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Are tournament teams even real baseball?

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  • Are tournament teams even real baseball?

    There is a lot of disagreement on here about the advantages and evils of travel teams. I think just using the word travel team is not specific enough. From what I have seen there are 5 types of travel teams
    1) A town travel team. The supposed A players. This team plays in a Spring and Fall league vs neighboring towns. They play local tournaments in the summer verse other town teams and maybe one out of state tourney within driving distance. The team practices twice a week and overall is well coached by well meaning parents.
    2) Same as #1 except the team is composed of supposed B and C players. It acts as a farm team for the towns A team as egos get in the way and A players leave over time.
    3) The poorly put together travel team from different local towns. This team is made up of brats who thought the should be playing SS on the town teams A travel team but mostly its kids of delusional parents who didn't make the various towns B teams. They are poorly coached by a local hitting instructor or other so called expert. Any decent town team usually mercies this team and the team disbands in a year or two
    4) Same as 4 except the team is better coached and better put together. All 4 teams mentioned play local leagues and close by tourneys in the summer
    5) My reason for the post. A tourney team comprised of kids 3 years ahead of their physical age. They play tournaments and try to rack up numbers so they look great on paper

    So back to my original question. Are these even real baseball teams? My son plays on his town travel team. It is a true team in the sense of the word. Every player fits his position. We have pitchers who throw strikes, pitchers who throw heat, pitchers who throw junk. We even have a reliever as he deals better mentally with closing games. The team (11u) is learning the proper way to run the bases, on the field they back up the plays, batting we manufacture runs like a team is suppose to. We win some, we lose some but the coach is teaching the kids to be young men and lessons are found in everything.
    Then we have these tournament teams where the smallest kid on their team is the 5 hitter on our team. Their SS moves like Frankenstein an the 1st basemen has hands of stone. The win simply because the kids are huge and they can ALL drive the ball. It doesn't even impress me because they are not hitters. My son who is big just not a freak maybe drives the ball 10 feet less, he can wait on a pitch to drive it to right. When he is their size he should be putting it over the fence which these kids weren't doing.

    So these teams are just building a false sense of supremacy. These kids wil not grow up into good baseball players. They play no defense. Even their pitching is junk from tall uncorniated kids. It's just annoying to watch. I can sit and watch two mediocre well coached 11u teams and enjoy what the kids know about the game. Watching a team with a 5'6" 11 year old lead off who runs like a new born colt is not baseball

  • #2
    Relax. None of this matters when you get to HS. Enjoy your own team, and your own kid.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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    • #3
      I think your categories are a little off... but generally you got it..
      I agree with Song, The oly time it matters is whenthe players are not having fun. He's right it doesn't matter by HS.

      Watching a team with a 5'6" 11 year old lead off who runs like a new born colt is not baseball
      Hmmmm.... I think YOU need to re-evaluate your feelings about youth baseball.... He's eleven... any kid at that age playing the game is baseball. We've talked about this a hundred times. THAT kid - after changing - may be the best player on your HS team and your current stud may be playing the banjo... You don't know.
      "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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      • #4
        You forgot the 6th type of team; The team whose parent posts to a message board how good his son's team and trashing every other kind of team not like his own.

        Sorry, don't mean to trash your post, I just don't see the point of it other than sparking another never ending debate on travel/tournament/little teams and what's the best/worst.

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        • #5
          No need to rag on the 5'6" 11 year old. Odds are, that if he is athletic enough to be hitting leadoff at that size, he probably has a better shot of playing baseball past high school than the normal sized kids. Baseball guys love the tall lanky players.

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          • #6
            Its not fair to categorize youth tournament teams except for the ability to be competitive in tournaments. That's why sanctioning bodies like usssa have different classifications for teams determining which tourneys they may enter. That keeps it fair and keeps all teams within a certain classification more or less competitive.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by raptor View Post
              That's why sanctioning bodies like usssa have different classifications for teams determining which tourneys they may enter. That keeps it fair and keeps all teams within a certain classification more or less competitive.
              To include their diaper ball categories....
              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                To include their diaper ball categories....
                LOL!

                It is crazy to think there are 4 and 5 yr old national champions, but I thought the OP was referring to 11u?
                Last edited by raptor; 10-08-2012, 08:56 AM. Reason: splng

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                • #9
                  The point is that a 5'6" lead off at 11 would be the equivalent of a 6'8" lead off with no speed I'm not ragging on the kid just pointing out how that's not real baseball. It's someone putting together a team to try and score 25 runs a game against kids half their size

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                    Relax. None of this matters when you get to HS. Enjoy your own team, and your own kid.
                    The new(?) thing for some of the "top" players to do in SoCal is to not play for their HS team, but rather for a "spring showcase" team. Not that I think that's a good thing, but it is reality out here.
                    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by themaker75 View Post
                      The point is that a 5'6" lead off at 11 would be the equivalent of a 6'8" lead off with no speed I'm not ragging on the kid just pointing out how that's not real baseball. It's someone putting together a team to try and score 25 runs a game against kids half their size
                      I'm confused....are you saying that a 5'6", 11 year old is big for his size? It's been quite some time since I've coached/watched that age group, but from my poor recollection, that doesn't sound like he's all that big for his age.
                      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                      • #12
                        I started a travel team so:

                        a. My son could play more of the game he loves
                        b. My son could improve his skills
                        c. My son could learn how to work hard
                        d. My son was not being challenged enough in his Little League
                        e. My son could enjoy social time with other kids
                        f. My son could learn important life skills
                        g. I could spend time with my boy
                        h. Our family could have something affordable yet enjoyable to do with our weekends
                        i. I could provide 10-12 other kids with A-F and provide other families with H
                        j. I could share my love and knowledge of the game

                        I couldn't care less what some guy thinks about the category that my team should fall under or how slow one of my players runs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                          I'm confused....are you saying that a 5'6", 11 year old is big for his size? It's been quite some time since I've coached/watched that age group, but from my poor recollection, that doesn't sound like he's all that big for his age.
                          He is not that big. Nor does it matter..teams are constructed differently, and at least in my area the overall size of 11 yr old teams has little bearing on their competition level; talent does. Teams are constructed differently. My point about the classification system is it is the ONLY way to objectively categorize tournament teams. Anything else is subjective. It seems usssa has it right for our area in terms of making it fair for teams and not allowing teams to play down and trophy hunt. Consider the following :
                          Since we are speaking of 11u this year, last year in north Tx the only 8 teams classified as "major " out of 262 tournament teams went :
                          45-39 against other 10 major teams
                          77-21 against 10aaa
                          13-0 against 10aa
                          20-1 against 11aa

                          These top teams are constructed differently. Some have very little size. Some are former rec teams which stayed together for the most part.

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                          • #14
                            themaker ... You're overthinking the preteen baseball process. All that matters at your son's age is 1) Is he having fun, 2) Is he building a passion for the game, 3) Is he learning the fundamentals of the game and 4) Is he learning how to compete? In fact, you will see the types of teams you described up to 14U ball. By 15U almost all the kids are starting to physically mature. Teams lose the ability to recruit physical early bloomers. Players and parents can figure out which coaching staffs can get the player to the next level. A lot of "successful" coaches fall out of the game at 15U when coaching becomes solely about strategy and instruction.

                            That said, at 9U and 10U my son played rec in the spring and community travel in the summer. At 11U and 12U he played rec and in a USSSA AA 12U Sunday doubleheader travel league concurrently with LL. His LL all-star teams played into August in the summer. Starting at 13U he played only USSSA Majors travel and school ball.

                            On one hand the journey is a long one. So, don't overthink it and drive yourself crazy. On the other hand they grow up quickly. The journey will be over before you know it. Relax and enjoy the ride. Right now find a place to play that meets the needs I stated above. Once your son is a teen and proves he can handle the 60/90 field start playing him up to his level of ability.

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                            • #15
                              I meant 10U. For whatever reason the last tournament we were in was calling it 11U because it was after the Spring season. so 5'6" 140 for a 10 just turned 11 year old is huge where I come from.

                              Has anyone even answered my original question? I don't think so. Anyway. I was trying to make a point that when kids could be learning about the game of baseball, the teams they are on are more concerned about scoring 20 runs. Why anyone should take offense to my observation I have no idea. Kids are capable of having fun and learning at the same time. If having fun is the equivalent of being big bullies then that's a distorted view of fun.

                              I would also say, it does matter before highschool. The kid going into HS that has a very nice grasp of how to play baseball and be part of a team will have more success and enjoyment.

                              Adam InNY I shouldn't advocate baseball be played like baseball is intended to be played? Is my son's team the best? No they are not the best team. Our town is relatively small, but I do give our coach credit for stressing fundamentals and putting the team before nonsense. Stop being so negative man.

                              HeinekenMan what are you so defensive about? From what you said you would seem to fall into the category of a travel team that plays like a real team, a team that is out there to learn and raise fine young men. Exactly what I am advocating. My God why is everyone on the internet so paranoid?

                              tg643 I agree with you. That's why I find it to be a negative that some teams are formed on size and nothing else. And like I said in my post, these teams win yet they don't even really know how to play baseball. Some tournaments like Ripken let anyone enter. Most tournaments where I live are simply towns putting together tourneys in the summer and only town teams are allowed. It's not too often we come across the goon teams. I don't know, where I live we don't have all these classifications, Basically towns play other towns. Maybe as we get older that changes, but I just concern myself with today.

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