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The PBO Thunder Travel Program


In addition to the in-house recreational program, PBO also offers an optional travel program. This program is designed to offer the more advanced players an opportunity to play more games and against similarly organized teams. All players who participate in the travel program must also play in our in-house program. The program is organized as follows:


Spring Travel

Try-outs:  We have try outs in the late summer for our 12 year old Cooperstown teams. For the 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14 year old teams, we have try outs in early December indoors. Evaluators who do not have children trying out for the team rank the players based on their abilities to field, throw, hit, etc. When available, the local high school coaches that sit on the PBO advisory board are the evaluators. Otherwise, members of our board of trustees evaluate

The emphasis for spring travel will be on the development of the players and the enjoyment of the game. Equal playing time is encouraged.

Manager Selection:  Anyone interested in managing should put his name in for consideration with the travel coordinator. Manager selections are made by our board prior to the try out and their names will be posted on our website.

The season:
  After the teams are selected, their practices begin in early January at the Quarry in Romoeville.  PBO assigns practice times for field and batting cage use for each team.

Along with our manager and coaches, PBO offers the 11u, 12u, 13u, and 14u Spring travel teams an additional program for speed, agility and strength training.

Your manager will have the flexibility to join one of any number of travel leagues, depending on what level he feels that the team can compete on. These include, Chicagoland Sunday Baseball, i-80, or the NIML leagues. Regardless of the league joined, travel games are only allowed on Sundays and Wednesdays. These are off days for the PBO in-house program. Usually, Wednesdays are reserved for practices and Sunday mornings for games. But that is up to the discretion of the coach.

No more than 25 games can be played during the travel season (including any tournaments). This is to protect our young players and pitchers from injury and to protect their part time travel status.

Costs:  All costs related to travel are the responsibility of the parents on the team. Your manager will divide the costs of the indoor practice space fee, uniforms, game balls, umpires and tournament costs equally amongst the players on the team. Usually this is in the $150 - $250 range but can vary on the number of games and extra practice that is decided by the team and manager.

July Travel

PBO treats July travel separately from spring travel. This is done as to allow those who do not wish to continue to play into July due to vacations or other obligations the flexibility to still play spring travel.

A separate tryout for July travel takes place in the first week in June. The team is selected with an emphasis on fielding the best players for this tournament season.

July travel consists of playing in 3-4 tournaments in the chicagoland area. The number of tournaments will conveyed to the parents at each age level prior to the try-out.

Costs:  Usually, uniforms are the same as in spring to keep costs down. Additionally, the PBO July tournament is free to our teams. So the costs for July travel will be the other 2-4 tournament entered. The cost per player can vary between $100 and $200 per player plus uniform costs if needed.

The 12 year old Cooperstown Team:   In the fall prior to the season, we have a try out for the following years 12 year old travel team. This team will play together throughout the spring and July travel season and compete in the prestigious tournament in Cooperstown, NY. This is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Due to the cost of this tournament, this team will spend those months prior fundraising to cover the costs.

13 & 14 year old travel teams:  In the December month before the season, we will have tryouts for next year’s 13 & 14 year old travel teams. This in an age where we feel that players want to take their experience to the next level and prepare for making their high school teams.

So to help them prepare, we start winter workouts in the Quarry in Romeoville just after January 1st. These are weekly workouts where we divide the time between team defensive play, hitting, pitching and the catcher position and strength and conditioning.

These teams will typically join a more competitive travel league to play in the spring and have the option of going away for an out of town tournament over the Memorial Day Weekend.

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