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Posting on ladies forum for specific reasons - hoping to get honest and useful advice.

Son is pretty good ball player - plays in our local rec. league and on a travel team.
We have been very suportive and enjoyed his baseball experience so far. Right now he hopes to make the highschool team next spring (our school is pretty big and it will be tough to make the team) and would also like to play college ball. Although at his age I do not think he really can grasp the amount of work that it will take at a college level.

Recently he has seemed to slack off planning the time to practice. More from a planning perspective - as in I'll do it later. We've tried to explain to him that as a member of a family with two younger siblings that are very active and atheltic (and are increasingly going this or that event/pratice ) you have to plan your practice time and stick to it and not put it off.

I often read posts of this website and am wondering do other ball players ever need that extra push to practice? I look at it like this - if my kids aspire to go to college - I stay on them to study. So if he wants to continue to play baseball - how hard do you push the practicing?

Before I close - it was never our dream for our son to play baseball at any level - it was driven by him. He is a very athletic kid who loves sports - and is doing quite well and has great potential - but also needs to contiue to work.

Have any of you expreienced this?
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You may get a varied response here.Take it all in and filter what you don't need.No ones families are the same and players aren't either.

My son is currently playing college ball, and it is a grind.He loves it but it is a full time job with baseball and academics.

This is how we handled our son.He also told us he wanted to play college ball before entering HS.We sat him down and said if he was serious he had to maintain a 3.5 GPA, work on his baseball, and work on his body to become stronger and more athletic.We said if he did these things we would not ask him to work an outside job during the school year or during an intense summer program.

With that said, he did what we asked.My problem came in the nagging of the school end of it.He always wanted to do the baseball work.But if he didnt maintain the grades we did not pay for any private lessons, camps etc.

So for our son baseball motivated the academic side of it, and baseball still motivates him to keep his grades up now.He knows no grades, no play.That is the school policy so I haven't had to enforce it.

There were times, and there are times that they want to hang with their friends.There were times it was tough when he had baseball and social things came up that he had to give up due to his commitments to the teams.

When they play in college they dont have much social time at all during the season.The social time is with their team mates.

I agree that he does need to set aside his time to do the things he needs to do.When he does and he keeps to a good schedule he will find he has time to be with his friends and do free time stuff.

The thing the young guys don't get is there are kids out there who do work at it all the time.I know you didn't want to hear that, but there is always somebody outworking you.The desire to aspire to be a good player has to come from within.Yes you have to nudge, and remind.

But it shouldnt turn into a constant thing.It is summer right now, let him have some down time.Maybe he needs a few weeks off.Our son always took time off at end of summer, and then again in the month of December.Sometimes with a break from the grind you get refreshed.Kids do get burnt out.Gently remind him what he is working towards, give him some space and time away if needed.If he loves it he will be working at it again soon.

There were times when my son didn't want to play baseball and wanted to focus on basketball.LOL. He had times of wanting to just chill.It is normal.

I understand why you posted here, sometimes the responses in other forums are overwhelming.

I am going to go with it being summertime, all kids deserve time off, make sure that he gets playing time in the fall there he can get his practice in, like killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.

I could have written your post. I have a 15 year old son who is talented but not a slam dunk for college ball. I am constantly conflicted about how much to nudge. I gave up trying to figure it out and have had some candid discussions with my son, telling him I don't know how hard to push. I would be lying if I said we have it all worked out. I think I have pushed too much.

What I have decided is that as he is getting older, he has to take more responsibility for doing what he needs to do. I have told him I will make resources available to him, but he has to set the pace. I can not drag or push him to the next level. In the end, I think the light is going to have to go off in his head, and he is going to have to work harder. Not that he doesn't work hard - just not enough to have a broad range of options baseball-wise, post high school.

He's scheduled to play in a college coaches clinic in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that seeing the competition will give him a reality check. He will be a sophomore this fall, and he has some things he needs to improve on to get to the next level.

On the positive side, he is a good student and follows an intense physical fitness training program.

Good luck. If you figure it out, or have any hints, let me know.
In the end, I think the light is going to have to go off in his head, and he is going to have to work harder. Not that he doesn't work hard - just not enough to have a broad range of options baseball-wise, post high school.

There are those guys that just have so much God given athleticism, and talent that they don't always have to work as hard.Mine didn't fall into this category, nor does it seem that your boys do either.That doen't mean they do not have talent.Just playing at the college level is so demanding.Every player is good.

Have your boys been to a college game?That might be helpful to see players at the next level.remember also that there are many divisions of college baseball, and I am sure your sons can find a place to play.Mine started at a junior college for one year before moving on.The players there were very good as well.

As I said gentle reminders, maybe letting him have time off.But in the end it will himthat has to make that jump in his head to be motivated to move on.There are many boys who just decide they don,t want it bad enough and just focus on an education.Nothing wrong with that.
Although at 15 - I do not think he really can grasp the amount of work that it will take at a college level.

sitbackandenjoy - you ask a great question and forgive me in advance for intruding here. I have been a member here for many years and have seen opinions on both sides of this issue. Based on the experiences of my son, I believe the pushing ought to come from the player. It is their love of the game that drives them. I think the most important thing a parent can do is encourage them and see to it they have fun. I'll be honest that I was far from a perfect parent and used to yell at things when I thought he could do better. Looking back, that was entirely unnecessary. I fortunately was able to grow out of that with help from my son and he in fact helped me learn to chill out.

The question you ask here is whether or not you need to nudge them. I hope you get some responses that are opposite of my take because there are some very respected posters here who believe creative/loving nudging was the right track for their kids.

One thing to consider and I go back to your quote above is how do parents know exactly that their kids even need nudged at baseball? What is their expertise that allows them to arrive at that conclusion? Many parents never even played little league baseball let alone tournament baseball, high school baseball or beyond yet they seem to have some type of gifted intuition on how hard their kids ought to be working at it. If he is playing all summer long like most players his age are, that very well may be all the work he needs at this time. The whole key is that your son continues to love the game. If it turns into a job, you may get the opposite result you are hoping for.
Last edited by ClevelandDad
Thanks for the advice. We have actually thought of taking him to a showcase event - just so he can see the talent that is out there. Fortunately for him he is usually one of the top three players in any team he has been on - he is super fast - already runnng a sub 7 60 yard dash. This despite being on the smaller side - he must be a late bloomer because he has started to really grow.

His grades have always been good - but this again game relatively easy to him.

I also think him seeing a collge game is a great idea - he could see for himself the level of play and the players.

He is all around a pretty good kid so I guess we need to continue to encourage him but in the end the drive must come from him. Maybe as he plays with better players and is challenged this will motivate him.

I guess we need to also keep things in perspective - we have three healthy kids - anything more is gravy.
Ohh I like that peachy color ... suppresses my testosterone. Big Grin
I apologize for the intrusion but the problem you have (if it is a "problem") isn't reserved for either Mom or Dad. Both get frustrated by the lack of motivation our sons have. I had no long term plans for my son to pursue baseball --- that was his idea. I actually wanted him to hunt and fish with me but HE wanted to play baseball ---- so I'm the one that had to make the major adjustments. Sold my bass boat .... quit turkey hunting. At the same time I let it be known that I'm not going to make big adjustments in my life and spend my money on his baseball unless he make a commitment too ..... we both understood that. Josh was my best friend (still is) and I wanted what was best for him so this wasn't my plan that I laid out for him. It was his plan that I helped him accomplish.
There are a number of ways you can motivate your son. Number one .... you have to talk with him about it. Explain that you're on HIS side. You're helping HIM achieve HIS goals. (not the other way around). Surely we all have enough Zig Ziglar in us to instill some motivation into a 15 year old.
I also found there were enticements to get him motivated. A new pair of batting gloves. A soft toss machine. When I made a sacrifice for him he usually followed by trying harder. I devised games that he and I would play that made practice fun. We live in the country so there were no "teammates". For the most part it was he and I doing or talking baseball.

I suggest you don't push or nudge --- but rather support him. Oh sure I had to bite my tongue from time to time when he slacked up. I never quit supporting him .... and he knew I would support him even when he decided to quit for good .... and I did, 20 years later.

So the first thing you do is you ASK him... "What's your goal in baseball?" If he says "play college baseball" then ask him what his plan is.. Here is where your maturity and parenting has a chance to shine as you explain there "ain't no free lunch"!!!
Good Luck
PS: Be sure and explain to him that "A goal without a plan is a dream."
All you can do is love them and support them, the choice to work harder at anything must come from them. Some 15's will never need to be nudged and that doesn't mean they are better or worse than others. My oldest never needed nudging and a lot came easy to him. He has had some hurdles to overcome and he has given up a lot in the name of baseball but that is his choice. My middle one was the pudgy late bloomer who you wondered if he truly wanted to play. Now he has 3% body fat and is off to a top JUCO to play in the fall but that didn't kick in until he was 16. My baby is 16 and is just now working harder at it than in the past but he also carries all AP classes and his brothers didn't. I guess my point is if they want it, they will work at it to the best of their ability. And their personalities will guide them in how they get to where they want to be. 15 is a tough age, I teach freshmen every year and see all the turbulence they must get through each and every day. Just tell them daily that you love them and will help them with whatever they choose in life, baseball or anything else. Good luck to all of you, it isn't easy being a caring mom/dad!
Originally posted by ClevelandDad:
I believe the pushing ought to come from the player. It is their love of the game that drives them. I think the most important thing a parent can do is encourage them and see to it they have fun.

Agree 100%! My son is playing college ball as well. Went to a JUCO first and now at a mid-level D1 program. You do NOT want to look back at the high school years and think of the negatives of pushing him.
Wow what great advice you have gotten here.
I agree that I don't think some kids have enough exposure to what it takes to play at the next level. Not only will he sacrifice and give up socail events, etc, but your family will too. However, make those baseball commitments be something your whole family can get involved in. If there is a tournament to go to on the weekend, take the family! Can't afford the hotel? Camp! I know of one fellow now playing his first year of rookie ball and he and his family camped all the time in their little camper truck. Happiest kids ever!
If a sibling has something else going on, take turns going to the events. Find someone on the team to send him with that mirrors you family's values and systems.
He has got to want it, and by exposing him to college ball he can see what it is like. I bet there would be a JC coach nearby who you and he could visit, maybe talk with some of the players - what is your daily life like?
At the end of the day, if he chooses to stop playing ball (which will happen eventually by his choice or someone else's) be supportive in that the baseball experience is a great way to learn life lessons. Don't think that success is only found when your son moves to the next level. Instead, take a look at the person he has become, and I will bet that you will see the growth that comes from playing this game.
If he needs to be pushed after a break, then perhaps he needs to find another passion.
my stud practices until he falls over...

And then, I wake up and wipe the sleep from my eyes, and have a pot of coffee. Then, after thinking about last night's dream, I decide its time to wake up the the ball player.

I kick the bed. "Hey, stud...wake up. Let's go to the cages - hit a few balls."

"Can't Dad. I'm too tired. Stayed up 'til 3 am practicing baseball until I fell over."

*Impressed* "Wow. No kidding. What did you use for lights?"

"Naw, naw, Dad. Xbox. MLB 2009. Let me sleep..."
Last edited by wraggArm
Mom of another 15 year old here -- an only child, which may have something to do with it. We are quite blessed (OK start throwing things now... but read on to the end) -- 2013 practices, does schoolwork, pulls straight A's in honors classes and has an amazing dedication to goals and routine. Seriously, my husband and I wonder where these genes came from!

My concern is not getting him to work harder, but getting him to smell the roses a bit along the way. He is an outstanding player, very realistic about his weaknesses and dedicated to addressing them, passionate and respectful of the game. We have to make him take a little time off once in awhile, then he is antsy and bored within a week.

He kind of came out that way.... if there was one experience that I think ignited the passion in him it was the chance to be a college bat boy for three years from age 10 to 13. I saw immediate desire and application of what he was soaking up there to his conduct both on and off the field.

Now that he is older, we let him choose his way -- no pushing, just gentle suggestion to make sure he enjoys everything that HS (and too soon college) have to offer...
Update: playing in a coaches' clinic seemed to get him moving. He's working outside of practice fairly consistently, and has shown excellent improvement on his pop time. Only time will tell if this will be a sustained effort.

As for me, I'm working on being more supportive and less pushy. Only time will tell if I sustain this improvement. Good getting the advice. As the fall season progresses, I'll come back and reread this thread.
Originally posted by twotex:
Update: playing in a coaches' clinic seemed to get him moving. He's working outside of practice fairly consistently, and has shown excellent improvement on his pop time. Only time will tell if this will be a sustained effort.

As for me, I'm working on being more supportive and less pushy. Only time will tell if I sustain this improvement. Good getting the advice. As the fall season progresses, I'll come back and reread this thread.

Hi Twotex I just stumbled on this thread -- I have a 15 year old also. Good advice here! Attending the coaches camp and going to a college level game is great motivation. The problem with finding a college game to attend, they usually conflict with his schedule in either HS or travel ball.

In addition to watching a college game, I tell parents to take their sophomores on a real campus tour and info session with admissions --this is BIG motivation on the academic side! If they hear from the college rep that those "easy Bs" won't cut it, they have time to step it up a notch.
I'll add my thoughts. Continual discussion would be my path - this could be a little more of a softer "nudge" from time to time, but not all of the time. Add a touch of silent monitoring too. And find a way to prepare them to balance and time manage - because this will be an invaluable skill once they make it to the collegiate level.

I also have a college player, and I will loudly second that it is a lot of work to play baseball at the college level and get classes and homework in no matter how good the player. At the collegiate level, all players are usually very very good, and it takes talent and hard work to get through it all. There is little time for anything else - even sleep sometimes, and eating too. To be at this level, the player must want it and understand the huge amount of work involved. Now, I am sure that your kids all want it very badly, but it is human nature to need free time. So that is why I suggest during HS continually talking with your sons about how they feel about what they are doing. On the parental level, assure them that you are there to make it all happen for them - to do what you need to do as a parent - pay the travel fees, buy the equipment, and make sure they get everywhere they need to be, but the work ethic must come from them - not you.

Regarding baseball: TPM says time off in the summer - yes, I agree. As a younger player, take more time off. Your junior summer, the player will likely get little time off if he wants to be on the radar. Make sure he understands this level of commitment through your discussions. And it does not stop in HS, as during summers they will play in collegiate leagues, away from home, and living with host families. My son (a soph) said his summer last year was the best of his life so far. Not all get this great experience, and if they don't they must deal with it. At the HS level, the player needs to level it up each season, because he wants to be on the coaching radar to get to play in college. It can get intense with all of the camps, showcases, scout ball, and such, and they must be ready for it. They can only play their best (and they must be prepared to play their best), the rest (coach recognition) is out of their control. They must be ready to work hard to handle the part they can - which is to do their best.

Regarding academics: this is the one thing that is totally in their control. With this being all in their control, why would the player want to blow his grades when if he did well, this part would be a given and removed from any concern? The better the grades the larger their college pool will be, given the athletic talent is there. The player should continue to work as hard as possible. Once they turn in grades as good as they can, if the talent level it there, there will be a place for them to play.

Let me tell you a short story about my son. In September, after he had his offer from the summer, he completed his one college application and got in to college. He was ready, and signed sealed and delivered come November. At a HS senior year presentation, he was sitting next to a good friend, who like many of his other friends started complaining to him about how lucky he was to only have to do one college application - and how easy it was for him to have to only do one, etc. while they all had to do a dozen or so. Well, I guess he had been hearing this from a lot of his friends, so he very politely turned to this good friend and told them he had heard enough. He told them something like this: "you think it was easy for me because I only had to do one application and got in 'easily'? Well let me tell you how 'easy' it was. While you were sitting on the beach with friends during the summer, I was traveling all around the country attending tons of baseball events, and my summer was three weeks long (it was summer before senior year). During the past 4 school years, while you were spending your Friday and Saturday nights at the movies, or playing video games with friends, I was heading to bed at 10pm or earlier because I had to be on the baseball field at 7:00 a.m. for travel or scout baseball games (or getting up even earlier to drive to them). And I was finishing my homework late on Sunday nights after spending 12 hours or so on the baseball field for scout ball. So, I hope you now understand that it wasn't 'easy' for me." (I must add that he would not have changed any of this for anything.)

Lastly, here is the toughest thing to be prepared for - to be prepared for them to tell you (or somehow let you know) when their baseball road has ended and for you as the parent to accept this and love them unconditionally. Because no matter who they are, the road will end.
Both of our guys went through periods when they didn't love baseball, but we never pushed them to step it up...only to keep their committments.

Our oldest always pooped out around July in high school. Three to four games a week in the summer wore him out. In college, the grind of summer leagues away from home was tough. In the minors, playing every night got old around August. In MLB, sporadic play wore on him mentally. Injuries, surguries, rehab took their toll at times, too.

At every level, stress can get to them from time to time. If they have the desire to continue, they'll gut it out. If they feel its time to move in a different direction, they'll hang up the cleats. Either way, they'll be fine if they know we love them more than baseball.
Last edited by TxMom
This is a great thread - every post provokes thought. TxMom, it was great hearing from a pro-Mom.

It is interesting to me to look at my post from last summer, and compare where he is now. I still don't know how hard he will be willing to work. As a sophomore, he is looking at a potentially impactful summer on the horizon. I am trying to not push but I do suggest. I remind him (and myself) that I'm here to provide support when he wants to do the work.
I must agree . . . what a great thread!!!

The light went on for our 2013 when three things happened (all at 15): he was asked to play up on a monster 18U team and he saw how much room he had to grow; he attended a scout event and had the best day of his life and got put on the follow list; and when he attended a college showcase and got a realistic view of the where he needs to be (mostly juniors and seniors).

He's a top player in our conference but it did a lot for him to see others outside our "small pond."

We have had very similar conversations to those listed here: here is what is expected of you, and here is what you can expect of us in return. Because we live in Illinois his "season" is short, so after a very chilly fall ball there is much work to be done indoors, which is also far less fun than playing the game. Consequently, we can't find time in the day for a job where he can actually be paid.

He has turned down sleepovers and video game tournaments for practices, showcases, and tournaments. Our family vacation won't happen this year, but we'll spend 8 four-day weekends on college campuses playing ball. Whenever we can we let him take some time off, but those opportunities are becoming fewer and farther between.

One very important thing we have told him is we are on HIS side. If the time comes that it's not fun anymore, even with all the work, then we all need to sit and re-evaluate it. We know too many kids in a variety of sports doing it only because mom/dad want them there and they are completely miserable. We are trying very hard to not be those parents. If he doesn't want it he'll never be successful at whatever the level is, he will eventually become resentful, and worse, could get hurt.

We even ask him during particularly busy times if he's still enjoying it. He always grins and says yes. It has to be for him, and he knows that.
Since we are in the New England, baseball starts late. I made the statement to him that he is going to be really antsy by the time the season starts. He says he is antsy now!

He is catching in a pitching/catching clinic one day a week, and hitting in a hitting clinic one day a week. I have to say it is great to hear the sounds of the ball in the mitt or on the bat again.
Ok, here's the update. I pushed. He was sitting on the bench behind a player who did not appear to be more talented. I asked him if he was going to let this [blah blah blah blah] beat him out of his job. I said you need to play big, play with confidence, out hustle, etc. A full blown speech.

Long story short - and I am shocked to say this - he changed his ways. He "manned" up and took the job back. Started on varsity the last part of the season as a sophomore, plus the post-season.

It was an incredible transformation. I have never been more proud. Let's hope it continues.

My NEW advice - trust your instincts. What works for one kid might not work for another. What works one year might not work the next.

Just like everything else in parenting!
Last edited by twotex

Mom of a 16yo RHP. My son didn’t start playing until he was 10 (due to me being divorced and custody/visitation) long story short, many parents told me and kids told him that he would never be good because he didn’t start playing at 5... he practices everyday and has greatly improved. He is a starter pitcher for his summer travel team and one of 5 starters on his HS team. He works hard and is self motivated and I just sit back and watch and cheer (quietly). I hit him ball and fetch his hits. I can’t catch his pitches anymore (they are too fast). He wants to play in college and we have started the college search. 
the main things I have learned is that coaches from colleges are now attending so I have to be the parent that cheers more quietly. I nudge him gently- but he has to be self driven if he wants this life in the MLB someday. Does he have what it takes to go pro? Maybe. Maybe not. He knows his weaknesses and what what he needs to work on- if I tell him we argue, so I video EVERYTHING and he reviews then he can see for himself what is good/bad. Then I do the editing to help with his recruiting videos.


It sounds to me like you are doing a great job of supporting him.   As difficult as it is for a 16 year old boy to figure this recruiting stuff out I think it is equally as difficult for parents to figure out how to best help & support without causing friction.  Videoing everything can be tremendously helpful.   I'm currently helping my wife with her tennis game.  I've played tennis my whole life and my wife has picked tennis up late in life.   Recently, I began videoing her with a phone/tripod so she can see everything she is doing/not doing for herself then we talk about what she is seeing.   She is learning much quicker this way.   I got the idea from my college tennis coach who was doing videography back in the early 80s.   Video really helps.  All of my sons enjoyed seeing their baseball academy videos over the years and I think it helped them with pitching and hitting in high school.   My oldest son would look at his college game videos as well mostly for pitching mechanics.  There must be something in the human psyche to see yourself on video and quickly understand the difference of what you thought you were doing  versus what you were actually doing.

Best of luck with your son!  

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