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

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  • JettSixty
    replied
    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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  • queue
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • JettSixty
    replied
    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, 10:48 AM.

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  • mudvnine
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • bluedawg
    replied
    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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  • JettSixty
    replied
    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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  • mudvnine
    replied
    Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
    My son played JV freshman year. It was hard to watch. I can’t imagine what the freshman games were like. The freshman field was mostly where baseball dreams go to die.
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • bluedawg
    replied
    Originally posted by JettSixty View Post

    My son played JV freshman year. It was hard to watch. I can’t imagine what the freshman games were like. The freshman field was mostly where baseball dreams go to die.
    depends on your school, classification, players ahead of you, etc. Our freshman team is 8/9th grades, sophomore is 9/10 grade, varsity is 11/12 grade with maybe a sophomore every few years. Better to play JV than to bench on Varsity IMO.

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  • bluedawg
    replied
    14u to freshman -I'd say discipline and player responsibility. Add in daily practices for 2-3 hours and you can cover a lot -but mostly IQ, footwork and arm strength. Not sure we have quite the rigor that others have mentioned (sounds a bit much to me), but then again, most of what I hear is 2nd hand from a teenager....

    Freshman to Varsity -speed of the game

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  • JettSixty
    replied
    Originally posted by flyingmachine3 View Post

    Our town's HS has the varsity field next to the underclassmen field. You can stand between them and basically watch both games. It's comical the difference between Varsity and freshman games.
    My son played JV freshman year. It was hard to watch. I can’t imagine what the freshman games were like. The freshman field was mostly where baseball dreams go to die.

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  • flyingmachine3
    replied
    Originally posted by songtitle View Post
    This is not really for coaches exactly, but when you are 13/14, go to a HS game. You are immediately struck by how fast/violent the game is. The throws are much harder/longer. The bats are exploding. The catcher's mitt emits an enormous POP. The grunting while running the bases. The beards!
    Our town's HS has the varsity field next to the underclassmen field. You can stand between them and basically watch both games. It's comical the difference between Varsity and freshman games.

    Leave a comment:


  • 2022dad
    replied
    Originally posted by songtitle View Post
    This is not really for coaches exactly, but when you are 13/14, go to a HS game. You are immediately struck by how fast/violent the game is. The throws are much harder/longer. The bats are exploding. The catcher's mitt emits an enormous POP. The grunting while running the bases. The beards!
    We took my wife to a HS game this past spring and those were pretty much her impressions.

    Leave a comment:


  • jbolt_2000
    replied
    Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
    Learning curve for the players or coaches? I coached an elite level of travel through 16u when the kids were fifteen. I was asked to coach high school. My son asked for space given I coached him in travel. I never attended a practice. I saw the tail end of a few. I saw almost every game. All I know about practices came from conversations with my son.

    i was as meticulous coaching 16u as I was coaching 13u. The team was full of players serious about being the best player they could be. The biggest change was the players got bigger, faster, stronger every year. The game got faster.

    Regarding high school my son’s biggest observation was how much stronger upperclassmen where than freshman and most sophs. The high school coach was a D2 All American. He knew his stuff. My son said he had already been taught everything the high school coach taught on our travel team. But he was surprised how players who played on lesser travel teams and Jr Legion/Legion had not been taught things he thought to be general knowledge.
    Learning curve for coaches. I've coached for several years at every level from t-ball to 13-14 year olds. This will be my first time coaching at the high school level.

    I definitely see a disparity between freshmen/sophomores and upperclassmen. It's really night and day.

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  • jbolt_2000
    replied
    So far we just started summer league. Its three weeks long and there is no practicing, just games 4 days a week. We occasionally get some of the football players when they aren't busy with football. It's pretty laid back right now since its summer ball, so its a little hard to tell how the other coaches are with regards to intensity and expectations of the players.
    After summer we start up with fall workouts sometime around September or October.

    I attended my fist game yesterday afternoon. The coaches are all nice and I've known the HC for a few years.

    Anyways, some of the things I noticed so far is, the juniors and seniors know exactly what to do for most things. Ball hit to center field, Batter rounds first and F8 misplays the ball and it shoots behind him, I was coaching first base and as he's round the bag I'm telling him to read the ball and before I can say Yes or Go, he's already gone. LOL

    The incoming freshmen are a bit raw, but I get it.

    I did see some fundamentals I'd like to work on, especially with footwork with the catchers and players backing up their positions (e.g. pitchers not backing up third or home on balls hit to outfield with runners on base).
    At this point, its really early and I don't want to step on veteran coaches' toes just yet.

    As for the program itself. It is a smaller D-V program. They only have JV and Varsity teams. While they are in a lower division, they do compete against other higher division teams and are competitive.

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  • WailukuHeights
    replied
    While not an on-the-field issue, I think the biggest change going from youth ball to HS ball is that the player is now absolutely responsible for everything.

    Paperwork needs to be handed in on time (grade checks, physicals, etc) by the player, not the parent.
    Team meetings need to be attended by the player.
    The player is responsible for getting to practices, games, and other events on time.
    The player needs to be sure that their equipment is in working order and available.
    The player needs to take responsibility for the cleanliness of their uniform and having it ready come gametime.
    The player is responsible for keeping their grades up, staying out of trouble, and being a role model on campus and in the community.
    The player is responsible for their own discipline (getting adequate rest, eating right, staying in shape out of season, handling their own off-season skill development).

    Leave a comment:

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