Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sparks Journey from Little League to College

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
    Football was terrible. My boy played two plays the first game...missed a tackle and didn't play again until the last series of the last game. Our team was getting beat worse than any team I have ever seen get beat....half time it was 48 to nothing. My boy still didn't play the first half. About midway through the 4rh quarter they finally let my boy play again and he made a great tackle that saved another touchdown.
    So he played in about 4 plays the entire football season.

    As far as the "B" team in baseball or anything else....well we just don't know. They've only had 2 full practices so far because a few of the 8th graders were playing basketball and school rules said they can't play two sports at the same time.

    We just don't know what is going to happen at this point. I don't think he will make second string catcher either. One thing is his size and the two boys ahead of him are about 4 inches taller and I hear they are pretty good. I don't know one boy but the other boy was my boy's catcher on the All star team. He doesn't have quite the arm my boy has but he is fearless behind the plate. Great kid, works hard and I think he's a fine catcher.

    They were having the first day of infield yesterday and they put my boy at SS. The coach told him that he was doing great and if he kept doing good the starting SS position was his. I'm pretty sure he meant for the 7th graders though. The SS for the 8th graders is pretty good and has 40 pounds and a good 5 inches on my boy. Never the less they both did SS at the same time and I thought my boy did just as good as the other boy...I wouldn't say better but he held his own. He made all the throws and didn't make any errors. Remember, they are going to 90ft bases this year so the throws are much further than my boy is used to. Still, as far as I could tell he made every throw and didn't make a bad throw the entire practice. I think one ball got buy him but the other boy had three or four get buy him. You never know how a ball bounced though....

    For the first time my boy has a fight on his hands to get playing time (in baseball). I'm anxious to see if he has the character to fight for it. That might be the most important lesson he can learn.

    Sparks
    Sparks,

    My son has always been the smallest kid on the team as well. the one thing I have always stressed with him is to out work everyone else.

    Freshman year playing JV he sat the first 4 games, behind a sophmore. He was frustrated and so was I because we truly beleived that my son was better but we understood. I just kept telling him to work harder and when he got his chance make it count.

    5th game of the season he got his chance and never looked back. Started every game after that, except when we played a weaker team.

    you are probably already on top of this but just keep telling him to keep working and when you get your shot, play hard.

    Good Luck,

    HYP

    Comment


    • Sparks ....

      When I played junior high ball the 8th graders played and the 7th graders watched. But the 7th graders earned their stripes for the following year. Then in summer ball (no travel back then) 7th graders played with 8th and 9th graders (13-15). Most did more sitting than playing. But it all worked out for the players that had talent and wanted it. Now you can find a 13U travel team for a 7th grader to get a lot of playing time.

      My son was 5'2" in 7th grade. He's 6'1" as a high school soph. Your kid will grow. What you will see from 7th grade until soph year of high school, there can be a tremendous disparity in size from one grade to the next. Just keep feeding the kid.

      Comment


      • reply

        TG:

        My boy is 5'2" now...it seems most all the other kids are at least 5'4" and most about 5'6". We have a couple which are probably 5'10" to 5'11" but I know both these kids. Great kids but they aren't great players. What kinda surprises me is they don't have much of an arm either.

        As far as how many teams my school has I honestly don't know. I may try and find out.

        I reckon we've looked so forward to school ball for so many years that we are disappointed at how it is so far. I'm told our school doesn't even have a summer baseball team. I've never heard of not playing baseball in the summer....I mean that sucks all to high heaven.

        My boy is doing fine. It's hard to get noticed with 24 other kids though. His attitude seems to have changed this year (at least so far). He doesn't seem to want to work extra in the backyard like he's done all his life. I told him he's going to have to work twice harder but so far he's not. Then again its early and it's freaking cold where we live. I guess I can't blame him if he doesn't want to throw or hit balls in the backyard when its 20 to 30 degrees.

        Maybe it will all work out. We just love baseball and I truly enjoy watching him play. He's growing so freaking fast and I want him to get playing time and have fun. You never know when it will all end. I've seen it with several kids...they are great players then they hit a certain age and they just stop getting better. One kid tried out for the team....watching him play growing up I was sure he would at least make it to college. Had a gun for an arm and could run like the wind.. He didn't even make our team....he was cut the first day. My boy throws harder than him now and this kid is 3 years older.

        My boy might throw 70mph on the gun one day and never throw faster. His hitting may not continue to improve or kids may just grow bigger, stronger, faster and just develop more talent. So I want him to play while I know he's so good. Right now I believe he's as good as any 7th grader in our area. Next year....well who knows.....

        Sparks

        Comment


        • I reckon we've looked so forward to school ball for so many years that we are disappointed at how it is so far. I'm told our school doesn't even have a summer baseball team. I've never heard of not playing baseball in the summer.

          The school ball to look forward to is high school ball. Middle school ball wasn't that exciting. It was boring and slow motion compared to travel. You need to find a good summer program for him.

          His attitude seems to have changed this year (at least so far). He doesn't seem to want to work extra in the backyard like he's done all his life. I told him he's going to have to work twice harder but so far he's not.

          He has to work harder now. A talent funnel is starting. Each year the funnel gets narrower and narrower. It's not about wanting to make it. It's about having the passion and work ethic to get it done. There's a lot he could be doing in the basement or garage to practice.

          Here are some good articles about making a high school team. Much of it applies to any level. http://www.hsbaseballweb.com/making_the_team.htm

          Comment


          • Sparks said: His attitude seems to have changed this year (at least so far). He doesn't seem to want to work extra in the backyard like he's done all his life. I told him he's going to have to work twice harder but so far he's not. Then again its early and it's freaking cold where we live. I guess I can't blame him if he doesn't want to throw or hit balls in the backyard when its 20 to 30 degrees.
            Well, yeah, kids seem to have more sense than Dads sometimes about letting the weather deter them.

            Welcome to the almost teenage years. You'd think with the advancing age that kids would show more maturity in understanding the cause and effect relationship between hard work and accomplishing a goal (like making a baseball team). Nope -- t'ain't necessarily so. In the case of Ursa Minor, the kid who couldn't wait to get to the cages at age 11 ... by age 13 couldn't be bothered, and we went to the cages all of two times last year.

            This year (at age 14) , where he knows that for the first time he has to actually earn a spot on the team (he's played rec ball so far), he's much more focused and has hit the cages at school twice a week for the last several weeks. But, some kids just don't regain the fever, and either drop off the radar altogether, or just show up for the first day of tryouts without having done much preparation other than throwing.

            But, from all accounts, your kid has shown more dedication to the game and has had more rewards than just about any kid, so it would take a dramatic change for him to suddenly give up the game altogether. Yes, there will be moments when he wants to do something else and gets a little tired, but I wouldn't either worry about it or force the issue too dramatically. Not only does it burn the kid out, but it establishes in his mind that his baseball success is more important to you than it is to him, and that is perceived to give him power over you.

            My attitude is to tell Ursa Minor that it's not about the baseball -- it's about learning life lessons about achieving goals. If he decides he wants to be the best actor in the drama program or best chemist in the school science department and is willing to work hard at it and give up baseball, that's fine. But if he wants to give up baseball just because he wants more time to hang with his friends or play XBox, then no go. He still says he wants to make the high school team and, if that's his primary extra-curricular goal, he's going to learn to do what it takes to achieve it.

            Lest anyone think I'm being hard-hearted by saying that "hanging with his friends" isn't a valid excuse for giving up his efforts to make the baseball team (or the school play or excel in science), I've also noted that his so-called XBox friends are decent kids but tend to drift from endeavor to endavor half-heartedly. The kids he's played with in summer and fall ball are focused, loyal kids who constantly are striving to improve, and UM always leaves practices and games after being with them absolutely glowing from the camaraderie. So, I think it's worth a nudge to keep a kid headed that way.

            So, Sparks, I wouldn't get too frantic if he doesn't get a ton of playing time on the team this spring. (To be sure, any kid who can play solid shortstop and catch is the kind of kid a coach wants to have on the field.) Figure that the first year on the big diamond is a transition year anyway, even superstars have to sit as freshmen, which essentially is what he is. He'll have learning time in practices and the company of some pretty solid players and kids. And, as TGCoach notes, there's always summer ball out there somewhere, and he's probably still got a credit on his reputation from his prior travel ball successes.
            Last edited by Ursa Major; 01-31-2009, 12:01 AM.
            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

            Comment


            • Reply

              TG,

              Thanks for the link!!!!!!!!!! I read every word and loved loved loved it.
              Thank you so much for posting it.

              Ursa, always great to hear from you. BTW: I agree with you about playing sports rather than playing the Xbox or hanging out with friends....I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! My boy still has several friends who don't play any sports. All they care about is skateboarding. They have long hair, wear their close like a mess and I've never heard them say yes sir, no sir. They don't appear to have any goals and have no respect for elders.
              So help me, my boy will not turn out this way. Baseball teaches many things in life and I'm a firm believer that it teaches much more than how to play the game or just win or lose.

              Sparks

              Comment


              • It's important to discuss with your kids that who they associate with is an important decision. I'd hesitate to make character judgements on your own about their friends though. The better route to go is to build your own kid's character, develop mutual trust and understanding that you'll tolerate mistakes because of youth and inexperience as long as they value you by making a good faith effort to make good choices.

                I tell my son that we've got a good thing. I won't move the goal posts around on you if you keep up your end of the bargain and be responsible. The whole while he knows it could be total dictatorship by a nuclear bomb in a hurricane if he'd rather play it that way.

                I don't think that you can force love of sport. My son's 11 and I hope that what makes him happy now continues to do so through his teen years.
                There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by shake-n-bake View Post
                  It's important to discuss with your kids that who they associate with is an important decision. I'd hesitate to make character judgements on your own about their friends though. The better route to go is to build your own kid's character, develop mutual trust and understanding that you'll tolerate mistakes because of youth and inexperience as long as they value you by making a good faith effort to make good choices.

                  I tell my son that we've got a good thing. I won't move the goal posts around on you if you keep up your end of the bargain and be responsible. The whole while he knows it could be total dictatorship by a nuclear bomb in a hurricane if he'd rather play it that way.
                  I think it helps if kids understand why you're making the rules you do -- it's harder for them to rebel if your motives aren't seen by the kid as just your egotistical desire to rule over them. And it's easier for them to recognize and correct their mistakes if you're not too judgmental about them -- it's just a "well, I guess you could see that result coming, eh?"
                  I don't think that you can force love of sport. My son's 11 and I hope that what makes him happy now continues to do so through his teen years.
                  Well, Shake, it will change a little, but hopefully he'll gain enough rewards from baseball that he'll choose to stick with it. It takes a little bit of fishing strategy -- knowing when to let them run with your lure, and when to reel 'em in a little bit.

                  And there's nothing like going to professional ballgames to keep it alive. Seeing the stars (and get there early and watch 'em work out) is a big part. And it doesn't need to be an MLB game -- minor league games are cheap, the seating is close, and the players can chat with you. Heck, college games are often free or real cheap, and there's usually a small enough crowd you can snare a couple of foul balls (though you may have to give 'em back). Oh, and when you get to a game, see if you can hook up with a player like Hiddengem to say "Hi" to before the game -- our two visits to his games were like a wonder drug for Ursa Minor. Our 'Hiddengem' autographed ball holds a place of honor on the trophy wall right next to the ball autographed by Bob Feller.

                  Watch "Field of Dreams" with your kid... but have a hankie handy. (And have the wife watch it with you guys -- it helps 'em 'get' baseball.)

                  And, finally, get yer kid to Cooperstown ... with a side trip to Wrigley Field or Fenway. You can't separate love for baseball from love for its history.
                  sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                  Comment


                  • update

                    Not a lot to update on my boy's first year of school ball. I think they've played 6 or 8 games so far and four of the games were rained out.

                    The first few games my boy got almost no playing time. As a reminder, this is a 7th and 8th grade team and there are 22 players on the team, 14 are 8th graders. Very few of the 7th graders are getting any playing time. This of course was to be expected. My boy actually played in two games and did not get a single at bat! All our games are double headers and it's crazy how some kids who play defense don't have to bat.

                    Anyway lately the coach has been playing him a lot. I think the coach is wanting my boy to beat out the 8th grader at short stop because it seems to be a week point. The SS he is using is an 8th grader who is a very very good hitter but a little week in defense. Anyway, its up to my boy to beat him out and he just hasn't been able to do it. He's made 4 errors already and all of them are throws. He's trying to knock the first baseman down on his throws and seems to be throwing over his head each time.

                    Right now my boy is starting to improve and he's doing pretty good so far. His batting average is third on the team at .333 but it's not an honest batting average because he's had so few at bats. He's playing a lot more lately so after he's had a few more at bats we'll see how he's doing. HE is leading the team in On Base % at an even .600. I think that is his strong point. He has good recognition of the strike zone and doesn't mind taking a walk.

                    He's pitched in three games (started one and came in the second inning on another) and although his ER average is high at 5.5 he's still third on the team in ER average. His last game, even though he gave up 5 runs (mostly because of errors by the defense) his coach told him it was the best he's ever seen a 7th grader pitch. It made my boy feel good even though he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings.

                    I love his coach, he makes the players earn a position on the team. That's the way it should be. My boy is working his tail off again and it's starting to show.

                    There are about 4 or 5 8th graders on our team that are very very good. It just so happens that these 8th graders play the same positions my boy plays, SS, C and pitching. So its hard for him to get playing time but I think the coach is getting more confidence in him.

                    Sparks

                    Comment


                    • Update: 2-28-10
                      It's been sometime since I've posted.

                      Baseball started a few weeks ago and my boy is now playing 8th baseball. He was the opening day starter for our team and we are a 6A school so I thought that was a big honor that his coaches had the confidence in him to be the #1 starter.

                      So far he's pitched in 4 games and has started two of them (he was the closer in the other two games). He has a record of 2 wins and 0 losses. He has a perfect ERA of 0:00 and has only given up 4 hits so far this year. He's walked 3 batters and has struck out 8.

                      It's very early in the season and on opening day even though he had a 1 hitter going the coach took him out after the 3 innings. He didn't want him to throw too much the first game of the year I guess.

                      I don't know about where you guys live but out of the 6 games we have played, and against some pretty darn good 6A teams I haven't seen a pitcher throw near as hard as my boy throws. My boy is consistently hitting 72 on the radar gun now and he is probably the smallest kid on our team at 5'5" and 125 pounds.

                      His hitting is doing ok, he's hitting .353 with an OBP of .500. We have one kidding hitting over .600 on our team and another hitting over .500. Again it's early in the season so who knows where we'll end up after 36 games.

                      He is 14 now and I'm proud to say that he loves baseball. I think he loves it now more than ever. We all really enjoy playing school ball and he loves playing for his school.

                      I'll try to update again as the games go on with his progress. I don't expect he'll have a 0 era at the end of the year but I hope he has fun and continues to do well.

                      Sparksdale

                      Comment


                      • Sparks, as always it's great to keep getting these updates.... I think something more important than a love for baseball has been built here.
                        Jake
                        "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                        - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                        Comment


                        • Sparks, it is so terrific to get another update from you. While it seemed at first a little silly to see a new post in the same old thread, I then realized that it made it easy to go back and see the original post and, in a way, see the ups and downs of his baseball career and his somewhat dramatic life. It sounds like he's left the skateboarders behind (even if they're still his friends, they're presumably not mis-directing his life) and has gotten back into his baseball groove. And I think a review of the journey helps to validate the advice that many here gave about the need to be patient and not read too much into any one success or failure, or any one idiot coach who doesn't do right by your kid in any one season. Hard work and talent will rise to the top. Seeing as how you're a published author, take good notes of all this -- I sense there's a book in all this somewhere.

                          And check your PM's -- I'd love to catch up with you on the other side of your (and his) life.

                          Ursa
                          sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                          Comment


                          • I have a radar gun that I use on my 11 year old son two times a year now. I used to use it allot. Then I figured why?

                            My main goal is to get 70% strikes. This is a high goal, I know, but to be effective you need at least 60% strikes.

                            At the lower ages, 14 and below it's all about defense. I've got a pitcher who throws 15 MPH faster than my kid on our team, but he has more walks and more wild pitches/passed balls.

                            The lower ERA belongs to the lowest velocity pitcher on the team.

                            I used the radar gun right before we played our first game to see where he was. He was right where I thought he was, so i probably won't even use it again this year. It was sort of "curiosity" on my part.

                            instead of worrying about velocity, which largely can't be improved upon in pre-pubescent kids, I worry about technique, fundamentals, and the mental side of the game along with holding base runners and controling the tempo. Having a kid throw over to first six times in a row wears out the kid at the plate just as much, if not more so than trying to catch up with the big kahoona's fast ball.

                            If you measure it, you should have a good reason. Are you trending it?

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                              We've had about two weeks of practice in my boy's first year of school ball.

                              There is some pretty bad news to start out with. We are told that they will not have a 7th and 8th grade team... there is only going to be one team this year (not two separate teams). We had counted on the school having two teams.

                              There are 24 players on the team. I guess you can see the problem right away. 24 players for one team is crazy when there are only 9 positions. Basically it amounts to the 7th graders may not get to play at all (so I am told). I think there are 14 8th grade players on the team so it's going to be very hard for the 7th graders to get a chance.

                              Another problem my boy has (like I've said many times on this thread) is his size. He is the smallest of the 24 players. He's actually grown some since I posted last but he's still a good 3 inches shorter than most of the other kids.

                              Anyway, he has tried out for catcher, pitcher and SS (his normal positions). I'm told the catcher on the team (an 8th grader) is very very good. I have no idea how the pitching is. I hear the SS is pretty good as well.

                              So we will see how things go. It's really going to be an adjustment for my boy. He's never set

                              on the bench before so I hope he can handle the downside and continues to work hard.

                              Sparks
                              Sitting on the bench is good experience as long as the practices keep the bosy busy.

                              They will learn from the 8th graders. Not to worry. This is close to their experience in HS ball. 25 kids on a HS ball team, so 24 is right on par.

                              He will love being a part of the team, and when his number is called he'll get his opportunity.

                              If he wants more playing time have him join a travel team as a fill in player when someone is out of town or sick.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Rajun Cajun View Post
                                Sitting on the bench is good experience as long as the practices keep the bosy busy.
                                They will learn from the 8th graders. Not to worry. This is close to their experience in HS ball. 25 kids on a HS ball team, so 24 is right on par.
                                He will love being a part of the team, and when his number is called he'll get his opportunity.
                                If he wants more playing time have him join a travel team as a fill in player when someone is out of town or sick.
                                RC, do you realize that you're responding to a post that's 13 months old? But, if you read Sparks' most recent post, you'll see that your advice indeed is pretty much dead on. So, it's good to have immediate verification of the accuracy of your advice, no?
                                sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                                Comment

                                Ad Widget

                                Collapse
                                Working...
                                X