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  • What would you have done differently?

    HS season is ending here in Florida, and for most of the boys, their careers are about to be over. I know a lot of the parents of the boys on our school team and went to watch the last few games of the season, and asked them.... would you have done anything differently now seeing the end of their sons baseball career?

    Most of the boys played extensive travel ball from a young age, I’d say the majority played 8+ months out of the year starting at 9 or 10, and quite a few parents said they wished they had taken more time off or encouraged their son to play something else in the fall. This wasn’t for injury prevention so much as it was for burnout. Quite a few “played up” at the youth years and I had a few say they should have stayed in rec longer, not played up, and just let it be fun with friends. Plenty also had no regrets and were satisfied with good memories of bonding with teammates and fellow parents.

    It got me thinking about my role as coach and parent raising my own kids, is that seeing how it ends for probably 95% of the kids.... should I make them take
    more time off, play for a less competitive team, or make different decisions. Our MS team has the boys in the gym twice a week at age 12, and I wonder what will I be saying in a few years... was it worth it?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mobius75 View Post

    .... should I make them take
    more time off, play for a less competitive team, or make different decisions. Our MS team has the boys in the gym twice a week at age 12
    I think the key is not to MAKE them do anything when it comes to sports. Let them decide how much they want push themselves. They likely won't have any
    regrets that way. I pushed myself really hard growing up and the only regret that I have is that I unfortunately expected myself to be perfect because I did push myself so hard..My perspective was off and it cost me with respect to enjoying the game I loved.
    Last edited by pattar; 05-08-2018, 09:06 AM.

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    • #3
      After 13U last year, I asked my son if he wanted to play fall ball. He said he wanted to hunt and fish. It was a little hard to accept at first but I'd decided to let him be more in control of his playing time. We had a great fall and he was very excited to play MS this spring.
      Put your junk in your pocket!

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      • #4
        There is not a one size fits all. Bottom line, leave it up to your kid. If he wants to play (like mine did), make it happen until they stop handing him a jersey. Just don't push your preference on him. Realize as a parent, if his "want to" isn't there, HS will most likely be the end of the road, and if it is that's ok. Kids enjoy the game and the process at varying degrees. Two of our Sr's this year had no intention of playing college baseball, therefore they didn't put in the same amount of work and TB that my son did, but they both ended up with good and respectable HS careers. Different goals, but their journey was also a success IMO. I have to give credit to one of those Sr's dad's. He played small college baseball, and I know that's what he wanted for his son as well, but that's not what his son wanted so he let it be and enjoyed the HS career.

        Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pattar View Post

          I think the key is not to MAKE them do anything when it comes to sports. Let them decide how much they want push themselves. They likely won't have any
          regrets that way. I pushed myself really hard growing up and the only regret that I have is that I unfortunately expected myself to be perfect because I did push myself so hard..My perspective was off and it cost me with respect to enjoying the game I loved.
          While I understand what you're saying wrt letting kids decide what or how much sports they want...I think that the parents of the graduating HS kids were talking about putting more of a balance in their lives, and expose them to more things than just baseball...even if they tell you that that's all they want to do.

          I only say this because this topic comes up every couple of years, and a several years back I wrote about looking back, and wishing we had done more family vacations that didn't involve baseball, but rather hiking, boating, fishing, camping, skiing, surfing, sightseeing, 4-wheeling...just anything other than trips planned, and revolving around baseball games, training, or the likes. =(





          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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          • #6
            As a 8U coach I think I'm the one getting burned out and need a break. My son won't stop, but he also plays flag football in the fall.
            Instagram: gavin_thereal34

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
              While I understand what you're saying wrt letting kids decide what or how much sports they want...I think that the parents of the graduating HS kids were talking about putting more of a balance in their lives, and expose them to more things than just baseball...even if they tell you that that's all they want to do.

              I only say this because this topic comes up every couple of years, and a several years back I wrote about looking back, and wishing we had done more family vacations that didn't involve baseball, but rather hiking, boating, fishing, camping, skiing, surfing, sightseeing, 4-wheeling...just anything other than trips planned, and revolving around baseball games, training, or the likes. =(




              Gotcha. We do the vacation thing out of necessity since they wouldn't see their grandparents if we didn't ; )

              Growing up we didn't do much in terms of vacations.. I don't think we really had the money. We made the 1.5 hour drive to NH a couple of times and I remember it was a big deal because we stayed overnight in a hotel. I got on my first airplane at the age of 23 when I went to visit Carnegie Mellon to see if I wanted to accept their graduate school fellowship. We took some music lessons but I hated it ; ) It was pretty much academics and ball growing up, in that order. I remember I once got a B on an algebra test and my parents made me sit out 8th grade basketball for a week or so, not because of the grade itself but because they knew I had no business getting a B on an 8th grade algebra test ; )
              Last edited by pattar; 05-08-2018, 09:53 AM.

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              • #8
                I learned my lesson...sort of. My now 13U kid was pushed and served as as a test subject for many of my mad scientist experiments. Luckily he still loves the game as he gets ready for high school. My 10U kid determines how much coaching he gets. He is not as fanatical about baseball like his older bro, but he can easily pick up the concepts in the drills we run when we do it and I will admit it kills me he is only so committed to the process

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                • #9
                  Both kids and I played through college and college summer ball. We agreed we felt like our time was owned in college. We had very little freedom. And knowing this we woukd do it all over again.

                  In high school i played three sports. I never touched a baseball or did any training in the off season. I was playing other sports. My son played two high school sports after freshman year. My daughter played three. They both played fall ball in addition to their fall sport and trained year round.

                  When my son came home after graduating from college he informed me he was going to the Shore for the summer. He said in his more sober moments he would create a business plan for looking for a job in the fall. What he concelaed was he was already two interviews away from an awesome job. He didn't want to work until the fall.

                  My daughter did the same thing. She went to the Shore after graduation and found a job in the fall. That summer was their first freedom for both since they were preteens.

                  I had to back in the fall after senior year for two more classes to graduate. I worked an easy job and partied, i skied all winter and spring. The company that hired me didn't want me starting until May.
                  Last edited by JettSixty; 05-08-2018, 11:03 AM.

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                  • #10
                    In a small sample of talking with kids and parents on this exact subject kids generally say it was too much, unnecessary, and overkill. Parents generally say they (the parents) loved every minute of it.
                    Major Figure

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                    • #11
                      So far, up through 14u, the most he had played in a year was about 60 games. This year, it could be 80+ so I'll see at the end how he feels. One of the senior parents on the team was bashing the idea of keeping kids in travel ball during HS because it was too much for them to handle. However, if more of the families let their kids play more summer ball they might have won more than 5 games this year.

                      This was just after listening to a few parents complain how a no-call infield fly on an short bloop over the pitcher was the reason why we lost a game. I tried to simplify the "ordinary effort" part of the rule by saying that it had to be a routine catch. Despite reading the rules, he didn't agree. Minutes later I just decided to shut my mouth when the arguments for "Tie goes to the runner" started flying around on a close play at first.

                      What would I change or do differently. I would have tried to convince more parents that they might want to put a little more in to their kid's development in baseball than a dad coached rec league through 8th grade. There are way too many people in our town that just rode the "Rec ball is good enough. Why pay the travel money when our kids will be good enough to make the high school team some day" excuse. There are so many kids that have fatal baseball skill flaws in our freshman program. Many of the varsity players have issue stemming from skills rooted in too many years of rec ball.

                      I would also make the parents attend a mandatory baseball rules class to go over all the things I hear the parents yell out incorrectly.
                      No, the runner does not have to slide.
                      No, tie doesn't go to the runner.
                      No, he wasn't out of the baseline.

                      TLDR; I would have tried to educate the community on the more finer points of baseball and the skills needed to compete at a higher level.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by queue View Post

                        What would I change or do differently. I would have tried to convince more parents that they might want to put a little more in to their kid's development in baseball than a dad coached rec league through 8th grade. There are way too many people in our town that just rode the "Rec ball is good enough. Why pay the travel money when our kids will be good enough to make the high school team some day" excuse. There are so many kids that have fatal baseball skill flaws in our freshman program. Many of the varsity players have issue stemming from skills rooted in too many years of rec ball.

                        I agree wholeheartedly, but you might as well talk to a concrete wall if you're looking to convince them. Ask me how I know. Smile and be nice, know that you're correct, and let the proof be in the pudding. That's how people come around to the idea that maybe there's a different and better way, and even then not all of them will. It is what it is. It's their life, their kids, their family.

                        Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

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                        • #13
                          I have 4 daughters older than my son. So we did everything wrong for them - travel at 8, etc.. I assumed the coaches and instructors knew what they were talking about, so we kept 'throwing our hands at the ball' and 'lining up our door knocking knuckles'. etc.

                          When son came along, he/we had 'pressure' to play travel at 8, but I spent all my time giving him instruction at home or cages, and he played rec. I bought a radar gun, and we tried things - if they worked, we kept doing them. He joined a light travel team at 13. Never needed to join the showcase travel teams in HS. He pitched in college.
                          Last edited by songtitle; 05-09-2018, 01:55 PM.
                          efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                          • #14
                            That is where you were different than most parents. You tried things. 5 years ago, in 9u/10u I had my epiphany. When practices consisted of simplistic drills and live bp and the coaches just rattling off the same cues that I heard from my father, I knew that these dads were doing nothing towards building up the kids knowledge and skills. Even a couple of years later in dad coached travel, the coaching left a lot to be desired. All I knew was what us dads were taught as kids looked nothing like what college and pro were doing. I did some internet research, read about this rotational vs linear swing thing and with the advent of youtube and MLB slow-mo swing videos, I was able to pick apart (albeit slightly wrong but close enough) a swing and fix it.

                            It was going to be a lot of work but I definitely didn't want to push my kid too hard. I wanted him to love that game like I did and I was never pushed. So at the end of 11u travel ball. I asked him if he wanted to stick with his current team, hang out and have fun with friends, or move on, work hard, and become the best he could be at baseball and he chose the latter.

                            I agree wholeheartedly, but you might as well talk to a concrete wall if you're looking to convince them. Ask me how I know. Smile and be nice, know that you're correct, and let the proof be in the pudding. That's how people come around to the idea that maybe there's a different and better way, and even then not all of them will. It is what it is. It's their life, their kids, their family.
                            By that time, it is usually too late, or the kid has a TON of work to do to catch up. About 1/5 of our school's population comes from neighboring towns. But 6 out of the 8 starters on the freshman team come from the neighboring towns. Those towns have travel programs, ours does not. There are several kids who were the stars of our rec league that have sat on the bench most of the year.

                            Sure convincing them would not be easy but at least you tried. When I talk about it to people, I equate it to school. "Would you be happy if your kid got a C in math when you know they are capable of getting an A with a little extra work with a tutor?" In our town, baseball is dead. That is where I failed. I should have been more proactive back then so that it would be better now.

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