Many girls softball parents are afraid of getting their child interested in youth sports because of player fees, and the overall cost to play. This is a very sore issue for most coaches and parents. If a player shows interest and the ability to play at a higher level both the coach and parent want them to have the opportunity. However, sometimes it’s just out of their hands. Playing fees are very expensive for some families and altogether impossible to play for some. This leaves coaches sometimes paying part of the fees, or the parent telling their child they can’t play. Personally, I hate this part of the game, however I also know running a team takes a lot of time and money. If you want to be seen at good tournaments and by quality college recruiters for softball you have to pay. Tournament fees, food costs, travel costs, and equipment are expensive. That is why I have outlined a few costs and hidden fees of playing competitive softball. Please keep in mind these costs vary depending on the quality of gear, how you feed your family, and your own choices of teams.
If you want to jump to the end I have also listed a couple of tips for keeping your costs to a minimum while playing fastpitch softball.
Softball Tournament Team Entry Fees range from $400- $500 dollars depending on the level of play. Usually these fees are covered by your player fees.
(Average Summer Tournament Schedules consist of about 12 tournaments.)
Player Fees: Average cost to play on Girls Fastpitch Softball Team can range from $3,000 to $4,000 depending on the team. Player fees are also per season. This amount is for one summer season.
Tournament Associated Traveling Costs:
Gas Costs: for driving to and from tournaments is $100-$300 (Depends on location and distance)
Food Costs for Tournaments: $100- $150 Depending on number of family members attending games.
Flying to Tournaments accrues additional costs that can range depending on your flight and location.
Hotel & Lodging: 80-$120.00 and up! per night.
Equipment & Apparel Costs:
Average Cost of a Softball bat: $250.00
Average Cost of a Softball Glove: $100-$250.00
Average Cost of Cleats: $90.00
Average Cost of Softball Pants: $45.00
Compression Shirts: $45
* Equipment like gloves and bats can often be used for a couple of years and are not consistent costs. They also vary per position. If your child chooses to catch the costs can increase by close to $200.00.
Additional Softball Lessons & Fees:
Catching $30-$50.00 per hour
Hitting: $30-$60.00 per hour
Fielding & Position Specific: $30-$50.00 per hour
Total Costs (Calculated on High End, and excludes flying): $6,770
5 Tips to Save Money for Fastpitch Softball:
1. Get an American Express
I know this wasp probably the last thing you expected to hear, but it really is a life saver. While I don’t recommend your family racking up a ton of debt, I do recommend you taking advantage of their rewards points for flying miles. My family has greatly benefited from using this little trip. It has even helped pay for my family (Including aunts, cousins, and grandparents) to fly to Hawaii and watch the WAC tournament! These rewards are an amazing way to save cash and prepare for when your athlete competes in 18U fastpitch softball, or when she competes in college. Trust me you won’t want to miss those games in Hawaii, or other states!
2. Pack Food Ahead of Time
Food costs can get extremely pricy, especially if your team has some big spenders who like fancier restaurants. Instead of forking out $100 of dollars every weekend at restaurants and fast food, plan ahead. Try to get other parents involved and bring a BBQ so that you can feed the team after games. A lot of colleges do this after their games, it promotes team bonding, family atmosphere, and saves families cash! Bring steaks, tri-tip carne asada, chicken, hot dogs, salad, fruit, etc.. the possibilities are endless and if the costs are split between families and you buy in bulk it really can make a difference on your wallet. Plus its fun!
3. Bring Your Own Water, Gatorade, and Seeds!
I know it’s hard to organize your entire family, make sure your daughter doesn’t forget her cleats, and get everyone to the game on time, but if you just take one more second to bring your own case of water it will make a difference. The average cost of water at a snack bar is $2.00! That means if your child needs 2 waters in a game, and they play 6 games in a tournament you are handing over $12.00 just in H20! Plus that doesn’t count your own water, and seeds, and dear I say Nachos!
If you are really struggling to pay for your daughter to play fastpitch softball, and the gas, food, and hotel lodging are just too much. Send your kid with a friend on the team. I know this is tough for some parents, because you want to watch your child perform, but it’s a much better option than going broke or taking your child off the team. You will save a ton of extra money, and your child can have fun and make close friends. Here is a tip, find another family who is open to the idea of trading off on tournaments. Maybe half of the tournaments you take their child with you and they stay home, and the other off your daughter can ride with them and you would stay home. The key to making this work and keeping everyone happy is finding someone you trust, and making sure you send your child with the correct amount of money that they will need for lodging, food, and anything extra.
5. Choosing a Hotel
Some teams pick the closest hotel to the field, and these hotels are not always the cheapest. Be sure to ask for a sports team rate, this will often help lower the cost per night. Also, if you can become a rewards, or gold member at any of the major hotels do it, and do it while your child is young. If you are a member you will often receive free nights, discounts, and other specials to save you cash. There are even some hotel chains that offer stay for two nights and you will get a night free. These free nights add up! Another great tip for saving money on hotels, is by searching on priceline.com. These sites are a great way to get a great deal.
Members of groups such as AAA and AARP often qualify for reduced hotel rates.
The same holds true for people in certain professions, such as educators and military personnel, says Nancy Dunnan, editor and publisher of TravelSmart, one of the nation’s oldest consumer travel newsletters.
Follow us: @Bankrate on Twitter | Bankrate on Facebook