Question for any of you Dad / Coaches out there who have already been thru this … I have a young man that I work with who is a Frosh in HS and very likely will be given an opportunity to be on the varsity team this spring . The game time he’ll get would be minimal, but the trade off is exposure to MUCH better coaching and practicing with a higher caliber of player . Playing JV he’d not only pitch maximum innings, but he’d play OF as well . But like most kids, he thinks it would be pretty cool to be with the older boys … just not sure it would be best for his development . If any of you have been thru this situation I’d appreciate your feedback .
Im in the same situation. Right now I could go to JV and be the ace of the team and start at 3rd base, or go to Varsity where I’d be second or third string 3rd baseman, and the #4 pitcher.
I went to a 2A school and we had very few players so I got to play varsity along with one other my freshman year, but I also played JV. On varsity I played very little but it was fun to travel with the older guys and warm up with them and watch them play. On JV though, I got a lot more experience which is very important.
If you could ensure that the kid in question practices a lot on his own and can get on a summer team where he will play a lot, I’d say put him on varsity. Otherwise, JV is the way to go.
My 2 cents
Edit: I’m a player in college, not a dad/coach
My opinion is that there is no substitution for playing time. It might be cool and there may be some benefit to being “with” the older kids and the varsity coaches but, if there is no opportunity to compete and face challenges, you won’t develop as fast.
You also have to consider the mental side of things. Is the kid mentally and emotionally mature enough to handle the pressures of playing up a the varsity level? Also, be careful of the mental ramifications of not getting much playing time. That can do a number on one’s self-esteem.
I’d probably be best to talk to the kid and his parents. See what the kid wants first then talk to the parents, this way if he is on varsity they won’t complain becuase you will let them know ahead of time he won’t get as much playing time. But I say to just leave him down on JV. When it’s his turn it’s his turn. It’s one thing not to play and have parents complain which is dumb, but when the kid could have been on JV and played it can make them mad. It might not be best to talk with him that being pretty unprofessional like as a coach you have to make a decision.
Also being exposed to older boys is that a chance that he could get into some trouble? Is this a kid that is very critical to your future? Sounds like he is, so you wouldn’t want to get him into things that would hurt him.
I would keep him down on JV. I believe our coach gave a kid last year the option of going on varsity knowing he wouldn’t get asj much playing time as staying on JV.
Remember that its going to be the coaches call generally. We had a strategy of if varsity and minimum pitching opps to ask if when games didn’t coincide if he could pitch down so he could get in his work. Turned out that the coach had him stay down, he lit it up like a mad man and then at the end of the season, they brought him up and put him into some great opportunities (Against Tim Tebows team…where he got his first encouragement from a D-1 scouts (The Citidel/Jacksonville U). Tell him to throw the crap out of the ball, have a great attitude no matter where hes at and it will all work out.
We have a similar situation but with a sophomore. We will probably have him practice with the varsity in order to woek with him to develop his pitching skills, but pitch him once a week for the JV team to get game situation pitching and develop confidence. He may also be a position player one game a week for the JVs. What we will try to accomplish is give him adequate playing time to develop his skills, but also expose him to a higher caliber of play. But I personally would select playing to sitting.
It depends on how he stacks up against the JV competition. If he’s throwing low to mid 80s then unless he has serious control problems getting a lot of innings on JV will be a complete waste of time for him and could possibly hurt his progress as he’ll be encouraged to simply throw the ball down the middle, given that off speed pitches will only speed up weak hitters bats and trying to hit corners will only increase the chance of walking hitters who can’t catch up with his fastball anyways. If he’s a mid 70s type then he’ll probably be better off getting the innings on JV.
As far as the hitting goes, it depends once again on the quality of the JV pitching vs the varsity pitching. We see mostly mid to high 70s pitchers at the JV level and mostly mid to high 80s pitchers at the varsity level during league so there’s no way that playing JV can prepare a hitter to face varsity pitching in our league.
Generally speaking, I’d say that with a sophmore if there’s a question between varsity and JV then they should go JV. With a junior if there’s a question between varsity and JV then they should go varsity.
With a freshman it is almost invariably better for them to play JV unless they are going to be a starter on varsity.
Generally, it is all a moot point because the kid goes where the varsity coach decides.