Windham Baseball/Softball league recently voted to establish a Travel Baseball program within the rules of the Little League. This is great news because just like the travel soccer and basketball programs, it will now allow us to provide a higher level of baseball to the kids who can really benefit from it – while preserving the level of play in the regular WBSL season.
We formed a total of four travel teams for boys aged 9 -12 (birthdates 5/1/95 - 4/30/99).
- Travel Team players must participate in the regular WBSL league. This is not a replacement – it’s an addition to their baseball experience.
- The registration fee includes cost for indoor practices, umpires, uniforms, Little League registration fee, etc. We’d like to avoid additional fees (i.e., Tournament Fees) but we’re not positive about that yet.
- Our goal is to play an additional 30 to 40 games over the course of the year. We are currently working to schedule games with neighboring towns that are forming their own travel teams, identifying open tournaments, and signing up for an indoor winter league at the Hampshire Dome in Milford, NH.
Each team will have a head coach and two assistant coaches. The games will be played on regulation Little League fields with official rules and umpires. The practices will be run similar to a major league practice with multiple drills, hitting and individual instruction happening simultaneously.
The Season will look roughly like this:
- Winter (Jan – Mar) –Weekly practice inside consisting of the following:
- One night of hitting at a local facility
- Sunday practice at the Hampshire Dome consisting of fielding (infield & outfield), hitting, pitching, base running, etc.
- 7 Indoor Winter League Games- Hampshire Dome, Milford
- Early Spring (Mar-Apr) – 2x/ week practice inside
- April 1 - June 15 – Travel Games (Weekend double-headers) AND participation in WBSL (Regular Rec league). Rec League play is mandatory – it’s not an option to play Travel only.
- June 15 – Through the end of Little League District Tournament – Little League District team participation ONLY (no travel games or practices).
- After NH Little League District Tournament– additional tournaments.
In order for the travel program to be successful, we need some commitment from our players. In order to help prepare the players for the level of competition they will face come the spring and summer season, we intend to have training sessions comprised of hitting, fielding, and throwing beginning in mid January and running weekly through March. We understand that many players have activities such as hockey, basketball, skiing, etc., during the winter months. Participation in the winter pre-season training sessions will be optional. That said, our hope is that the kids will enjoy the training sessions so much that they will not want to miss a single session. However, please understand that once baseball season begins in April the expectation is that full participation in the program is required.
Will the All-Star Team be selected from these travel teams? No. Of course, the kids playing on the travel teams (or any other competitive teams) will have an advantage because of the volume of coaching and playing time they get. But, there’s no guarantee a Travel Player will make the District Team. In fact, we want to be very clear about this – it’s unethical and against the rules for us to have our WBSL District All-Star teams ‘selected’ in January. Selection for the WBSL District All-Star teams will be made on the merit of the player’s performance during the regular WBSL season. Yes, the Travel Team concept will help us form stronger District All-Star teams but we want to make it clear that participation on the Travel Team is NOT required to make the District All-Star team.
Why is this so expensive? Because of the amount of indoor practices over the winter – in addition to umpire fees, uniforms, etc. Mainly the indoor workouts though.
How does this compare to AAU?
- We will be playing on LL regulation 60 foot diamonds (AAU does 75’ base paths).
- Our team is entirely Windham – although the quality of our play will be high, there are some very competitive AAU programs that are stronger than us.
- Lighter travel requirements.
- Lower cost than most AAU programs.
- AAU is a great program too – our goal for travel baseball is to provide an accelerated experience for our kids while staying local.