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Thread: Defending Aggressive Base Running

  1. #26
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    Recklessly running the bases in a manner that would get a player thrown out at the next level is a bastardazation of the game. Reckless base running is not aggressive base running. What I've seen described in the past two threads is reckless, not aggressive.
    Last edited by tg643; 05-07-2012 at 07:29 PM.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    First I'll state I dislike coaches who teach bs baseball to gain advantage at a level of play that will not help any players at the next level.
    We often disagree.... But on this I could not agree with you more.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by real green View Post
    We were coached in HS as a trailing runner with less than 2 outs to push for an extra base and if your beat get into a pickle hoping the lead runner would get an extra base. It's fun to play and it's fun to watch.
    Real, go back to the OP... We were talking about 10 year olds! I think most here would agree what you describe above would be appropriate and in fact a big part of the game at this level.

    Not real baseball. You guys and your real baseball. Like everyone else is playing fake baseball. Exploiting a teams weakness is a part of every sport. Now exploiting that weakness into a slaughter is a no no. When you're playing within the rules to gain an advantage than I don't see anything wrong with it.
    My experience is this, at some point, will always work against you or your players.

    We have a coach in our league 10-12yr olds that gets upset if you steal second at will because he has a weak catcher. His whole point is you would never take that risk under "normal baseball" circumstances. My point to him is if you want to defend against the steal move your hotshot ss behind the plate and we wont steal at will. We make defensive position choices all the time based on what talent we have available and what we want to defend against. If an offense finds a hole we make adjustments.

    Should the 12yr old pitchers back off on the bottom half of the 10yr old line up to give them a shot at putting it in play?
    While I agree with you... this, at some level, makes it about the coaches and not about the players. DO you have evry team in the league beat up on this team because their coaching is poor...

    Now on the other hand, if I recommended this and he refused to do this because HE wanted to win, then all bets off... That's the point many have made is that it has to go both ways.
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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by real green View Post
    I have respect for the game as well and believe in teaching the game properly. The definition of properly is an opinion.

    Is it a gimmick for the trailing runner to take an extra bag while the defense is trying to keep the lead runner from scoring? Making the defense make a play. I have seen it so many times at every level. Why is this a bastardization of the game?
    Real, how long have you been coaching?? (And I don't mean to ask this in a bad way) I did not gain real perspective on what made sense overall, untill I had a decade or so under my belt and my players were playing college... and a few in the pros. Only then could I understand what made sense...
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  5. #30
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    Is it a gimmick for the trailing runner to take an extra bag while the defense is trying to keep the lead runner from scoring? Making the defense make a play. I have seen it so many times at every level. Why is this a bastardization of the game?

    Every level? I've never seen reckless running of the bases past preteen rec ball. I didn't see it in early teen travel that was high level. I've never seen in it high school ball. I've never seen it in college ball. What levels have you coached and/or played? That you would suggest playing this way suggest you didn't go far enough in the game to get the kind of coaching were you would understand and respect the game.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    I've never seen reckless running of the bases past preteen rec ball.
    ahem...

    bryce-harper-steal-home-300x277.png
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    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    Do you have ADHD? Do you have trouble staying on topic? Exactly what was it Harper did that was reckless? At what point in the steal of home did he purposely get in a rundown hoping a fielder would either drop the ball or throw it away? These are the topics of this thread. Nothing Harper did was what has been described in this thread. Harper took a calcucated risk based on a skill set (timing and speed). He wasn't looking to force unskilled players into screwing up.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    Do you have ADHD? Do you have trouble staying on topic? Exactly what was it Harper did that was reckless? At what point in the steal of home did he purposely get in a rundown hoping a fielder would either drop the ball or throw it away? These are the topics of this thread. Nothing Harper did was what has been described in this thread. Harper took a calcucated risk based on a skill set (timing and speed). He wasn't looking to force unskilled players into screwing up.
    I agree. There is a difference between being aggressive and being stupid and just hope.

    However I do sometimes see a lack of aggressiveness even at the highest level. Even in the majors I see guys failing to make a turn on first and taking second if the outfielder fails to hit the cutoff on a throw home. This is not good either.
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and can’t run, most of the time he’s clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. – Dusty Baker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    I agree. There is a difference between being aggressive and being stupid and just hope.

    However I do sometimes see a lack of aggressiveness even at the highest level. Even in the majors I see guys failing to make a turn on first and taking second if the outfielder fails to hit the cutoff on a throw home. This is not good either.
    There is defintely a case to be made for baserunners not being aggressive enough. You'll see it in high school. At the MLB level, while the average fan might not like it, the pros pace themselves. They do not play 162 games like it's the seventh game of the World Series.

  10. #35
    I am no expert and probably have not coached near as long as a number of members. I do understand that coaches at every level of sport regardless of the actual sport take advantage of other teams weaknesses. At youth level play there are just more weaknesses to exploit. To say that upper levels don't exploit weaknesses would be ludicrous. If that were the case why would coaches and players need scouting reports or watch film. They don't just use them to see what the opponents strong suit is. They are looking for weaknesses as well! In basketball a team without size gets exploited inside. In football a team without speed gets exploited outside. In baseball a team without sound defensive fundamentals gets exploited on the basepaths. Should we not bunt because the third baseman is overweight or the opponent does not defend it well? Should we not take two on an outfielder with a weak arm? Maybe a baserunner should not go to third on an overthrow to first when the rightfielder forgets to back up the throw.
    I understand the point that sometimes these rec coaches are going overboard and not teaching the basics and more concerned with wins and losses. Some rec dept are just furtunate to find enough coaches for the teams in the league. Some recs have to call random parents or maybe ask the local basketball or football nice guy if he would help out. This guys only cue is keep the elbow up. His goal is to win to keep the parents and players happy. He is the coach that sets up the machine for 2 hours of BP on the field during every practice while the other kids shag balls.
    You want the answer to the OP, GET THE OUT! They want to screw around on the bases, take an out which is more precious in rec than a run. If you don't want to give up the run, then give up second and have confidence that your defense can get the next guy out. Spend some time at practice getting better at this. In our league the regular season record counts for seeding into the playoffs. Everybody goes so I spend that time working as much basic fundamental stuff as possible. I let them throw the ball around and try to make plays in the game just like we practice. It typically does not begin very well but they all have the ability to learn. They begin to understand what they are and are not capable of. All this in hopes that come playoff time they have learned somethings and honed those skills.

  11. #36
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    This stuff is similar to the youth football coaches that spend an unwarranted amount of time on things like triple reverses and flea flickers (and then as dads always complain that the HS coaches doesn't teach the kids to play football) that exploit things like the age of the defenders and/or length of the field. Rather than take the kid that would make a great TE with some coaching, or an athletic lineman, they stick him in the backfield because it doesn't require any more coaching than "run straight ahead, Tank".

    I've said this recently, but we played our first "leadoff travel tournament" this year. It took our players about 2 games to really get the hang of it and the players that enjoyed it the most were the least talented guys that enjoyed, for a change, being able to steal bases. I'm not impressed. I am however, impressed at the DP's I've seen turned, and credit to the coaches for teaching the footwork.

    What we need is for coaches/dads to see the "big picture" and understand that winning a 10U rec league game is insignificant. Seriously, it's meaningless. Winning ALL of the 10U rec league games is insignificant. If the highlight of a boy's baseball career is his undefeated 10U team, then we have failed them.

    The exploitation at this level is on [1] arm strength and [2] base length.

    If you take all above average defenders and they can't get the runner out ~75% of the time, then it's likely an exploit.

    It's been my experience that dads/coaches that have played college baseball or higher "get it" more than the guys that haven't. The guys that really seem to ruin it for everyone else are the ones that think the rec league or whatever division they're coaching is the pinnacle of baseball. The goal should be to teach kids skills and mechanics that won't need to be "unlearned" later.

  12. #37
    This situation happened to me the other day...I was coaching third base and was not very aggressive with the base running...Needless to say other coaches on my team disagreed with my approach...I think it depends on the developental stage of the kids... If they can throw and catch...by all means be aggressive....If you have kids who are still unable to throw accurately, field and catch properly...I think very aggressive base running is bush league...IN REC BALL!

    In rec leagues, Coaches need to coach their own team, but also need to have consideration for the other team's coach who may have players that are just learning the game....The whole point of REC ball is to introduce and intruct kids to the sport of baseball....if some kids start late...do you really think they are going to stick with it if the coaches on the other teams take advantage of their inexperiance and skill level to make themselves feel better? And then people wonder why baseball is losing players...

    Lets face it..baseball is very differnent than other sports and requires a long period od skill development to play elegantly...Between 5 and 11..you just don't have an even development of skills for a variety of reasons..

    You don't have to play station to station T-Ball...but if you are forcing the other team to play pickle and they are not at that developmental level yet...you are exposing a weakness on that team... if its Travel ball then sure...go ahead...if it is Rec ball...I hope you feel good about beating up on little kids.

    I like the rule about pitchers mound being home base in that situation....

    JMHO

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    Our Little League Minors has eliminated the "monkey in the middle" play, as well as, stealing home from 3rd (unless a play has been made on the runner at 3rd).

    Last year we started having the epidemic of runners stealing home on throws back to the pitcher, or the catcher trying to chase back the runner to third only to have him come home anyway on the throw back to the pitcher.

    Like Coach Weaver explains, we're talking about an age group of baseball where the greatest offensive weapon is the passed ball. So, many of the comments regarding preparing to stop pickle/monkey plays are just that .... talk. At this age, basics are still a challenge for much of the team and the basic basics are a challenge for a third of the team.

    I think a case can be made that kids 12 and up, that essentially anything goes. But not 10U.

  14. #39
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    Our team is not overly agressive running the bases. We have been burned a couple times when we sent a runner home on a passed ball/wild pitch and it bounced perfectly off the fence back to the catcher who either made the tag himself or had an easy toss to the pitcher for the out. We held runners on 3rd several times last night on wild pitches when we probably could have scored. Sometimes I wish our HC/3rd BC would be more agressive, but I am OK with our style in general. Last night I think we could have easily stolen home on the throw back to the pitcher because the catcher was being careless, but we just have not taught the kids to look for that yet.

    The good part is that our #2 catcher (my son) has thrown out at least one runner trying a straight steal in each of the last 2 games (3rd base empty). So now I think most teams will at least wait until a dropped or passed ball to steal. Unfortunately our #3 catcher fell for the stolen base attempt with a runners and 1st and 3rd and then almost hit our sleeping center fielder with the ball. We also picked off a runner who was trying go between 2 and 3 as the pitcher turned his back to head to the mound. We definitely need to just get outs when we can and concede 2B in close games where the runner on 3rd is important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CircleChange11 View Post
    It's been my experience that dads/coaches that have played college baseball or higher "get it" more than the guys that haven't. The guys that really seem to ruin it for everyone else are the ones that think the rec league or whatever division they're coaching is the pinnacle of baseball. The goal should be to teach kids skills and mechanics that won't need to be "unlearned" later.
    Ruin it for "everyone else????" Who is everyone else??? It seems everyone else are those who played college or pro! So it's dads like me that ruin it for the other 1% of guys that played college or pro.

    Sports are insignificant at every age group. They mean nothing, zilch, nota, so what difference does age have to do with it? Why do you feel 10u rec game is less significant than 12u, 14u, HS, College, or Pros. The players and fans at every level want to play, are competitive, and hopefully have fun.

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    Delete delete

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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    Is it a gimmick for the trailing runner to take an extra bag while the defense is trying to keep the lead runner from scoring? Making the defense make a play. I have seen it so many times at every level. Why is this a bastardization of the game?

    Every level? I've never seen reckless running of the bases past preteen rec ball. I didn't see it in early teen travel that was high level. I've never seen in it high school ball. I've never seen it in college ball. What levels have you coached and/or played? That you would suggest playing this way suggest you didn't go far enough in the game to get the kind of coaching were you would understand and respect the game.
    I watched a month ago MLB AAA player push for second on a hit that was fielded in the OF gap. Runner on second bluffed he was heading for home drawing the hard throw to the cut off. Runner at third stopped, cut off fired to second, runner at third broke for home. Everyone safe.

    Score keeper and others pointed out how at the HS level it is common.

    I have coached for five years. Played through HS. Brother played through college. Father inlaw played AAA. Wife's grandpa was a pro scout. Baseball is very much a part of our entertainment and I think I have a good understanding of the game.

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    Again we play a very competitve league. These things are not hard to defend against and typically need the defense to fall asleep. If a game gets out of hand it's dialed down. Most teams employ these plays when the opportunity is presented and the offense apllies a lot of pressure. This is with atleast 75% of the coaches having college and pro experience.

    We are 12 games into our rec season. 7 of 10 teams are still in the running for the championship. 10 of our games have been decided by 1 run with no double digit scores. Two games have gone extra innings.

    We are talking Majors rec LL composed of 10-12 yr olds. Minors was real similar last year but there were some minor teams that you turned the pressure off real earlier out of respect. We haven't had a game yet this year that wasn't a dog fight to the end. Tell our teams they aren't playing real baseball or that we have bastardized the game. Give me a break!

    These kids are fighting for every base and if we see a pitcher and catcher lossing focus we will delay steal. If the right fielder is picking flowers we will take an extra base when the chance comes. I just don't buy that you don't want that runner on your HS or College team. Our area HS's are legit and many kids come from our LL. Many of our feeder HS players have signed pro and play college ball.

  19. #44
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    real green,

    Don’t be surprised that there are baseball “snobs” who believe that everything not intended to have the kids sign a contract or commit by the time they’re 17 is BS. Those are the same people who believe rec ball is a waste of time, and is only for fat kids, sissies, and kid whose parents are genetically inferior.

    It’s a way they make themselves feel superior, which does nothing but prove their inferiority.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by real green View Post
    ......, so what difference does age have to do with it? Why do you feel 10u rec game is less significant than 12u, 14u, HS, College, or Pros. The players and fans at every level want to play, are competitive, and hopefully have fun.
    Age and league are indicators of developmental ability....if the kids play recreational ball, at an age around 11 and under, the main objective is skill development, in a fun competative atmosphere. if the teams are mismatched in ability, which is very common in rec leagues, you shouldn't force the kids in the field to make relay plays and cut offs to tag an aggressive runner..BECAUSE many kids don't have the skills necessary to do so, and forcing them to attempt to perform those skills before more basic skills have been mastered, hinders their development and takes the fun out of the game...its show boating at the expense of kids who don't have the skill sets to perform. At 11 and under, there is no presumption that they should have those skill sets in rec ball... otherwise, it is not recreational anymore.

    It is presumed that by age 12, the kids have either developed those skills and it is developmentatlly appropriate to perform these plays, or if they have not and still want to play, are in remedial instruction.

    Turn the question around and ask yourself...does a 9 or 10 year old kid who has never played baseball before get turned away in your league because he does not have the skills to play? if so, then your right, it is totally appropriate. If no, then you really should not be aggressively running bases unless you know the other team has the developed skill sets to compete effectively. No one is going to care if you win or lose the game and if you do care, you probably shouldn't be coaching rec ball. Go find a travel team to coach.


    Again we play a very competitve league. These things are not hard to defend against and typically need the defense to fall asleep. If a game gets out of hand it's dialed down. Most teams employ these plays when the opportunity is presented and the offense apllies a lot of pressure. This is with atleast 75% of the coaches having college and pro experience.

    We are 12 games into our rec season. 7 of 10 teams are still in the running for the championship. 10 of our games have been decided by 1 run with no double digit scores. Two games have gone extra innings.

    We are talking Majors rec LL composed of 10-12 yr olds. Minors was real similar last year but there were some minor teams that you turned the pressure off real earlier out of respect. We haven't had a game yet this year that wasn't a dog fight to the end. Tell our teams they aren't playing real baseball or that we have bastardized the game. Give me a break!

    These kids are fighting for every base and if we see a pitcher and catcher lossing focus we will delay steal. If the right fielder is picking flowers we will take an extra base when the chance comes. I just don't buy that you don't want that runner on your HS or College team. Our area HS's are legit and many kids come from our LL. Many of our feeder HS players have signed pro and play college ball.

    From your follow up post...I guess we are not that far off from each other...if your league is that competative than have fun....but what does your rec league do with a kid who has not played any baseball until 10?
    Last edited by giantheart; 05-08-2012 at 11:09 AM.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantheart View Post
    Age and league are indicators of developmental ability....if the kids play recreational ball, at an age around 11 and under, the main objective is skill development, in a fun competative atmosphere. if the teams are mismatched in ability, which is very common in rec leagues, you shouldn't force the kids in the field to make relay plays and cut offs to tag an aggressive runner..BECAUSE many kids don't have the skills necessary to do so, and forcing them to attempt to perform those skills before more basic skills have been mastered, hinders their development and takes the fun out of the game...its show boating at the expense of kids who don't have the skill sets to perform. At 11 and under, there is no presumption that they should have those skill sets in rec ball... otherwise, it is not recreational anymore.

    It is presumed that by age 12, the kids have either developed those skills and it is developmentatlly appropriate to perform these plays, or if they have not and still want to play, are in remedial instruction.

    Turn the question around and ask yourself...does a 9 or 10 year old kid who has never played baseball before get turned away in your league because he does not have the skills to play? if so, then your right, it is totally appropriate. If no, then you really should not be aggressively running bases unless you know the other team has the developed skill sets to compete effectively. No one is going to care if you win or lose the game and if you do care, you probably shouldn't be coaching rec ball. Go find a travel team to coach.

    From your follow up post...I guess we are not that far off from each other...if your league is that competative than have fun....but what does your rec league do with a kid who has not played any baseball until 10?
    Every level is about skill development until you hit the big show. When does winning become a goal of a team? Not the goal but one of the goals? Our league has standings starting in the minors (9-11). Our division ages over lap allowing more developed players to play up and newer players to play down. We had a first year 11yr old on our minor team last year that as a 12 is competing in the majors and doing very well.

    The coaches are very good. Players learn and grow a lot coming out of our league. The systems and rules throughout the divisions work very well at keeping teams as equal as possible. Game speed at each level increases. The competition drives players improvement.

    Teams shouldn't run up scores on lower skilled teams and besides some one offs they don't.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by real green View Post
    Ruin it for "everyone else????" Who is everyone else??? It seems everyone else are those who played college or pro! So it's dads like me that ruin it for the other 1% of guys that played college or pro.

    Sports are insignificant at every age group. They mean nothing, zilch, nota, so what difference does age have to do with it? Why do you feel 10u rec game is less significant than 12u, 14u, HS, College, or Pros. The players and fans at every level want to play, are competitive, and hopefully have fun.
    Sorry. I should have worded that differently as there's really no way of reading it without it sounding like I am saying dads ruin the league for all the "good coaches". That's not the case.

    What I specifically meant to say is that there is often ONE dad who takes rec league so seriously that they utilize every exploit and/or gimmick, and that forces everyone else to either concede or imitate. I won't elaborate further at risk of offending some even more. It's also an opinion, and CircleChange11 stating his opinion does not make it universal reality.

    I'm not saying "don't take it seriously". But, I am saying that if winning trumps player development (all players, not just the 3 talented kids) then that's a problem at this age.

    My personal view is that yes, anything under high school really doesn't matter (in terms of W-L). I say that as a pitching coach for a team that won a JH state championship and 10yo's in our area won state a few years ago. So, i am literally making a statement that makes my coaching accomplishments less impressive. I've also coached the last 2 league champions, but I'm more proud that I rotate kids 2 innings OF and 2 innings IF continuously, including our best 3 players. In tournament time it was essentially "let the dogs out". During the regular season it was get the players instruction and experience at 4-5 positions, get everyone some pitching experience, and keep people safe and wanting more.

    It's still my view that anything accomplished "before high school" so to speak is really not that big of a deal. But, that doesn't mean you don;t celebrate on the field. What it means is "you DON'T sacrifice player development/involvement just to win the local 10U league title". We can all sit here and say it doesn't happen but we all know better. We could likely analyze the score books of every league champ and see where players played and for how many innings and see how many kids pitched and for how many innings and really gather some information.

    I've only be involved from T-BAll through LL Minors, and 9U and 10U travel with my own kids (JH, HS, NCAA as coach/player), but what I've seen so far isn't impressive ... and I'm not referring to the players. I'm referring to [1] how leagues develop and inform coaches, [2] how coaches utilize, instruct, and develop their players, and [3] whether winning or development takes priority. The draft is the biggest scam of all. There's no tryouts so half of the coaches don't even know all of the players.

    It just REALLY bothers me because now that travel ball occupies the kids that are dominating the league, there is real possibility for the city leagues to really focus on development ... but I haven't seen that occur. Hopefully, my area is just unique, and most everyone else is doing it well.

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Scorekeeper,

    Relax. People sometimes makes mistakes in communication ... especially in the online medium where tone, gestures, expressions, etc are difficult to infer.
    Last edited by CircleChange11; 05-08-2012 at 12:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CircleChange11 View Post
    It's still my view that anything accomplished "before high school" so to speak is really not that big of a deal.

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Scorekeeper,

    Relax. People sometimes makes mistakes in communication ... especially in the online medium where tone, gestures, expressions, etc are difficult to infer.
    Just out of curiousity, why is that?

    I agree 100% at the rec level wins should not be a priority over developing players.

    Yes we have that dad in our league and it's not me! His lower half playersss bunt 90% of the time. He has been doing it for the last three years. Always works out well in the beginning of the year but by the end most teams have the bunt defense down. The problem is his lower half players all bunt real well but have not adjusted to the speed for normal swings. While all the other teams lower half have improved and can become threats at the plate putting him at a disadvantage.

    That is Bush in my opinion. Sacraficing player development for wins. I know him well and his point is his lower half players are more involved in every game than any other teams lower developed players. He feels he has found a way to get them in the game and seems the kids enjoy it as well. I don't buy it!

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by real green View Post
    Just out of curiousity, why is that?
    1. The kids that dominate the youngest leagues are often those who simply have dads that have played baseball with them A LOT.
    2. The position you play at 12 and U leagues often has more to do with your last name and your dad than anything else.
    3. Puberty changes everything, sometimes dramatically.

    Once dad, as coach, is out of the picture, it's amazing how much things change. In general the "good players" are still the "good players" but it's also amazing at how the positions change, the batting lineup changes, and the kids that excel now that they've been given a real chance to compete as a starter.

    Kids play different sports and accept different priorities, etc. I guess I should clarify that when I say "doesn't matter much" I mean as a "predictor of future success". "Doesn't matter" is kind of harsh in that it seems that I'm saying it shouldn't be celebrated or have pride in it. I'm not going to sit here and say I didn't celebrate or I didn't want to win, I clearly did. But, I am saying that it's not as important as getting all of the kids to want to play again next year, or thinking that the 9U all-star team will be the starters on the 2019 varsity squad.

    This is what happens when I try to be brief. =)

  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by real green View Post
    Every level is about skill development until you hit the big show. When does winning become a goal of a team? Not the goal but one of the goals?
    When it is the objective of the league you are in... every league has an objective and bylaws...If winning is an objective..then you have your answer...if player development is an obejctive..then you have your answer...if your league is trying to do both..then you have to walk a very fine line and it is a judgement call every game..I am not in favor of leagues with dual objectives like that...especially at the young ages.

    Teams shouldn't run up scores on lower skilled teams and besides some one offs they don't
    agree..we are not that far off....as long your not aggressively stealing on teams that have developmental players... I don't see an issue....but you really need to make that clear with the coach and your kids before every game....it is the right way to coach in a rec league where the objective is player development.

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