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Valid Reasons for Pre-Adolescent Playing Up?

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  • Valid Reasons for Pre-Adolescent Playing Up?

    I know that this topic has been kind of done to death, so I thought I would try to approach it in a different way. Are there, in your mind, any valid reasons for a pre-adolescent to play up?

    I have a 10 year-old son that wants to play up in Bronco (11-12). In our league, he will have to go to a play up tryout (evaluation) and be given the "OK" before he is allowed to, so while this may be a moot point, I suspect he will be allowed to play up.

    His reasons are as follows: 1) He likes open bases (Our league's Mustang begins its season with closed and changes to modified open bases half-way through the season, 2) He wants to play with friends in his grade (He is a young 5th grader. When he began playing baseball, he was not very good, and I looked at his summer birthday as a great blessing because of this, but he has grown a love for the game, worked hard in practice, and caught up skill wise with a great number of his peers who are baseball age 11's), 3) He likes faster pitching (Perhaps it is a matter of him needing to work on his timing, but he has become accustomed to faster pitching in practices and seems to be very frustrated by slower pitching. Also, even in spring there are a great deal of walks in the first half of Mustang, which frustrates him also., and 4) He wants to be challenged (These are his own words, and quite frankly, I could hide my admiration and pride when he said this. He has really come a long way, not as a baseball player but as a person due to the amount of hard work he has put into this sport).

    So let's be honest, I have my reasons too. They are 1) Theoretically better run and more challenging practices, 2) Better and more challenging pitching, and 3) A certain amount of pride would taken in being able to say my kid is playing up (I know that this is the single worst reason to play a kid up, and I hope it isn't an unspoken reason why my son wants to play up. I'm just putting it out there to be honest with you and, more importantly, myself).

    I also have some concerns, which are mainly playing time and will it be too much too soon. The playing time is something I hope to get a better answer to at the tryout (evaluation). I'd rather my son play 4-5 innings down than only 1-2 up. Like I said before, skill wise I think he holds his own with a great number of kids that have to play Bronco because of their birth dates. I'm sure it will be an adjustment and a challenge, which is what he says he wants, but is 11-12 rec vastly different than 10 travel?

    So again, are there any valid reasons for a pre-adolescent to play up? I've learned a lot from this board and respect the opinions and advice I've been given very much. I want to do what is best for my son, even if it may mean disappointing him and not allowing him play up. Thanks.

  • #2
    I'm not a huge fan of this. Our league allows for play ups when a team in the upper league is short players. Typically each kid on the list gets at least 1 or 2 play up games and it is a great experience. Other than that I say let the kids play at the level they are suppose to play at. If they are somewhat dominant that's OK. I truely believe the confindence gained from being an elite player in their league is valuable as they move up. By the time they are moving up they are ready for the new challenge and they have the confidence to take it on.
    Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.
    (Babe Ruth)

    Comment


    • #3
      pc, there's valid reasons. They are case by case, and relevant for the most part only at that particular time. Your post and your open mind to both sides of it speaks to your head being in the right place. I've witnessed it personally and heard it time and again here that it's an automatic gateway to more success later on. It's not. To approach the decision with tunnel vision focused on that alone is not good for the player or his family.

      It boils down to two least common denominators. One is having fun. The other is getting better. My son is young for his grade, and we faced this while he was playing youth ball. He did both at times - played up and played at his age level. He always "practiced up." In the end that was most beneficial, especially for a kid that has wanted to play in HS since he was your son's age.

      For my son it started out as an ego thing, but quickly turned into wanting to play with kids in his grade. I just dropped him off at workouts and took a moment to reflect on the fact that he's been playing this game most of his young life. I watched him interact with the other kids before they went inside. He's a sophomore. With the Frosh kids (kids he's played with a lot) there was a lot of laughs and joking around. With the kids in his grade there's a much different mood. Glad to be there - no doubt, but more of a serious and focused mood. He struck me as very well adjusted and equally at ease with kids in his grade, upper classmen, and the Freshmen.

      His coaches last year commented on this...that mentally he was an asset because he both had a calming and intensity about him. It's a testament to how he survived youth ball (and me). He still really loves the game. He got out of bed, put a t-shirt on that says "Wake and Rake," and he was happy to be able to play baseball today. Shoot for that with your kid. You won't be disappointed.
      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


      • #4
        Not a big deal to play up into Broncos from Mustang. Or you can stay with the Mustang in rec ball and play TB in the 11-12U on 50/70 field.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's pretty simple.

          We forget that baseball is about fun.

          Will your son have more fun playing more at the mustang level or sitting more at the bronco level? Kids are all wired differently, so you have to figure out which one fits your son. Just because he sits more doesn't necessarily mean he isn't enjoying himself more.

          Once you figure out which one is more fun - you have your answer. Let your son decide what he wants to do, and let the decision be uninfluenced by what YOU want.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ralanprod View Post
            It's pretty simple.

            We forget that baseball is about fun.

            Will your son have more fun playing more at the mustang level or sitting more at the bronco level? Kids are all wired differently, so you have to figure out which one fits your son. Just because he sits more doesn't necessarily mean he isn't enjoying himself more.

            Once you figure out which one is more fun - you have your answer. Let your son decide what he wants to do, and let the decision be uninfluenced by what YOU want.
            I absolutely agree with this statement. I do not have a son at this level, but I know I would let him choose. However, I would go over the pros and cons with him. When I coached 13/14 rec we had a 12 year old come up, because he wanted to play with his brother. To be honest this player was not up to the caliber of the 13/14 on the team. However, he had a blast playing with his brother, and just wanted to play.

            Now, if your son is at the same caliber of his classmates I would recommend letting him play with them. Just remember that they will be trying out for JV at the same time. Depending on these size of your school district, more than likely most of the kids on the Bronco team will go to the same school. The longer that he can play with his classmates the better. I was younger coming up through baseball, but always played with my classmates. I am a big fan of keeping players with their classmates if they are good enough to play with them.

            Comment


            • #7
              There are definite valid reasons to move a kid up. For me, I felt it was about 2 things: safety and fun. My kid was one of the larger ones in the rookie league and hit the ball HARD. It was flat out scary for some of the little kids out there. There are few 6 and 7yo kids that can handle a ball coming straight at them at 50mph. Second was pitching. My kid loved pitching. So, the next season we moved up. It was a great decision, IMO.

              Comment


              • #8
                Playing with a sibling (if the skills are adequate).
                Playing with the majority of kids in your school grade.
                If you are so damn good that you might hurt the kids your own age.
                WAR EAGLE!

                Comment


                • #9
                  The only valid reason I see is to play with his friends in his grade. If these are the kids he competes with in gym and on the playground there's no reason not to play baseball with them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mine (summer birthday) plays his age in baseball but plays his grade in football. I thought he would struggle mightily in football as he is one of the youngest in his grade at school but it turned out not to be the case. However if he had played up in baseball last year things wouldn't have gone as well for him. This year he will split time with his age and the next year up. He doesnt think playing with friends is that big of a deal..not all his older friends play baseball anyway..some are just football year round or football and basketball. If your kid is young for his grade he will be able to relate to both ages and make friends in most cases.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                      The only valid reason I see is to play with his friends in his grade. If these are the kids he competes with in gym and on the playground there's no reason not to play baseball with them.
                      Where is the "Like" button?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                        The only valid reason I see is to play with his friends in his grade. If these are the kids he competes with in gym and on the playground there's no reason not to play baseball with them.
                        TG,

                        I do have to add that on a very rare occasion - less than 5 times in my coaching career - I have come upon players that were so much better than the other kids that for safety reasons they should be playing up. For example, I had a 11 year old girl who could throw 56 mph in a rec league whose overwhelming speed made it very probable that she could injure some of the 10 year old, inexperienced hitters she was pitching against.

                        Unfortunately, many dads use this as an excuse because they want their kids to play up for selfish reasons, even though their kid is usually just a good player and not as special as the dad thinks it is. It's really rare for safety to be a factor, but on occasion I've seen it.

                        -JJA
                        The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                          The only valid reason I see is to play with his friends in his grade. If these are the kids he competes with in gym and on the playground there's no reason not to play baseball with them.
                          100% agreement. have him play with his friends.
                          I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Some kids are much bigger than others.

                            Some kids are just a lot better than other kids.

                            Some kids have older brothers.

                            Exit question: Are there valid reasons to be jealous/concerned about what other parents/kids do?
                            efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                              Some kids are much bigger than others.

                              Some kids are just a lot better than other kids.

                              Some kids have older brothers.

                              Exit question: Are there valid reasons to be jealous/concerned about what other parents/kids do?
                              Yes. Human nature.
                              Last edited by shake-n-bake; 01-04-2013, 10:29 AM.
                              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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