The Student News Site of Greenwood Community High School

Timberlines Online

The Student News Site of Greenwood Community High School

Timberlines Online

The Student News Site of Greenwood Community High School

Timberlines Online

Travel sports play important role in athletic recruiting

For athletes who plan to continue their athletic careers after high school, playing travel and AAU sports during their high school off-seasons often plays an important role in the recruitment process. 

Athletes playing high school sports are rarely recruited during high school games, especially in baseball. Most athletes are recruited during the summers playing travel baseball for organizations in competitive tournaments being seen by scouts and coaches. 

“My recruitment came during the summer months playing with my travel team and at showcase events,” senior Cade Kelly, pitcher, said. “I played with a really good organization on a talented team which led to us playing in high scale tournaments against really good teams. Playing against good competition on a good team helps baseball players get seen by coaches.”

In baseball specifically, many tournaments are hosted by colleges, and some games are played on those school fields. Crossroads Tournament games are hosted at Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in northern Indiana in the summer months. Coaches are typically at these games as supervisors, and players are exposed to them during games.

“We played most of our tournaments at IWU and some games on the campus of Taylor this summer,” senior Brendan Bailey, pitcher, said. “Playing at their fields gave us a cool opportunity to play on really nice fields and be around quality facilities while also gaining exposure. At IWU specifically, one of their assistant coaches was there during all of the games and talked to some players. Getting to play in front of coaches on their field is an amazing opportunity for players to get seen.”

Playing on high quality teams in established organizations stands as a symbol for the skill level of some players. On the baseball travel circuit, the teams and organizations that have been around for decades and have made a name for themselves as successful programs find themselves with higher skilled players. 

“Our team is ranked nationally as one of the better sophomore-age group teams,” sophomore Jayden Pierce, utility, said. “When your team has a higher status, usually tryouts have more kids, and more kids means having a better selection of players with more talent on the roster. The teams that have this status on the schedule tend to have a better turnout from college coaches wanting to come and watch those kids compete.”

In softball, playing on a high tier travel team has a similar effect for players. For some, joining a more competitive team is the difference between little-to-no offers to receiving offers from dream programs. 

“I have played for a few teams over the years,” senior Courtney Hankenhoff, pitcher, said. “When you play for so long and play for different programs, you start to see a difference in how high level teams practice, train and play the game. I think that as athletes get older and realize they want to play at the next level, joining a top-tier organization sets them apart from others and prepares them for the college level as closely as possible.”

Playing a summer schedule on a team with high level athletes from other schools builds friendships and also rivalries during the high school seasons. Many athletes from the southside and Johnson County tend to play on the same summer teams across different sports.

“Running with guys from our area during the summer builds a higher level of competition during the season,” junior Will Riley, sprinter, said. “Running all summer and training together builds friendships for us. When the high school season rolls around, it builds our competition level, and we want to compete harder against the guys we know from the off-season.”

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