Reply to "When was/is it important to be on a high level team?"

If I had to do it over vs what happened

What happened - Son played on a very good local team (same city) that became a good area team (5-6 cities) by 12u. Traveled mostly within 90 minutes from home- 1-2 over night trips a year. Played 12-13 weekends and a couple during week every week between late March and end of July. Practiced once a week, not well thought out. Roughly 70-90 games. I was assistant coach and into it big time. He was always best player- both as pitcher and hitter.

Did that until 17U (summer before senior year), son then went to an area team where I was a Dad, it was amazing how much he blossomed once I got out of way. It was best area team (15-18 cities) and he was one of two best players. Thru that team started recruiting, but that team was a single age group team (as was his previous one), so though they did have a few contacts, It was very much up to son and I. Did have less games, practiced twice a week- very focused practices. Was really deep in pitching so got deep in regional tournaments.

What would I do over?

Same team early- LESS games, more practice - only maybe 8 tournaments and let them be boys in summer doing other things. Me too- spend time with my wife and other kids.  Leave about 14U instead of 17U - get on an origination that had reputation for getting kids seen and have real contacts. There were 2 really good ones at that age and by 16U the team that had national contacts within 45 minutes from home (he had all those options ).

In the end it worked out very well for him, but I think he missed out on being a 9-13 year old boy playing so much and I missed out on being a husband and dad to my other kids during those years.

The benefits of playing - he saw good competition from 9U on so never was phased or intimidated, still isn't. He made some lifelong friends on those 2 teams.

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