Good one. Makes sense when you say it or read the question here.

It’s 2 different things. Sooner or later good players will move on to full time independent travel teams. Unfortunately most do it too late. So some parents want the “best of both worlds.”
The Illiana Thunderbolts have tried this since our inception 17 years ago.
There is no single answer.

The IN-HOUSE game was created over 75 years ago with rules that leveled the playing field so that EVERYONE who wanted to play baseball could play no matter their ability. This WAS & IS a great thing. Most of the rules are basically the same.  But the “WAY” the game is taught and played is COMPLETELY different.

The travel game is played at different length bases, different length pitchers mound, bigger outfields, faster pitchers, aggressive base running, lead-offs, balks, signs, hit & runs,  more, more, more.

It is too much to ask a 10,11,12 year old to learn two different ways to play the same game? You tell me.

Read this experience, it is a good example of the difference in the game:
Several years back our IN-HOUSE 12 year old team had 8 Illiana Thunderbolts on the team. That year they went 22-2 and 6-0 in post season playoffs. NOW the record is not important. What was important was the 8 Thunderbolt players were playing a different game. Going from 1st to 3rd, hitting the cut-off man. Throwing a change-up instead of a fast ball down the middle with an 0-2 count. During that season this actually occurred. First, know that the Illiana Thunderbolts expect our batters to be aggressive. We teach the players that they may get one good pitch to hit and it may be the first pitch they see, so we encourage-no we insist they  go up there ‘READY’ to hit. So, here we are at an IN-HOUSE game and one of the Thunderbolts is up to bat. First pitch right down the middle, our batter took it strike one, next pitch same spot strike 2. Next pitch batter swings. Misses, strike 3. So I asked the batter (remember this is a Thunderbolt player – part time that year) “ why did you take the first two pitches, they were perfect, right down the middle?” The player looked me in the eyes and said the manager (IN-HOUSE manager) told him NOT to swing until he had two strikes. I then found out that he had told ALL the players to “crowd the plate” and  ”don’t swing until you get 2 strikes.”  So, being of an inquisitive mind I asked the IN-HOUSE manager if in fact he had told the team to “crowd the plate and don’t swing until you get two strikes on you” The manager said of course he did and began to explain to me that the pitcher on the other team was their best pitcher and we had to get the “pitch count” up so that we could get him out the game. Apparently COUNTING was MORE important that teaching baseball.

This is IN-HOUSE baseball thinking.

All that being said, the Illiana Thunderbolts do offer part time positions for players that want to stay in the rec league and also experience travel baseball.

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