Each year there seem to be more and more options available to young players as to where they will play the following year. We have seen an explosion in the number of club teams and community teams are still a good option. So the question is, how do you pick the right team for you or your child?

First and foremost, ask the player what they want. What are their goals and aspirations as it relates to softball? Do they want to travel a lot, what skills do they want to enhance, improve, or learn? These all fit into the equation. Parents have the best intentions generally, but we have all seen how some lose sight of the fact that sports should be what the child wants, not what the parents want. The game should be fun, and if the player is not committed or only doing it because their parents want them to, they most likely will not enjoy it. If we do not enjoy doing things, we tend not to get the most out of them or give the most to them.

Next, define those goals and look at what programs can help the player achieve them. Some players want to play at the college level; eventually, some want to play with their friends and enjoy the game. With so many options available, there is a pretty good chance you can find what you are looking for in a program. Take the time to evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a program and their coaching staff(s) and philosophy. For example, let’s say your daughter is a slapper. Are their coaches at the organization that can help them, or will you have to seek out help from private lessons?

Costs will and should also play into that decision. They range from very expensive to very affordable, depending on what direction you go. In business, we focus on ROI, and it also applies when picking a club. Maybe not directly in the dollar and cents but more in the idea of can I get more out of it with my investment of time and money.

Take the time to do your research and speak to current and past players. Contact the coaches and layout your goals and see if they match up with those programs or coaches’ goals. It can be a daunting task, but if you take some time on the front end, you can hopefully find the right fit.