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Coaches: What were some learning curves between youth ball and high school ball

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  • #16
    Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
    Surprised to hear that. Most schools with good/strong programs have a good freshman program, with very few freshman playing JV much less varsity. And while there is a significant difference between all three levels of play...the strength at the top, is only as good as the foundation it's built on, and in most cases with the freshman level pouring the base concrete for the future success of the program.
    We had one large middle school feeding one large classification high school. The middle school had 7th and 8th grade teams. A lot of the funneling of talent had occurred by the time the 8th grade was selected. The better half of the 8th grade team would move up the JV even if it was for two years. The other half went to freshman ball to die along with some kids who didn’t even make the 8th grade team. In the four years my son was at the high school one freshman team kid made varsity senior year as a potential contributor. In three appearances he didn’t get out of an inning on the mound. At 6’4” 210 he sure looked like a pitcher ... until he threw 80 right down Main Street with no movement.

    One of my travel kids played for a high high school that required freshman to play freshman ball if they didn’t make varsity. His father said they beat the crap out of most of their opponents. He said most of the freshman teams were poor like our high achool’s freshman team.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by JettSixty View Post

      We had one large middle school feeding one large classification high school. The middle school had 7th and 8th grade teams. A lot of the funneling of talent had occurred by the time the 8th grade was selected. The better half of the 8th grade team would move up the JV even if it was for two years. The other half went to freshman ball to die along with some kids who didn’t even make the 8th grade team. In the four years my son was at the high school one freshman team kid made varsity senior year as a potential contributor. In three appearances he didn’t get out of an inning on the mound. At 6’4” 210 he sure looked like a pitcher ... until he threw 80 right down Main Street with no movement.

      One of my travel kids played for a high high school that required freshman to play freshman ball if they didn’t make varsity. His father said they beat the crap out of most of their opponents. He said most of the freshman teams were poor like our high achool’s freshman team.
      very different model than our HS (4A) which has made it to the semi's or higher in states in 7 of the last 9 years. I can't say for certain, but I'd guess that 95% of our current varsity team (assuming they started at the HS as freshman) played on the freshman team.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
        In the four years my son was at the high school one freshman team kid made varsity senior year as a potential contributor. In three appearances he didn’t get out of an inning on the mound. At 6’4” 210 he sure looked like a pitcher ... until he threw 80 right down Main Street with no movement.
        Yeah, we don't have MS ball here so the weeding out happens at the freshman/JV level. Sounds like your school would be better off not having a freshman team, and reallocate that money to either the two remaining teams, or elsewhere in the athletic department if need be. Seems like a waste of money just to have a couple kids play ball for just one, maybe two more years.
        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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        • #19
          Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
          Yeah, we don't have MS ball here so the weeding out happens at the freshman/JV level. Sounds like your school would be better off not having a freshman team, and reallocate that money to either the two remaining teams, or elsewhere in the athletic department if need be. Seems like a waste of money just to have a couple kids play ball for just one, maybe two more years.
          Every sports program had everything they needed. The basketball team had its own arena. The football and soccer stadiums were the envy of the area. We had our own swimming pool. The only thing the high school didn’t have was its own hockey rink. The high school had private access tennis courts. Other sports had viable freshman teams. The setup didn’t affect the baseball program. Once they got a decent coach after two years they won five conference titles in the next eight years.
          Last edited by JettSixty; 06-15-2018, 11:48 AM.

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          • #20
            I just went through the transition this year. Here is my assessment.

            Freshmen ball was a step backwards from our 14u AA.5 travel team. Our freshman team only won 6 games so they were on the bottom end of the freshman skill level but even when I watched a few games against better teams, the quality of play seemed to be less than your average travel team from the previous year with a little rec thrown in. The big difference between preHS and HS is the regimented approach and the coaches directly dealing with the players. This is the first year where the parents are truly spectators and not their kid's manager. Expectations and responsibilities are much higher. Generally, all kids get to play, some more than others, but they all play.

            By Sophomore year, most of the rec league players are gone and the game cleans up a lot. You are no longer guaranteed playing time but players have 'B' level games to show their stuff. Most kids have settled in to positions. Some have specialized as pitcher-only and some kids seem to only be there to pinch run for pitchers and catchers. The level of play is better but probably on par with a good 14u or 15u travel team. Kids have thickened up a bit and start to hit the ball harder.

            Varsity starts to look a bit like the professional game. A lot more types of plays start to become routine and are expected to be executed without error. Double plays on hard grounders are almost expected. Some kids may not play at all unless they play in JV games. The kids no longer look like kids. Quality of play, on average is probably like a decent 16u tourney team.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by queue View Post
              I just went through the transition this year. Here is my assessment.

              Freshmen ball was a step backwards from our 14u AA.5 travel team. Our freshman team only won 6 games so they were on the bottom end of the freshman skill level but even when I watched a few games against better teams, the quality of play seemed to be less than your average travel team from the previous year with a little rec thrown in. The big difference between preHS and HS is the regimented approach and the coaches directly dealing with the players. This is the first year where the parents are truly spectators and not their kid's manager. Expectations and responsibilities are much higher. Generally, all kids get to play, some more than others, but they all play.

              By Sophomore year, most of the rec league players are gone and the game cleans up a lot. You are no longer guaranteed playing time but players have 'B' level games to show their stuff. Most kids have settled in to positions. Some have specialized as pitcher-only and some kids seem to only be there to pinch run for pitchers and catchers. The level of play is better but probably on par with a good 14u or 15u travel team. Kids have thickened up a bit and start to hit the ball harder.

              Varsity starts to look a bit like the professional game. A lot more types of plays start to become routine and are expected to be executed without error. Double plays on hard grounders are almost expected. Some kids may not play at all unless they play in JV games. The kids no longer look like kids. Quality of play, on average is probably like a decent 16u tourney team.
              Experience varies from school to school. And size of school typically makes a difference. I used to say our 16u team was like a high school team without the seniors about to go off to D1. Almost every team in our conference except bottom feeders had at least one D1 player (always at least a pitcher). The junior year roster from my son’s high school has eleven future college players. Three went D1.One of my son’s travel teammates played for a state champion small classification high school. He was the team. He was the only one on his team who could have played for my son’s high school. Imagine a dominant 90+, future D1 prospect pitching against high schools with under 500 enrollment.

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