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Recreation League new mom here... wondering if I made a mistake?

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  • Recreation League new mom here... wondering if I made a mistake?

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks in advance for reading my post but I'm a little anxious right now, the day after my 2 sons had their 1st day of rec youth baseball practice. My worry isn't so much with my younger son (6) who started t-ball this year and is about as cute and clueless as everyone else but rather my 9 year old son who is on a team with ages ranging from 9-12 years old.

    My son has always had coordination issues which we've worked to try to improve. We had him in tennis lessons and while he wasn't great, he definitely improved a lot. We decided to try to bump him up some so when I saw that the same park we played tennis at had a rec baseball league advertising "fundamentals" based baseball, we asked him and he seemed happy to try it out. Well, yesterday was the 1st practice as I said and my son seems so behind compared to the other players. I was thinking there would definitely be other kids that had played before but I also thought that there would be kids who would be newbies like my son. All the other kids (of the 8 that showed anyway) had experience and, in my humble opinion with no baseball experience ever, they were GOOD. It seemed like they could all throw, catch, run, bat, etc. My kid... well... he was the only kid who couldn't throw from 1 base to another and he missed every catch that was thrown any sort of distance to him. His batting stance wasn't good and he looked awkward out on the field. I tried to be optimistic thinking to myself that he has the most room to improve out of everyone but I can't help but wonder what the other kids, coaches, and parents are thinking and whether he would be a drag on the team.

    Afterwards, I did speak to the coach and explained that it was his first year, that we've been working on his coordination, etc. and they seemed plenty nice about it. My son didn't seem to notice at all the level of skill difference between himself and the other players. He said it was fun and asked if we would do it again next summer. This was 100% the mindset I want him to have. I've told him repeatedly that he doesn't have to be the best but he does need to try his best. I've seen posts on here from rec league and travel ball parents, and yes, my kid is probably that kid that you're talking about who knows absolutely nothing and is not a natural at it and your kid is probably wondering why mine is even bothering to play. I just want to make sure he develops some skills and learns the rules in a fun environment. What can I do to help him keep his positive attitude about practice and baseball in general? Obviously, I can't help if other parents think my kid isn't good enough to be on their kids team but I do want him to improve and try his best. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    If a nearby high school or college has a two week summer camp for his age group give it a try. Instruction and practicing every day for two weeks might help. It might also help him to understand how much effort he wants to out into improvement. The quality of these camps vary. But they’re not expensive. My kids went to these camps for the purpose of having fun. I considered anything they learned to be a bonus. But I was a college player who was coaching them anyway. But the reps for two weeks could do a lot for your son.

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    • #3
      Not every kid can or will grow up to be a high school, college or pro player. But every kid who starts in the game can develop into a baseball fan.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had a kid in my last year as a LL coach who played as a 12yo despite having zero playing experience and he struggled, but when he hit a line drive double in one of his last ever baseball games it was one of the best moments of the season for the entire team and coaching staff.

        There is a world of difference in the skill level between most 9yo and 12yo players. If you can you'd be better off having your son in a narrower age group. If Little League or Cal Ripken are in your area they do this.

        90% of playing baseball is just being able to play catch. Buy a glove and play catch with him every single day. Just that repetition will help. Doing it right would help even more. See if you can find a HS player that you can pay a modest sum to teach proper throwing and fielding technique to your son, and maybe work on hitting as well.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by meteorgarden View Post
          Hi everyone,

          Thanks in advance for reading my post but I'm a little anxious right now, the day after my 2 sons had their 1st day of rec youth baseball practice. My worry isn't so much with my younger son (6) who started t-ball this year and is about as cute and clueless as everyone else but rather my 9 year old son who is on a team with ages ranging from 9-12 years old.

          My son has always had coordination issues which we've worked to try to improve. We had him in tennis lessons and while he wasn't great, he definitely improved a lot. We decided to try to bump him up some so when I saw that the same park we played tennis at had a rec baseball league advertising "fundamentals" based baseball, we asked him and he seemed happy to try it out. Well, yesterday was the 1st practice as I said and my son seems so behind compared to the other players. I was thinking there would definitely be other kids that had played before but I also thought that there would be kids who would be newbies like my son. All the other kids (of the 8 that showed anyway) had experience and, in my humble opinion with no baseball experience ever, they were GOOD. It seemed like they could all throw, catch, run, bat, etc. My kid... well... he was the only kid who couldn't throw from 1 base to another and he missed every catch that was thrown any sort of distance to him. His batting stance wasn't good and he looked awkward out on the field. I tried to be optimistic thinking to myself that he has the most room to improve out of everyone but I can't help but wonder what the other kids, coaches, and parents are thinking and whether he would be a drag on the team.

          Afterwards, I did speak to the coach and explained that it was his first year, that we've been working on his coordination, etc. and they seemed plenty nice about it. My son didn't seem to notice at all the level of skill difference between himself and the other players. He said it was fun and asked if we would do it again next summer. This was 100% the mindset I want him to have. I've told him repeatedly that he doesn't have to be the best but he does need to try his best. I've seen posts on here from rec league and travel ball parents, and yes, my kid is probably that kid that you're talking about who knows absolutely nothing and is not a natural at it and your kid is probably wondering why mine is even bothering to play. I just want to make sure he develops some skills and learns the rules in a fun environment. What can I do to help him keep his positive attitude about practice and baseball in general? Obviously, I can't help if other parents think my kid isn't good enough to be on their kids team but I do want him to improve and try his best. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
          Welcome Meteorgarden!


          I was one of the kids that you describe. I played baseball as an 8-year old in a recreational league for 8-year olds, and was probably somewhat below average, but not terrible. I then played soccer for two years, and didn't play baseball at all. In soccer I was probably somewhat below average.

          When I was 11 (so even older than your son), I wanted to play baseball in the spring. By that stage I was really pretty poor relative to the competition. My dad had zero interest in baseball, and in my entire life, the extent of my baseball interaction with him is that he hit fungoes to my brother and me at most 24 times (at most) and he played catch with me 8 times maximum. That's in my entire life...so I had no experience or drive coming from my home front.

          So in the spring of my age 11 year, I was pretty bad. The only practice I got was maybe in the 6-8 preseason practices we had and then during the 16 or so regular season games. I was stuck out in right field where I could do the least damage.

          Fortunately for me, my younger brother (8 at the time) and a 9-year old neighbor both started developing interest at the time. So all summer we practiced, especially catching, throwing and playing running bases type games. We also practiced hitting, but a lot of it was mushball type games (so we didn't have to run so much retrieving our one ball!).

          The next year (age 12), I was getting a lot better with all that repetition. I wasn't the worst kid on the team...I was able to hit third from the bottom in the lineup, and got to play some second base too (since I could catch the ball, but I still didn't throw great). I even got a huge hit in our championship game.

          In the next two years, I actually became all star caliber one year (lost to the coach's son in a somewhat biased coach's selection), but I was actually better than average (one year) and good (another). My arm got stronger and I was moved to third base because I could throw.

          I stopped there because once the 15 and 16 year old recreation league came, there was a major winnowing out of the talent. 75% of the kids dropped out, and only the high school level talent was really playing.

          However, even with my late start, I had fun for those age 11-14 years (5th - 8th grade).

          Let me re-echo what John said, and give my suggestions.


          1) Practice is key, most especially throwing and catching. Practice with him throwing and him catching pop ups, line drive throws, and grounders. This really is key.

          2) Practice timing on hitting...if you have a batting cage nearby, that is a great option. If he is having a lot of timing issues, get started on slow pitch softball, or even better a mushball type game just between the two of you..

          3) You don't need to do it for hours every day and tire him of the game. Get started with 20 minute sessions. Maybe take him out for ice cream occasionally after practice to make it a special and memorable event for him.

          4) If he isn't very strong, I'd suggest having him do some pushups. That strengths the arms. Again, make it fun for him - make some kind of little contest. Pushups help the arms (at least they did for me).

          5) Beyond all things, keep it fun for him. Emphasize the fun element. I can't emphasize this enough.

          6) Of course don't be critical, but also don't praise him falsely when he misplays balls. Praise hustle but not bad play. I always hated it when I was praised when I butchered a play. Kids know when they are patronized. Praise for a play done right (even an average play) is good though. If he misplays a popup, you can say "Oh, popups in the sun can be tough. We'll practice those and you'll catch it next time!".

          7) Absolutely try to get him in a league with kids his own age if possible. In my first year back, I was in a league with 11-13 year olds. It was tough being young and bad with older kids.


          A positive effort and a fair (not immense, but some) amount of effort on your part helping him will go a long ways. I would have been much better if my dad cared at all to practice. Literally the only times in my life when my dad played with us is when my mom cajoled him into doing so. Kids at that age will be happy when their parents want to play with them so they get better.
          Last edited by Toledo Inquisition; 06-28-2019, 07:53 AM.
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