12U: MS *AND* AAU baseball?

Hi all,

We moved states before the 2016-2017 school year (from PA to NJ). In the process, my  son started playing AAU baseball with a top travel program near us and stopped playing town ball. This year, as a 12U/6th grader, he is eligible to play for his small private school's MS baseball team.

The question is this: will playing both MS and AAU baseball this spring be bad for my child? Any advice/pros/cons others have to offer would be useful.  Husband is worried that both will be too much baseball for him - too many hours playing sports, too much throwing for a kid with a history of arm issues - and that the combination of field sizes (54-80 for MS, 50-70 for AAU) will throw off son's timing.  

Other potential variables: Son is interested in playing with his classmates, although a crazy MS basketball - winter workout baseball schedule this past month has made him a bit less enthusiastic. If the MS coach plays kids purely based on ability, son will start, for his bat. We don't know what defensive position MS coach will ask son to play (if any). Son stopped pitching when elbow issues surfaced  prior to 10U season; AAU doesn't need him to pitch. 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. 

 

Original Post

I guess everyone is too busy watching football.

My take is that your husband is right. Playing on two teams in the same season is a prescription for burnout and/or arm abuse, even without pitching. And a 12 with a "history of arm issues" should be a particular red flag. 

what was the diagnosis from 10u  elbow issues?   Little league elbow?    If he's not pitching I don't see an issue playing for both teams if wanted too.    We never played for middle school as we found the competition was not very good and they did want him to pitch which I didn't want him to do for 2 different teams.  

My son played MS baseball which was really low end (rec ball level or below) but stocked with his school friends and Youth baseball - simultaneously. MS baseball was truly developmental with pitchers throwing at most 3 innings per week.

Between the two, there were lots of practices - but no bullpens (the thought was the weekly throwing was done with private coaches). So, it was lots of baseball at a fairly young age - burnout ages for many of his peers.

Yes, it could be too much for some kids; one size doesn't fit all here. I'd add that unless he's reaching his potential and straining to increase his potential in the classroom, it's absolutely NOT worth the extra baseball. NOTHING should get in the way of getting him to accept that it's academics first and only AFTER that does baseball enter the equation.

Thanks for the input -

Gooseegg, I'm thinking the school team is similar to your son's. It's a very small school, and the level isn't very high. If son wants to do both, I don't think it would hurt him - in my head, it would be extra reps in the outfield.  My husband is more worried about his arm, even just from throwing in practice. I agree with you about academics - son has done very well so far, but the 16-20 hours of sports a week this winter (MS basketball + winter baseball workouts) has been tough to juggle. Maintaining or increasing that pace would be challenging.  

Since neither of you have mentioned hitting, I'm guessing the difference in field size doesn't cause too much trouble? In that case I will probably leave it up to my son to decide. He's the one who'd have to manage the schedule. 

Gunner34, yes it was little league elbow, from catching and/or pitching every game for his 8u and 9u district teams. Cal Ripken didn't have pitch counts or limits on pitching/catching and husband and I had't done our homework.  Son's PT told him to choose either pitching or catching - he chose catching. His club team has 3 excellent catchers, so he hasn't been overworked since switching teams. 

I was about to suggest he shouldn’t pitch for his travel team until the middle school season is over. Then I saw “history of arm problems.” A 12yo shouldnt have a history of arm problems. He should only play for school until it’s over. Then play for his summer team. 

No one ever made high school, college or pro ball based on what they did as a 12yo. The journey is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. Pace yourself. When he gets to high school pick up the pace. 

I’m going to guess your son plays for Arsenal or a similar team. I got to know some of the Arsenal dads from coaching against the team every year.  Only four players from the 13u A team made the 17u A team. Don’t assume anything about the future based on 12yo accomplishments. Consider it a good start that needs to be maintained. The older he gets the more challenging it becomes and the more he will have to work at development. At age twelve a lot of players and parents don’t understand the work ethic involved by the time the player is fifteen, sixteen years old. Then, if they’re good enough to play college ball baseball and academics becomes all consuming. Enjoy being twelve.

little league elbow could be completely healed by now,   probably a overuse and was growing.   sometimes its bad luck.     I wouldn't call it a history of arm problems necessarily.     my son had an elbow strain at 10 and we chalked it up to not warming up properly and playing a game in very cold weather.   Once it healed he has not had anything since,  no pain whatsoever  and is never sore after pitching.   He is 15 now and throws pretty hard for his age. 

Gunner34,

Yes, son plays for a team like Arsenal. We know the chances of staying on the top team decrease every year - we know he may hate baseball next year (or the year after.. ). I agree - enjoy the moment. I teach HS so I'll be able to watch "my" kids play every spring, even if my son doesn't.

 

And yes, kiddo may not really have arm problems. We're being very cautious, and trying to make sure his regular throwing mechanics are solid before considering pitching.  He doesn't need to pitch. Gunner34 - nice to hear your son's arm is fine. 

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