Hello. I am Bob Bentz. Both my son (Brooks) and my daughter (Brittany) play travel baseball and softball. I was the manager of the Chester County Crawdads from age 10 - 18. The boys who played with me are now between their sophomore and junior year in college. They are playing at major universities such as Temple, Richmond, and West Chester. One player (Pete Hissey) was a 4th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox and is now playing at Salem. My daughter is a high school age player and plays for the Odyssey team in suburban Philadelphia. I do not coach the softball team. I am also the publisher of Fantasy Baseball Dugout.com.
It's a chance to get to know a great group of young men and women and become friends with players and parents from other nearby schools. What do you get out of it? As a coach, I believe I have made a small, but significant, impact on the lives of the players. They were already great players who were self-motivated, but I gave them the opportunity to play more games and excel beyond other great players who were not as dedicated to improvement. I have also helped them to create lifetime friendships. When the guys signed their letters of intent, I was invited to be part of it along with their high school coaches.
It's a lot more work than coaching in a league, because everything needs to be organized. The reward for me was when the boys played against each other in school games and you could see them interacting after the game as friends.
As a parent, one of the most important things we can teach our kids is commitment and to do the best that they can. Travel sports really does this. They may be stars in their local leagues, but when they go out and play against the best in the country, they soon find out that they may be just another player.
Is it worth giving up your weekends? I must admit, I often wondered that when I was up at 5:00 AM on a Saturday after a long week at work, but for me and the kids, it was worth it. It will help them in life and in their careers. Your kids are only with you for a short time so I could suck it up for the early mornings.
If you are doing this for a college scholarship, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons in my opinion. Of the 18 boys that I coached, every one of them had an opportunity to play in college at some level. Some chose not to play in college. You do it to teach the kids to be their best in something that they love. If the end result of this is a college scholarship, or a pro contract, that's great, but it shouldn't be the reason to do it.