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    Our Middle/Intermediate school fields a 7th and 8th grade. It's also connected to the feeder High School which fields a frosh, jv, and varsity team. My son is a 10yr old 5th grader and wants to continue playing BB as long as possible. He was drafted to play for a LL majors team that is composed of 10-12yr olds.

    He has an arm and is a taller kid that has done well in a very competitive league. He has pitched and played infield for most of BB. With little time in outfield. This year he is playing outfield as one of the younger kids on the team.

    One of the 12yr old kids on our LL team, a very good player, is splitting time on the 7th grade team at 2nd base. His dad made a comment to a few of us, "unless your kid is just a stud, have them focus on outfield."

    His point being that most of the "Baseball" players coming into this program have been the local LL/travel studs that play infield. Very few developed outfielders even tried out.

    With this boards experience, how do you feel about developing an outfielder to increase odds of making the squad and increasing playing time?

  • #2
    Originally posted by real green View Post
    Our Middle/Intermediate school fields a 7th and 8th grade. It's also connected to the feeder High School which fields a frosh, jv, and varsity team. My son is a 10yr old 5th grader and wants to continue playing BB as long as possible. He was drafted to play for a LL majors team that is composed of 10-12yr olds.

    He has an arm and is a taller kid that has done well in a very competitive league. He has pitched and played infield for most of BB. With little time in outfield. This year he is playing outfield as one of the younger kids on the team.

    One of the 12yr old kids on our LL team, a very good player, is splitting time on the 7th grade team at 2nd base. His dad made a comment to a few of us, "unless your kid is just a stud, have them focus on outfield."

    His point being that most of the "Baseball" players coming into this program have been the local LL/travel studs that play infield. Very few developed outfielders even tried out.

    With this boards experience, how do you feel about developing an outfielder to increase odds of making the squad and increasing playing time?
    The more positions he can play the better his chances will be. You never know who your child will be competing against for the same position. You want your son to be that player a coach feels comfortable with putting him where needed. My son has been a MIF and pitcher since little league to TB (14U). He can also play the outfield if needed and has just started to learn how to catch.

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    • #3
      I coached a 13U travel team full of former LL all-star studs from all over the LL district. Aside from the positions we thought they should play for the benefit of the team and their future, we also taught them all how to play outfield. My son was the kid who played whatever position the pitcher came from. At a competitive high school a younger kid is more likely to crack the lineup in right or left if he can hit. In the big picture you don't need to worry about positions. Just learn the game.
      Last edited by tg643; 03-06-2012, 08:06 PM.

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      • #4
        When kids get to HS every position is valued. Seems like in youth leagues kids and their parents are sometimes offended when the kid plays the corner outfield positions. Seems like the bulk of the substitutions coaches make in youth baseball are at those positions. A lot of times playing RF and LF translates into being a part-time or minimum play player.

        Heck, I remember when my son balked at the idea of playing OF. Wanted to play IF positions and pitch. Not anymore. We spent a lot of time in the last year practicing OF play as well as the IF positions that he wants to play. He'd rather be the starting 3B, but there's a lot of good players on the team. If he doesn't win that spot, it's better to be the starting LF than the backup 3B....the starting LF gets more ABs.
        There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

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        • #5
          I was a middle infielder growing up because that's where the "better" players played but never really liked it. About 7th/8th grade I started playing more competitively, and I ended up on travel team with little pitching. I asked to play in the OF because that's where all the balls were now going and absolutely loved it.

          My 9yr is now obsessed with playing SS, but loves it and doesn't even want to consider playing in the OF. He excels when we do practice it though. I'd imagine the transition from IF to OF is easier than the other way around and most "ball players" can catch up if switched to the OF relatively easy.

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          • #6
            My child was a pitcher - ss. Then, a pitcher - Of. Then, a pitcher 1B. Then, a pitcher - OF. So she was recruited by colleges at an OF. So, she is playing 1B.

            The moral of the story, let your child practice and play any and every position that they want. Who knows where he will end up.
            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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            • #7
              I think the answer to your question really lies in your child. If he loves to play infield, work infield. If he loves to play outfield, work outfield. Always with discussion and some time spent on the other positions. To train outfield for more playing time and the kid wishes to be on infield is counterproductive to me. There is a certain level of emotional accomplishment that is felt by working towards a goal with joy even if you never succeed. Now that is not to say that he cannot play outfield while waiting and working for his infield shot. But now, if he just wants to play, learning to play outfield situations smoothly and with confidence is always a plus over having to train a shortstop to track a ball and make the correct throw.

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              • #8
                I hate that attitude with youth ball. On my teams the most talented players are in the outfield. Outside of short, I find the outfield far more valuable to my defense. Every year, I find myself having to explain to some parent that Jr. isn't in right field because I don't like him. He's in right field because I DO like him. Not that I would tell my kids, but if I have to hide a kid, it's usually at first or second base. Once you get to a certain level, ANYBODY should be able to cover first adequately. As far as the outfield goes, I always want a strong right fielder. If the second baseman blows one, it's a one base error. If the right fielder lets one by him it's three or four bases.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
                  I hate that attitude with youth ball. On my teams the most talented players are in the outfield. Outside of short, I find the outfield far more valuable to my defense. Every year, I find myself having to explain to some parent that Jr. isn't in right field because I don't like him. He's in right field because I DO like him. Not that I would tell my kids, but if I have to hide a kid, it's usually at first or second base. Once you get to a certain level, ANYBODY should be able to cover first adequately. As far as the outfield goes, I always want a strong right fielder. If the second baseman blows one, it's a one base error. If the right fielder lets one by him it's three or four bases.
                  Agree with everything except first base. You need a kid who can catch the ball effectively at first base. There are a lot of kids I would dare not put there. The other position is a strong catcher.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                    Agree with everything except first base. You need a kid who can catch the ball effectively at first base. There are a lot of kids I would dare not put there. The other position is a strong catcher.
                    It's mainly a level thing. Now with rec ball, everything I said is probably out the door. You're absolutely right about catcher. The older the kids get, the more that position becomes the difference between an ok team and a good team.

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                    • #11
                      The last year that I coached was 12U LL majors. I wasn't wins / losses motivated. There was an end of the season playoff. Figured that would be good enough to focus more on winning. One thing that was a constant struggle with not only the kids, but the parents was pushing the ideal that every position on the field is important. They'd been so programmed that RF was like they weren't wanted on the team and LF was like they were on the team, but they were being punished.

                      To make a point, I often stacked the OF with better players during games (this strategy isn't recommended if one is concerned about wins and league standings). Everyone on the team worked on OF drills relatively equally. We had a number of OF drills that were competitive. Games like 500. I mean I put a lot of effort into this. And, still kids and parents complained.

                      My standard response was......Sorry, I'm not real good at making the lineups. I spend most of my time focusing on how to best teach the game.
                      There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

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                      • #12
                        I have a kid this year. He's been relegated to first base for the past two years mainly because he could field a throw well enough, but wasn't all that quick or athletic. He grew a lot this off season, his arm got stronger and he got quicker. I moved him to right because I now considered him skilled enough to play the outfield. By Dad's reaction, you would have thought I hated the kid. By the way, he gunned down two runners at first on liners to right in the first game. Everybody's on board now.

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