Sixteen- and seventeen-year-old high school baseball players who want to play summer baseball have to choose between American Legion baseball and travel baseball. And quite often there are some intense recruits from the coaches of the American Legion. In the last few years, the coaches of the Legion have noticed a decrease in the number of players who want to play baseball in the American Legion. Now he has to actively follow the players. Let’s take a look at why the baseball number of the American Legion is declining.
Mince League Baseball explodes
The small league baseball scene exploded about fifteen years ago for children ages ten to fourteen. World Series tournaments have gone from just a few organizations with eight or ten teams to many organizations with tournaments of a hundred or more teams. And in the last six years, this expansion of teams and tournaments has been passed on to the age groups of fifteen to eighteen.
Previously, baseball picks for these high school-age players were limited to a few AAU teams and American Legion teams. There are now many teams called travel baseball teams. These teams do exactly what their name suggests; they travel around the country playing in tournaments or showcases. Some sporting goods manufacturers help sponsor many of these travel teams.
With this expansion of travel teams, college baseball coaches have discovered a new way to research and recruit high school players. Instead of traveling all over the country and watching summer teams, they now have these teams traveling to come and play at their stadium. Many college coaches will host several tournaments each summer. They earn little money from the tournament and get to see many players without having to travel.
For players, exposure to college coaches is invaluable. And they get to play on the college baseball fields and see the college campuses.
Other sports require summer time
Another reason for the declining number of players who want to play legion baseball is other sports. It seems that every high school sport has a summer training program or other activity that forces children to play only one sport. High school football and basketball players don’t want to lift weights and train every morning, then go play a double baseball game that doesn’t end until eleven in the evening. It’s sad, but it’s true that many high school players have to choose a sport.
Legion’s age limit increased
A few years ago, the American Legion raised the age limit for Legion players from eighteen to nineteen. This increase has helped the teams keep their numbers high. Many college freshmen love to come home and play another year of baseball. And recently, the American Legion began promoting its Jr. Legion baseball program. They feel that the sooner they introduce players to the legion program, the better. It is too early to tell whether this program will be successful or not.
What to do?
So what should a high school baseball player do? Should he play American Legion baseball with his high school friends or find a travel team to show off the skills of many college coaches?
I can talk about this on both sides of the fence. I have a son who played four years of legion baseball and another who plays traveling baseball. American Legion baseball is an old and proud program. The players of the team all come from the same city or town. Wear an American Legion patch on your shoulder. Legion coaches usually stay with the program for many years. You play a lot of games, and home games are played nearby. And usually the cost is reasonable. But in my experience, not many coaches or recruiters come to the legion games.
Travel teams are usually made up of players from many different high schools. They will practice a lot and can be far away. Quite often travel teams have hired coaches. They can travel three out of four weekends. Many tournaments start on Wednesday or Thursday during the day. It takes a lot of carpooling. There can be many college coaches and professional scouts at their games. The cost of travel teams can be very high.
I think both types of teams are needed and will survive. Travel baseball is not for everyone, and not everyone can afford it. However, if you or your son are good enough, something can usually be fixed. The coaches of the travel team want to win, so they will find a way for the good players to be in the team. If you are a good player, it is worth your while to find a travel team. Exposure to college and professional baseball is substantially better with travel teams.
But the American Legion program will continue to be a great choice for many high school players. Many professional and first division players have left the law program. There are only a few who come from Legion Baseball right now.
After many years of training, watching, and traveling to baseball games outside of town, I decided to share my baseball tips and the stories I learned and experienced along the way. To see more of the articles I’ve written, please visit my Helpful Baseball Drills website . You will not only find baseball exercises that will help you, but also some great items like the one above.