There are a lot of costs associated with travel softball. When starting with a younger group of girls, I am always considering need versus want. That being said, some needs start to blend in with the wants as we form our team image.
The best advice I can give to coaches and parents as they embark on this journey is to call around for prices. Get quotes from as many places as possible. You will be amazed of the price range you receive from all of the various vendors. Facebook is a great starting point as well because you can reach out to local businesses operating out of their home. From Facebook, you can read reviews, view photos and find recommendations.
When we set out on this travel softball adventure, we knew our priority was the cost of tournaments, umpires, equipment, uniforms and league fees. Shopping around for prices on embroidery and screen printing, opens up the opportunity to buy direct from vendors like Boombah. You'll be amazed at how much you can save. However, in the end we strive to support our local business mom & pop shops and in-store locations. Blending the two allows us to support our community, while getting the best price for our parents.
Last night was intense! I grew up playing fastpitch softball for a team based out of Fairfax County and I have never seen a tryout like this. So glad to see this much love for our beloved sport! A huge thank you to Shawn Gallagher (16u Shooting Stars) & Marissa Gallagher, who organized this successful event.
As a coach, I want to share my thoughts with you, so you can understand where we are coming from. Having also been a high school teacher, a lot of my thought process and coaching strategy comes from the classroom.
What are we looking for at tryouts?
We are looking for passion, drive and motivation. A positive attitude goes a long way. In always thinking about the player first, I want to make sure we're a fit for her and not the other way around. Does she work well with others? How does she respond with setbacks? Is she focused on what's going on in front of her? These questions are also the same questions I see when I write letters of recommendations for my students. The skills your daughters need to learn on the field will live with them for the rest of their life. We really want to make sure the girls can work together as a team and value their teammates contribution.
Of course we're also looking at skill. Has she been playing on a team already or practicing ahead of the tryout? This will really show when girls are trying out next to other girls who have been playing all summer. At a young age such as 9u, practicing with a family member a few times a week can be just as effective.
Is she ready? Girls who love the sport but who haven't yet developed the skills to compete at this level would benefit from playing on a team that will give them more opportunities on the field. It's better that they play often and improve their skills rather than sit on a bench and watch their teammates play.
The last thing I look at is are they having fun? There are so many tense moments in softball that you have to find a way take the bad with the good and roll with it. Playing with your best friends will be a memory they will never forget.