Why Travel Basketball may not be the right choice for you | Part 2
Last year we discussed several reasons why travel basketball may not be the right choice for you or your child at the moment. Here is a link to the article if you haven't had a chance to read it http://pbchoops.com/pbchoops/node/3369
This time around we are going to discuss a few more reasons. These center more around the cost and commitment associated with playing travel basketball and the issues they may cause. First and foremost playing any travel sport is expensive and not for everyone. Tournament fees, uniforms, travel, lodging, food cost etc can add up quick. Next, there is also a parent commitment associated with being on a travel team. One of the most important, is the ability of the player to get to and from practice and games. Far to often parents are failing in this part of the equation relying on coaches and/or other parents to get their child to and from. This should be the first question that needs to be answered before even considering to participate on a travel team, "Can you get your child to/from practice and games?" If the answer is "No" then that should be a good indicator that you may want to look into another basketball option. Whether it be after school basketball, rec leagues or just playing pick up basketball at a neighborhood park or gym there are alternatives that don't involve a multi day a week commitment to practice and games.
Second involves the actual cost associated with travel basketball. Tournaments are not free and gym space for practice is rarely free, therefore in order to participate on a team fees must be charged. Far to often kids have their sights set on playing travel basketball but have no means to cover the cost. Some organizations may be able to assist with financial assistance but not all, what ends up happening is a group of players that want to play but can't come up with the necessary money to pay for events and practice space. Far to often that cost is absorbed by a coach or other parents in order to keep a team together and play. Unfortunately this is a recipe for disaster and hard to sustain long term. What usually ends up happening is the team plays a couple of events and folds, leaving players and parents to search for another team.
The real problem is an on going trend, mostly driven by kids, that playing travel basketball is a necessity when it's not. Being kids most don't really understand all that goes into putting a team together, which is OK they are kids. This is why it's essential parents are involved and financially committed to making the experience work. Coaches and other parents also need to be realistic in a given situation, letting kids know if they don't have the support they can't play. It may sound harsh but as mentioned before travel basketball is not a necessity, its better to point a kid on the right path then lead them on a path that may leave them without the skills needed to play middle school and high school basketball. The best way for you or your child may not always be the popular route but the opportunity is there with or without travel basketball, it can be done .