14 yrs old playing Travelball and Little League

Hello everybody :slight_smile: I have a son who stands 5’11 and weighs around 165-170. He is strong and has an enormous amount of power and endurance that requires me to have to really keep my eye on him. He is a big time pitcher that hits in the 80’s and will be turning 14 in May and he wanted me to sign him up for Little league to play in the Jr’s so he can be with friends that he has grown up with. He will be playing around two trourneys a month with some practice with his travel team. My main concern obviously, is over use of throwing. I have been hearing about Travel ball players and little league together is too much. Now, he is well watched by me. (I do not get caught up in the moment either). even all the way to his warm ups before innings. Yes, I count those too. and have personally went to his coach and yanked him off the hill because his number of pitches were to high and it was in the 6th and he had 15K’s no walks no hits, but the catcher let three hitters go by dropping 3rd strike pitches and they stole 1st and beat the catcher again by being rewarded the stolen base. My son ate 16 pitches and was looking at 3 outs to go still. Yikes! When I see his average per inning start to change, I make a change. To me, my son has a gift and it is my job as his Father to explain and educate him on loving and taking care of himself over pleasing others by pushing to hard. Sure, I could of allowed him to throw in the 7th and pounded my chest like most of those over achieving dads and moms, but that’s just plain stupid! He is just not a man quite yet and when he is, he will attack with a mature body and mind on his own. I also understand about practice and that I would keep his practice days the same.(not double them) and I would never throw my son during the week to put him on the mound the following weekend. Not going to happen. So, his Travel ball team is first and his little league will be 2nd… If he is off travelball for the following weekend, he would be able to get his work in on the hill with rock in hand during the week with his Little League team. Good? Bad? I need your thoughts to help settle mine and come up with a strategy that works for him. Even if it came down to me saying to him, Choose 1 not 2 son. Please any advice would be great! thanks.

Read one of the many articles on burnout. He is 13, let him do other things sometimes. As a matter of fact - you should demand he does that other thing.

ok. when you say do the other thing, your saying allow him to play Little League? now, I want you to know, this is all him… not me… this is my issue… I love it when Football is around, but i need you to be a little more clear on what you are saying… he is commited to travel ball and does not want to stop, but at the same time he wants to play with his Little League friends. it is what he wants, but is that too much?

If you are being mindful of his pitch count thats good just be sure that the coaches are on the same page with you.

Watch out for burnout as Kyle suggests but one thing you need to look at is games played and innings pitched combined between the 2 teams and see just how much more he will be playing and pitching. Get an opinion from a sports doc too on regards to how much they feel would be too much on your sons body. Another thing to consider is what’s his off season like? If he played both leagues will he have enough of a shut down and rest period or not.

There are many factors that make each case different.

I would let him play Little League so he could be with his friends. If you do let him play Little league, then I would demand that he be a position player(not catcher) and not pitch. He will get plenty of pitching in travel ball. The main reason I would let him do Little League is to have fun with his friends.

I don’t mean another sport necessarily, just something else.

I knew/know tons of great teenage ballplayers that became tired of it all.

One was a Jr. Olympian, all league, or similar. Good players that get tired of the pressure, effort, etc.

thanks a lot guys. It amazes me how well this forum helps. I have really enjoyed geting great reading in and if I ever have a question I never hear anything that is just plain sarcastic at all. Again, thanks. I am going to apply all to what I have just read from you guys. I will get my homework in on articles from burnout. I will watch games played and pitched as any dad should who son is constantly needed and a constant battle. with of course, me insuring that the Coaches and myself are on the same page :smiley: Like all dads, we love watching are children smile and have fun. Right? lol Little League it is then… I just wonder what the coaches are going to do when I tell them, dont pick him for pitching:) lmbo! :shock: im still :lol:

My suggestion would be to let your son play Little League with his buddies and step away from travel ball during that time. If he is the pitcher you say he is, his spot on the travel team will be there for him after Little League.

While you sound like you have the best of intentions, I still see some red flags. Pitch count limits are necessary. Proper days rest between outings (games or bullpens) is necessary. Time off (at least a couple contiguous months) each year is necessary - espeially a 14u that throws hard. These are just the physical health concerns.

As others have pointed out, there are mental concerns as well. Burn-out is the real deal - I’ve seen it happen. Also, how does he learn to uphold his commitment to his teams when he pitches for one team on one day and then has to take a pass with the other team on the next day?

Does he get good nutrition? Adequate sleep? How is he doing in school?

Make sure he has other interests. Because someday, if and when his baseball career ends, there has to be something else. If he is a person with multiple interests (one of which is baseball), then it’s not such a hard fall when one of those interests finally comes to an end. But if he hs only one interest and that comes to an end, well, things can get rough.

My perspective, my opinions.

I’m with Roger…travel won’t go away and they will always need arms. The fun aspect can’t be understated for kids before it’s time for the year’s of year long dedication to ply the art beyond high school.
He won’t lose a thing, might save some arm and help his long term attitude. Also it’s him calling his shot…give him some feeling of power and control over his own life and choices…(Obviously you are doing that, by just coming here it shows you want nothing but the best and are attempting to get some balancing input), this is good stuff too.
To fully disclose, I am, across the net, someone who advocates for minimization of travel (Before it can get you meaningfully scouted…like at 16-18 ), particularly pitchers, through “other” means of skill development…which does include playing league, All-Stars and Fall ball. Roger coaches travel (And does it right) so there is some balance for you.

Roger said,

This kind of advice is so valuable you should have to pay for it. If nothing else Roger should get a tax deduction.

Your excitement over your son’s potential and current success is obvious. I salute your dedication to him, wanting to protect him and maximize his potential. Having been through this, my son is 21, and having seen other kids in similar positions keep this in mind: [quote]This is a father/son relationship with baseball involved not a father/baseball relationship with a son involved. [/quote]

There is one thing you will never have control over…desire. When that ends…you are going to want to have many things to share with him besides baseball. Until then the memories you make along the way will create a bond between you and your son that can’t be broken. As long as all the memories are good ones.

Have him play with his friends and take a break from the travel team. Otherwise you might feel like one of those plate spinners in a three ring circus.

[quote=“Dino”]If nothing else Roger should get a tax deduction.[/quote]Hey, I like that idea!

Thanks, Dino.