Maybe the trickiest thing about Travel Ball is the small rosters…while keeping a smaller amount of players certainly maximizing playing opportunities, it also robs players of the opportunity to learn how to sit and work their way off the bench…to compete for playing time (like they will in all the truly meaningful baseball they’ll ever play, such as, college ball).
“But I’m really good…when would I ever sit the bench?”
While this will be true for some of you right now, at a certain age, that WILL change. For some, it will be high school. For others, it may not be until college or even pro ball. But at some point, you’re going to be sitting on the bench watching someone else playing your position.
How you react to this will make or break your career. It’s really that simple.
As you get older, you aren’t competing against an age group (ie-15U) or your state. You’ll be competing against a large age range, experience gap, and geological area (the world). The combination of all three of those will inevitably send you to the bench.
The question you’re going to need to answer as you’re sitting there watching someone else hit in your spot in the order, is what are you going to do about it?
Are you going to sit there and get worse (literally get worse since you aren’t doing anything) or are you going to force your way into the line-up somehow?
Are you going to work so damn hard that your coach has no other option but to give you some type of opportunity?
Then are you going to take pride in dominating whatever that initial (probably small) opportunity and EARN yourself a bigger opportunity?
Very few careers end with a player walking off the field to a standing ovation. The vast majority are ended with a lonely stroll from the bench to your car.
The bench is coming for you. What will you do about it? Be obsessed.
Director of Baseball
Maplezone Sports Institute