Apr 26, 2022 • 5 min read
The trip is booked. You’re going to a tournament with your team and it’s the first of the season. Excitement is high, but trip logistics are in question. The location for the tournament and the game schedule is set, the hotel is booked, a team dinner is accounted for, but what about everything else?
As a parent going on a trip with your athlete and the rest of the team, here are some tips to ensure the travel runs smoothly. Travel teams typically do a lot of, well, travel. As a parent who signed your child up for this, you also signed yourself up for it. Here are some ways to ease the stress, enjoy some fun road trips, and see your child happy and developing.
Many travel teams have parent managers or parent coordinators. What this does is help the coaches and the rest of the parents with team communication, logistics, and more. If your child is going on a trip with the travel team and you have a parent manager, refer to that parent! The parent manager is usually in close communication with the coach so knows everything from arrival time, what jersey to wear, the team’s standings and more. If your team doesn’t have a parent manager, and you’re up for it, suggest being the point person for the weekend and create a checklist for yourself to ensure a smooth weekend. TeamSnap helps coaches, parents, and more with communication, scheduling and availability, reminders, registration and more. Lean in to TeamSnap to be your parent manager, it won’t disappoint.
There’s nothing quite like being two hours into a road trip and remembering you were supposed to bring both color jerseys. Make sure your child’s sports bag is packed the night before travel. Make a list, double check it, and tap into reminders on your phone and the TeamSnap app. This kicks the travel day off on a strong start. Load up the car and take off!
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Since travel teams require many hours getting from fields, to courts, stadiums, to rinks, figure out the best route ahead of time. Play around with different maps and routes and look for the most direct route. Communicate with other parents and always allow yourself plenty of time to get to the practices and games. Travel teams usually require more commitment than a recreational team, which allows means earlier arrival times and longer post-game talks. Find out how much time before practices and games your coach wants the team there, and give yourself an extra 15 minutes if possible in case any unexpected hurdles get in your way to team commitments.
One way to plan for any unpredictable work commitments or anything else that could get into your way of getting your child to practice is to have a back up plan. This could be having a direct line of communication with another parent and letting them know that your child may need a ride if something comes up. Life happens, so rely on other members of the team to step up when you need them. As much as your child is part of a team, as a parent you are too.
As a travel team player and parent, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your questions can be directed to the coach, but also other coaches and members of the travel organization. If you are a travel player and confused about the club’s mission statement or policy around playing time, ask away! A travel organization is only as strong as the players and families that make it up, so ask away. Additionally, if you are a new travel parent and you are trying to navigate this new space, don’t be afraid to ask other parents about things that seem new and confusing.
Although travel teams require a lot of time commitment, find balance where you can. If the car rides are long and monotonous, maybe opt for some playlists, podcasts, or audiobooks. If you know that you have a tournament in a new city, maybe take the rest of the trip to explore a new place, try new cuisine, and be a tourist! If there is a lot of car time it also doesn’t hurt to pull over to rest stops or stop at a restaurant for a good meal instead of non-stop playing, driving, and eating on the go.
With all the travel, practices and games, you want to make sure your child is enjoying the sport and environment. For some athletes, travel teams aren’t enjoyable but recreational sports are. Recreational teams usually are local and don’t require tryouts, travel, and higher fees. If your child is on a travel team, it’s important to check that they like being part of the team and still are having fun playing the sport. What keeps kids playing sports is a love for the game, so above all else that has to be the priority.