Too much baseball?


#1

What are your thoughts on this.

A 15-18U baseball travel team who plays from Mid April to Late August. Approx 60 a season. Practice twice a week. Play 4 games on the weekend and play on every other Tuesday. 8 Pitchers on the team. Is this too much baseball for this age group? No pitcher has gone over 70 innings or have any pitcher gone over 1300 pitches in a season (April-August).


#2

No one over 70 innings…15 innings a month on average?
No, not too much. You are looking for specific answers to vague questions. A 15 year old is can be massively different from a 19 year old. One kid may work hard in recovery and preparation another may not at all. One kid may play other sports year round another may only play on this travel team. Too many variable.
In terms of 60 innings over 4 months? No that is not too much for most players I would assume.


#3

Fearsomefour, has pretty much wrapped this one up.

The question to be asked is - how much off-season work do these pitchers get into, then into the preseason? By work I mean conditioning, diet education, and so forth. During these times is when good pitchers become better pitchers, and better pitchers become dominating. I’ve always been under the impression that it’s during the off-season when a pitcher improves himself.

About the age spread - unless the tryouts separate the immature from the mature, 15 to 18 years of age can be a real tight fit for consistency and monitoring. Knowing what you’ve got and how good your pitching staff’s tenure is, is a challenge in the amateur ranks. So, a custom fit all the way around - your situation verse someone else’s, would be the thing.


#4

Totally agree with the advice here. I wish the game to practice ratio was different though… More practices and less games. From a development standpoint at this age, games provide far less value than practices. Not exclusive to your situation…I see it here in Boston too.


#5

I totally agree with Steven Ellis - big time.

Instead of attending a training camp, private coaching, and so on, I wish there were more practice sessions. Replace the win-win-win mentality with learn-learn-learn mentality.

I was very fortunate to give into a camp promotion once. Our club had three weeks worth of basically nothing because of a host of issues, so to generate interest and promotion, a two week promotion camp - billed as a free skills camp was set in motion.

Here’s the thing - overall, our players benefited more from that two week experience than anybody. I must admit, when dealing with youngsters, they don’t take anything for granted. Questions, upon questions dominated every day from 10am to 3pm, Monday through Saturday. Unlike their adult counterparts that had this …" whatever", attitude, those youngsters excelled every day better than the day before.

Infield player took each youngster individually per position - 1st, 2nd and so on. What really amazed me was the banter back and forth that the coaching ranks had, letting these guys do their thing. " Well I’ll be darn, listen to that guy," our infield coach said to me. “I’ve been trying to get that across to that knucklehead for the last two weeks!” And here that
knucklehead was telling some youngster how to cover the hot spot - 3rd. Go figure.

Baseball is a game of repetition. Do it right over and over again until it becomes second nature. That’s why the Majors makes it look so easy - bing-badda-boom, done and over.

About less games… in different parts of the country the weather can play havoc with schedules. I’ve sat in the chills of April and May, then folded up my chair and said to myself… " so much for this #@$!. How anyone can learn from 50 degree weather, overcast and a light drizzle is beyond me. The only ones that seem to make out are the umpire fees, the rentals and the bus companies.

Now before someone tells me that playing is a way to learn - don’t. Amateur baseball is so riddled with incompetency, poor if not miserable field conditions, overly animated adults who bring this combination of politics and a bar fly mentality, that learning and playing is a real hard sell.

Steven you nailed it.


#6

Agree in total.
The comparison I have always used is trying to teach a kid how to play an instrument by giving him a couple of lessons then throwing him up on stage in front of people…not going to work out well for most. This is basically the approach used with most baseball players. There needs to practice…just not team or position practice, but, attention paid to the physical and mental prep that goes into being prepared to play.
Unfortunately most parents don’t get this. If they are paying for a team then they better be playing every week.
The best youth coaches I know are football coaches who coach mostly in the 12-16 year old range. They have had great success all the way up to the level of competing for a national championship (Pop Warner) last year.
A couple of things they do with out fail? I have never heard them curse or yell at a kid. Not once in over 10 years of coaching. They pay great attention to assigning a kid the the position that best suits his abilities. They find situations where every player can contribute. They assign a coach to be the “builder” coach. Working with the 4 or 5 worst players on the team on position specific skills one on one or one on two during practice. I was charged with this one year. To see a kid going from having no concept of the game and playing scared with very limited athletic ability to a kid that is getting two or three times the minimum plays and is accepted by his teammates, that was great fun.
So, to the practice vs game ratio argument I would add quality of practice. Fungo is not quality practice to me. Having pitcher shag flyballs is wasted time. Having 8 high school kids stand around while one kid hits 60 mph pitches off his coach is not quality practice to me. Identify weaknesses for individual players and address them.
Or, parents can pay a monthly fee, drive several hours every weekend to play for the “5 Star, Elite, Top Level etc” travel team for years and wonder why Jr. still can’t field a routine ground ball to the backhand side.


#7

That’s the issue I deal with here. Parents complain that they pay for games not practices. They understand the team has to practice but when the team is practicing more then playing it becomes a real issue here and the parents just go off by saying “the coach doesn’t know what he is doing”.


#8

Baseball is developmental - at all levels. You’re always trying to get to the next level or, if you’re at the top, to remain there. To continue to improve, you have to push the envelope. Practice affords you many more opportunities to do that than do games. Of course, it takes coaches who understand this and run practices accordingly. Coaches who yell at kids for mistakes and who demand perfection at practice end up stifling development.


#9

baseball23,
If you have a competent coach staff to assist you, your golden. But, this doesn’t seem to be case, OR, the talent pool is somewhat there-but-not-there from what I’m reading.

As Roger pointed out it takes coaches who understand how to run practice. But then I don’t have to tell you what your up against in that arena.

So, it sounds to me that you’ve stretched yourself out there trying to do the best you can with what you got and being a moving target for the parent gossip train.

Ok, the parents are the ones in your neck of the woods that can really dump on you and your good intentions. Well, they want their moneys worth - INSTEAD- of a quality of worth for their youngster. I’d got with the money’s worth myself. Babysitting a bunch of youngsters on the field and trying to do your best is not worth the trickling effect later on. You’re between a rock-n-hard-place. My suggestion would be to either improve on the quality of your practice sessions WITH HELP, or improve on the quality of life for yourself. But then you and I both know where this is going.

I wish I could be more constructive but your situation is not unique and can be found on just about every ball diamond around the globe.