I know that this topic has been kind of done to death, so I thought I would try to approach it in a different way. Are there, in your mind, any valid reasons for a pre-adolescent to play up?
I have a 10 year-old son that wants to play up in Bronco (11-12). In our league, he will have to go to a play up tryout (evaluation) and be given the "OK" before he is allowed to, so while this may be a moot point, I suspect he will be allowed to play up.
His reasons are as follows: 1) He likes open bases (Our league's Mustang begins its season with closed and changes to modified open bases half-way through the season, 2) He wants to play with friends in his grade (He is a young 5th grader. When he began playing baseball, he was not very good, and I looked at his summer birthday as a great blessing because of this, but he has grown a love for the game, worked hard in practice, and caught up skill wise with a great number of his peers who are baseball age 11's), 3) He likes faster pitching (Perhaps it is a matter of him needing to work on his timing, but he has become accustomed to faster pitching in practices and seems to be very frustrated by slower pitching. Also, even in spring there are a great deal of walks in the first half of Mustang, which frustrates him also., and 4) He wants to be challenged (These are his own words, and quite frankly, I could hide my admiration and pride when he said this. He has really come a long way, not as a baseball player but as a person due to the amount of hard work he has put into this sport).
So let's be honest, I have my reasons too. They are 1) Theoretically better run and more challenging practices, 2) Better and more challenging pitching, and 3) A certain amount of pride would taken in being able to say my kid is playing up (I know that this is the single worst reason to play a kid up, and I hope it isn't an unspoken reason why my son wants to play up. I'm just putting it out there to be honest with you and, more importantly, myself).
I also have some concerns, which are mainly playing time and will it be too much too soon. The playing time is something I hope to get a better answer to at the tryout (evaluation). I'd rather my son play 4-5 innings down than only 1-2 up. Like I said before, skill wise I think he holds his own with a great number of kids that have to play Bronco because of their birth dates. I'm sure it will be an adjustment and a challenge, which is what he says he wants, but is 11-12 rec vastly different than 10 travel?
So again, are there any valid reasons for a pre-adolescent to play up? I've learned a lot from this board and respect the opinions and advice I've been given very much. I want to do what is best for my son, even if it may mean disappointing him and not allowing him play up. Thanks.