Pitching on JV team or sitting on the Varsity team?


What are your thoughts for “on the bubble” kids who are good enough to pitch on Varsity, but perhaps still young and would pitch a lot more on the JV team?

Do you encourage him to play varsity or JV?


My son was presented with this as a Sophmore. He decided to play Varsity…wanted the letter and the chance to hang with the older guys.
He started the year dong spot relief and got a couple of starts by the end of the year.
I say go Varsity.


Nice, so glad it worked out for your son. I’d have my son play up too in a similar situation knowing that you’re trading innings for other benefits.


I’d opt for the playing time instead of the bench experience. You can’t work on anything while you’re picking splinters from your back side. Improvement is driven by quality practice. Both programs will probably have similar practices because the JV is usually structured by the Varsity coach. Improvement also requires regular playing time, and these kids on the bubble will only get that on the JV squad.


Exposure to the varsity level would help set the bar higher. But, to me, there is no replacement for playing time. I think the best option would be to spend most of the time at the JV level but get some time at the varsity level as well.


Here’s my thoughts on the JV – Varsity thing.

JV ball is suppose to groom and ready a player for the higher caliber
of baseball that usually associated with varsity competition. JV was never
meant to be a one player grooming process, nor was it meant to provide
a holding pattern for those “going up” in the future, simply because there
wasn’t enough room on the varsity roster during the current year.
JV has a special purpose in amateur baseball, and in my opinion contains
all the necessary qualities for effective gamesmenship that’s expected
in varsity ball.

JV is usually the first introduction of what’s expected in high school sports.
I’m sure the same thing can be said for middle school and freshmen ball,
but then I’d only be guessing. In any event, JV clubs and their coaches must
have consistency with everyone participating, game after game, thus functioning
as a team, with a team mindset. In that regard, there’s nothing more frustrating
to a JV coach and his players, than to be suborindated by another coach, of which
he has no conrol over. Even worse, a JV coach whose game plan is constantly
skelltized by someone outside his jurisdiction does nothing to reinforce that
JV coach’s authority and level of confidence by his players.

I’ve seen on many occations, a JV game well underway, when a player from a
varisity team comes running across the field and says to the JV coach… “ our
varsity coach wants Jimmy Smith to come over now.” I’ve also seen where that
same situation leaves all the other players on the field for the JV club, shifting
around to fill in the hole left by losing Jimmy Smith. I’ve also seen games
forifited all because Jimmy Smith had to leave, leaving only eight players on
the JV roster.

I think that pulling a player off a JV roster just to watch or experience the varisty
“thing” does nothing for those left behind on the JV club. It promotes nothing by
a lack of confidence and camaraderie among the JV players, it shows absoultely
no respect for the JV coach and his planing and authority, and it places way too
much control and authority on the varsity coach and his staff.

I strongly believe in paying one’s dues, time-n-grade, and all that stuff. I also believe
that once someone organizes and forms a ball club – you dance with who ya brought.


Many programs schedule JV and Varsity at opposite venues (JV home when Varsity is away) to prevent mid-game inconveniences like the one outlined above.

In many ways JV is the minor leagues for Varsity. Getting called up by Varsity to be the first reliever when the JV coach had planned to start a pitcher is very common. It leads to JV players trying to set themselves apart from the rest of their team mates in order to get called up to Varsity. It’s not the most effective way to inspire team work.


I agree.
I made these points with my son…he would be the 1 pitcher on the JV and playing first base or OF when not pitching, lots of at bats ect. But, it was as much a social thing for him. This is high school after all. He wanted the Varsity letter, the first of 5 he earned, by Senior year he turned down a sixth Varsity letter to do other things. Kids change over the course of those 4 years. As a 15 year old getting that Varsity letter and playing with upper classmen was very important to him.


Been waiting to reply on this topic to see how my sons situation played out. One of two Soph’s to play varsity this year. Wasn’t given a choice, coaches call. Moved to PO on varsity. Got limited playing time & became increasingly frustrated. Finally went to coach & told him he’d rather play on JV than sit on varsity, he allowed him to move down. I’d say play where you can get the most playing time (if given a choice).


Thx for the update… glad your son is happier and pitching more there. I think that was a good call. Keep us posted on his progress!


Appreciate the encouragement. Haven’t had a game since the change so we’ll see how it goes. Think it may have worked out better in normal year. We’re about halfway through regular season & lost almost 2/3 of games due to weather. Area is about to start so don’t see him getting experience going forward staying on varsity. I believe he did the right thing.


It is hard to get better if you don’t play. If a player can hit at all he should play some position. If he can’t hit at all he should throw 95 :smiley: