Should my Son/Daughter play Recreational or Travel Basketball?
Should a youth player play in a recreation league or focus on playing travel basketball. If there is a choice between one, or the other, a player should always play where they are going to be challenged, but not playing over their head.
The key to player development is court time outside of practice. Game situations are where a player develops their basketball IQ. It is in the game where a player must make split second decisions. Games are where they must put all the drills into practice. That being said, if your son/daughter is not getting much playing time, they aren’t being tested. If the players in the travel league are much more developed, and your son/daughter isn’t getting much time on the floor, then your child should play recreational basketball until their skills reach the level to enable them to compete at a travel level.
The concern that I have with recreational programs is that some of them have rules designed to help developing players participate, and enjoy the game. If your son/daughter is going to play recreational basketball, you should make sure that the rules used in the recreational league are age appropriate. The other concern is practice time. Recreational programs practice once a week for maybe an hour or ninety minutes. Travel teams play competitively, and therefore should practice much more frequently. A travel team that develops kids abilities, will practice two to three times a week for two hours each.
If your son/daughter can play both recreational and travel, I would suggest allowing them to do it, unless they clearly are superior to the kids in the recreational league. By playing in the recreational league, your son/daughter can have fun, play with their school friends, which I think is good for young players. Travel basketball can unfortunately be too competitive. For a young player, having a game where they can just enjoy themselves, can be very beneficial.
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. The decision should always be dependent on what is in the best interest of your son/daughter’s development.
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