The Pros of Travel Sports

“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat,” said Herschel Walker, a former football player, bobsledder, sprinter, and mixed martial artist. Travel sports are sports that can be played in the off-season with a team that enters tournaments or competitions. Most would think that travel sports only teach you about sportsmanship, but they are way more complex than that.

Travel sports teams are youth teams that play and participate at an elite level. Just about every sport you can think of has a widespread and assortment of travel leagues that anyone that can play and meet the age requirement can try out for. Some students are left with asking themselves the question: what are the exact advantages to playing on a travel sports team and how do I get to that next level by playing on one?

One of the advantages to playing and participating with a travel organization is you get to meet these next level coaches. Zachary Fontenot, a Junior at Fluvanna and Skyline team member, adds, “it was a very professional conversation [with the coach], although it doesn’t hurt to joke around a little. When they do that, it means they like you.” Fontenot puts in work by playing goalkeeper for the Varsity soccer team at Fluvanna, training for goalkeeping on Tuesday’s, and reffing over the course of the weekend.

A little over 7% of High School athletes are chosen to go and play a varsity sport in college and a little less than 2% of High School athletes go on to play on a DivisionⅠteam. “Travel teams are very crucial to a person’s development and future for someone who is looking to play in college, that’s where colleges look to find the best of the best, but you have to be careful which travel teams you go to play on,” Fontenot said.

Some athletes enjoy the idea of playing for a travel team because of the chance to improve their craft by challenging themselves with playing with people from different areas. They believe that even if they played for a school team, they wouldn’t be nearly at the same competitive level as they are today.

Sage Dombrovskis, a soccer player at William Monroe and another player from Skyline/SOCA , said, “my skill level has gotten significantly better from travel soccer.” Dombrovskis continues molding his craft of soccer by doing drills by himself and playing on and against competitive teams.

With the increasing popularity of travel sports teams, another advantage is the build-up of tougher skin. Most travel coaches are harder on their players because they believe in their skill and the amount of potential that a single player can acquire.

When asked about his opinion on participating on a travel team building tougher skin, Fontenot replied, “yes, playing on the travel team that I am playing on now has helped me mentally and physically.” Perseverance is key to becoming an unbeatable athlete physically and mentally.

Travel sports have been around for a long time. They have become a foundation for many athletes around the world. Not only are they fun overall, but they give you hands-on experience with talking to college coaches, help you improve your craft both physically and mentally, and they make you a well shaped and molded athlete. Next time you hear a fellow student talking about their travel team, sit down and listen for a bit. You are a witness to an increase in their craft.