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  • Travel team(s) dilemma

    My son is 9 years old & just started playing baseball this year in January. He has taken to playing the game very exceptionally & had the highest batting average on his rec team this fall, selected All Star, etc & has been invited to join a few travel teams this summer. He is just as good or better than kids who have been playing 4, 5, 6 years. He started at short stop for his team & also pitched very well.

    I played high school & college, but always worked night shift so was unable to really get him started in to anything until now. I'm self employed now & have all the time in the world to work with him, etc. Every day this summer at his urging we go to the field in the morning & I hit him some ground balls & we go to the batting cages in the evening & work on hitting.

    Here is the dilemma I am facing at the moment. A kid who was on his rec ball team, his father coaches a local Universitys baseball team here & is starting a travel ball team for 9U starting in late August. He has been away the whole summer coaching a PECO's league independent baseball team. He comes back in a couple of weeks, when the PECOs season is over & will get everything started for his team. He's been a coach for over 20 years & has sent many kids to college & even a few drafted.

    Rec ball ended for my son in early April so I needed somewhere for him to play until the next Rec season started so I went with a travel team coached by a guy who played professionally in Venezuela many years back. It started off shaky with a lot of kids leaving the team and the kids that stayed weren't the best, but I just needed somewhere for my son to play to keep him going so I stuck with it. The downside to this team is the coach is very money motivated (IE - offering his private lessons, etc).

    The team he is on now with the Venezuelan Coach has some very good players now. The team is solid all around & my son plays shortstop, second & also pitchers. My son struggled a little with hitting for a few weeks & he didn't receive much, if any, hitting instruction from the Coach. It's like if you don't purchase additional time for a lesson with the Coach he won't correct any kind of hitting flaws, etc. Just the usual "keep your head in there" during soft toss or basic drills. No real correction as far as instruction goes. The kids that do purchase lessons from him do improve on their hitting, but I feel like if you're the head coach shouldn't you work with your players? Or am I supposed to purchase a lesson to get some help on his swing?

    I need to figure out which avenue I am going to go down in the next few weeks. Do I keep him on a team that wasn't good when we started, but now has the pieces in place to be a very good team, but the Coach is money motivated or do I go on a team where the team is just starting & it is going to take time to get the pieces (like it did with the current team), but I think he will receive better instruction?

  • #2
    go with the better instruction. Not only will your kid be better for it in the long run, that team will probably end up being better in the long run as well.

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    • #3
      I agree. Go with the team that will provide him with the best instruction. At this point, that is what it's all about.

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      • #4
        He's 9... go with wherever he'll have the most fun.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by clayadams View Post
          He's 9... go with wherever he'll have the most fun.
          I imagine he'll have fun on either team.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
            I imagine he'll have fun on either team.
            You haven't been around travel ball very long have you? LOL Bad coaches can suck the life out of a ball player like kryptonite to superman. A coach that keeps focus on keeping his kids positive and happy will often have one of the best teams you'll find.

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            • #7
              At nine the first priority is fun. Second is instruction. Third is winning. Chances are if the first two are in place the third occurs. Don't get insane over 9U ball. If he's learning and having fun that's all that matters. Also don't buy into keeping up with the Jones. Many of the Jones are burning out their kids and toasting their arms.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by clayadams View Post
                You haven't been around travel ball very long have you? LOL Bad coaches can suck the life out of a ball player like kryptonite to superman. A coach that keeps focus on keeping his kids positive and happy will often have one of the best teams you'll find.
                Or suck the money out of their parents pockets! Apparently, my son's former team may change its team name to Team Akadema. I guess that's some kind of sponsorship. Akadema is a sporting goods company.

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                • #9
                  I'd trust my gut in this situation, and this is what would have my Spider Sense tingling...

                  Originally posted by orickx View Post
                  The downside to this team is the coach is very money motivated (IE - offering his private lessons, etc).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                    At nine the first priority is fun. Second is instruction. Third is winning. Chances are if the first two are in place the third occurs. Don't get insane over 9U ball. If he's learning and having fun that's all that matters. Also don't buy into keeping up with the Jones. Many of the Jones are burning out their kids and toasting their arms.

                    I agree...
                    "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.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                      At nine the first priority is fun. Second is instruction. Third is winning. Chances are if the first two are in place the third occurs. Don't get insane over 9U ball. If he's learning and having fun that's all that matters. Also don't buy into keeping up with the Jones. Many of the Jones are burning out their kids and toasting their arms.
                      The first priority should be instruction, fun comes after that.

                      People sign their kids up for baseball with the expectation that the coach will primarily teach their kid to be better at baseball. If the kids were having water balloon fights instead of practice, it'd be fun ... but they wouldn't be getting better at baseball.

                      The surefire way to not have fun at baseball is to be terrible at it.

                      If we continue to view LL baseball as "just have fun", then we'll continually see more and more of the players that want to be really good at it go play travel ball (only).

                      Don't get me wrong, learning baseball, practicing and playing baseball, should be fun. But, having fun is secondary to learning the skills and actions that lead to improved baseball performance.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                        The first priority should be instruction, fun comes after that.
                        Respectfully - Greatly disagree!

                        People sign their kids up for baseball with the expectation that the coach will primarily teach their kid to be better at baseball.
                        A nine year old can have a great deal of fun learning. If your priority is good instruction then fun usually suffers, especially in the TB ranks. I would offer that a coach whose priority is fun baseball while learning will, in the long run, teach that child MUCH more about the game than the Venezuelean supper star who promises great things...

                        If the kids were having water balloon fights instead of practice, it'd be fun ... but they wouldn't be getting better at baseball.
                        If it's part of the teaching process at learnig how to properly position the elbow while pronating the throw - ABSOLUTELY! The biggest problem we have in basbeall is uneducated coaches who rely on dogma and what they learned as the basis for how they teach... You give me a bunch of nine year olds with water balloons - I gaurantee we'll have fun and I'll teach them a great deal about becoming better ball players...

                        The surefire way to not have fun at baseball is to be terrible at it.
                        I agree... but having fun does not, or should ever, preempt learning at this age.

                        If we continue to view LL baseball as "just have fun", then we'll continually see more and more of the players that want to be really good at it go play travel ball (only).

                        Don't get me wrong, learning baseball, practicing and playing baseball, should be fun. But, having fun is secondary to learning the skills and actions that lead to improved baseball performance.
                        The only people who see LL as "just fun" are typically those parents who are looking to justify their views on TB. I never looked at LL as "just fun." Every coach who coaches should be teaching their players how to become better.


                        (And no D, I did not start this thread... This problem exists all over the country. And the cool-aide is available everywhere)
                        "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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                          A nine year old can have a great deal of fun learning.
                          Maybe I did not express it effectively, but what you just said is my main point. To me, the focus is on getting better at baseball, while having fun. There's lots of ways for kids to have fun that have nothing to do with baseball. I operate under the assumption that every kid that signs up for Little League baseball expects to get a coach that will help them get better at baseball.

                          If your priority is good instruction then fun usually suffers, especially in the TB ranks.
                          I would say it's the intense personalities and/or the overuse of "constructive criticism" that 'ruins it' at those levels.

                          The biggest problem we have in baseball is uneducated coaches who rely on dogma and what they learned as the basis for how they teach...
                          Strongly agree.

                          You give me a bunch of nine year olds with water balloons - I guarantee we'll have fun and I'll teach them a great deal about becoming better ball players...

                          The only people who see LL as "just fun" are typically those parents who are looking to justify their views on TB. I never looked at LL as "just fun." Every coach who coaches should be teaching their players how to become better.
                          Agree.

                          I'm not a big fan of private instruction at ages 9 or so.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                            I'm not a big fan of private instruction at ages 9 or so.
                            I'm curious to know why you think this, and I'm also interested to know when you think private instuction is appropriate?

                            Perhaps I am in a unique situation [for this board] having never played baseball outside of PE in school, but there are a lot of things I don't feel comfortable teaching my son. I feel comfortable teaching him baserunning, catching, and throwing, but not hitting or pitching. When I find team practice lacking in an area such as these, I don't hesitate to use private instuction if the intructor is knowledgable, works well with my son, and my son show improvment. My son's responded well to private instruction in these circumstances as he tends to learn so much better in a one-on-one environment.

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                            • #15
                              From my experience I wouldn't play on a team where I had to pay the coach until my son is in 8th grade and getting ready for HS ball. My oldest who is 14 played for a lot of different volunteer dads who were fantastic and he learned a lot and had a lot of fun. If you have the opportunity to play on a new team with you son's friend's dad who knows baseball, then I'd go with that. And it sounds like you know baseball and are available, why not volunteer to assist?

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