My son is 10 and this is his third season playing baseball. First two years were spent in little league and we just did our first season of pony. The second season my son played he made allstars as starting pitcher and same goes for this season in the Mustang division where he was first pick. We knew our son was a decent player that could keep up with other kids, but didn’t realize how good of a player he is until his now Allstar coach pointed it out to us. We still consider ourselves new at all this since he has only played 3 seasons of spring ball so it’s crazy to think my son is being “scouted” by other Bronco coaches since he will be moving up in divisions next season. It’s to the point that one of the Bronco coaches was trying to encourage him to throw next season’s tryouts so he can get him on his team because he knows other coaches have been watching him play. First of all I didn’t know baseball was this competitive at this age I mean I always looked at it as kids playing for fun. My question is, how do I keep the sport fun for my little dude? He fell in love with baseball the first time he played and I just don’t want him to lose that passion. He’s kind of a shy kid so I don’t want this newfound attention he’s getting to become too much for him.
Well, being a kid and a pitcher myself, I can relate to your son. He is very young and I am extremely glad to hear that he is doing well. I would recommend him to not focus on the coaches/scouts and just follow his dreams. If he has the passion the sport of baseball should always be fun for him. Be sure to check on him sometimes to see if anything is bothering him and stay by his side.
Your concern is valid as youth baseball is competitive. Little League seems to be not as bad as they have rules and guidelines governing things more so than, say, travel ball where you’ll likely find more competitiveness and more “over-the-top” coaches. My suggestion is to do your homework and shop around for a good coach if the situation permits. Talk to other parents and learn about the coaches. Try to find a coach whose personality fits your son. My younger son once had a coach that yelled a lot - almost drove my son away from the game. Be prepared to confront your son’s coach (tactfully) when needed. At your son’s age, he will likely not be able to defend himself in front of his coach. You are his first line of defense.
Having said that, you are new to the youth baseball scene and likely need to learn about how things are often done in order to evaluate what you may perceive as an issue. Again, talk to other parents and, if need be, the coach. But keep an open mind.
Just be careful and get to know the different coaches. These young ages are way more competitive than they need to be. More than likely the only thing the scouting coaches are looking for is how to make their son look better and win games. This could result in your child being a commodity to be used up. Find a good coach that has your sons progress at heart.
I’ve been to tournaments where I have seen coaches abuse young pitchers and the parents dont know when to tell the coach to stop. Things like throwing 70 pitches on a Saturday then having them throw another 80 on Sunday (get familiar with the MLB pitch smart program).
Your son is way to young to determine if he will be drafted into the MLB in the first round. But if you look after him and keep his arm healthy he will have a more productive career.
any coach that tells you to have him “throw” tryouts is a coach I wouldn’t want my son to play for. so, you already know one guy to steer clear of. Your best resources are parents with kids a year or two older than yours.
It sounds like your son’s talents are preceding him already, so be prepared for requests to play on multiple teams/leagues. There’s nothing wrong with playing rec ball during the week and then competitive ball on the weekends. If you do, I would recommend he only pitch for one team just to keep his arm healthy and limit the amount of communication needed between multiple coaches.
Keep your son (and yourself) grounded. Getting all this attention can turn even the best kid (parent) into a little (big) a-hole. There’s no one more likable than a super talented kid that is humble.
Oh definitely! I’m not going to let him throw any tryouts regardless of who the coach is. I told him that I will never want him to sell himself short by throwing a tryout for someone who claims to have his “best interest”. I’ve always told him that a true champion will be a champion on any team he gets placed on. The coach that wants him to throw his next tryout has the championship undefeated team 4th year running and he happens to be my ex-husband’s best friend. I explained to my son that just because he makes it on a “championship” team he probably wouldn’t get the play time he does now. He already had his ace pitcher and I feel like all my son would be is a fill in.
I’ve been paying a lot of attention and talking with the dads whose kids have been playing in the league since t-ball. His Allstars coach he has now really works with my son and definitely has his best interest. He makes sure when he’s pitching he’s staying hydrated and makes sure he’s not getting gassed out. If he pitches one game he places him in a different position the next game to save his arm. He was a pitcher for minor league so he knows the importance of rest. He’s the one that made us realize that our son has raw natural talent. I really like that during practice his coach works with him one on one and explains things in a way that’s easy for him to understand. He says that my son’s passion for the game reminds him of himself when he was his age. Unlucky for my son that he has a mom that tells it like it is. Any coach that try’s to come at my son the wrong way will have a pissed off mom on their hands. I’ve heard moms talk about jerk coaches that abuse the players whether it’s verbally or overworking them and I can never wrap my head around why they don’t step in. Our goal is for him to keep the love for the game, stay focused, stay humble, and just go out there and have fun.
You sound like you have a good handle on it! The key for you now seems to be preventing burnout and keeping the game fun. Getting the right coaches and playing on a team where kids get along is most of the battle.
Bad coach checklist
- Doesn’t have a practice plan for each practice
- Doesn’t practice at all
- Yells out “helpful” advice to batters while they are at the plate during a game
- Yells out “helpful” advice to fielders in between pitches during a game
- Stands over player while talking to him (one-on-one)
- Has no idea what pitch counts are or says they are useless
- Thinks “tie goes to the runner” is an actual baseball rule.
- Doesn’t adjust the lineup or positions based on factual data
- Keeps no factual data during games (GameChanger, iScore, etc)
I’m sure the list could go on-and-on. Just because a guy played some college/minor/major league ball doesn’t make him a good coach. It makes him a knowledgeable person in the sport. If he has the ability to connect to players and motivate them and is knowledgeable in the game, then he might be a good coach.