Monday, January 7, 2008
Let's say you are in the market for a home. The present state of the real estate industry aside, do you buy a home just for the lowest price or do you research everything about a neighborhood before buying a new home, such as residents, nearby schools, environmental statistics and information about recently sold properties in your neighborhood? If you want a return on your investment, you will do your homework and research...because you will reap the benefits if you follow the age old mantra of real estate 101 and buy for location, location, location.
Finding a summer team for your athlete follows the same principals. It's all about where you locate your son in front of the right scouts that can see him play. If your son has the right tools and may project to play at the next level, then how will he be seen? Does your sons present team adequately do that? If not, then maybe it is time to sit down with the present coaches and see what their plans are. About 98% of all signed, college bound senior players in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California played on travel teams. The numbers are proof that the travel teams produce results and a BIG return for your athlete. The good teams that is. Our December 20th post recapping our NLI's, pointed out about a dozen teams that place nearly 100% of their rosters. Those teams have managers that have influential contacts and know all or most of the key recruiters. Others may have the same influence with recruiters but will place only 25-50% of their players due to lack of recruitable players but even that's still good. At least they are trying.
The teams to stay away from, if there is any cost involved, are the teams that have little or no track record of success. If you are unsure of the integrity of a travel team, ask for references. Most good organizations like the teams we highlighted in our Top 5 will provide you with dozens of references from past players and parents, to college and pro scout references. If a travel team that is recruiting your son can't provide that, then it may not provide you the return you are looking for.
And a lot of the emphasis on travel teams depends on where you live. In the big baseball states of the West, South and Mid South travel teams are imperative if your son wants to play D-I. But in the north and rural states, a player may be OK playing for his Legion or Connie Mack club if that is the traditional resource for talent by the local colleges.
And that brings up the next point...the most important point...Where do the college recruiters in your area look to seek out talent? When sending out college letters, have your son ask them where they think he should play and where they go to find players. That will determine where he should play...But remember, most teams that play in competitive leagues will want your son to play baseball at the highest level, so that they can get a realistic look at his talents and the physical and mental reactions he projects against that level of competition. Because the realities are...those same recruiters and coaches need to get a return on their investment as well. So, the more confident they are that the player they recruited can transition to the next level, the better chance that player has. And, the best places a recruiter can be to ensure that a recruit can handle the rigors of college competition, is where the competition is at its best...and it won't be at the local Babe Ruth or Legion leagues in many cases...it will be at the big national or regional showcases and tournaments...but ask college coaches anyway...you definitely don't want to pay more than you have to.