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  • My Son is Struggling - HELP

    My 10U son is in over his head a bit and doesn't know how to handle it! He is playing LL Majors and is comparing himself to the 12's.

    He has always been one of the top players on past teams. On this team he has fallen to be a bottom player and it's really affecting his confidence.

    He works hard at his game all the time but is very hard on himself and doesn't know how to shake off past plays.

    First 5 games he put the ball in play 10 times for 1 hit, 2 K's, and a walk. Moved up the lineup to number 2 hole. Was playing 5-6 innings a game and making plays. He was swinging the bat well but wasn't hitting holes or liners were right at the defense. He was actually getting down at this point.

    Than he got HBP twice and lost all confidence. In the last 10 games he has maybe swung 10 times! A lot of K's. Four errors on defense.

    Last night he faced a weak pitcher. Everyone got a hit accept him. He had 2K's and swung the bat twice. Played 3 innings and never touched the ball on defense.

    He was very upset. He admitted later that night he is embarrased by being the kid the team has no confidence in succeeding. He is affraid to swing thinking he might miss.

    I have tried,
    1. Acting like nothing happened
    2. Positive support - finding anything good, backing up plays, hustle, attitude etc...
    3. Practice - Practice - Practice
    4. Tried to fire him up


    I am at a loss and concerned!

  • #2
    Originally posted by real green View Post
    I am at a loss and concerned!
    The good news is...
    It sounds like your son cares.

    With gentle encouragement, he will most likely overcome this with enough time and practice. Avoid false praise or excessive praise. If you lay it on thick it becomes unbelievable.

    There is nothing like good quality practice to help build confidence and performance. And then success will finally follow on the field.

    Comment


    • #3
      You tell him you will help him and encourage him in every way. You tell him it's a big deal he made Majors at ten. Also tell him under no circumstances will you allow him to throw a pity party. Tell him ... You don't lose when you get knocked down. You lose when you chose not to get up.

      Do I have experience in this situation? I started college ball 0-16 with 9 K's. I told myself I belonged there. I made some adjustments. I never stopped believing other than the one moment where I had to tell myself lack of belief would lead to complete failure.I succeeded.

      Your son will be fine next year. Make the most of this year.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by real green View Post
        My 10U son is in over his head a bit and doesn't know how to handle it! He is playing LL Majors and is comparing himself to the 12's. He has always been one of the top players on past teams. On this team he has fallen to be a bottom player and it's really affecting his confidence. He works hard at his game all the time but is very hard on himself and doesn't know how to shake off past plays.

        First 5 games he put the ball in play 10 times for 1 hit, 2 K's, and a walk. Moved up the lineup to number 2 hole. Was playing 5-6 innings a game and making plays. He was swinging the bat well but wasn't hitting holes or liners were right at the defense. He was actually getting down at this point. Than he got HBP twice and lost all confidence. In the last 10 games he has maybe swung 10 times! A lot of K's. Four errors on defense.

        Last night he faced a weak pitcher. Everyone got a hit accept him. He had 2K's and swung the bat twice. Played 3 innings and never touched the ball on defense. He was very upset. He admitted later that night he is embarrased by being the kid the team has no confidence in succeeding. He is affraid to swing thinking he might miss.

        I have tried,
        1. Acting like nothing happened
        2. Positive support - finding anything good, backing up plays, hustle, attitude etc...
        3. Practice - Practice - Practice
        4. Tried to fire him up


        I am at a loss and concerned!
        I'm not a big fan of 10s playing with 12s, but that's another discussion. My 10 has been, by far, the best player at his age level since age 4. Facing 12yo's, my 10 would struggle. It's kids twice as old throwing from the same distance. 46-feet for puberty 12yo is as ridiculous as anything I have ever seen in youth baseball. It's moronic and fosters an environment where baseball players develop survival-based "girls-softball swings". Playing with other talented 10s would be my preference, either travel or All-Stars. Sorry, i couldn't resist.

        This is where it's tough as a dad, because kids don't come with a zipper on their back where we can unzip it, climb in, and do it for him. Not that you want to do this, because working through the struggle instead of being allowed to go around it is one of the lessons worth learning. You also can't have confidence before accomplishment.

        You (as in both of you) need to decide what the realistic goal should be. At this point, either focus on him being aggressive at the plate or making contact. Set the goal, practice it, and reward him for the reaching the goal. You can take him and throw him BP so he gets some momentum going. My advice is at BP, just shut up and throw. No feedback. Just let him step away from everything and swing the dang bat. Note to self: Take your own advice sometimes moron.

        My son is having some timing issues presently from going back and forth between travel and rec leagues. His front foot gets down too soon and his hands get through too late, with a pause in the middle, and he leads the league in "Holy crap if he would have centered that one ..." type swings (lots of fouls to the left side). He is becoming increasingly hesitant to swing, which isn't all bad because he's walked 10 times in 30 PA. BUt, it's definitely a confidence issue as buddies are starting to go deep now.

        Anyway, last night we stayed after to hit, and it wasn't pretty. A few rockets here and there, but a lot of pop ups from making contact too deep and bringing the hands too far in. At some point I said mumbled something while picking up baseballs like "All the time we've practiced and this is the swing we've got". That I said "we" is an indicator to me that the emotional investment is too high on my end. It's was said out of frustration and was really dickish thing to say and I feel/felt horrible about it. Anyway, I could tell from his reaction and posture that what he heard was essentially "Spending time with you is a poor investment."

        I called a buddy and am handing the situation off to him (a coach, one that I trust). At this point, I'd just be doing more harm than good. My son does not separate dad from coach at all, and I'm not the best at it either. I would suggest having someone else work with him or just take a couple days off. Do something together not baseball related.

        As a dad/coach I would set a goal and work at achieving it. If he attacks a strike, praise the heck out of him for it. It's not demeaning, it's reinforcement. The advice I got was rather than focusing on all of the mechanical aspects of the swing (and it can get very complicated), just focus on taking the barrel to the ball.

        I look forward to reading about his progress. Good luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's about having fun and getting better. Make the vision long term and sustainable. Hype practice over game time. Downplay current stats - both successes and failures. There's a lot of ball yet to be played. Enjoy the process.
          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


          • #6
            Green,
            I feel it's a mistake playing 10's with 12's, but it happens and we have to deal with it. We went through this with my youngest. The best thing you can do at this point is to get him through the season the best you can. I would be a little concerned about "practice, practice, practice." Practicing to keep up with the 12's may cause more problems downstream... Practicing because he likes the game and playing with dad is great.
            "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


            • #7
              Remind your son that he and Pujols have something in common...


              (this is kind of a joke, but kind of not -- part of being a champion is learning to battle through periods of difficulty.)

              Comment


              • #8
                I thought playing up would in the end make him a better player and it was a big deal to him that he made the Majors. Life is not always roses, I hope he comes out of this a stronger player both emotionally and physically. Its tough to watch your son struggle emotionally and my first instinct is to think I should have kept him down a league. Maybe this will humble both of us a bit and in the end be a great life lesson.

                I just hope I can help him correct this tail spin before he crash and burns.

                He was invited to play on a 10U team that will send the core players to 10u LL Allstars. They have a tourney over Memorial Weekend. He is excited about playing with these kids and he thinks it will be a good chance to contribute to the team and face 10u pitching.

                Any suggestions on preparing him emotionally and setting proper expectations. If he goes to the plate 2 or 3 times without a hit I am worried it will all go up in smoke. His expectations of himself are way out of line as it is. He thinks he should be hitting the ball hard ever AB.
                Last edited by real green; 05-16-2012, 02:41 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tell him that baseball is a game of failure. Ask him if he knows what they call a Major Leaguer that fails 7 out of 10 times for his career.
                  See ball, hit ball.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Circle Change, I take exception to the "girl's softball swing." My daughter at 10 was playing up and at 14 was playing 18U. Her swing was and is as good as any boy's swing.

                    Sorry for hijacking this thread. I'll be quiet now.
                    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
                      Originally posted by real green View Post
                      I thought playing up would in the end make him a better player and it was a big deal to him that he made the Majors. Life is not always roses, I hope he comes out of this a stronger player both emotionally and physically. Its tough to watch your son struggle emotionally and my first instinct is to think I should have kept him down a league. Maybe this will humble both of us a bit and in the end be a great life lesson.
                      It's not the mistakes you make, it's what you make of your mistakes.

                      I just hope I can help him correct this tail spin before he crash and burns.
                      Just keep it fun...

                      He was invited to play on a 10U team that will send the core players to 10u LL Allstars. They have a tourney over Memorial Weekend. He is excited about playing with these kids and he thinks it will be a good chance to contribute to the team and face 10u pitching.
                      Cool

                      Any suggestions on preparing him emotionally and setting proper expectations.
                      Don't set any... just let him have fun.
                      If he goes to the plate 2 or 3 times without a hit I am worried it will all go up in smoke. His expectations of himself are way out of line as it is. He thinks he should be hitting the ball hard ever AB.
                      Then it's up to you to convince him that having fun is his priority.
                      "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


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by real green View Post
                        He admitted later that night he is embarrased by being the kid the team has no confidence in succeeding. He is affraid to swing thinking he might miss.
                        My older son is 10 and insisted on trying out for the majors last year at 9 (and a small nine at that), made the cut, but had a rough year similar to what your son may be going through. He didn't even put a ball in play for his first 12 or so at bats, and I don't think he hit the ball out of the infield all year. It was rough on him emotionally.

                        As a dad it's hard not to get caught up a little in the emotion and to feel like you need to DO something to help.

                        In retrospect I think the most helpful thing you can do is emanate calm and patience around him, don't display any distress or concern on your part. He's adjusting to the new level, that's all, and he'll figure it out. You can definitely work with him (Tee, soft toss, b.p., etc.), but don't push it too hard.

                        Also, I wouldn't try to discuss anything related to his performance immediately after the game--just go grab an ice cream, or go toss a frisbee around, or whatever, and then the next day or later that night when he has some distance from the game you can discuss it.

                        Keep up the positive support--if he strikes out but took a good swing at a pitch, point that out. If he drops a popup but immediately picks it up and checks the runner(s), praise him for that.

                        I know, it's painful to watch, but if you get sucked into the emotional aspect of it and start worrying about him too much, he'll pick up on that vibe and it will feed his anxiety.

                        That's been my experience, anyway. Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In retrospect I think the most helpful thing you can do is emanate calm and patience around him, don't display any distress or concern on your part. He's adjusting to the new level, that's all, and he'll figure it out

                          Bingo.
                          These scenarios test the dads as much or more than they test the sons.
                          Skip

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                          • #14
                            It's moronic and fosters an environment where baseball players develop survival-based "girls-softball swings"


                            Let me get you up to speed and into the 21st century. Softball players have been taught to swing rotational for at least fifteen years now. Any girl currently being taught to swing as you describe is beng poorly coached. Some fast lefthanded hitters are taught to slap. That's an entirely different technique not found in baseball. My daughter was a fast lefthanded hitter. She drove the ball. If she wanted to beat out a grounder she bunted. She first learned how to hit in 1995.
                            Last edited by Jake Patterson; 05-17-2012, 03:06 PM.

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                            • #15
                              When I played LL there weren't a bunch of levels. There was LL for 10-12 and a handful of 9's good enough to qualify has 10's. Anything below was Farms for 8-12 year olds who didn't make LL. LL was uniforms and adult coaches. Farms was tee shirts and middle school kids coaching. I made LL at nine. It was terrifying to face some of the 12yo's. Some were 5'10". At ten it got a little better. By eleven I was an all-star. While I'm not a big fan of placing 9's and 10's in Majors the kids will survive.

                              What we need to do is find out if there's any more reason behind letting a ten year old play up than his parents bragging about it. I ticked off our league when I chose to keep my son in 9/10's and talked every other parent of players who would have played up to do the same. I figured it's better for the kids fun and development to play with their friends and star as pitcher, catchers and shortstops than play with older kids and play second, left and right, possibly not the entire game. The object of the game is play.

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