What's new
Fantasy Football - Footballguys Forums

Welcome to Our Forums. Once you've registered and logged in, you're primed to talk football, among other topics, with the sharpest and most experienced fantasy players on the internet.

Youth and Multiple Sports- Navigating the Waters (1 Viewer)

Lehigh98

Footballguy
We're definitely sports oriented and I let my kids play pretty much whatever they want (although my wife put her foot down about tackle football and I was fine with not fighting her about it, we just played a ton of flag) and encourage them to try new things.  I have two boys, now 16 and 14 and they both started out around 3 or 4 with kiddie programs like soccer tots where its just physical activity and fun and games that are only barely related to the sport.

At around 5, I started cycling them each through different sports just to see if there was any one in particular they took a special interest in.  As an aside, I highly recommend not doing a baseball league until they get up around the coach to kid pitch transition.  Tee ball is so boring for everyone its no wonder MLB has been dropping in popularity.  It's torture for all involved and made my older son totally disinterested in anything baseball related.  I waited until later for my younger son and it worked out better but the game was still too slow for him.

The other thing that made it more fun for me / us is that I coached or assistant coached almost everything so we really did it together.  Once they got up into higher level, paid soccer clubs it kind of passed me by there though but I still love watching their games.

We would basically play one sport a season but my younger son had so much energy he'd be bouncing off the walls without a practice or game so we let him double up.  We'd be running around or carpooling to practices almost every day of the week.  But again, with me coaching, it was really a family activity we were doing together.  (And added bonus, it gave my wife a break when we were away for a while)

We cycled through soccer, flag football, basketball, baseball (too early / too slow / didn't take), lacrosse (too early, didn't take), swimming, golf, etc.

With my lack of coaching nowadays but still enjoying being close to kids sports, I just signed up to certify as a soccer referee (along with both my kids as their first jobs).  We will get to do some games together when they're not reffing with friends and I plan on packing them all up to go and do some road trip tournaments when we can.

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
I do agree with your other comments but specializing too early is a good recipe for burnout.  There is a specific attitude/work ethic from a kid that will benefit from early specialization and even if they fit the elite description in your 1a section that doesn't mean they have the mental makeup to forego everything else to just focus on one sport.  That can be the quickest way to make a kid hate playing.  
:goodposting: I forget where I read it, but I read a great article a few years ago that included data suggesting early specialization also increased injury risk. For the uniquely talented there is a time to narrow the focus of sports down to a small number, but while that timeline varies case-to-case I think it's safe to say that generally that time is not before high school for just about everyone and not before Jr year for most others. 

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
I am really letting my kids take the lead on telling me what they like and how much they like it. 

My daughter plays basketball and volleyball. Volleyball is definitely her favorite sport. I offered her time in various camps/clinics for basketball and she was not interested (unless one of her friends or cousin is doing them) but Volleyball she is all up for. She passed on doing track and field. She also enjoyed archery and rock climbing but those are harder to have her involved in more logistically. She isn't extremely athletically minded. Even with Volleyball, it doesn't seem like she is driven. She has some athletic ability but not a ton. She surprisingly wanted to try out for the A team for basketball and unsurprisingly did not make it. She was happy not to make it as she knows she will have more playing time on B team even if she made the A. She might have made it if she went to the camps/clinics I offered. She has a lot of time this summer in volleyball camps/clinics so it will be interesting to see if she makes the A team this year for volleyball. 

My older son is sport crazy. He likes doing all sports (not much for watching). This is where priority comes hard as he is "yes" if I ask him what he wants to do. Football and soccer are his "tied" favorite sports with basketball and swimming right behind. So this summer, he is in a bunch of camps/clinics for mostly these sports though he is also in a 'multi-sport' camp. He has a good amount of natural athletic ability with a good mix of height, size, strength, and speed over his peers being well above average in all. He is entering the 4th grade so it is very early and with covid and all he didn't get much time in sports as all kids his age didn't. He was one of the better players in football, basketball, and soccer on his teams and has done well early on in swimming so far. As he gets older, I know he will still want to be play multiple sports but then there will need to be decisions made. I passed on club soccer just because I think it would be too much right now with all the other sports. As he gets older and his talent and desire gets more focused, he will likely need to make some decisions on priorities which may mean not playing some a sport or at least playing but having a focus on one or two. 

The little one is like his brother, he enjoys all sports. Basketball is his favorite sport and he is of age to where he was able to do more stuff this summer so he too is in a bunch of basketball, football and soccer camps/clinics. He seems to be similar to his brother in having natural athleticism and the physical attributes of height, strength, size and speed. He has a couple of years before the school sports start. We may look to get him into something before then as he really enjoys the basketball camps/clinics he has been in and it chomping at the bit to play in games/league. 

I think exposing them to different things is my job now and then after that listening. I don't force anything on them but do make it clear that if you do it then you DO IT. As they get older there will be decisions to be made and I think it will just need to be about communication without trying to push them in certain directions while giving fatherly advice and guidance.  
Thinking about it some more, enjoyment really should be the number one priority. The vast majority of us don’t advance to a highly competitive level, find an accessible sport we love, or even continue remaining active beyond young adulthood. But as a middle aged guy who was introduced to many activities in my 30s and 40s, I sure wish I’d started sooner. Then again, maybe I’d burn out earlier, if the novelty wasn’t a part of the experience. Maybe it’s actually preferable to emphasize variety over longevity?

 

Gally

Footballguy
:goodposting: I forget where I read it, but I read a great article a few years ago that included data suggesting early specialization also increased injury risk. For the uniquely talented there is a time to narrow the focus of sports down to a small number, but while that timeline varies case-to-case I think it's safe to say that generally that time is not before high school for just about everyone and not before Jr year for most others. 
This is for sure true.  When you only do one sport you build up all the muscles/skills/movements/etc that that particular sport requires without developing your overall body development.  For baseball it is especially worse because you never get a break from throwing to allow those muscles (which are used unnaturally in the throwing motion to fully heal and rest).   The publicity for pitchers throwing too many pitches in an outing is just one aspect of overuse that leads to arm injuries.  The other component is never getting a break to let things rest and rejuvenate.   Just because you limit pitches to 70 pitches an outing it doesn't mean pitching twice a week for 52 weeks a year is good at those pitch levels.  

Specialization is also a self fulfilling prophecy.  By that I mean if your good in a sport you get coaches/scouts/parents/etc telling you that you need to focus on that to keep up with the other guys that only do one sport.  So you think you have to (which you kind of do because if someone plays something more than you they will develop faster than you).   The way the world in youth sports is today it almost forces you to pick one sport because so many other's are doing it and you will fall behind.  Now the good athletes can do multiple sport and recover and surpass the not as good athletes that specialize because they are just better athletes.  However because so many do that it does make it difficult to stay competitive if you don't.  That is the real shame in the way things have progressed.

It would be much better if it was back like my day (ok I am old) but in the mid 80's you had baseball season (and track as well for those that did that instead of baseball) in the spring to summer, soccer or football season in the fall, and basketball season in the winter.  They all had their specific times and you had time to do them all.  Club soccer started getting more popular and that would go mostly year round but it seemed like there was an off time because I don't ever remember it interfering with baseball season.  There was no pressure to only do one sport and everyone had a great time.  Kids being kids.   I really wish the adults today would go back to this model.  I think everyone would benefit greatly from it.  A lot less time pressure of toting kids everywhere to three different things and you could actually enjoy each time more because you wouldn't have to rush off to something else.  

Anyway, all this to say that specialization is becoming forced on you to play competitively and it's very unfortunate.  

 

Phil Elliott

Footballguy
Our daughters both were involved with sports, dance and band. In TX they push choosing one activity by middle school and making it a year long investment. We encouraged them to be involved in one per season and eventually they will find their niche. Also keeps them out of trouble if they are busy. They ended up with two per season usually between gymnastics and dance.... and volleyball,basketball and dance. Band they just did but it didn't conflict much.

 

Brunell4MVP

Footballguy
I disagree with this.  You can find a college to play at if you are an above average high school player in your sport.  It is a trade off and you need to decide what is important to you.  Is playing in college important to you.  If so, then you need to be your own advocate and you can find a school that you can play at.  However, if you want a name school only and that's the only place you want to play then you really limit your options.  Then you do have to be a top 1% in your sport and have some sort of advocate or  know someone to get the opportunities.  

I am not as familiar with golf but it seems that if he is shooting 68's that he should be able to walk on at some of those schools to get his shot and then earn scholarships from that.  

I do agree with your other comments but specializing too early is a good recipe for burnout.  There is a specific attitude/work ethic from a kid that will benefit from early specialization and even if they fit the elite description in your 1a section that doesn't mean they have the mental makeup to forego everything else to just focus on one sport.  That can be the quickest way to make a kid hate playing.  


I guess I should have said "the top programs will not pick a kid".  Yes, mid/low level D1 programs may be interested. But really, are you going to Creighton to play when you can go to Michigan to get a degree.  It is as you said a choice.  And the smart choice is stop playing sports and do club sports.  At least IMO.   Some will obviously choose the other path.

Walk-ons no longer exist (or rarely exist) in any of the non-revenue sports.  They don't even have tryouts anymore.  That includes the D1 program I walked onto.  They haven't had walk-ons for 15 years.  They aren't allocated enough slots ever since Title 9.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

jobarules

Footballguy
Why not?  At that age you should be working on development and everyone on the team should get AB's.  In addition it allows for free substitution so you don't have guys sitting for lengths of time.  For the travel team I coached we hit everyone (which did cost us some wins....but who cares) and did cycle all players through most positions.  The more positions you can play the better off you will be down the road.  

As far as numbers at practice that can be frustrating however if they are missing to play other baseball games I would rather them do that.  Innings in game situations cannot be replicated at practice very well if at all (there is always a hint of practice speed or practice attitude plus fungos don't give you game type reads).  What we did for conflicts was to get confirmation that during our "season" (which was from April to August for games) we were the priority.  But we also stopped in August to allow other sports from August thru February/March.  So we didn't actually have a lot of conflicts.  

This goes back to communication.  If you communicate to the players (yes at that age you should start putting some onus on the players) and parents what you are expecting in season as far as practices/games and identify the consequences for missing.  Then follow up on the consequences if the expectations aren't met.  If you really don't want people missing practices and they do even with the expectations layed out then you should start to look at bringing in players that meet your expectations/requirements.   
In tournaments like Ripken in Aberdeen we are going there to try and win. That's the bottom line. All other games we bat everyone.

 

Gally

Footballguy
In tournaments like Ripken in Aberdeen we are going there to try and win. That's the bottom line. All other games we bat everyone.
I differ in my philosophy.  At that age development is more important than winning.  Don't get me wrong in that the team is trying to win but I have all players involved.  Part of developing is playing in pressure situations.  Getting AB's in "big" games and that includes everyone on the team for me.

 

jobarules

Footballguy
I differ in my philosophy.  At that age development is more important than winning.  Don't get me wrong in that the team is trying to win but I have all players involved.  Part of developing is playing in pressure situations.  Getting AB's in "big" games and that includes everyone on the team for me.
You're talking about the difference of 3 or 4 at bats for an entire season.

 

jobarules

Footballguy
Which is better than sitting on the bench for games at a time.  
That's fine

 I disagree. Kids also have to learn it's a team sport and that sitting on the bench is part of the game as well. Especially a year away from HS ball.

 

SwampDawg

Footballguy
With my lack of coaching nowadays but still enjoying being close to kids sports, I just signed up to certify as a soccer referee (along with both my kids as their first jobs).  We will get to do some games together when they're not reffing with friends and I plan on packing them all up to go and do some road trip tournaments when we can.
God bless you...huge shortage of refs under 65 that can keep up with the kids but not sure I could deal with nutty parents.  My son just got his certification back in March, he hasn't done any games yet because he's been playing every weekend but as soon as they finish up plans to over the summer and fall since HS doesn't play much on the weekends. He wants to stick to the younger U9 to U12 age groups for now.

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
I differ in my philosophy.  At that age development is more important than winning.  Don't get me wrong in that the team is trying to win but I have all players involved.  Part of developing is playing in pressure situations.  Getting AB's in "big" games and that includes everyone on the team for me.
We take a...we'll call it a participation approach to the season, but are sure to communicate to all that when we get to the end of season tournament our decisions will be made based on maximizing probabilities of winning. High level, I agree with you that development is the priority throughout the season. Midseason tournaments and invitational offer opportunities for everyone to get experience in 'big games,' but I think it is important to approach that league's championships competitively. i.e. we may expect that in the finals X will play SS, Y will play 1B, Z will play CF, and A + B will pitch but think it's vital to expose everyone else to those positions throughout the season. 

 

SwampDawg

Footballguy
That's fine

 I disagree. Kids also have to learn it's a team sport and that sitting on the bench is part of the game as well. Especially a year away from HS ball.
I don't see anything wrong with this at that age and level assuming it is communicated to the kids which it sounds like you would have.  Back when my son played we had basically the same philosophy. We batted everyone for normal tournaments but when we played the Ripken regional and state elimination games we batted 9 and everyone got two innings in the field but the number of at bats depended on what happened those two innings they were in. Coaches talked to the kids about it before hand so they knew. Rec/In-house yes playing time should be equal, tournament in pool play or just a local tournament yes bat everyone but when you are at a big event and in elimination play I don't see an issue.

Kids need to learn as they get older it won't be even but that doesn't mean they can't effect the game with a smaller role and still be an important part of the team. It's a team sport. I've seen older kids that as long as they got their hits or goals or baskets they didn't care about the team result which isn't part of being on a team.

 

jobarules

Footballguy
We take a...we'll call it a participation approach to the season, but are sure to communicate to all that when we get to the end of season tournament our decisions will be made based on maximizing probabilities of winning. High level, I agree with you that development is the priority throughout the season. Midseason tournaments and invitational offer opportunities for everyone to get experience in 'big games,' but I think it is important to approach that league's championships competitively. i.e. we may expect that in the finals X will play SS, Y will play 1B, Z will play CF, and A + B will pitch but think it's vital to expose everyone else to those positions throughout the season. 
That's what we do. We play tournaments and weekday games in another league. The weekday games we bat everyone, play kids almost every position, etc. Tournaments we bat everyone if 10-11 players show up. But if 13 show up and it's a bracket game we bat 10 and play everyone in their main position. I would say 95% of our games are about development and 5% are trying to win. I think it's a good mix and parents don't complain.

 

Gally

Footballguy
That's fine

 I disagree. Kids also have to learn it's a team sport and that sitting on the bench is part of the game as well. Especially a year away from HS ball.
I agree with the bolded and they get a taste of that when hitting 12th or 13th in the lineup and not playing every inning.   Many good conversations have come from this letting kids know that showing up to practice, having a positive attitude, and working on their own to improve to play more is necessary to get more playing time.   But at 12 yrs old development is still the primary goal for the coach and sitting players for a straight 9 lineup and all the substitution rules associated with that make it so you can't free substitute to move guys around.  I found that to be more demoralizing to a 12 yr old that pushes them out.  Just my experience.  At 12 I think there is still plenty of time to learn that sitting on the bench is part of the game.  

There is no right or wrong way for sure.  Just different sides of the same coin.  I was just trying to give a different view with the reasons why.  Always a good discussion.  

ETA:  I have seen many kids that do get to high school that quit playing because they aren't starting.  Basically they have the attitude that if they don't start why should they "waste their time" practicing  and sitting the bench at games.  It is really sad that there is an attitude that playing is the only worthwhile part of being on a team.   Being part of the team and helping the team succeed in whatever way you can has diminished with the selfishness of I have to play for it be worth it.  So maybe mixing in some sitting earlier could be a good thing in helping to explain why being part of the team and pushing guys at practice is extremely important and has value.  That's it's not all about just playing all the time.  

 
Last edited by a moderator:

acarey50

Footballguy
......

Kids need to learn as they get older it won't be even but that doesn't mean they can't effect the game with a smaller role and still be an important part of the team. It's a team sport. I've seen older kids that as long as they got their hits or goals or baskets they didn't care about the team result which isn't part of being on a team.


.........

ETA:  I have seen many kids that do get to high school that quit playing because they aren't starting.  Basically they have the attitude that if they don't start why should they "waste their time" practicing  and sitting the bench at games.  It is really sad that there is an attitude that playing is the only worthwhile part of being on a team.   Being part of the team and helping the team succeed in whatever way you can has diminished with the selfishness of I have to play for it be worth it.  So maybe mixing in some sitting earlier could be a good thing in helping to explain why being part of the team and pushing guys at practice is extremely important and has value.  That's it's not all about just playing all the time.  


A lot of the times it's the parent that has a harder time about their kid accepting a bench role, while the kid is okay being part of the team and contributing in ways that don't necessarily show in their getting game time. I see this a lot in basketball where PT is even harder with only 5 players on the court. They often say "on his club team he is the top scorer", etc. but then don't realize they cherry picked the team and played at a lower level so their kid looked better but was woefully unprepared for high school level basketball, or, especially as moving into varsity level basketball, they have difficulty coping with the idea that the best thing for their kids long term development is to sit a year on the bench at varsity getting some time but training and experiencing that level of play.

 

Gally

Footballguy
A lot of the times it's the parent that has a harder time about their kid accepting a bench role, while the kid is okay being part of the team and contributing in ways that don't necessarily show in their getting game time. I see this a lot in basketball where PT is even harder with only 5 players on the court. They often say "on his club team he is the top scorer", etc. but then don't realize they cherry picked the team and played at a lower level so their kid looked better but was woefully unprepared for high school level basketball, or, especially as moving into varsity level basketball, they have difficulty coping with the idea that the best thing for their kids long term development is to sit a year on the bench at varsity getting some time but training and experiencing that level of play.
Baseball substitution is 10x worse than basketball because of the lineup rules.  Starters can re-enter once if they are taken out of the game and subs are out if they go in and then the starter is re-entered.  It makes it really difficult to spread playing time around as typically starters never come out.  

Another parent/perception issue that comes into play for high school is playing on JV vs sitting on Varsity.  In many instances the stigma of not being on varsity causes someone to quit even though it would be much better for their development to be on JV and play all the time vs being on Varsity and never playing.   

Also to your point of little Johnny playing awesome on club team and not playing on the HS team........today there are so many "club" teams that the talent does get stretched but then the HS team will have the best players off of 4 or 5 "club" teams which makes it like an all star team from the local "club" teams.  So little Johnny may now be the small fish in a big pond and the parents will never see that.  They spent all that money to make little Johnny a stud so how come he isn't playing?  

 

jobarules

Footballguy
Baseball substitution is 10x worse than basketball because of the lineup rules.  Starters can re-enter once if they are taken out of the game and subs are out if they go in and then the starter is re-entered.  It makes it really difficult to spread playing time around as typically starters never come out.  

Another parent/perception issue that comes into play for high school is playing on JV vs sitting on Varsity.  In many instances the stigma of not being on varsity causes someone to quit even though it would be much better for their development to be on JV and play all the time vs being on Varsity and never playing.   

Also to your point of little Johnny playing awesome on club team and not playing on the HS team........today there are so many "club" teams that the talent does get stretched but then the HS team will have the best players off of 4 or 5 "club" teams which makes it like an all star team from the local "club" teams.  So little Johnny may now be the small fish in a big pond and the parents will never see that.  They spent all that money to make little Johnny a stud so how come he isn't playing?  
This is crazy. Id love for my son to play full time on JV rather than be on the bench for Varsity when the time comes. I just love to watch my son play baseball.

 

SwampDawg

Footballguy
A lot of the times it's the parent that has a harder time about their kid accepting a bench role, while the kid is okay being part of the team and contributing in ways that don't necessarily show in their getting game time. I see this a lot in basketball where PT is even harder with only 5 players on the court. They often say "on his club team he is the top scorer", etc. but then don't realize they cherry picked the team and played at a lower level so their kid looked better but was woefully unprepared for high school level basketball, or, especially as moving into varsity level basketball, they have difficulty coping with the idea that the best thing for their kids long term development is to sit a year on the bench at varsity getting some time but training and experiencing that level of play.
This is a great point.

 

Mookie

Footballguy
Encourage your kids to play the sports they love, and don't take it too seriously. They should not specialize as repetition injuries can be severe and also cause them to burn out.  One sport per season is plenty. 

 

SwampDawg

Footballguy
Also to your point of little Johnny playing awesome on club team and not playing on the HS team........today there are so many "club" teams that the talent does get stretched but then the HS team will have the best players off of 4 or 5 "club" teams which makes it like an all star team from the local "club" teams.  So little Johnny may now be the small fish in a big pond and the parents will never see that.  They spent all that money to make little Johnny a stud so how come he isn't playing?  
Along the same line with HS sports is the parents that think because a kid is a senior or junior they should automatically be varsity and start. At least at smaller schools we have that issue, using soccer for example we only have a handful of kids that play club soccer on the school team, most of kids stopped playing when the local club ages out at U13 and just play 3 months a year for the school. The club kids are playing year round and being coached at a much higher level then the HS team and when Tommy comes in as a freshman and 5 games into the season is a varsity starter and successful taking the spot of Johnny that was a starter last year as a junior parents get upset and Johnny quits. 

 

acarey50

Footballguy
Baseball substitution is 10x worse than basketball because of the lineup rules.  Starters can re-enter once if they are taken out of the game and subs are out if they go in and then the starter is re-entered.  It makes it really difficult to spread playing time around as typically starters never come out.  

Another parent/perception issue that comes into play for high school is playing on JV vs sitting on Varsity.  In many instances the stigma of not being on varsity causes someone to quit even though it would be much better for their development to be on JV and play all the time vs being on Varsity and never playing.   

Also to your point of little Johnny playing awesome on club team and not playing on the HS team........today there are so many "club" teams that the talent does get stretched but then the HS team will have the best players off of 4 or 5 "club" teams which makes it like an all star team from the local "club" teams.  So little Johnny may now be the small fish in a big pond and the parents will never see that.  They spent all that money to make little Johnny a stud so how come he isn't playing?  
That baseball rule would be difficult. The hardest part in basketball is that a lot of parents don't realize or understand that if a kid is getting 5-8 minutes of actual game time, they are in the main rotation and a pretty key piece of the team. 

This is crazy. Id love for my son to play full time on JV rather than be on the bench for Varsity when the time comes. I just love to watch my son play baseball.
This is a bit more nuanced I think. I agree I would much rather watch my kid playing a lot, but, in some cases, it may be better for their long term development to get the training reps and less game minutes at the higher level for a year so they are more prepared to be a key player for the following couple of years. It's definitely a tough thing to balance between long term / short term and the team/player wants and needs.

Along the same line with HS sports is the parents that think because a kid is a senior or junior they should automatically be varsity and start. At least at smaller schools we have that issue, using soccer for example we only have a handful of kids that play club soccer on the school team, most of kids stopped playing when the local club ages out at U13 and just play 3 months a year for the school. The club kids are playing year round and being coached at a much higher level then the HS team and when Tommy comes in as a freshman and 5 games into the season is a varsity starter and successful taking the spot of Johnny that was a starter last year as a junior parents get upset and Johnny quits. 
Another tough balancing act. Back to the short term/long term thing, the real tough thing is if you have two players at the same talent level - let's say one is a senior, the other a sophomore. Do you play the senior who has probably peaked but has been with you for several years, or do you play the sophomore who will likely give you the same level of production now and has room to grow and be that much better over the next two years?

 

Gally

Footballguy
This is crazy. Id love for my son to play full time on JV rather than be on the bench for Varsity when the time comes. I just love to watch my son play baseball.
This is also a player want as well.  it's crazy to me because, like you, I would much rather be playing than sitting.  I had this exact situation happen to me in high school.  As a sophomore I made the JV basketball team.  I wasn't getting a ton of time (maybe 5-10 minutes a game) but I was on JV.  About a month into the season they dropped a junior down from Varsity which caused them to bump me down to the sophomore team (yes we had enough to have 4 basketball teams in HS).    I was super bummed and really didn't want to go down.  It was like slap in the face or a failure to get bumped.  At least that was how my sophomore mind treated it.  However, after moving down and playing every minute of every game on the sophomore team I improved so much that the following  year I was a varsity starter and played almost every minute as a junior on varsity.  It helped me immensely.

The perception from the kid being down (like a junior playing JV for instance) sometimes is treated as a failure or a demotion because you aren't good.  Some kids make fun of you and it becomes an issue.  It takes a confident kid to be able to handle that at first but typically when they see the benefit and actually get to play a lot it usually helps sooth that hit to the pride.  

Regardless, the right answer is playing is better than sitting (in almost all instances).  So being at a lower level and getting to play is the right answer.  It's just sometimes that hit to the pride is bigger than the logic of the move (for both parents and kid).  

 

Gally

Footballguy
This is a bit more nuanced I think. I agree I would much rather watch my kid playing a lot, but, in some cases, it may be better for their long term development to get the training reps and less game minutes at the higher level for a year so they are more prepared to be a key player for the following couple of years. It's definitely a tough thing to balance between long term / short term and the team/player wants and needs.
I think this decision is individually based.  By that I mean if the kid is too good for the next level down to the point they are developing bad habits (for basketball I will say ball hogging and not passing because they can just over power their guy even if there is someone open somewhere else that should be getting the ball in a better spot) that they can actually regress vs a kid that still needs to develop certain skills and can be challenged enough at the lower level that it improves his overall game.   The first kid should be playing up and getting that in game experience that challenges them even if it is only 8 minutes a game.  The second kid should be down playing as much as possible.  

The other thing you can do is have the kid practice with varsity so he gets that level/expectation of that higher level of play and then play down on JV to get the reps and develop leadership/skills by playing a lot.   That sometimes is the right answer as the best of both worlds.  

 

Gally

Footballguy
Another tough balancing act. Back to the short term/long term thing, the real tough thing is if you have two players at the same talent level - let's say one is a senior, the other a sophomore. Do you play the senior who has probably peaked but has been with you for several years, or do you play the sophomore who will likely give you the same level of production now and has room to grow and be that much better over the next two years?
This is extremely difficult as a coach.  It's especially hard in baseball for the substitution aspect I touched on earlier.  I would expect soccer to be similar although I don't know if HS has the limited substitution rule that professional soccer/WC uses.   Basketball is a little easier because you can funnel guys in an out easily but have to temper ruining the flow/hot hand at times.  

You don't want to be a coach that is always tailoring one way or the other (to the older or younger side).  There are advantages to both.  It's finding that delicate balance that helps you win, keep everyone happy, and develop the younger guy to help your future.  Communication is the key and setting expectations early for everyone as to what will lead to playing time so it's clear.  Communication, Communication, Communication.  The key to everything.  

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Gally said:
ETA:  I have seen many kids that do get to high school that quit playing because they aren't starting.  Basically they have the attitude that if they don't start why should they "waste their time" practicing  and sitting the bench at games.  It is really sad that there is an attitude that playing is the only worthwhile part of being on a team.   Being part of the team and helping the team succeed in whatever way you can has diminished with the selfishness of I have to play for it be worth it.  So maybe mixing in some sitting earlier could be a good thing in helping to explain why being part of the team and pushing guys at practice is extremely important and has value.  That's it's not all about just playing all the time.  
Are these kids involved with other sports? I am not sure I see the problem with a kid deciding that "My sport is A and though I have played B sport, I am not getting a lot of playing time because I am not as good at it. So, maybe I should just play A and drop B." 

I think when this happens, the kids usually don't love the sport or have out grown the sport in some sense. Kids that I grew up with in Pony that were all about baseball when we were 6 year olds just were not interested in baseball anymore as they got into other things. I don't think kids that truly love a sport would care and that they would play just to play. If someone doesn't love a sport and enjoy it then I am not sure being on a team just to be on a team is a good thing. 

Perhaps I am wrong and there are instances of basically having a temper tantrum of "I am not playing so I quit" when they really do love the game. There may be instances but I would bet they quit the team and searched for an opportunity to play more elsewhere. 

The most recent similar situation I have seen is my nephew and his school's basketball team. Basketball is not his top sport but he likes it. He likely would have made the A team for the school but knew if he did that he would end up playing a lot less. He decided to play on the B team instead so he would get more playing time. For him, he likes the sport but doesn't love it. I see nothing wrong with that at all. 

 

Gally

Footballguy
The most recent similar situation I have seen is my nephew and his school's basketball team. Basketball is not his top sport but he likes it. He likely would have made the A team for the school but knew if he did that he would end up playing a lot less. He decided to play on the B team instead so he would get more playing time. For him, he likes the sport but doesn't love it. I see nothing wrong with that at all. 
Every coach I know chooses who is on the "A" team and the "B" team.  I have never heard of a kid choosing which team he would play on.  This seems strange.  A coach is trying to develop his program and places kids accordingly (thinking for high school sports) so he places them where the kid will develop and help the program the best.  

 

Gally

Footballguy
Are these kids involved with other sports? I am not sure I see the problem with a kid deciding that "My sport is A and though I have played B sport, I am not getting a lot of playing time because I am not as good at it. So, maybe I should just play A and drop B." 

I think when this happens, the kids usually don't love the sport or have out grown the sport in some sense. Kids that I grew up with in Pony that were all about baseball when we were 6 year olds just were not interested in baseball anymore as they got into other things. I don't think kids that truly love a sport would care and that they would play just to play. If someone doesn't love a sport and enjoy it then I am not sure being on a team just to be on a team is a good thing. 

Perhaps I am wrong and there are instances of basically having a temper tantrum of "I am not playing so I quit" when they really do love the game. There may be instances but I would bet they quit the team and searched for an opportunity to play more elsewhere. 
I know of kids that quit that sport in HS.....like quitting soccer (which is a winter sport) and not play any other winter sport.  They do play other sports but quitting the winter one didn't have them do a different one in place of it.  

I totally agree that if you don't like something don't do it.  But I also think if you committed to a team and quit half way through because you aren't playing that is a big character flaw and you should never do that even if you don't love the sport.  You made a commitment and decisions were made because of that.  Quitting is terrible to do.  Now if after that season you decide it's not for you and you don't play moving forward that is fine.  

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
acarey50 said:
A lot of the times it's the parent that has a harder time about their kid accepting a bench role, while the kid is okay being part of the team and contributing in ways that don't necessarily show in their getting game time. I see this a lot in basketball where PT is even harder with only 5 players on the court. They often say "on his club team he is the top scorer", etc. but then don't realize they cherry picked the team and played at a lower level so their kid looked better but was woefully unprepared for high school level basketball, or, especially as moving into varsity level basketball, they have difficulty coping with the idea that the best thing for their kids long term development is to sit a year on the bench at varsity getting some time but training and experiencing that level of play.
Parents can be ridiculous. So can coaches. So can refs. People are people. 

Whether I am the parent or the coach, I try to keep in mind the reality of everything and that emotions can get ramped up easily because these are loved ones we are talking about. 

I know for me... when my daughter rode the bench a lot in basketball... it made sense. I did question (in my head) some moves by the coach but I defer. I am not the coach and he is. 

For football for my son, I was struggling because I really didn't understand some things such as my son literally wrecking offensive play after offensive play in practice as a DE and then didn't start. It bothered me but I checked myself and didn't say anything. I later found out that the game they had made an agreement with the other team on ages to play in what quarters as the other team wasn't straight 3/4th graders and the coaches wanted to protect the 3rd graders. So, there was a very good reason for it. 

For the football, I trusted the coaches and though there were other instances (like my son playing DT and G to start the season when that made no sense to me) where I had legit questions. I did not talk to the coaches about them because I didn't want to even come close to it being a thing like "why is my kid not the star QB?!". They later moved him out to T and DE which made more sense to me. But I for the most part choose to give 100% support to the coaches and don't want to add to the workload. 

The school has a good rule "24 hours", that if a parent has an issue that they want to discuss with the coach, to wait 24 hours and then reach out. It helps to keep tempers in check. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Every coach I know chooses who is on the "A" team and the "B" team.  I have never heard of a kid choosing which team he would play on.  This seems strange.  A coach is trying to develop his program and places kids accordingly (thinking for high school sports) so he places them where the kid will develop and help the program the best.  
This is grammer school, 8th grade. Starting in 5th grade they have A and B teams. It is completely up to the kids whether they want to try out for the A team or not. If they do not, they are placed on the B team. 

My daughter, being the silly girl she is, tried out of the A team this year but was placed in B (not surprising) and her reaction was YEA! Which I then asked her why she tried out to begin with and the best I can surmise from her rambling answer was that all her friends were trying out too. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
I know of kids that quit that sport in HS.....like quitting soccer (which is a winter sport) and not play any other winter sport.  They do play other sports but quitting the winter one didn't have them do a different one in place of it.  

I totally agree that if you don't like something don't do it.  But I also think if you committed to a team and quit half way through because you aren't playing that is a big character flaw and you should never do that even if you don't love the sport.  You made a commitment and decisions were made because of that.  Quitting is terrible to do.  Now if after that season you decide it's not for you and you don't play moving forward that is fine.  
Ok, yea, quitting during a season is inexcusable. I would never let one of my kids do that. You don't like it or enjoy it? Fine, no problem, you don't have to do it next season but you will finish this season. I didn't realize that that is what you were talking about. That is a whole different burrito for sure. And quitting just because you aren't playing a lot?! HECK NO! Any parent that would allow that should be ashamed of themselves. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
My daughter just made a club volleyball team. So... here is what we are looking at this upcoming season....

My daughter playing club volleyball and school basketball. 

My middle son playing school football and club swimming. 

THANK GOD I am moving to a new brokerage where once I get the loan going, I don't have to touch it again and have a top notch team getting them done and closed quickly. I thought that that would mean I could spend more time hunting for more production but I guess it means I can do more taking the kids to sports. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Finished summer...
My biggest goal for the summer was to keep my middle one tired.
He had swim for most of summer and then all the kids had various camps. A lot of basketball, football, soccer and multi sport camps. He had three football camps... the first day of one of them, he landed on his shoulder and heard a pop. My FIL is a doctor and had us hold him out of anything for a week.

The football camps definitely paid off as I can see his skillset being much higher than the other kids on the team. A lot of 'adda boys' from the coaches. His three point stance looks dang good and got a 'perfect' from the coaches. He is one of the taller kids but really doesn't want to play tackle on offense like last year though he is happy with DE on defense. I told him that he had to go all out all the time in practice to showcase his speed and quickness so he could get a chance at a skill position but told him WR would be boring as they don't throw much at all at this level (I remember about 4 attempts last year and one was an INT) which he knows but the position he wants when he gets older is WR. I don't think they will let him be a ball carier because there is a gentlemans agreement on the weight of ball carriers so he might end up at tackle regardless. (he beat the kid that generally seen as the fastest in his grade in sprints from 3 point and was jazzed up about that).

My daughter improved with some basketball camps. She is on the B team for school. She was completely lost last season. I think she has more confidence and I am excited to see how she plays this season.

Now, we start the new season: my middle son has school football and club swim will start in Sept. My daughter has school bball and club vball starting sometime not too far off. The youngest is chomping at the bit to do something so I might put him in a bball skill development camp but figuring out the timing is rough.

I can for the most part handle the logistics so far with the football and bball... when swim starts, he will miss a lot of swim practices for about a month until football ends. The vball club is a whole new thing so have no idea what to expect. When that starts... it will get rough.
 

PIK95

Footballguy
I stopped coaching totally because of our crazy family schedules. I'm looking forward to a more relaxing fall. Good luck.
 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
I stopped coaching totally because of our crazy family schedules. I'm looking forward to a more relaxing fall. Good luck.
After one week of my two oldest having nothing all week long (all summer they were in camps or we were on vacation) it reinforced how much I rather be worn ragged from them doing stuff versus wearing me down with not doing anything. :lmao:


But totally get it. It is gonna get crazy soon juggling all of this.
 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
My son got a cover for his chrome book that my wife ordered. Apparently he wanted the football one and she ordered the soccer one. He was complaining. It use to be soccer was his favorite sport. Then recently it was football and soccer were tied for 1st. When he said this, I asked him about it more and he said that Football is his favorite. Soccer is now 2nd. Swim and Basketball are tied for 3rd. Baseball "and everything else" is tied after that.
 

PIK95

Footballguy
My daughter just started travel volleyball. She's a total beginner. Three weeks in, we had a tournament two hours away, lol. Another next weekend. I'm happy she is doing something but dang.
 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
My daughter just started travel volleyball. She's a total beginner. Three weeks in, we had a tournament two hours away, lol. Another next weekend. I'm happy she is doing something but dang.
My daughters (6th grade) club team has it's fall season which is basically a warm up league between her club and another club. She has missed one game and once practice already versus being there for one game and two practices. For the gall league, they pick their own players and some of the girls from her school were playing so they are on the same team but then the problem is that they are all on the same school basketball team, so the game they missed half the team missed it and they had to play with 5 players. Club vball will have some travel but most of it is not too far. I think maybe two hours would be the furthest. It has been really great to watch her really grow and flourish. I think she is the best overall player on the team now. Best shooter, one of the better defenders, one of the better rebounders, one of the better dribblers and best passer. She is also starting to show some leadership with moving team mates into the right spot. This is on the B team but from last year where she was one of the worst players on either team- it is really awesome to see. Taking her to a skills clinic Wed night at the local HS too. All the girls are improving too.... except one but she has been gone on a trip to Poland for the last like three weeks and just got back.

My sons (4th grade) school football season is going well. One of the coaches told me after this last game Sat where he got a huge tackle for loss, another tackle where he basically tackled like 3 guys to make the play and then a bunch of good blocks/pancakes on offense (The DT for most of the game just laid down in front of him) that "all the coaches were talking and agreed that he could play every position on the field". He has club swim starting this week. Will miss the first practice Thursday and then miss most practices each week until football ends. Once football ends, he will have a little bit of time with just swim and then school basketball will start up with my coaching. Swim is not bad distance wise... about an hour would be the furthest.

The school teams are not bad.... 40 minutes is the max. Most are 20-30 though.

The little one (1st grade) is chomping at the bit. At the timeouts and breaks at his sisters game today, he was entertaining the crowd doing push ups, burpees, jumping jacks.... then into one handed push ups and clapping push ups (attempting at least). When he gets to 3rd grade it will be crazy as he will likely follow his brother with football, basketball and soccer at school. He is likely to start club swim next season too.

No matter how chaotic it can get, I am just focused on enjoying it and not worrying about the wear and tear of it all.
 

Skipdog77

Footballguy
My daughter just started travel volleyball. She's a total beginner. Three weeks in, we had a tournament two hours away, lol. Another next weekend. I'm happy she is doing something but dang.
The closest away game/tournament for my daughter's Tier 1 travel hockey team is 2 hours away. The furthest (scheduled so far) is 5 and 1/2 hours away.

And we have to drive an hour to get to her "home" games.

Between her and my son, we've basically been hockey nomads between August-March every year for the past 13 years. Wouldn't trade it for anything though.

Good luck to her this season!
 

PIK95

Footballguy
My daughter just started travel volleyball. She's a total beginner. Three weeks in, we had a tournament two hours away, lol. Another next weekend. I'm happy she is doing something but dang.
The closest away game/tournament for my daughter's Tier 1 travel hockey team is 2 hours away. The furthest (scheduled so far) is 5 and 1/2 hours away.

And we have to drive an hour to get to her "home" games.

Between her and my son, we've basically been hockey nomads between August-March every year for the past 13 years. Wouldn't trade it for anything though.

Good luck to her this season!
Oh man. Good luck!
 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
My daughter just started travel volleyball. She's a total beginner. Three weeks in, we had a tournament two hours away, lol. Another next weekend. I'm happy she is doing something but dang.
The closest away game/tournament for my daughter's Tier 1 travel hockey team is 2 hours away. The furthest (scheduled so far) is 5 and 1/2 hours away.

And we have to drive an hour to get to her "home" games.

Between her and my son, we've basically been hockey nomads between August-March every year for the past 13 years. Wouldn't trade it for anything though.

Good luck to her this season!
Do you live in the sticks or what?
 

Skipdog77

Footballguy
My daughter just started travel volleyball. She's a total beginner. Three weeks in, we had a tournament two hours away, lol. Another next weekend. I'm happy she is doing something but dang.
The closest away game/tournament for my daughter's Tier 1 travel hockey team is 2 hours away. The furthest (scheduled so far) is 5 and 1/2 hours away.

And we have to drive an hour to get to her "home" games.

Between her and my son, we've basically been hockey nomads between August-March every year for the past 13 years. Wouldn't trade it for anything though.

Good luck to her this season!
Do you live in the sticks or what?
Nope, upstate NY (although I guess people's definition of "the sticks" can vary). Tourneys/games in MA and OH this year, regularly travel to PA, CT, MA, NJ, Buffalo (3 hr drive) for games.

There are less teams as you go up in levels/tiers, so you have to travel farther to play them. For her age level this season there are just (4) Tier I/AAA girl's teams declared for the State tournament. One in Buffalo, one in Rochester, one in Syracuse, and one in Rome/Utica.
 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Football season is finished for my son. He has missed most of swimming for about two weeks (swim season was delayed a week too) but now he will have full focus on swimming for a few weeks before basketball season starts and will have to juggle those together.

My daughters basketball season is wrapping up for the regular season, three games this week and then one more the following weekend- then playoffs. She has had fall season for Volleyball too but that is more practice in game situations than a real league (basically two clubs form up a bunch of teams and play each other) which has it's last game Sunday. Her schools volleyball tryouts for A and B teams are next Monday and then club season will start up sometime not too distant from now.

The fall league Volleyball team has a lot of girls from her school on it and several girls are on her basketball team too. It was funny because one of the mothers was saying how another mother whose daughter is just on basketball team was complaining about how busy they are since she is also in Cheer and Irish Dance. As if it was some unique situation for her or something. The mother she was complaining to has several kids that are all doing several sports too and basically spent her Sunday going from soccer game to basketball game to volleyball game. lol
 

Todem

Footballguy
This is driving me nuts as a coach and not sure what to do. We routinely have only 5-6 kids show up for our practices (for travel baseball 12u) on a team of 13. Between who has a conflict with other sports, or who has conflict with Little League games, or who has a conflict with All Stars. Always feels like we are the last priority. We tell all the parents practice time impacts playing time especially in tournaments when we have all 13 kids show up and we definitely are not batting all 13 in a game. I dont mind practicing with 5-6 because my son is always one of those practicing and he will continue to improve but there are a ton of things we cant work on without the majority of the team there. Really not sure what to do at this point. Cant exactly bench all 7 kids that dont show up.
What kind of 12U team is this? Are you guys trying to develop them for high school? Are you looking to have a tight nit travel team that does the big tournaments like Cal Ripken, Cooperstown All-Star Park? (Dreams park is not happening obviously).

What is the level of your son’s baseball ability?

I coached competitive travel baseball thru 14U and then coached my sons Middle School team and then coached summer high school showcase ball thru his sophomore year. Once he was becoming a junior I wanted to stop and just watch him play. I successfully ran a great travel and middle school program and also a high school showcase team (which is the hardest to pull off with the insane amount of egos and crazy parents we need to coach through ha ha). My son now 17 is committed to ply College baseball at William Peace University in Raleigh NC starting Fall 2023. e have been through the entire journey A-X we are about to being th College ball journey which for my son I feel will be potentially the best time he has ever had with the game. Incredible coaching staff and culture he will be playing for. That was the closer for him besides the location, facilities and campus itself.

So tell me about what your program core values are and the goals. And where are geographically? How long have you been at this with this group of kids/parents?
 

jobarules

Footballguy
This is driving me nuts as a coach and not sure what to do. We routinely have only 5-6 kids show up for our practices (for travel baseball 12u) on a team of 13. Between who has a conflict with other sports, or who has conflict with Little League games, or who has a conflict with All Stars. Always feels like we are the last priority. We tell all the parents practice time impacts playing time especially in tournaments when we have all 13 kids show up and we definitely are not batting all 13 in a game. I dont mind practicing with 5-6 because my son is always one of those practicing and he will continue to improve but there are a ton of things we cant work on without the majority of the team there. Really not sure what to do at this point. Cant exactly bench all 7 kids that dont show up.
What kind of 12U team is this? Are you guys trying to develop them for high school? Are you looking to have a tight nit travel team that does the big tournaments like Cal Ripken, Cooperstown All-Star Park? (Dreams park is not happening obviously).

What is the level of your son’s baseball ability?

I coached competitive travel baseball thru 14U and then coached my sons Middle School team and then coached summer high school showcase ball thru his sophomore year. Once he was becoming a junior I wanted to stop and just watch him play. I successfully ran a great travel and middle school program and also a high school showcase team (which is the hardest to pull off with the insane amount of egos and crazy parents we need to coach through ha ha). My son now 17 is committed to ply College baseball at William Peace University in Raleigh NC starting Fall 2023. e have been through the entire journey A-X we are about to being th College ball journey which for my son I feel will be potentially the best time he has ever had with the game. Incredible coaching staff and culture he will be playing for. That was the closer for him besides the location, facilities and campus itself.

So tell me about what your program core values are and the goals. And where are geographically? How long have you been at this with this group of kids/parents?
Our goal is NOT to create an ultra competitive team. Our goal is to create a competitive team, prepare the kids for high school, and allow them to enjoy and learn the game of baseball we love. We know there are several teams we will never be able to compete with and we are ok with that. We have played at Ripken tournaments and generally lose but the games are competitive. Of course once in awhile you run up against a team we have no business facing and get destroyed. Last spring/summer we were a .500 team and made the semi-finals of two tournaments.

This fall a number of kids moved onto the big field and the lack of participation is 10x worse. We are getting destroyed every game and us coaches are getting frustrated.

As for my son, he is super athletic, good fielder, really fast, and a solid pitcher. He does NOT throw gas, he used to throw hard but he has thinned out more than I had hoped and his velocity has not improved. He tends to lose control on occasion. He sees a pitching coach. His hitting is below average and he has zero desire to improve there. I set up a tee and net in the garage and he never uses it. He hits around .270. He rarely strikes out but has very little power. Hes had a few base hits over the infielders head on the big field and he steals bases with ease. Plays a solid 3B/LF.

He is 13 years old and has still not hit puberty. Hes 5'1" (I'm 6'1" but my wife is 5') and 110 lbs. He has no desire to work out.

He wants to play High School ball and from what my friends tell me the talent here is horrible so he should be a shoo in to make his freshman team as a pitcher. Not sure if he would make it as a position player due to his weak bat. I am hoping he makes his HS team (he goes into HS next September) and starts becoming motivated to improve and listens to the coaches but thats all on him at that point. My goal for him over the next year is to get him ready to make a freshman HS team. The rest is on him. If I had to guess what will happen he will make his freshman team (based on his athleticism and pitching ability), show no motivation to improve and then will get cut the next year. Sad but probably true.
 

Todem

Footballguy
This is driving me nuts as a coach and not sure what to do. We routinely have only 5-6 kids show up for our practices (for travel baseball 12u) on a team of 13. Between who has a conflict with other sports, or who has conflict with Little League games, or who has a conflict with All Stars. Always feels like we are the last priority. We tell all the parents practice time impacts playing time especially in tournaments when we have all 13 kids show up and we definitely are not batting all 13 in a game. I dont mind practicing with 5-6 because my son is always one of those practicing and he will continue to improve but there are a ton of things we cant work on without the majority of the team there. Really not sure what to do at this point. Cant exactly bench all 7 kids that dont show up.
What kind of 12U team is this? Are you guys trying to develop them for high school? Are you looking to have a tight nit travel team that does the big tournaments like Cal Ripken, Cooperstown All-Star Park? (Dreams park is not happening obviously).

What is the level of your son’s baseball ability?

I coached competitive travel baseball thru 14U and then coached my sons Middle School team and then coached summer high school showcase ball thru his sophomore year. Once he was becoming a junior I wanted to stop and just watch him play. I successfully ran a great travel and middle school program and also a high school showcase team (which is the hardest to pull off with the insane amount of egos and crazy parents we need to coach through ha ha). My son now 17 is committed to ply College baseball at William Peace University in Raleigh NC starting Fall 2023. e have been through the entire journey A-X we are about to being th College ball journey which for my son I feel will be potentially the best time he has ever had with the game. Incredible coaching staff and culture he will be playing for. That was the closer for him besides the location, facilities and campus itself.

So tell me about what your program core values are and the goals. And where are geographically? How long have you been at this with this group of kids/parents?
Our goal is NOT to create an ultra competitive team. Our goal is to create a competitive team, prepare the kids for high school, and allow them to enjoy and learn the game of baseball we love. We know there are several teams we will never be able to compete with and we are ok with that. We have played at Ripken tournaments and generally lose but the games are competitive. Of course once in awhile you run up against a team we have no business facing and get destroyed. Last spring/summer we were a .500 team and made the semi-finals of two tournaments.

This fall a number of kids moved onto the big field and the lack of participation is 10x worse. We are getting destroyed every game and us coaches are getting frustrated.

As for my son, he is super athletic, good fielder, really fast, and a solid pitcher. He does NOT throw gas, he used to throw hard but he has thinned out more than I had hoped and his velocity has not improved. He tends to lose control on occasion. He sees a pitching coach. His hitting is below average and he has zero desire to improve there. I set up a tee and net in the garage and he never uses it. He hits around .270. He rarely strikes out but has very little power. Hes had a few base hits over the infielders head on the big field and he steals bases with ease. Plays a solid 3B/LF.

He is 13 years old and has still not hit puberty. Hes 5'1" (I'm 6'1" but my wife is 5') and 110 lbs. He has no desire to work out.

He wants to play High School ball and from what my friends tell me the talent here is horrible so he should be a shoo in to make his freshman team as a pitcher. Not sure if he would make it as a position player due to his weak bat. I am hoping he makes his HS team (he goes into HS next September) and starts becoming motivated to improve and listens to the coaches but thats all on him at that point. My goal for him over the next year is to get him ready to make a freshman HS team. The rest is on him. If I had to guess what will happen he will make his freshman team (based on his athleticism and pitching ability), show no motivation to improve and then will get cut the next year. Sad but probably true.
Ok.

So the move to the big field is the first big attrition event in baseball.

So no surprise that you guys lost players or are losing players due to their lack of success. Baseball takes a lot of hard work to be competitive. The program I ran was a competitive but not “ultra” competitive program. Similar to yours. We did compete with good teams, we actually won a few Travel League titles at the 13U level and were runner ups at the 14U level. Maybe we had some more talent than your team....but I also live in South Florida and it is a hotbed of baseball here. The transition to the 60/90 big boy field is tough at the 13U level but gets a lot better at 14U. They just gotta stay the course. Also start learning to hit with BBCOR sooner rather than later. Drop 5 bats are a false sense of security on the big field.

If lack of participation is an issue you need to open up tryouts again. And make it clear you are looking for dedicated, hard working players and families who want to improve, compete and get to the next level. making some player cuts is difficult.....but if you want to get better you gotta practice together as a team.....always.

It’s unfortunate your son is not self motivated to get better. Unfortunately if that continues....he will not be playing for much longer.

My son was a late bloomer physically which actually drove him and he always had to be the hardest working most fundamentally sound kid on the diamond to have any shot at competing. When he was 13 he was 4’9 80 pounds. When he was a freshman in high school he was 4’11 90 pounds (soaking wet) but he worked his tail off.....hard. He made his JV team. Now understand my son plays for Stoneman Douglas. We have won back to back National Champions/State Championships at the 7A level of high school. We have had multiple draft picks out of this program Anthony Rizzo (Cubs/Yankees) ,Coby Mayo (Orioles), Gavin Conticello (Rockies), and most recently Roman Anthony (Red Sox). My son popped to 5’10 by his senior year and is now 155 pounds. He hit the gym hard after he grew. I would not let him sniff a weight room till he was 5’7’ and in his second growth spurt. Now? I can’t keep him out of the gym. It’s all about getting stronger and staying sharp with high quality reps.

He had to fight for everything he had. So work ethic and self motivation is critical to keep playing sports at the high school level and beyond. The love of the game needs to be very strong for that to happen. There is no magic bullet. It sounds like your son may not love it as much anymore. You gotta be willing to put in the work. He is not going to be a hitter at the high school level on his current course. Pitching wise.....he can still keep developing. Focus on his control and his second and third pitches. He will grow, he will get stronger and he will need to get into the gym....also yoga.....very important to stay limber.

But back to your team. I suggest rebuilding it with highly motivated players. Not all of those types of kids are studs.....there are plenty of hard working baseball players who are grinders. Give me 12 grinders everyday of the week. That’s all I coached. Our team had no “STUDS” we had hard working, great competitive kids who wanted to play ball and get better. And all their parents bought into our culture. It was a lot of fun. Some of our best memories were from 13U and 14U baseball.

I wish you and your son the best of luck.
 

Gally

Footballguy
Our goal is NOT to create an ultra competitive team. Our goal is to create a competitive team, prepare the kids for high school, and allow them to enjoy and learn the game of baseball we love. We know there are several teams we will never be able to compete with and we are ok with that. We have played at Ripken tournaments and generally lose but the games are competitive. Of course once in awhile you run up against a team we have no business facing and get destroyed. Last spring/summer we were a .500 team and made the semi-finals of two tournaments.

Finishing between .500 and .600 for a winning percentage is ideal for competition purposes. You want them to be challenged and be in the games. If you are winning at a 90% clip you need to find better competition so this is about perfect.


As for my son, he is super athletic, good fielder, really fast, and a solid pitcher. He does NOT throw gas, he used to throw hard but he has thinned out more than I had hoped and his velocity has not improved. He tends to lose control on occasion. He sees a pitching coach. His hitting is below average and he has zero desire to improve there. I set up a tee and net in the garage and he never uses it. He hits around .270. He rarely strikes out but has very little power. Hes had a few base hits over the infielders head on the big field and he steals bases with ease. Plays a solid 3B/LF.

He is 13 years old and has still not hit puberty. Hes 5'1" (I'm 6'1" but my wife is 5') and 110 lbs. He has no desire to work out.

He wants to play High School ball and from what my friends tell me the talent here is horrible so he should be a shoo in to make his freshman team as a pitcher. Not sure if he would make it as a position player due to his weak bat. I am hoping he makes his HS team (he goes into HS next September) and starts becoming motivated to improve and listens to the coaches but thats all on him at that point. My goal for him over the next year is to get him ready to make a freshman HS team. The rest is on him. If I had to guess what will happen he will make his freshman team (based on his athleticism and pitching ability), show no motivation to improve and then will get cut the next year. Sad but probably true.

He is only 13. Don't worry too much about his size and lack of power hitting. He will grow and this will improve. The fact he is putting the ball in play is what matters. The size/strength will come so don't worry about the results at this point.


He is also only 13 so his drive may still be on the way. It's a tough age with a bunch of stuff changing so I wouldn't worry about it yet. He may decide he doesn't want to put in the effort and that is fine (frustrating as a dad but what can you do?). It may be a good time to sit down with him and ask him what he wants out of the next step (High School baseball). Based on his answer you can outline what he will need to do to accomplish that goal. He says he wants to "play HS baseball" but that has a lot of different meanings. Does he want to just be part of the team? A starter? a leader? All League caliber player? The answer to those things lead to how much he has to work. Make it clear so he can decide. You can't force him to work out to get better so just outline what it will take for him to get to the level he wants to be and then let him figure out what he is willing to do
 

Todem

Footballguy
Our goal is NOT to create an ultra competitive team. Our goal is to create a competitive team, prepare the kids for high school, and allow them to enjoy and learn the game of baseball we love. We know there are several teams we will never be able to compete with and we are ok with that. We have played at Ripken tournaments and generally lose but the games are competitive. Of course once in awhile you run up against a team we have no business facing and get destroyed. Last spring/summer we were a .500 team and made the semi-finals of two tournaments.

Finishing between .500 and .600 for a winning percentage is ideal for competition purposes. You want them to be challenged and be in the games. If you are winning at a 90% clip you need to find better competition so this is about perfect.


As for my son, he is super athletic, good fielder, really fast, and a solid pitcher. He does NOT throw gas, he used to throw hard but he has thinned out more than I had hoped and his velocity has not improved. He tends to lose control on occasion. He sees a pitching coach. His hitting is below average and he has zero desire to improve there. I set up a tee and net in the garage and he never uses it. He hits around .270. He rarely strikes out but has very little power. Hes had a few base hits over the infielders head on the big field and he steals bases with ease. Plays a solid 3B/LF.

He is 13 years old and has still not hit puberty. Hes 5'1" (I'm 6'1" but my wife is 5') and 110 lbs. He has no desire to work out.

He wants to play High School ball and from what my friends tell me the talent here is horrible so he should be a shoo in to make his freshman team as a pitcher. Not sure if he would make it as a position player due to his weak bat. I am hoping he makes his HS team (he goes into HS next September) and starts becoming motivated to improve and listens to the coaches but thats all on him at that point. My goal for him over the next year is to get him ready to make a freshman HS team. The rest is on him. If I had to guess what will happen he will make his freshman team (based on his athleticism and pitching ability), show no motivation to improve and then will get cut the next year. Sad but probably true.

He is only 13. Don't worry too much about his size and lack of power hitting. He will grow and this will improve. The fact he is putting the ball in play is what matters. The size/strength will come so don't worry about the results at this point.


He is also only 13 so his drive may still be on the way. It's a tough age with a bunch of stuff changing so I wouldn't worry about it yet. He may decide he doesn't want to put in the effort and that is fine (frustrating as a dad but what can you do?). It may be a good time to sit down with him and ask him what he wants out of the next step (High School baseball). Based on his answer you can outline what he will need to do to accomplish that goal. He says he wants to "play HS baseball" but that has a lot of different meanings. Does he want to just be part of the team? A starter? a leader? All League caliber player? The answer to those things lead to how much he has to work. Make it clear so he can decide. You can't force him to work out to get better so just outline what it will take for him to get to the level he wants to be and then let him figure out what he is willing to do
If he put’s in the work Gally.

His dad’s concern is the lack of desire and work ethic. That has to change if he wants to compete at the higher levels. When I say he is not going to be a hitter on his current course....it had everything to do with his apparent lack of work ethic than his size.

I know all about smaller kids....I was one and my son was one.....yes it takes time for some. Late bloomers in fact are better overall in the long run....but again the desire and work ethic has to be there.

I will say this.....and it’s coming from a place of coaching this game for over 20 years. Most kids work ethics don’t change very much.....I say most. I have seen a lot of kids at age 11 and 12 and they are wired the way they are wired. Now there are absolutely exceptions to those rules....but generally speaking you have a decent pulse on how they are wired and if they don’t change.....it will be what it will be. I have had a few kids I "coached” up who had average work ethics and basically asked them....do you love the game? And they did. I was blunt. I said if you want to keep playing this game in high school you gotta turn up the energy not only in practice but what you are doing when no one is watching. Extra reps, tee work, short toss, live hitting, more ground balls, more fly balls.....more. Other guys are gonna outwork you and take your spot. Some kids think they are so talented they can skate by on talent alone.....I have seen that also implode on them in High School when they don’t get recruited for college ball which takes even more dedication and work.

And I know that you know this very well.

Either they respond or they don’t.
 

Gally

Footballguy
If he put’s in the work Gally.

His dad’s concern is the lack of desire and work ethic. That has to change if he wants to compete at the higher levels. When I say he is not going to be a hitter on his current course....it had everything to do with his apparent lack of work ethic than his size.

I know all about smaller kids....I was one and my son was one.....yes it takes time for some. Late bloomers in fact are better overall in the long run....but again the desire and work ethic has to be there.

I will say this.....and it’s coming from a place of coaching this game for over 20 years. Most kids work ethics don’t change very much.....I say most. I have seen a lot of kids at age 11 and 12 and they are wired the way they are wired. Now there are absolutely exceptions to those rules....but generally speaking you have a decent pulse on how they are wired and if they don’t change.....it will be what it will be. I have had a few kids I "coached” up who had average work ethics and basically asked them....do you love the game? And they did. I was blunt. I said if you want to keep playing this game in high school you gotta turn up the energy not only in practice but what you are doing when no one is watching. Extra reps, tee work, short toss, live hitting, more ground balls, more fly balls.....more. Other guys are gonna outwork you and take your spot. Some kids think they are so talented they can skate by on talent alone.....I have seen that also implode on them in High School when they don’t get recruited for college ball which takes even more dedication and work.

And I know that you know this very well.

Either they respond or they don’t.
All true. I do know kids that it came easy up until the time that growth spurts happened at different times. This is an eye opening experience when a kid goes from one of the best to struggling because they don't have the strength that others got first. That is the time to have the "talk" about what the kid really wants out of the game. That was the angle I was coming from. I have seen kids change their work ethic (to some degree) because it can be a learned thing when you all of a sudden are not performing to your expectations. If the kid doesn't like that has the love for the game then I have seen work ethics change drastically. But I agree you can generally see the kids that will be willing to do that and the ones that won't. As a coach it's easy to see because you can observe them when they don't think anybody is watching (playing catch at the beginning of practice is a great indicator as is team warm up routines). You can see the kids goofing off or taking short cuts. Those kids won't change for sure.

I think we are on the same page. The biggest thing I wanted to convey was at that age don't worry so much about the strength to get it out of the infield. Worry about technique and attitude. Strength will come so don't let that be a discouragement for this age. Just use it as a nudge to work harder (lifting, running, techique improvement, etc).
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top