Hard or Easy schedule

Looking for input in high school baseball schedule.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of both an easy and a hard schedule? I know the normal win vs loses and gotta beat the best to be the best but, what are the things that you don't think about.  Like do you try to schedule better teams at home or on the road.  Do you try to play a traditionally strong program in down year to make it look better do you wait until late to make your schedule to schedule previous year upper level teams that went deep into the playoff?

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In Ohio everyone makes the tournament.  The first two rounds are seeded based on coaches votes.  Coaches are smart....a team with a great record playing bad teams won't always be seeded higher just because of the record.  Teams with fewer wins but against better competition usually get more votes.  Our HS played in a pretty good league, giving us 6-7 really good games just in our league play.  We played some good teams in our non-league schedule...and a few duds...and by duds, I mean awful.  It's tough to play too many "better" teams in our area without having to travel an hour and a half away, which is tough when games start at 4:30- on school days. 

We're a small 5A school in Texas, but all 3 of pre district tournaments are all 6A tourneys. We started the past year scrimmaging 1 of the 6A state finalist from the previous year. We usually have 3 or 4 really good teams in our district that go far in the playoffs. So I like that we play good teams early and often to get us ready.

Unless you have a team or you are just in that type of division I don't think it matters.  There are times we played the best and did win the Section Championship, then there are times we put together a lighter schedule and won the whole thing.

Fun topic.  This is one of those areas that I put way too much thought into.  For most, at the end of the day, the majority of the schedule is predetermined by league play.  Home or away is alternated each year for those games.  So, what remains is putting together the non-league games, usually including a tourney or two. 

There are several goals for me.  Of course, top priority is to put the team in the best position to reach the team goals - win league and win CIF playoffs.  We used to have more non-league games and most would be scheduled before league play started so it was easier.  Then, most often, that would involve scheduling the toughest non-league games we could within reason of expecting to compete.  We wanted to schedule games that would make our league competition look like nothing special.  Now, we have more league games and they start earlier. 

Some other factors... we want to give players who are not projected as starters or players on the bubble or newer players who haven't proven what they can do in games a chance to show themselves in some of these games earlier on.  Inevitably, we will need one of them to step up when something happens to a starter.  We also want to use these non-league and tournament games as opportunity for some who don't get many innings to do so.  We are more concerned with winning the league games.  Placing in league determines whether you make it and where you are seeded for regional play.

Also, there are ways to cheat the maximum number of games we can play.  A tourney counts two games for four.  A Saturday DH counts one game for two.  So, the majority of teams in our section try to take advantage of these rules to get more games, experience and PT in.

More recently, we start right into league play.  This year, our league is strong, with five good teams in an eight team league.  So, we look for an early opportunity to get a DH with an outside team that we can get lots of players in and still compete (so, usually a team that is not that strong but we do still want to see good baseball from both sides as preparation).  Then, later, we schedule another DH with a tougher opponent to better prep us for continued league play and post-season.  When selecting a tourney, travel costs are a factor, so we usually play somewhere where a stay-over is not necessary.  We find the tourney that will not put us against our league teams and will bring in some heavy hitters so, again, we are better prepared for our tougher league opponents and our playoff opponents.  The one we have chosen the past three years does a good job of balancing the type of opposition with the bracket games.

We want our players to be travel-tough but we don't have to worry about that.  Our current league is spread out geographically, so we travel almost too much.  So, for non-league, we try for more home games.  Of course, that is nice for parents as well.

The other big factor is spacing to allow for having enough competitive arms and lining the games up so that when you are playing your tough league opponents, your better arms are properly rested.

This all sounds great in theory but there is also that little hurdle of finding other teams that fit the objective of what you are looking for that happen to have the dates open and are willing to travel where you want them to.  And, of course, while you want to beat good teams, you also want your team to experience winning as part of building confidence and enjoying their HS baseball experience.  So, picking teams that are all four classes above you can cause more damage than good sometimes.  

The first year we took over the program, it was not good and we had to schedule some games with mediocre teams so we could compete and build.  Since then, we generally want high level competition almost all the time.

 

My son’s high school scheduled the toughest competition available leading into conference play. Then they played a couple more tough non conference games during the season. My daughter’s softball team did the same. Playing weak competition leads to a low post season seed.

We are in a 4 team district with all 4 teams being very competitive each year and 3 of the 4 going to the playoffs.  Those games will take up 9 of 28 total games.  I'm looking to schedule some teams that in the past should be below us as far as talent goes because I only have 1 real starter coming back this year and also losing about 80% of my innings on the mound.  The other part for me at least is I want as many home games as possible as we usually draw good crowds and we need the gate money.  The other part is we have several teams within an hour of our school that have been ranked high nationally so traveling isn't really an issue because I can play good teams close.  The next part is getting my kids looked at by colleges.  Right now we are not at a level where people are going to come just to see our guys. (We have some young guys that are ranked high for their class by PG so hopefully that will come) I'm thinking that if I schedule the upper level teams then my kids get seen because they are their and a college coach is there to see whoever.  An example would be Blaze Jordan we play his high school every year so my hope would be that my kids will get recognized by performing at a high level against them.

I'm not sure I'd put too much weight on getting players seen as it relates to your schedule.  In today's environment, that happens in other places much more so than at HS games.  Even if you are playing against a team with a kid that draws some scouts, often, those scouts are in and out quickly with their attention largely just on that target player.  I know it's possible but...

There are other, more effective ways to help your players in their recruiting efforts than trying to schedule a team that has a player that might draw some scouts.   JMO.

cabbagedad posted:

I'm not sure I'd put too much weight on getting players seen as it relates to your schedule.  In today's environment, that happens in other places much more so than at HS games.  Even if you are playing against a team with a kid that draws some scouts, often, those scouts are in and out quickly with their attention largely just on that target player.  I know it's possible but...

There are other, more effective ways to help your players in their recruiting efforts than trying to schedule a team that has a player that might draw some scouts.   JMO.

I agree there are a lot better ways just looking at benefits of both.  We host showcase and all of our guys play for high level travel teams if they are good enough to be seen.   Really for recruiting I'm more worried about the D2 or juco level player and seems to that if I were a juco coach and could go watch a game with say 5 players that may be able to play for me vs 2 players I'd go to the game with 5 guys

What determines how you get into playoffs?  When I was in Kentucky everyone makes the playoffs so I played a super hard schedule and we usually had a losing records but by the time playoffs rolled around we were pretty good.  KY does not have classifications so we would get beat out by bigger schools but boy were they some good games.

In NC you have to win your conference to get automatic berth in playoffs.  After that then it goes to winning percentage.  I just made my first schedule for NC and it's not as tough as i would like but in this first year I want to maximize my chances of playing in the playoffs.  I think we have a good chance to win our conference but if we finish third then we would be on the bubble I think.  Something new this year is somehow Maxpreps is going to create a strength of schedule and it will affect seeding and all that.  

Once you know how to make the playoffs then it comes down to scheduling that benefits you.  Play a super weak schedule then you will rack up the wins but you're going to get bounced early in most situations.  Play too tough of a schedule then you can do more harm than good unless you're a great mental toughness coach.  I want the tougher teams because it causes your team to rise to the challenge IF they have a legit shot at winning - let's say play 10 times you can win 3 or 4.  I'll sprinkle in a few weaker teams as stress relievers, to teach us how to stay focused when the game is out of hand and get my subs some playing time.  

Great discussion but so many variables going on that it's really an individual preference 

Coach 2709 this brings up another question we play each team 3 times.  Each team 2 times in a week for 3 weeks then we play all three one game on a Tues. Fri. Tues. at the end of the season.  My plan is to go after the first win with whatever pitchers I have to use on the Tuesday games when we play them twice in one week then use whatever is left on Friday.  Then at the end of season when we play all 3 in one week pick which game I have to win the district.  My question is would y'all think this is better or should we use different way to try to win the district?  BTW I've got 4 pitchers that I think can beat any of the schools in our district 1 is very constant the other 3 have more upside but if they are off then they are way off. 

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