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Baseball Playing Time and Positions

by Dawn
(St. Paul, MN)

Dave- My son is 10 and loves Baseball! This year we signed him up for traveling baseball. The group that we are with has 5 coaches and one of them will only put the coaches kids in where they want to play.

The boys have only won three games. The coaches will have the boys warm up at 2nd or shortstop then when the game starts they are placed in another position.

Do I talk to the coaches or just keep my mouth shut? My son is so discouraged and baseball is no longer fun! Thanks for your input.

Dave's Response

Dawn,


TWO ISSUES THAT WILL NOT GO AWAY

The two biggest parent/baseball coach issues or conflicts are going to be playing time and playing the position the kids want to play. So you are not in uncharted area as these two dilemmas are very, very common in youth baseball and youth sports today.

A good youth baseball coach will always be ready to justify their reasoning for who plays how much and what positions.

TRAVEL BALL vs. REC BALL


For one, my recommendation is not to play travel ball until the kids reach 13 and 14 years old. The chances of playing baseball until you are 14 years old are only 25% any way as 75% of the players will drop out by age 14.

Travel baseball is not a prudent use of money and time to spend it until you are sure the players are really serious about the game and have enough physical ability to play successfully at the age approaching high school baseball.

Stay with local rec ball and practice on your own, attend local camps, or hire a good pro baseball experienced instructor to help out.

PLAY MULTIPLE POSITIONS

Secondly, playing multiple positions is highly recommended. Players should be versatile to be able to play several infield positions, and try pitching and catching. Outfield is the last resort since you want to be playing close to the ball type positions.

The ball handling action positions is where you want to play the most. Good players should really be able to play almost anywhere on the diamond in youth baseball. Of course lefty throwers should stay with 1b, pitcher and outfield.

PARENT/COACH COMMUNICATION

You certainly are not prohibited from talking to the coaches. Just make sure to use the 24-hour rule. Wait one day after the ballgames so you have a chance to settle down your emotions.

Avoid speaking to the coaches with the players around. Avoid talking or discussion about any players except your own child.

The baseball coaches should have explained the protocol for communications with a pre-season parents/coaches meeting at the start of the season.

Ask the coaches about how they decide playing time and playing positions. If you are reasonable and respectful you should be able to come to an understanding.

WINNING vs. PLAYER DEVELOPMENT


Now winning is something that is nice to experience but it is not the end all, cure all and really is mostly irrelevant at this age.

Player development is the goal. Playing as a team and trying to play the game well is sufficient.

Believe me, I know it isn’t fun to get beat up on all the time so hopefully the games are close.

If the kids are playing the game well and playing in close games I wouldn’t put much concern on the wins and losses.

Mainly, your job is to get the kids to the ball field on time, sit back and enjoy the games and tell the kids you enjoyed watching them play.

Anything more will add stress to the whole family and will take the joy out of what should be a positive endeavor for the families.

For reference articles type in the search box on the Home page: ‘travel ball’ ‘multiple positions’ ‘pre season meeting’ ‘baseball winning’.

Thanks for your inquiry,
Dave ‘Skip’ Holt Baseball

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