I had learned a lot of valuable lessons and we got pretty good. We took a group of 7 year olds, practiced 2-33 days per week, gradually ramped up the volume and competitive level of our games, and by the time they were 12, we won the AAU National Championship.
It was pretty cool.
We had the opportunity to play in The MLB Network’s National Youth Baseball Championship where we made the semifinals before getting thrashed by a bunch of man-child monsters from Spring, Texas.
As the years progressed, I began to notice a disturbing trend in the travel ball culture. The free-market nature that had been the catalyst of travel ball’s success and value had become corrupted. This led to a degradation of quality and integrity on both ends of the competitive spectrum.
As people began to view travel teams as money-making opportunities, the more competitive teams dove headlong into the recruiting scene — even covering travel expenses, uniforms, and membership fees to lure the most highly skilled players to their organizations. Meanwhile, the “participation trophy” culture led to a proliferation of teams stocked with players who weren’t skilled enough to be playing above the recreational level. The talent became diluted and soon the quality of play was no better than your average Little League..
Now, nearly 20 years later, travel ball has become a cash cow and it’s here to stay. What used to be an exciting opportunity for more skilled players to test their wares against the best competition available has become an illusion. Players of inferior ability and their well-meaning parents and coaches sucked into the subculture of the system spend their summers bouncing through a cavalcade of tournaments and showcase events in a nomadic and desperate quest for “exposure” to college recruiters. But, the vast majority of them don’t have the ability to attract the looks they desire.
They end up wasting 10s of thousands of dollars over the summer and they come home exhausted, broke, and not one iota better than they were before the summer began. It’s what I call “the travel ball smoke and mirrors magic show,” and it has deceived more families than I can count. Their FOMO (fear of missing out) causes them to buy into myth that they must join the circus to get “exposure”
What they get is EXPOSED!
EXPOSED to college recruiters as non-candidates with average or inferior ability… EXPOSED with arm strength and hitting power below that of their competitive peer group… EXPOSED to mental stress, anguish and disappointment.
But it doesn’t have to be…
If your velocity is already 3-5mph ahead of your competitive peer group, you should play travel ball and show off your ability this summer.
If you’re already blasting balls out of the park with elite level exit velocities and launch angles, you should play travel ball this summer.
And if you truly have an unwavering desire to sit in your car enduring countless Fort Myers lightning delays, then you SHOULD play travel baseball this summer.
But if not, you’re wasting your time and money.
Take those resources and reinvest them on yourself.
Get here to our amazing FBR Ultimate Summer Training Program.
We start on Monday June 5th and we go hard 5 days per week through August 11th.
Or you could spend a transformational weekend with us at one of our 2 day attend Elite Performers Boot Camps.
- A full head to toe physical assessment
- A high speed video analysis of your throwing pattern
- A Rapsodo evaluation of your spin rate, tilt axis, velo, and movement
- A Kinetisense markerless biomechanical analysis of your functional movement
- A Motus evaluation of elbow torque and arm speed
- Hands on instruction on all corrective throwing drills
- Hands on instruction on all physical corrective exercises
- 2 FBR power building workouts
- Instruction and application of our revolutionary leading edge coordinative strengthening program
- weight training that transfers to power on the field
- Classroom education and application of motor learning secrets to turbo boost your training
- Classroom education and application of the science of injury prevention and recovery
- A comprehensive, customized, multi-dimensional plan to guide your training and take your game to new heights
- A free digital copy of my new book and video, Start With The Pain: The Complete Guide To Managing Arm Pain in The Elite Throwing Athlete
- A free 30-day membership to our Durathro on-line training program to ensure your continued progress and turning your 2 day camp into 32 days!
- Loads of world-class mindset training — inspirational messages that will change your game and your life
We’ll help you add the velo you’re missing and we’ll help you do it in the most efficient and safe manner possible. If you’re having pain, we’ll show you how to eliminate it. If it’s improved secondary stuff you need, you’ll get that too.
And if you’re a 2-way guy or a position player we have something great for you! Add hitting to your summer training experience or purchase a 4-hour Friday night hitting clinic and add it to your weekend boot camp.
We’ll teach you a training process that will help you self-organize a swing made for hitting balls hard and in the air – a plan that results in double and homeruns. We’ll measure and record your batspeed, exit velo, launch angle and swing path using Rapsodo, Zepp, Motus and Stalker in our state of the art Battery Power Hitting Center.
Choose from one of these dates:
Click Here To Register! (pay in 1,2 or 3 installments)
Or call us at 866-787-4533
Camps are limited to the first 15 registrants, so you’ll be sure to get the personal instruction you need. Don’t delay! These will fill up fast!
See you at The Ranch!
Randy Sullivan, MPT, CSCS
CEO, Florida Baseball Ranch