When my son was 8, our Little League was invited to send a team to a first-time, 8u, kid-pitch tourney. A VP in our Little League approached me and two other dads who had been coaches in the instructional leagues about going through the league's rosters and deciding whom we would select to put a team together to enter. We sat down over a few cold ones and worked it out.
The tourney was a disappointment, to say the least. We came armed for bear. The other teams weren't up to us. Every game was won by slaughter rule. It was fun at first but then it got sad. We were playing everybody equally, but we couldn't keep our kids from hitting or our pitchers from striking them out.
We decided maybe we had something here, so we started a 9u team. We started with a big roster. Over the years we lost kids who moved, who decided it was too much of a commitment for them, etc. And on a few occasions, we did the most important thing of all: We parted company with some kids who, though good kids, had parents who were simply poison to the team.
In the ensuing years, we didn't always win and of course the competition got a lot better. But our kids learned a lot about baseball and most importantly, it remained a positive experience until the team disbanded after its 14u year. That's right, we kept the same nucleus of kids together for six years!
Moral of the story: Never let the stud kid with the obnoxious parents play for your team. He may be a stud, but his parents will sap all the fun out of it for everyone. Other good players will leave your team to get away from them. In the end, this one stud player will cost you more than he brings to the table.
Same goes for the kid with the bad attitude, though truthfully, in 6 years I think I came across exactly one case where the kid was the problem as opposed to his parents.
Today we play with and against the kids who were on our team all those years. We still sit and talk in the stands and even when the kid's on the other team we root for him to do well.
At this point our kids are 16 and some of them are heading for D-I ball, no question. All of them are playing varsity or heading there by next year (junior year). Most of them are starters.
Sometimes the game itself is disappointing. For every game played someone wins, but someone also loses. Somebody racks up a lot of K's on the mound, somebody racks up a lot of K's with the bat. Somebody got the big hit, somebody made the key error.
Kids can learn to live with all that if you teach them correctly. But if you put a lot of unnecessary anguish into it, through all the parental stuff and coaches who act like the world will end if we don't win this one 11u game, don't be surprised if over time your kids don't learn what they need to advance.
For all the time spent on this site talking about the mechanics of hitting and pitching (though curiously, not so much about DEFENSE! -- why is that?), we overlook the most important thing of all. There is a lot of failure in baseball. As a kid matures, he has to learn how to deal with failure and and how to bounce back from it, learn from it.
In my mind, that quality marks the true ballplayer more than anything else. The pitcher who can get shelled one day, or not find the plate one day, and still come back the next time and do well -- I want that kid on my team. The boy who makes the key error, then comes back with his head up and makes a hustle play -- I'll draft HIM. The boy who has a bad day at the plate but finds another way to contribute on the field, then rebounds to get the key hit in game 2 of a doubleheader -- make him your team captain.
The kid who sulks or whose parents are undermining the coaches at every step will never get there. The kid whose parents tell him that his every misstep is somehow the coaches' fault, will never get there. The kid whose dad coaches just to make sure his kid pitches all the time and bats cleanup, treating the other kids like a supporting cast and blaming the cast whenever things go badly, will never get there.
Hitting technique and pitching technique (and DEFENSE!) are the coaches' jobs to teach. Start with the right kids and the right families, then do your job and you'll have the team you're looking for.