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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Sparksdale
    replied
    I know it’s been a while but little sparks is back.
    Due to his surgery and a mixup in his college credits it’s been almost 2 years since he’s played.

    I’m happy to say their season started last week. He’s pitched in 2 games and had good outings with no runs scored.

    The surgery he had was major. Seems he’s lost about 2mph on his FB. But at 87 to 88 I think he can have success at the college level.
    His curveball is very good and his change up I would consider great.

    He has worked his tail off to get back.
    Many don’t come back from the injury he had. I’m very proud of his work commitment.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Update:
    there was a mixup and Sparks was just a couple hours short on his class “hours”. The coach thought he had enough and just before the season started they learned he was short. The coach didnt kick him off the team but due to strict rules he can’t play in games.
    hes still on the team and plays in all inter squad games.

    i am pleased to report he is doing very well on his grades. He is working very hard.

    he still loves baseball and is happy to be on the team.

    sparks

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Ljs
    #1 thing I would change is accedemics. I made a serious mistake by not making sure he didn’t get good grades. Nothing else matters. There are thousands of good players most are better than our kids. Even if he was great “you still have to have the grades/gpa and SAT score.

    As far as baseball. Every kid grows differently. I’ve seen kids that couldn’t play at 11 and 12 then you see them at 16,17 and they are studs. Also seen the opposite. We had one kid from 10 to 13 that was a beast. Couldn’t get him out and no one could hit off him. He would hit bombs at that age. I saw him a jr high tryouts and he didn’t make the team.

    i am a big believer in pitching lessons. They are expensive but they help reduce injury and allows your child to throw properly.

    Again, nothing matters if they don’t have the grades. I can’t stress that enough. An average bb player with a good gpa/sat/act can prob find a college team somewhere.

    Leave a comment:


  • songtitle
    replied
    Originally posted by LJS#8 View Post
    If if you could go back and do things differently through this journey, what would you do?
    I know you weren't asking me, but I thought I would butt in anyway:

    1. More instruction, less 'travel'. Much more. Much less.
    2. Most baseball hitting/pitching instruction is literally backwards, and/or destructive. Match instruction to video of what MLB players actually do in games (not what they say they do).
    3. Measure results of instruction. Radar speed for pitchers. Bat speed and launch angle for hitter. If the instructor isn't measuring, run.
    Last edited by songtitle; 01-15-2019, 07:28 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • JettSixty
    replied
    What might be a great answer from one poster about their kid might not be the best approach for another kid. I put together a 13u team that went on to 14u and 16u with three other coaches who also played college ball. My son got great instruction without the benefit of paid instruction. His first paid instruction was in high school (hitting/altered his swing and approach, running specific to running the 60 and SAT prep) . If I recommended not getting paid instruction until high school it could be bad advice for someone else.

    Conversely, it would be bad advice to spend a lot on anything at any age for a kid who doesn’t have the talent to play the game. You can’t purchase talent.

    Leave a comment:


  • LJS#8
    replied
    Hello everyone, I’m new to this site but not new to baseball. I’ve enjoyed reading this thread and it is also somewhat informative. I do have a few questions for Sparksdale or anyone else that can give some feedback.

    Sparksdale,
    If if you could go back and do things differently through this journey, what would you do? I’m particularly interested for any changes during the time from middle school ball to senior year of high school.

    Would it be:
    More lessons and instruction?
    stretgh and conditioning?
    academics?
    Better/different school (baseball program)?
    More college specific camps?
    more travelball / showcase tournaments?
    ETC?

    Reason for asking is my son reminds me of your grandson. Almost tit for tat, except my son is a little taller, than your grandson was at 13. My son is a catcher, pitcher primarily but has played all positions on the field at some point. Strong arm for his age and a good bat. He has a desire to play after high school and I want to make sure I can give him every opportunity to achieve that dream. And I know that now (he’s 13) is the time to get serious. My son played Middle school ball last season while in the 6th grade and the coaches are saying they may pull him up to JV since they are short on catchers, but he want get as much playing time On JV than if he was to stay down. More than likely he’ll be starting catcher on middle school team. Anyway, just looking for some feedback and any information is valuable. Thanks..

    Leave a comment:


  • JettSixty
    replied
    The talent level of a B team is probably similar to club. By in D3 everyone is the on college baseball y wouldn’t be listed as part of the college program for a club team. A B team player is part of the program. It’s all semantics. The B team Ed is irrelevant to the program like the club player.

    Leave a comment:


  • pthawaii
    replied
    Agree with what's been said here. I'm seeing this "JV" level like a "club" team. At my college they had primary sports, and then the next level down was "club," then the next was "intramural." I'm fine with him playing any of those levels as long as the grades are good. I played a club level sport and even though I didnt scholarship money to do it, had a great time.

    Leave a comment:


  • mudvnine
    replied
    Originally posted by chief2791 View Post
    It's been said here many times (and it's true), if a kid wants to continue playing, there is opportunity there for almost everyone. It may not be the level they envisioned, it may cost mom and dad a pretty penny, they may be on the B team, but there's a place for almost any kid that wants to put on a college uniform. Just don't go into it with unrealistic expectations. Do your homework and be honest with yourself about your abilities. If you don't think you can be honest, get a respected and unbiased opinion.
    Uh yeah...no. If junior still wants to pretend play "baseball in college", that's on his dime. Mom and dad need to sit junior down to tell him the real reason he's in college, and to play baseball is not it. Baseball is simply a bonus if you can do it while maintaining the underlying reason mommy and daddy are spending their hard-earned money on you being there in the first place.

    Leave a comment:


  • JettSixty
    replied
    There are D1 prospects who don’t do the due diligence or let ego blind them. Half of D1 players fransfer due to lack of playing time. Often it’s just due to being caught up in the numbers and/or not being mentally ready when opportunity knocks. But on my son’s 17u team I also saw all conference, county, metro players overreach and eventually transfer.

    Even at a D1 the program is bringing in more players than they need. Only 18-20 on the roster get reasonable playing time. If a freshman isn’t getting a shot at all midweek he has to start asking himself reality questions. I saw kids chose ranked programs and fail. One kid received one P5 D1 offer and several D2 offers. Was that one P5 seeing something no one else did or where they wrong about the player. It turned out the recruiting coach had just moved up from D2 and overrated the player.

    Leave a comment:


  • chief2791
    replied

    Some D3 and NAIA colleges have JV programs. With new recruits arriving every year JV players rarely move up to varsity. In some colleges it’s kind of scam. The coach gets a bonus for every paying student he can recruit. JV teams give the coach more roster spots to recruit to. And of course, the sales pitch is players mature, develop and move up. Sure coach, to compete with your 8-10 new freshmen recruits who come in ranked higher on the depth chart.
    Some D2's as well. I liken it somewhat to TB orgs. The A team is subsidized by the B/C team.

    But my question, is this on the coach or is it on the kid/parents? Did they not do their homework? Is it really a scam, when the roster (and incoming recruits) is right there in black and white for them to see? Were they overvaluing the ability, the chance to compete/contribute right away? Did they really think they could come in not even making a conference "all" team and compete with conference/regional POY's, almost all-every award you can win Freshman, not to mention grown arse returning players, and transfers from D1's who are pretty dang good players that may just lack one of the tools or were lost in the D1 shuffle? IMO, this is on the kid/parents.

    I guess my point is (and has been said time after time here), do your homework. A kid and parents have to be honest with themselves. Am I at least on par or better than the school's top recruits? If the answer is "I don't know" or "I think so" they haven't done their homework.

    And I'd also point out as well, that while obviously every kid wants to make the A team, some are quite content to just still be putting on a jersey and playing ball. I kid I know well (a HS valedictorian) could have went to most any school he wanted to academically. There was only one 4 year school that offered him a baseball roster spot (didn't consider JUCO). He wanted to continue playing ball as long as he could. He spent 4 years playing on the B/developmental team, got a good degree, and has zero regrets, had a blast. Loves the game, he still plays in an adult league and coaches at the HS level.

    It's been said here many times (and it's true), if a kid wants to continue playing, there is opportunity there for almost everyone. It may not be the level they envisioned, it may cost mom and dad a pretty penny, they may be on the B team, but there's a place for almost any kid that wants to put on a college uniform. Just don't go into it with unrealistic expectations. Do your homework and be honest with yourself about your abilities. If you don't think you can be honest, get a respected and unbiased opinion.

    Leave a comment:


  • JettSixty
    replied
    Originally posted by pthawaii View Post

    His college has variety and jr varsity? I didnt relaize college had Jr varsity, how does that work?
    Some D3 and NAIA colleges have JV programs. With new recruits arriving every year JV players rarely move up to varsity. In some colleges it’s kind of scam. The coach gets a bonus for every paying student he can recruit. JV teams give the coach more roster spots to recruit to. And of course, the sales pitch is players mature, develop and move up. Sure coach, to compete with your 8-10 new freshmen recruits who come in ranked higher on the depth chart.

    Leave a comment:


  • pthawaii
    replied
    Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
    Update;
    at the end of the first semester the coach had a meeting with each player and gave them both coach evaluation as well as evaluations from teammates.

    Sparks made the A team or what some call the Varsity. (His school has both a Varsity and Jr. Varsity).

    He called last night more excited about his classes. Mostly A’s and B’s and one class he doesn’t have the final grade yet.

    Things are going well and he’s working hard.

    Pretty cool he made the team at a 4 year school.

    Sparks
    His college has variety and jr varsity? I didnt relaize college had Jr varsity, how does that work?

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
    I’m not familiar with colleges having A and B teams. Is this an NAIA program?
    Yes it’s an NAIA school

    Leave a comment:


  • JettSixty
    replied
    I’m not familiar with colleges having A and B teams. Is this an NAIA program?

    Leave a comment:

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