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Bill James Comments on Youth Baseball

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  • PhilliesPhan22
    replied
    Well every time kids gather for a pickup game, some adult calls the police because they are "loitering" or "trespassing."

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  • hellborn
    replied
    Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
    Only four of twelve from my son's LL all-star team are still playing baseball in high school. There are two kids from my son's 8yo 7/8's group playing high school baseball. It's the nature of youth sports. There's a funnel moving up. The funnel is small. But as for James' comments, I agree. When kids are six and seven they should be playing pickup ball in the park, not travel.
    I thought Bill had a good point, too. My daughter's 8U league is purely for fun, no runs counted and everybody hits every inning...the little gals love it.

    I was just wondering how much recent attitudes on child safety contribute to kids not playing pickup as much as in the past...despite having an overprotective mother (due to earlier tragedy), I was able to wander to a number of different fields to play various sports, often with kids I didn't even know (urban environment). I feel that there is more of an atmosphere of fear now, and wonder how many parents would allow that now.
    I can't speak much from personal experience, as we live quite far from any developed fields and my daughter is going to know anybody within walking or even reasonable biking distance (for her age). Maybe city kids are still more like I was, hard for me to say.

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  • TG Coach
    replied
    Originally posted by TonyK View Post
    Around 5% of the kids I coached in LL are playing HS baseball. These kids were not all of the most talented players from LL.
    Only four of twelve from my son's LL all-star team are still playing baseball in high school. There are two kids from my son's 8yo 7/8's group playing high school baseball. It's the nature of youth sports. There's a funnel moving up. The funnel is small. But as for James' comments, I agree. When kids are six and seven they should be playing pickup ball in the park, not travel.

    Leave a comment:


  • TonyK
    started a topic Bill James Comments on Youth Baseball

    Bill James Comments on Youth Baseball

    Q: What do you feel is the biggest threat to the future of the popularity of baseball? And what do you see as the best opportunity for growth for the popularity of the game that M.L.B., the owners, etc. are not taking advantage of or pursuing?

    Bill James: The biggest problem (or threat) that we face is the poor state of amateur baseball for very young kids. Somehow, we’ve allowed highly competitive attitudes to seep down to six-year-olds and seven-year-olds, so that kids at very young ages are being taught to play the game “right” before they learn to love the game. It makes baseball seem like school — “I’ve got to do this right to please the coach.” We’re turning off millions of kids in a failing and misguided effort to accelerate the development of skills. Somehow, we’ve got to flip that back the other way, so that kids can learn to love playing the game.

    I think Bill's opinion is once again right on the money. Around 5% of the kids I coached in LL are playing HS baseball. These kids were not all of the most talented players from LL.

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