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Logistics of playing on two teams

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  • Logistics of playing on two teams

    Our local little league is struggling with debates over philosophy and as a result some dad/coaches have broken off and started travel teams. I am looking for ways to compromise and wondering about kids playing on two teams. It seems to me that a player can only really effectively work with one team. i.e. one team he practices with, one team's game schedule he adhere's to closely. The other team he shows up just for games as it fits his schedule.

    So, it seems to me, that if the player prioritizes travel, there are concerns on the LL team about morale, team spirit, perceptions of unfairness, and messaging about reward for effort, etc. if a travel player doesn't practice with a LL team, but shows up for some game and gets a slot on the lineup. Esp. if the sole purposes seems to be to achieve All Star eligibility threshold for the travel player, leapfrogging the full-time LL players.

    I also have concerns about burnout of the player as well, and of course arm safety. But that is up to parents and coaches to manage.

    In some cases, including ours, rather than being motivated by stacking the All Stars team, the motivation is to deliver a higher caliber playing experience to some kids than available in rec, but in fact that travel parents don't want to turn their back on community-centric baseball, or playing with their kids' school buddies. So I am wondering if there is a way to live copecetically in both worlds.

    Does anyone have familiarity with two-team league policies re this issue?

    Thanks

  • #2
    We did rec, travel, All Stars, and fall ball for 8U, 9U. My son played and I coached in all of them. By the time spring 10U rolled around we were both burned out from baseball and my son played lacrosse that spring. His 11U season was rec only and 12U was travel only. This year it's middle school ball and **maybe** Dixie Boys when the school season ends.

    Playing and coaching all of that baseball was fun for a while, but then it became a grind. It's not only balancing the practices, games, pitch counts, and travel. Homework and free time to goof off are considerations that most parents don't take into account because their kids loves to play baseball.

    As a rec ball coach I had kids that played travel for my team and other teams. Since our rec organization does not practice once the season starts there were no issues with practice conflicts. No one skipped a rec game for travel practice. Dixie Youth Baseball (our LL equivalent here in the south) has a rule that a player had to play in 12 rec ball games in order to play All Stars.

    A kid just needs to be a kid and that's why I think rec ball is important - more important than travel ball. That's because rec ball is where most of his friends were playing. Don't get me wrong, travel ball was fun. But playing travel ball at a young age doesn't bring a kid any closer to a scholarship offer than not playing travel. Invest that money in a few private lessons instead. If I could do it all over again I'd have my son be a sub on a travel team or play on a casual travel team that plays only a handful of tournaments.

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    • #3
      From a player perspective playing for two teams is easy. One team is your priority. The player uses, disrespects and harms morale on the second team. It works for the player. However, our LL managed the situation.

      Rule one, get caught missing LL for travel and lose your eligibility for all stars. Our LL was serious about all stars. The league was loaded with talent. We sometimes had a B team that made it to the final four while the A team won an eighteen team district.

      When my son was eleven we decided to control the situation. The key is structuring the travel team in a manner that doesn’t break LL rules. We started 11u and 12u travel teams to play in a Sunday DH’er league. We had solid 11/12 and 10/11 teams. We sometimes had a second 11/12 team of talented 12yos. The rosters were the fifteen or sixteen most likely players to be the twelve to make all stars. This meant we weren’t preselecting all stars before the designated date. I coached the team with two other LL dads. I was also a LL coach. It made me ineligible to coach all stars. I instructed at LL all star practices. It was legal. The LL softball field we used was owned by the town. So we weren’t using LL property at no cost. We couldn’t use any LL equipment.

      The goal was to prep a team full of potential all stars who played p, c, ss and cf all season how to play their all star positions. I communicated on a regular basis with the guys who would be the all star coaches on where players should play. I communicated with all coaches on how much and when players pitched the past week and who needed to be fresh for Monday and Tuesday. I kept pitchers under six innings for the week between the two teams. A parent from an opposing LL reported us to the region and Williamsport. It was determined we didn’t break any rules.

      When my son was nine and ten he played Ripken. I coached. The all star team became a summer travel team. Ripken allowed all star teams to play travel tournaments before the all star tournament.

      At 13u and 14u my son was one of the top players in travel. If we had a weekend off he would be asked to play for other teams. I agreed to let him play if he batted last and played left. It wouldn’t have been fair to paying families for him to play short or center and bat first or third. One weekend I told him since he’s on that team buddy up to Billy and recruit him for our team next year. I refused to openly recruit players away from other teams.
      Last edited by JettSixty; 02-27-2019, 11:33 AM.

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      • #4
        Just a note on Coach Koz’s comment about preteen ball not determining future college prospects. He’s right. While college players were typically preteen stars more than 90% of preteen stars do not become college players.

        At 13u I put together a Majors level travel team of all stars of our eighteen team LL district. I wanted kids I felt could be developed into high school players. There was a 5’8” 140 kid who was hitting the rooftops across the street in LL. He never lost a game pitching at any level of LL through age twelve. But I wasn’t interested in the kid. The dad called me interested in getting his kid in my team. He asked me if pro scouts attend the travel games. 13u travel games! He was curious why I never approached him about his kid. The kid was an early bloomer. Dad was 5’4” The kid had horrible mechanics. Dad had a reputation with interfering with coaches and telling his kid to listen to him. The kid was still 5’8 throwing 80 (75 in LL) junior year in high school when he was cut from the program. His swing was so bad he never hit after middle school.

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        • #5
          You have some of the best situational advice. We are on a team of average kids who’s fathers interfere constantly . The coach is so caught up coaching his 2 other travel teams he sends college kids to coach our 11u team with pieces of paper notes and no one keeps a book. Subs show up and they are asked where do I want to play. It’s nuts ! I love how you asked to have your son bat last and play left! Truly you understand how house parents might feel . Our league the subs bat before my son and other house kids always ! Great info ! Thanks

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