Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What is the right age to focus on a position (and what should that mean)?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    At 12u move the kids around. When I coached that age, I gave them all a primary and secondary position that they learned knew everything about. They would however play other places. There will be some kids at that level that might be physically limited from playing middle infield and center, as they hurt the team to play there because of range. We sneak those kids there when we are killing people but for those kids play right, first, third, maybe even catcher if they can receive and block well. The athletic kids go anywhere at any time for me at 12u and even beyond if they have a high baseball IQ.

    At 12u I had a 3rd baseman that didn't move all that well, had kind of slumped in shoulders. He grew about 7 inches and started to get a chest that rolled his shoulders back a little. He got some leg strength and started moving better which made him able to play pretty much anywhere as a 13u player. In only 1 year a huge body transformation had occurred and had he not had some experience in the other positions when younger, he would not be able to play anywhere today.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by dominik View Post
      I think for development it is always better to play the tougher position as long as possible. it sounds like a cliche that everyone wants to play short but in reality as SS can easily also play third and second but a third baseman won't often be given the chance to play short. and likewise a CF can easily play right but vice versa it can be tough.

      thus for recruiting or draft it is always good to play in the catcher, short, CF axis vs being a corner guy. specializing can be good at some point but only if it is a premium position. If you specialize at left field oder even first base you better really rake.

      I think for HS it is good if you play at least a second position to give the coach more options. if you are a 1B at least try to be if not solid at least playable in the OF for example. if you are a SS or CF only that is less of a problem because the coach will just assume you can play the lesser postions.
      I disagree that a CF can easily play RF. Right field in the major leagues and at other high levels as well is an interesting position that requires a cannon for an arm and a high baseball IQ. CF can often get away with a weak arm but must have high sprinting speed. Learning how to field the position of RF takes longer than the other outfield positions - and IMO any other position except catcher. I have a coaching book that devotes more pages to right field than any other position - 17 pages in all.

      I think it gets a bad rap in youth baseball because balls don't get hit there much until age 12 or so. Players get it in their minds that playing the position is a kind of punishment.

      Until they see the right fielder throw out a runner sliding into 3rd base or home . . .

      I am typically very satisfied with what SS can do at the 3B or 2B position. Can usually do CF just fine too. I am typically NOT so happy moving someone into the RF slot unless they have an arm, knows how to do all the different kinds of backups (there's a bunch), and has a reasonably high baseball IQ.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by JoeG View Post

        I disagree that a CF can easily play RF. Right field in the major leagues and at other high levels as well is an interesting position that requires a cannon for an arm and a high baseball IQ. CF can often get away with a weak arm but must have high sprinting speed. Learning how to field the position of RF takes longer than the other outfield positions - and IMO any other position except catcher. I have a coaching book that devotes more pages to right field than any other position - 17 pages in all.

        I think it gets a bad rap in youth baseball because balls don't get hit there much until age 12 or so. Players get it in their minds that playing the position is a kind of punishment.

        Until they see the right fielder throw out a runner sliding into 3rd base or home . . .

        I am typically very satisfied with what SS can do at the 3B or 2B position. Can usually do CF just fine too. I am typically NOT so happy moving someone into the RF slot unless they have an arm, knows how to do all the different kinds of backups (there's a bunch), and has a reasonably high baseball IQ.
        As a former HSV RFer (played all three, but 75% of the time at F9), and still playing mostly RF in an adult wood bat league, thanks for the validation! It's a LOT of running around and as with most positions, your thinking evolves as the play does, you just have a lot more real estate to cover. It's a lot of thankless work since when everything goes smoothly most of the time, you're just running 50 yard sprints without the ball ever getting to you.

        Opposite field hits from RHBs are usually tough as they slice towards the foul line. Communication with an F3 on balls fair/foul is huge if you're going to risk a dive, miss a dive on a line drive at just inside the foul line and it's a triple or in ITP'er. If your F3 tells you it's foul for sure, you lay out with no fear. If not, you need to decide if it's worth the risk or do you pull up and play conservative.

        The F9 is the safety net for every infield position. If F3 knows you'll be backing him up 100%, he can take that risky stretch or aggressive pick knowing that the worst that can happen is the runner is safe at first, but won't advance beyond that. If F6/F5 have faith in F3 (and with F9 backing up), they can risk that off-balance throw or back foot throw deep in the hole. On certain fields and in certain situations, F9 can almost be a second F4 throwing batters out at first.

        The conventional thought is that CF is the hardest to play, but it's actually the easiest (at levels below NCAA). There are way less bases and situations to cover. CF can gamble a lot more and misplays aren't punished as severely as those by Corner OFers. I would agree that an athletic CF can jump in to a corner OF slot and handle most stuff, but there are much more nuance to a corner OF spot that the natural CF may not be aware of.

        At the highest levels, the chances of errors occurring is significantly less. At the MLB level F9 almost never covers F3, if balls aren't hit their way, they oftentimes don't even move.

        Back to the OP.... I wouldn't say we "specialized", but we did start getting players into certain positions from 8u based on body type, speed, baseball IQ and the needs of the team. Some players had roles expanded as they grew more athletic or diminished or adjusted as we saw they weren't good fits. Everyone gets practice time at an infield and outfield position. Our catchers play all three: F2, F3/F5, and F7/F9. Of our 11 league ball players, all 11 saw mound time. In our 13 player travel/tournament team, 12 saw mound time.

        In league ball, due to minimum play requirements, unfortunately F9 does become what is typically thought to be at this age. In tournament/travel play though this changes dramatically.

        Edit: I do think locking a kid in at only one position is not the way to go unless it's for the child's safety.
        Last edited by WailukuHeights; 06-12-2018, 03:15 PM.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by chief2791 View Post
          Jett is spot on. Alot of your position players at the college level were up the middle players in HS. Although my memory is a bit fuzzy, I remember watching Vanderbilt in the postseason a few years ago. It was mentioned on the broadcast that their 1B was recruited there to be a SS, but Vandy just happened to have a guy named Dansby Swanson at short. The 1B was a hitter, so he had to be in lineup. He had to wait his turn for SS, so "welcome to 1B son".

          I'd suspect that a good number of pitchers at the college level were top of the order hitters on their HS teams as well. Watching the Arky/SC super regional over the last few days, several of SC pitchers were kids that I'm familiar with, and a couple that my son has played against in the past. They were 2 thru 4 hitters in their HS lineup, big bats.

          It's a game of athletes (and hitters) at the HS level and above for position players, more so than a specific position. That's why it's good to have a working knowledge of multiple positions. You increase your chances and value.
          i always scratch my head when discussions about 12 or 13 years olds drift over to what matters in college. college is a long way away. a fraction of these kids will even have desire still play at that level, much less the ability, much less the specific ability to excel at a given position.

          Comment


          • #20
            i appreciate all of the feedback. as has been noted, if you are pitching everyone, resting catchers some during tournaments, etc. flexibility and movement is a matter of necessity as well. so, its not like we are going to stop doing that. however, it is a fact that school tryouts are by position. thus, it does make sense for kids to be prepared for a specific position (or 2). i'm of the mind that when you take kids on your team, so long as they are doing their part (showing up, putting in effort, having good attitude), you have an obligation to do good by them by providing the best opportunity to succeed and advance. and, if the next step is their school team, being prepared to compete for a spot on that team is part of that.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
              Other than pitcher or catcher a player doesn’t need to focus on a position other than infielder or outfielder. Even then a player can get switched at any time.
              I probably agree with that, but for the posters on here over the age of maybe 35, how many had the experience of kids moving around a bunch on their teams? I know I didn't. Every kid had a position for the most part and they played it. Once All Stars came around (LL and Pony league for me), at least 1/2 of the RH position players played SS on their regular team and at least 1/2 the kids were pitchers on their regular team. In All stars the best SS played SS and the other kids moved to different positions. The best 3 or 4 pitchers pitched, and the other didn't. I don't ever remember anybody complaining. I am not saying this is right, only pointing how things may have changed over the years due to TB and the money involved in it along with overly invested parents.
              Last edited by pattar; 06-13-2018, 08:11 AM.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by pattar View Post

                I probably agree with that, but for the posters on here over the age of maybe 35, how many had the experience of kids moving around a bunch on their teams? I know I didn't. Every kid had a position for the most part and they played it. Once All Stars came around (LL and Pony league for me), at least 1/2 of the RH position players played SS on their regular team and at least 1/2 the kids were pitchers on their regular team. In All stars the best SS played SS and the other kids moved to different positions. The best 3 or 4 pitchers pitched, and the other didn't. I don't ever remember anybody complaining. I am not saying this is right, only pointing how things may have changed over the years due to TB and the money involved in it along with overly invested parents.
                On any given team a player might have a position. But it can change from year to year so as to not focus on a position. In LL all stars the entire team was pitchers, catchers, shortstops and center fielders. I ran a travel team in a Sunday DH league concurrently with the LL season. In these games the kids played the positions they would play in all stars.

                From nine to eleven my son mostly caught and pitched some. At twelve he was a shortstop/pitcher. But he caught on all stars. In seventh through soph year he played short for school. On his travel team he played wherever the pitcher came from. soph summer of travel he was moved to center. Junior year of high school he was moved to center. He pitched as a closer at every level.

                In college he he was recruited as an outfielder. He played everywhere but pitcher and catcher. Each year he started where the stud recruit failed. If you hit you play somewhere. He typically played two positions per season.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by JettSixty View Post

                  On any given team a player might have a position. But it can change from year to year so as to not focus on a position. In LL all stars the entire team was pitchers, catchers, shortstops and center fielders. I ran a travel team in a Sunday DH league concurrently with the LL season. In these games the kids played the positions they would play in all stars.

                  From nine to eleven my son mostly caught and pitched some. At twelve he was a shortstop/pitcher. But he caught on all stars. In seventh through soph year he played short for school. On his travel team he played wherever the pitcher came from. soph summer of travel he was moved to center. Junior year of high school he was moved to center. He pitched as a closer at every level.

                  In college he he was recruited as an outfielder. He played everywhere but pitcher and catcher. Each year he started where the stud recruit failed. If you hit you play somewhere. He typically played two positions per season.
                  I was talking more about your experience (hence the over 35 part ; ) ) and what you remember happening on teams vs. your son's...
                  Last edited by pattar; 06-13-2018, 10:21 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by JettSixty View Post

                    On any given team a player might have a position. But it can change from year to year so as to not focus on a position. In LL all stars the entire team was pitchers, catchers, shortstops and center fielders. I ran a travel team in a Sunday DH league concurrently with the LL season. In these games the kids played the positions they would play in all stars.

                    From nine to eleven my son mostly caught and pitched some. At twelve he was a shortstop/pitcher. But he caught on all stars. In seventh through soph year he played short for school. On his travel team he played wherever the pitcher came from. soph summer of travel he was moved to center. Junior year of high school he was moved to center. He pitched as a closer at every level.

                    In college he he was recruited as an outfielder. He played everywhere but pitcher and catcher. Each year he started where the stud recruit failed. If you hit you play somewhere. He typically played two positions per season.
                    doesn't' sound like he moved around much -SS, CF, C. Most players pitch into HS, so i don't really count that as a different position. Sounds like if a player can field well, has good speed, high baseball IQ and can rake, he'll be fine.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
                      If you hit you play somewhere.
                      Also this. I have a relatively slow kid who hits a ton with a decent average, his bat keeps him in the lineup. He generally bats 4th or 5th for us. Normally you'd put him at a corner infield spot (and he'd only ever played third base before this year), but we have 2 kids who are far better fielders (who can also hit) who play F3 and F5 in bracket games. This kid bounces between P, LF, and one of the corner infield spots if one of those kids is throwing, kind of a utility player by necessity. Apparently he loves it.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        ABC, while school tryouts may be by position in your area, the programs in this area take the best hitters and place them in the field where it is most beneficial to the team as a whole, to get the guys they want on the field. My son has never been asked what position he was trying out for. The question was could he hit this level of pitching well enough to crack the lineup. He did, and he was placed, he wasn't given a position choice. His positions on HSV were different than on the MS team. Heck, he's somewhat officially a OF/RHP, but he only played a handful of innings in the OF this year. Take college out of it if you want to (I understand it's a different game), but really the same rules apply to school ball, whether that's MS or HSV. So I guess the answer is, while defense is important, it becomes a hitting thing in school ball. Hit, and it won't matter if you're trying out at 3B, RF, etc., you'll be on the field somewhere, and that's why IMO you're doing a great job with your current team preparing them. You never know where a coach may need/place you defensively.
                        Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by pattar View Post

                          I was talking more about your experience (hence the over 35 part ; ) ) and what you remember happening on teams vs. your son's...
                          I throw lefthanded. In LL (had to make it) at nine and ten I played right and left. At eleven and twelve I played short and pitched. In all stars I played first and pitched. Starting in junior high and BR I pitched and played center through high school. I played right in Legion. Our centerfielder was a future first round pick. In college I played right and left. In college summer ball I played center one year. I was moved to center when the center fielder was benched hitting about .160.

                          I was a lefthanded bullpen specialist freshman year in college. While a dominant high school pitcher I wanted to play every day in college. I didn’t understand what I was walking into freshman year. I got about sixty at bats. A week into the season the coach asked (frustrated and in language that can’t be repeated here) if there was a lefty who could come out of the pen throwing strikes. I volunteered.
                          Last edited by JettSixty; 06-13-2018, 12:52 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by JettSixty View Post

                            I throw lefthanded.
                            Ah, one of those weirdos. Your opinion doesn't count ; )

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              My own experience, as a 43 year old, went something like this:
                              Age 11 - Started organized baseball, Bronco Division (12u) - PONY Baseball. Played sparingly, mostly in the OF and occasionally F4, I would estimate no more than 30-40% of total innings.
                              Age 12 - Second year of organized baseball, Bronco Division (12u) - PONY Baseball. Played regularly, rarely sat, probably 95% of total innings. Played mostly F6, F2, F4 in that order.
                              Age 13 - Pony Division (14u). Played about 75% of total innings. Played mostly OF, some F4 again.
                              Age 14 - Pony Division (14u). Played about 95% of total innings. Played mostly F6, F2, and F8 in that order. Made first all-star team, was the starting F8.
                              Age 15 - HS JV. Tried out as an F5, made the team. Rarely saw the field, think maybe 25% of total innings in season. Played wherever the coach needed me, all OF spots, F2, F5. Practice time was mostly at F5/F8. Team won JV Division and Conference Championships (no States for JV)
                              Age 16 - HS JV. Moved to F8 permanently. Rarely left the field, probably 90% of total innings. Team won JV Division and Conference Championships (no States for JV), finished undefeated.
                              Age 17 - HS V. Split time between F8 and F9 in practice. Didn't get the majority of defensive innings, was mostly a late inning defensive sub and pinch runner, probably 20% of total innings. Team finished 3rd in conference and qualified for States, but was knocked into consolation play after the first game.
                              Age 18 - HS V. Starting F9, had a bad year at the plate, was DH'ed for in about 40% of starts, but started in RF every game. Played probably 90% of all defensive innings. Occasionally filled in at F8 depending on match ups and field. Team won Conference Championship and State Championship.

                              The curious thing about my journey is why the heck did I try out as an F5 coming into HS? I probably played there less than 10% of the time previous to that year. Well, it was a matter of just seeing who in my class would be ahead of me at other spots and who were the Sophomores that potentially had positions locked down. One of my best friends tried out at F6 and won the starting job (incumbent got pushed up to V as a Sophomore), another tried out at F4 and made the team, another tried out at F7 and was a starter 50% of the time. F8 was on serious lock down already by the returning Sophomore, I would not be unseating him. In hindsight, F9 would have been my best shot, but for some reason I was dead set on getting in at F5.

                              The incumbent JV F6 became the starting F2 on the V team. My friend the F6 eventually got moved to F5 his Sophomore year, but went back to F6 his Junior year, then back to F5 for his Senior year (he was also our #2 SP). The kid one year below us had a very slick glove at F6, but wasn't particularly strong with the bat.

                              My other friends, the F7 and F4 stayed in those positions throughout their HS careers. F7 went on to play D3.

                              Of the Seniors in our graduating class, only the F7 played ball post-HS. #2SP/F6/F5 walked on at the local D1 as a pitcher, but decided to hang it up as he knew he wouldn't see game time. Everyone else just had other interests and were ready to move on.

                              Our #1SP was a junior, played at Lewis & Clark, then got drafted in the 13th rd. He played about 3 years in the minors.
                              Our starting F2 was a sophomore, played at a local D2
                              Our starting F8 was a junior, played post HS, not sure which college.

                              What is interesting though, is the multi-sport influence back then.

                              From that team, starting 9:
                              F1 (junior) - Football (LB), Baseball
                              F2 (sophomore) - JV Football (RB), Baseball
                              F3 (senior) - Football (RB/S), Basketball (F), Baseball
                              F4 (senior) - Football (QB/DB), Basketball (PG), Baseball ... and valedictorian
                              F5 (senior) - Cross Country, Basketball (F), Baseball
                              F6 (junior) - Bowling, Baseball
                              F7 (senior) - Bowling, Track (4x100m), Baseball
                              F8 (junior) - Football (QB/WR), Baseball
                              F9 (senior) - Bowling, Track (100m, 4x100m), Baseball

                              On the bench:
                              DH (senior) - Football (DL), Baseball
                              Backup F3 (senior) - Football (DL), Basketball (C), Baseball
                              Backup OF (junior) - Football (OL), Baseball
                              Backup F5, #5P (junior) - Basketball, Baseball
                              Others were just baseball

                              Mostly everyone played some Fall sport.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by pattar View Post

                                Ah, one of those weirdos. Your opinion doesn't count ; )
                                I have a story relating to your comment. I discovered my LL assistant coach played up to AAA ball. It turned out he had roomed with one of my best friends and Legion teammate for three years in the minors. When I called my friend to tell him the first thing he asked about my assistant, “Is he as lefthanded as ever?”

                                Growing up my mother taped my fingers on my left hand together. She was not going to allow me to be lefthanded. I do every day things ambidextrously with a tendency to go right handed. I’m left handed athletically. It freaked people out to see me change hands writing on a board in business presentations. I wrote with whichever had me blocking the board the least. I do legal signatures right handed.
                                Last edited by JettSixty; 06-13-2018, 02:50 PM.

                                Comment

                                Ad Widget

                                Collapse
                                Working...
                                X