In the preteen years on the smaller fields a kid learns the basics and builds a passion for the game. Taking leads at an early age doesn't provide some magical advantage when all the good players hit the big field.
I've also seen rec and travel kids who excelled on small fields because they were trained to death and looked like mini pros. But when they got to the big field they lacked the size, speed, strength and athleticism to continue to excel. The big field exposes a lot of players regardless of playing rec or travel in their preteen years.
However, I would argue that when it comes to grade school rec ball, IMO playing is a right and not a privilege. If you don't want to play with mediocre kids, then you don't belong in a rec organization.
What we do with our 5th through 8th graders is create A and B teams. That way everyone gets to play at the appropriate level and gets to play a lot.
Just Google my name to find me.
This relates to WOG's last couple of posts. I do not believe my son (fourteen) would have succeeded in the varsity summer workout BP's against 80+ pitching had he faced 65-70 mph rec pitching all summer. One of the incoming freshman pitched travel but played rec as a position player. He hit about .450 in rec ball. He was completely overwhelmed in BP.
sure there is be we choose to play were its the most fun and most beneficial to MY SON and unfortunately it AINT fun for him when he has to alter his game so dramatically,,
chris said..If you don't want to play with mediocre kids, then you don't belong in a rec organization.
and thats what we did
Last edited by wogdoggy; 08-10-2007 at 02:55 PM.
Travel ball isn't going to create more MLB baseball players when 99.97% of kids who play ball will not earn a living in MLB. Only 1% of players in the minors will earn a living in MLB.
If you take all the kids who start playing when they're 7/8 chances are a majority of them would like to play for their high school someday. Now it's a matter of what's the best avenue to get there based on where the player lives. As I've stated (ad nauseum) it's travel once the kids hit the teen years in our area. Therefore travel has a value.
If a player wants to get out of region for college ball, showcases are the answer. Unless the high school coach has a connection somewhere, the players are only going to get local exposure playing high school and Legion. Once again in these circumstances, travel has value.
There are a lot of quality players in D1 who were not high ranked pro prospects coming out of high school. Being all-conference and/or all-state doesn't mean a player is a pro prospect. Now you can blame the college and pro scouts for this one if you want. Let's take the decent D1 prospect/marginal pro prospect. He can pray the scouts show up at his high school game or he can go to a showcase where he knows they will be. Where are the odds better?
I came across a showcase website recently. It listed dates, locations and what colleges would be in attendance. It also mentioned pro scouts would be in attendance. If a kid wants to play at one of these colleges he's out of his mind if he doesn't play in that showcase.
There's a showcase program local to us. They compete at Perfect Game showcases. In eight years they've helped place 136 players in college an/or pro ball.
A local private school has been in the USA Today top twenty-five a couple of times in the past few years. When I was looking for one more 13U player last year I asked the coach if he knew of any good candidates from his summer camp. He gave me a name. He told me "This kid should absolutely not be playing rec ball leading into high school."
No, travel will not generate more MLB players. Anyone who believes travel is going to make their kid a MLB'er is delusional. But travel may be part of the path which allows the kid to get where he needs to be to demonstrate what he has, to get his shot at the pros.
The challenge of travel ball has placed my son high on the radar screen heading into high school ball. If he turns out to be good enough to play college ball, and wants to play out of region, chances are he'll be playing showcase ball. It worked for the oldest.
I played rec ball through ninth grade and I saw the drop off in competition the year I played as a 9th grader. Alot of the players had moved on to legion / travel teams for 9th grade. My mom wasn't able to put up with the travel at that time so the local league worked for me and was my only option.
Looking back, I could say there was an adjustment period for like 10 / 11 grade, but I caught up senior year and was able to earn a spot on my college's team. But then again, I practiced a ton my senior year and that ensuing summer. I think the practice helped more than the games at the higher competition. I realized I needed more time on the fundamentals and being consistent than anything because the athleticism was there. Travel ball would have helped during that 10th grade year alot. I took a job that summer who's schedule did not allow me to play for a travel team. I didn't play travel ball until 11th grade and realized I had some catching up to do (which motivated me to really bust it 12th grade).
Alot of that opportunity depended on where you went to high school. I had a discussion with my buddy from high school when I saw him a few weeks ago about how he went to a national powerhouse for basketball and didn't make the team. You put him at 90% of the other high schools in Queens and he would have easily made varsity. He knew that making the team was going to be about 50 / 50 but his parents wanted him in Catholic schol.
If I would have went to one of the Catholic school baseball powerhouses in Queens, I wouldn't have made varsity because I developed later on. Luckily I was in a situation where I was at a weaker school and I was able to get more time to develop. There were alot of players in the public league in that situation. And by the time alot of us hit college, things straightened out.
Fortunately again, there wasn't just one high school in town. We had choices. I kinda feel bad for those who only have one show in town and if you don't get in the click, your chances of getting a fair shot are reduced. Also, just a quick note. Some of these travel team schedules are so hectic that it doesn't allow the kids to hold down a job in the summer. Not every family can afford that.
Last edited by metrotheme; 08-10-2007 at 03:28 PM.
My son noticed a big difference in the effectiveness of his arm in the high school workouts compared to 14U. He has a very good arm for 14U and his size. It's average by varsity standards. Growth and working out should make up the difference.
Show up, practice, try hard = Play
Narrow age specific groups
Teams play with social contracts rather than written or legal agreements
Playing time is earned
Wider range of ages compete against each other, (HS, College, Club Teams)
Participants agree to put Team needs ahead of personal goals
Compensation for play is agreed upon in writing, (money, scholarship, exposure, etc)
Positions and playing time are determined strictly by the needs of the Team
Widest range of ages and backgrounds playing together