If the family can manage the details and the money, though, there is greater reward in the travel experience than most recreational and intramural leagues. According to Albert, the chance to compete at a higher level, and perhaps win a national tournament, is an incomparable feeling for a child. Unger agrees. Both sports leaders also think a topnotch travel team experience better prepares young athletes for high school and college teams. Albert adds that truly professional coaching (like he ascribes to) builds character. Another positive, according to Carton, “the girls learn the proper way to play the game.”
And travel teams also create friendships and community: “There is a great camaraderie among all the kids in the league,” Carton adds.
There’s one last bit of advice coaches can offer parents, and that’s to think of your work in the same vein as your kids’. It’s okay if you aren’t always successful; nobody wins them all. Just be sure that you’re prepared, that you’ve made the effort, and that you keep on learning. And don’t forget the main idea — to have fun!
For more information about Syosset’s Girls Softball Travel League, visit www.syacgs.org.
Lightening the Load
This is how parents can help the team, the coach, and one another:
• Rotate responsibility for buying and bringing water, sports drinks and nutritious snacks.
• Compile a list of players’ and parents’ mobile phone numbers, and establish a call tree.
• Offer to provide administrative help for your coach, such as making copies or hotel reservations.
• Help out at games and practice sessions.