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  • Summer Practice

    My son's HS has been running "optional practices" this summer. It's for incoming freshmen and returning players.

    Now, SOME, when I mentioned this to them, had a reaction to it. Personally, I don't care about any questions on the fact. For my son, it's been GREAT. As a rising freshmen, it's provided him with an opportunity to make an impression with the coaching staff, he's been able to kick-start relationships with the older and returning players, and, he's been given a chance to meet some of the kids also coming in new but from different middle schools. Again, some would have a reaction (for whatever reason) when told the H.S. is having summer "optional" practices. Me? If I had the chance, I would personally thank the coach for taking time during his summer (and time off) for making this happen. But, my goal with HS ball is to never speak to the coach unless he has a direct question or something for me. Outside of that, my goal is to keep it to "hello" and "nice to see you" if I happen to run into any coach on the HS team. So, I'm not going to say thanks for the practices - but, I would if I could...

    Anyway, here's the question.

    The coach always says the practices are optional. So far, they've had 10 of them and my son had to miss 4 of them. The misses are always for a legit reason. Maybe he had a tournament game that day, or, we were out of town, or, he had a doctor's appointment that we couldn't reschedule. But, the fact of the matter is, he's been there for 60% of the practices so far.

    And, while I know they say the practices are optional, do you think it's a bad thing that he's missed 4 out of 10 so far? (That's the question here.)

    The misses really were unavoidable. There's not much we could have done to work around them. And, for what it's worth, my son says that attendance at this practices has been spotty. There's one kid that we know, also an incoming freshmen, who has been to ZERO of them so far. And, there's other kids that we know (at older grades) that have only been to one or two so far. There's at least 3 kids that we know, where my son said "They came to the very first practice and they haven't been to another one since." (And, these are kids who would be want to make an impression on the coach, if you ask me.)

    By my guess, there will be about 42 kids in the program, give or take, and maybe about 50 kids (give or take) trying out next year. So, you would think these practices would have 35 kids at them, thereabouts, each time - maybe more. But, my son tells me that there's been plenty of times where there's only 15 or 20 kids at the practice. Therefore, a lot of people are missing them at times. Again, for what it's worth. Then again, according to my son, there's also about 4 or 5 kids who have been to every practice so far and missed zero (of the ten).

    Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

  • #2
    Another thought - and this is JUST MINE. I think some kids are playing the numbers game.

    There's maybe about 15 (give or take) freshmen coming in that are "serious" baseball players. So, they know that 80% of them are going to make the freshmen team just by showing up at the tryouts next year because you have to have a freshmen team, the pool of players is so small, and only freshmen can make the team. So, for these kids, maybe summer practice to make an impression, etc., isn't that critical.

    And, on the other end, last year, the Varsity team had like 12 kids graduate and there's something like 3 returning players who will be seniors this September. That means that a lot of juniors are going to be on Varsity. And, that means that a lot of sophomores are going to be on JV. So, it's not like the kids who were freshmen last year are freaking out because they know JV will need a lot of sophs. And, the kids who were juniors know they will land on either Varsity or JV, again, because of all the openings on Varsity.

    It's not a school where there's 100 or 150 very good baseball players trying out for 40 spots. Maybe that's why so many are missing the summer workouts? Just a guess, again, on my part.
    Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

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    • #3
      Your son is very fortunate to have HS workouts. My kid was only able to attend a week long summer camp hosted by his HS. He was able to meet a few of the v players (they were coaching the camp) and showcase in front of the V and JV coaches.

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      • #4
        My rising freshman had 6 weeks of "optional" practices. Virtually every player was at every practice (4-5d/wk). We rescheduled a vacation so that he would not miss practice. I would consider a dr.'s appointment to be optional unless a limb was falling off. The only kids that were consistently absent were those that had baseball or basketball summer practice, and then the coaches worked it out with those coaches so that dual sport kids were able to be at all games (both ways). Then a few weeks ago, they had "optional" field maintenance days, and most kids made it to those days.
        Put your junk in your pocket!

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        • #5
          Maybe some states, state associations, and schools are different but I wonder why a coach would put themselves in this situation. I could see parents going to state associations and complaining that roll was taken and that their kid got cut because he didn't make it to every practice. I can see parents going to the school board complaining because their son had other commitments during the summer and didn't make any practices and got cut. We have our summer camp for a week and we put the freshmen in a group where they all work on the one diamond. We get a great look and it is a summer camp. The word "practice" is touchy in my school district. Again, I know other places are a lot different.
          Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

          I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

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          • #6
            Optional workouts are treated as mandatory workouts here. Impacts the bubble players the most.
            Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

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            • #7
              I’m almost certain IL has very strict policies against this. I know our towns HS has summer camp for 5-6graders and 7-8graders that’s are run by the HS coaches, but I have not heard of optional workouts like this. In the winter,they post optional strength conditioning and “open gym” sessions for baseball, but very strict rules against tryouts or practices before a set date of the calendar year.

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              • #8
                My son will a freshman in HS this year. No workouts have been scheduled up to this point (August 5th). School starts this week (I know early August is too early for school), and some kind of workouts are scheduled to begin August 13th. Returning players who didn't play on travel teams played together during the month of June against other local teams. My guess is that these games were just to get reps for players who wouldn't get them otherwise.

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                • #9
                  Optional or "optional," it didn't matter. We were never told your kid had to be there, but the level of coaching these kids got was worth any sacrifice. We did even play TB bc by the time summer ball was over, he needed a month to rest. Very intense and focused. He starts HS tomorrow and will have weight lifting as a class every day.
                  Put your junk in your pocket!

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                  • #10
                    We are in the time period where we aren't supposed to have contact with our athletes. While it is our school's policy, I like it. It prevents some of us from going overboard.
                    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                    I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While I know they say the practices are optional, do you think it's a bad thing that he's missed 4 out of 10 so far? (That's the question here.)

                      He's a baseball player. The coaches must understand he’s playing baseball games. You go to as many practices as possible. Is he ever having conversations with coaches on the field?

                      In our state head coaches were not allowed to coach players in the off season. Assistants coached fall ball. Doesn’t the varsity coach track the good players coming up from the middle schools? We had five elementary schools feeding one large middle school feeding one 2400+ enrollment high school. The varsity coach knew who the best LLers were. He tracked their progress in middle school. As a middle school teacher he occasionally had lunch with the better middle school players discussing training and preparation for high school ball.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Francis7 View Post
                        Anyway, here's the question.

                        The coach always says the practices are optional. So far, they've had 10 of them and my son had to miss 4 of them. The misses are always for a legit reason. Maybe he had a tournament game that day, or, we were out of town, or, he had a doctor's appointment that we couldn't reschedule. But, the fact of the matter is, he's been there for 60% of the practices so far.

                        And, while I know they say the practices are optional, do you think it's a bad thing that he's missed 4 out of 10 so far? (That's the question here.)

                        You said the misses were unavoidable, so why worry about it? Control what you can control, no point worrying about everything else. My 2 cents...

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                        • #13
                          Most coaches that I know realize that in the summer there will be vacations, TB, etc. to work around. The key is communication. If you're not going to be there, shoot the coach a text, it just takes a few seconds. Again, a vast majority of coaches know that there is a balance, that family/vacation time is important, and would encourage that.

                          What shouldn't happen is missing workouts/practices just because you don't feel like it. As one coach told me, "no, workouts aren't mandatory, but neither is a kid's name in the starting lineup, and I'm the one with the pencil".

                          My son missed a handful of HS summer workouts last summer because of vacation and out of town tournaments. There wasn't a single time that coach didn't know why he wasn't there and how many days he'd be gone.

                          Communication...it's important.
                          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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Francis7 View Post

                            Anyway, here's the question.

                            The coach always says the practices are optional. So far, they've had 10 of them and my son had to miss 4 of them. The misses are always for a legit reason. Maybe he had a tournament game that day, or, we were out of town, or, he had a doctor's appointment that we couldn't reschedule. But, the fact of the matter is, he's been there for 60% of the practices so far.

                            And, while I know they say the practices are optional, do you think it's a bad thing that he's missed 4 out of 10 so far? (That's the question here.)

                            The misses really were unavoidable.
                            Did your son communicate with the Coach ahead of time telling him why he was going to miss the "optional" practice? We had a similar situation last year when my son was an incoming freshman with the winter workouts that were "optional". Starting in October the baseball team has "optional" workouts M, W. F 6 am - 7:30 before school started, and my son understanding the higher level of the word "optional" got up most mornings before me to get to workouts. He had to miss 1 or 2 over the course of the winter due to an orthodontist/dentist appointments as we worked through the fun course of braces... I stressed to him to make sure the coach knew ahead of time that he was going to miss the workout, which he did.

                            I happened to run into the coach somewhere and in the course of our discussions, I mentioned something like "Oh, by the way, Tyler won't be at the workout on XXX because he has..." The coach said, "Yup...he told me, and don't worry they're optional anyway..."

                            Point of the post is to communicate...
                            Sent from my mobile device... probably while driving...

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                            • #15
                              There's not a HS baseball coach on the planet who's going to cut a (talented) kid, simply because the kid missed some or all of the "optional" summer workout program, I don't care what anyone says.

                              We had an "optional" summer program every year, and all it did was give us a general idea of what kind of talent, and/or "baseball smarts" we had to look forward to working with in the coming season.

                              Now as someone has already mentioned, what we were really looking at/for were the "bubble players". Because when push came to shove when we were making the final couple of cuts...since we had a longer look at these "summer" players, we had a much better understanding of who or what they really were, and thus were more than likely give the nod to one of them over a kid we'd only seen for a couple of days of tryouts.

                              But our final freshman team was most often around 50-60% (or less) of "summer" players vs. those who were doing other things over the same summer, and we'd seen for the first time at tryouts.


                              EDIT: Sorry for screwing up the order of things here folks. I had some typos in my first post, and instead of "editing", I somehow ended up "deleting" it instead. When I reposted, it put me back at the end of the line, and bumped the thread to the top....oops. {Blushing icon here} =( Thoughts are still the same though, and now w/o the typos...I hope. =)
                              Last edited by mudvnine; 08-06-2018, 09:09 AM.
                              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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