High school baseball players between the ages of 16 and 17 who want to participate in the summer must choose between travel baseball and American Legion baseball. And the American Legion coaches frequently engage in vigorous recruiting. The number of players that desire to play American Legion baseball has decreased over the last few years, according to legion coaches. They are now required to actively seek out players. Let’s examine the reasons for the decline in American Legion baseball participation.
Baseball in Little League Explodes
For children aged ten to fourteen, the small league baseball scene began to take off around fifteen years ago. The number of organizations hosting World Series events increased from a small number with eight or ten teams to several organizations with tournaments with one hundred or more teams. Additionally, during the past six years, this growth in teams and competitions has spread to the age ranges of fifteen to eighteen.
Before, these high school-aged baseball players had just a small number of AAU teams and American Legion teams to choose from. These days, travel baseball teams are very common. These teams travel the nation competing in tournaments or showcases, much as their name suggests. Many of these traveling teams receive sponsorship assistance from some athletic goods companies.
Baseball coaches at colleges have discovered a new method of scouting and recruiting high school players because to the expansion of travel teams. They now have these touring teams come play at their stadium rather of chasing summer teams throughout the nation. Each summer, a number of college coaches will plan a few tournaments. They gain a small profit from the competition and get to interact with many players without having to travel.
The opportunity for players to interact with college coaches is priceless. Additionally, kids get to visit college campuses and play baseball on college grounds.
Summer Time Is Needed for Other Sports
Other sports are another factor in the decline in players that wish to play legion baseball. Every high school sport seems to have a summer-long training program or other obligation that prevents students from participating in more than one sport. High school athletes who play football and basketball do not want to go to the gym every morning, lift weights, and then play a baseball doubleheader that goes until eleven o’clock. Many high school athletes are compelled to play just one sport, which is sad but true.
Age Limit for Legion
The American Legion has increased the minimum age requirement for membership from eighteen to nineteen. Teams were able to maintain their numbers because to this rise. Many college freshmen enjoy returning home and playing baseball one more season. Additionally, American Legion has just begun to publicize their baseball program for Junior Legion. The sooner they can enroll players in the legion program, they believe, the better. It is still too early to tell whether or not this feeder program will be effective.
What Should I Do?
So what should a baseball player in high school do? Should he join his high school friends in playing American Legion baseball, or should he look for a travel team to show potential college coaches what he can do?
I have experience on both sides of the debate in this matter. My sons both play travel baseball, one of whom played legion baseball for four years. Baseball in the American Legion is a venerable and storied sport. The team’s members are all from the same town or city. On your shoulder, you have an American Legion patch. Usually, legion coaches commit to the team for a long time. You play a ton of games, and you play your house games close by. Additionally, prices are typically fair. However, based on my observations, few college coaches or recruiters attend legion games.
Players on travel teams typically attend a variety of high schools. They’ll put in a lot of practice, and it might be far away. Travel teams frequently employ coaches. Three out of every four weekends they might be on the road. Many competitions begin in the morning on Wednesday or Thursday. Carpooling becomes quite important. At their games, there may be a large number of college coaches and industry scouts. Travel teams can be highly expensive.
Both kinds of teams, in my opinion, are necessary and will succeed. Not everyone enjoys playing travel baseball, and not everyone can afford the fees. However, if you or your son are competent enough, a solution may frequently be found. Travel team coaches will make it possible for talented players to join the squad because they want to succeed. Finding a travel team is worthwhile if you are a good player. With travel teams, baseball gets far more exposure at college and professional levels.
But many high school athletes will still find the American Legion program to be a fantastic option. The Legion program has produced numerous players who are now in the pros and in Division 1. Just a little less are now coming from legion baseball.