Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Oh yes we’re off the little field since the kid was 11. He’s now 14 and I keep saying it was “not even serious”! Oh how I wished I just sat back and enjoyed the game. Instead of a million lessons and searching for the most competitive teams! In the “good” end - the hustle made him so much better to handle adversity, mentally strong and mechanically ready for the bigger stage. That said it’s all a learning experience! No regrets!

@Francis7 posted:

You ever look back at those small field days and have that "What was I thinking?" feeling?

Sure.   I loved all those days with all 3 of my boys for different reasons and experiences.  They were having fun, my wife and I were having fun.  There wasn't much to think about. 

My kids loved playing baseball and practicing .  I miss taking them to the batting cage down the street by our elementary school.  They hit in that cage all the way through high school.

I just saw someone post this in a local travel forum:

"Help! My family just moved here and I didn’t realize that baseball tryout happen at this time of the year. My 7 year old has been playing for the past 3 years...Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do? "

And all I could think of was:  Oh, my, God...

Last edited by Francis7

Playing since 4u is nothing. My kids played 2u for the Bay Bees.

Seriously, the preteen days were a lot of fun. My son and I spent a lot of time practicing with just the two of us. My daughter never practiced away from the team until middle school and 14u travel. Hanging out at our LL park was a lot of fun. They had great food. I ran a lot of hitting lessons at the park. I loved seeing a kid get a hit after I worked with him.

From LL through college ball I didn’t have any trouble relaxing and watching the game. My view was I had my turn. It was my kid’s turn. The only time I felt bad for one of my kids was my son’s college team was up 2-0 in regions and lost the next two.

If I could go back in time I’d go back to forty. My oldest was seven and just starting 7/8 machine pitch softball, basketball, soccer and field hockey. I could do it all over again.

@fenwaysouth posted:

Sure.   I loved all those days with all 3 of my boys for different reasons and experiences.  They were having fun, my wife and I were having fun.  There wasn't much to think about.

My kids loved playing baseball and practicing .  I miss taking them to the batting cage down the street by our elementary school.  They hit in that cage all the way through high school.

My son is almost 18, a 2022. He does almost all of his workouts without Dad. We still occasionally go to the cage and field at local park for some BP, fungos, etc.
And I still get to throw with him. Well, actually, for long toss, after about 90 feet, he throws. I catch. I make a pile until his long toss is finished for the session.

@Francis7 posted:

You ever look back at those small field days and have that "What was I thinking?" feeling?

Not really, no.  We didn’t spend much money at all on travel ball until my kid was in high school and it was clear that he was going to work hard on becoming a college player.

I didn’t let him pitch much at all and saved his arm from coaches trying to chase trophies.  My main emphasis as a Dad at that age was making sure he learned how to be respectful, learned some discipline, got good grades and kept the damn cell phone out of his hands.  In terms of Baseball I made sure he had fun.

11 and 12 Ripken years when I wanted to work on something and a good work out was needed I would get a couple 5.00 Dairy Queen gift cards….those damn kids would kill to win one of those. Or I would tell them I need 1.5 hrs of good practice and then you get whiffle ball. I let them stay till the parents made them leave. They would set up temp bases and play in the outfield with the fence….we would turn on the lights and have few beers watching them. The only thing was we had to occasionally play umpire on a close one to keep the piece. my kid never let the whiffle ball stuff out of my car just in case…

Some great memories

My oldest and youngest sons played rec league through 12U, I kind of regret that my baseball son started travel at 11U, but it was the right choice for him.  It meant he didn't get to hit home runs on the small field.  Also, his team won the 9/10 league championship when he was 10, so where do you go from there?  11U and 12U travel ball was nothing special, though.

Late summer nights with the boys playing pickle in the "bullpens" were the best.  Made my youngest son take this picture on his last day of 12U.

IMG_5925

Attachments

Images (1)
  • IMG_5925

The first time my son dropped an F bomb on me was on the LL field. We were playing one on one pitching to each other. We had modified rules. I had to bat right handed and swing at every pitch anywhere near the strike zone. He was allowed to be selective.

After he took me deep on three consecutive at bats I knocked him down. He got up, dusted himself off and said, “Geez, you’re one f’n competitive arsehole.”:

No regrets. Many mistakes were made but it helped shaped both me and the kid. Lots of fun memories to balance out the crazy drama.  A lot of great kids ended their career between small field and HS, sadly I had not experienced the marginal small field player that became a late bloomer big field stud.  I was debating whether to donate or sell the baseball gear but the greedy knucklehead had already done that and will sell off the last bit of training gear before he leaves for the summer.

We had lots of good times on the small fields, both travel and rec.  My only regret was as a LL manager, not spreading the opportunities around more, and not giving one kid in particular the starting pitching assignment he wanted so badly. (though he got his chances eventually)  But I really wanted the 'ships, and so did most of the guys I was up against. It took me a few years to realize that my priorities were off. 

@JCG posted:

We had lots of good times on the small fields, both travel and rec.  My only regret was as a LL manager, not spreading the opportunities around more, and not giving one kid in particular the starting pitching assignment he wanted so badly. (though he got his chances eventually)  But I really wanted the 'ships, and so did most of the guys I was up against. It took me a few years to realize that my priorities were off.

Man, trying to manage that pitching rotation was tough. I had 3 "aces" and 2 other kids who were almost just as good. It was also a very competitive league. We already had the number 1 seed locked up so I rolled a kid out there who I was honestly concerned for his safety. He threw a few hand grenades and actually pitched a scoreless inning. I couldn't believe how much it meant to him. Then, after the game some dude comes up to me I hadn't met during the season. Turns out the kids dad was down from Michigan and this was the first time he'd seen him play. The guy was in tears telling me how much it meant to them.

@adbono posted:

The reality is that almost everything that happens on the baseball field before you get to 60/90 doesn’t mean anything. It’s not regulation baseball. It can be a lot of fun to see your kid succeed at that age but it’s not always a good predictor of what’s to come.

Most of the kids who excel on the 60/90 excelled on the 46/60 and 50/70. But the reverse is not true.

My son’s LL all star team went to states twice. Both teams finished in the same place. When he was eleven the team was loaded with future college baseball players. When he was twelve only four kids played high school ball (three college. Two future college players were on both teams.

When he was twelve the team was loaded with future high school all conference players in other sports. Some played at the college level in their sport.

What these kids did on the LL all star field (and the 50/70 travel field) was out run and out muscle the small field. When they moved to the big field they lacked the solid baseball fundamentals to continue to play in high school. 250 pop fly homers became routine outs on the 60/90.

Last edited by RJM

14 kids (other than my son) who were a "stud" in our area on the small field that played with my son on LL all-stars or the league "A" travel team.

Six were done with baseball by choice or by force (not good enough for 60/90) by the time they got to High School. That leaves eight.

One made JV in HS but never made varsity. That leaves seven.

Five of the seven made it to HS Varsity by their Junior or Senior year but were just bench players on the roster and almost never played. That leaves two.

One was a varsity starter as a senior and is now in college. When he was 9u, people called him "one of the best 9 year old baseball players you can ever see." (Ignoring that he was the oldest kid on the field because he was an early May birthday.) He's supposedly playing club baseball in college this year.

The other is a 2022 who is not committed yet. He's pitched on varsity. Probably a long shot to get a college offer.

My son would be the 15th in his group. He's the only one committed.

From my son's 12u all-star team:

The best player is now struggling to start as a sophomore on JV - kid is tiny and hasn't grown, he was dynamic on the little field though

Five are varsity starters - I'd say all of these kids will likely play in college and a couple will play D1

Four are JV and will not play much on varsity

The rest are no longer playing baseball

Where I am from Lacrosse is the major spring sport.   Kids played both Lacrosse and Baseball until about 12 years old so through little league.   The top players though from my son's little league all-star seasons (11 and 12-year-old) are almost all playing a sport in college.  The top 3 players on my son's 12u team; 2 D3 pitchers and 1 D1 pitcher.  Only one of the three were dominant pitchers at the time but all were dominant hitters.  In his 11u season, there are a few more D3 and D1 baseball commits (one of these likely round 1 or round 2 MLB draft pick next June), 2 D3 football commits, and quite a few D1 lax commits.  My town is a bit insane about athletics though.

Youngest son never played rec ball past 6U pitching machine ball.  Started kid pitch travel at 6U (yes part of that group).  The first travel team had 9 of 11 started varsity as a freshman with 8 playing college in some sport and 1 being drafted right out of HS.  He changed teams at 9U to another local team and that group has 7 playing college with 2 being P5 and 3 others D1 the same kid as on other team drafted out of HS.  11 of the 12 started varsity as freshmen.  Ranked in top 10 nationally every year they were together until 14 with all the kids except 2 being from 30 minutes of each other in NE Tennessee.

Middle son's local travel team had all 11 start varsity as freshman or sophomores.  7 played college with 2 drafted.  1 pitching in MLB and 1 pitching in AAA.  Ranked in top 10 for 4 years with everyone being from 15 minutes of each other in NE Tennessee.

I would disagree to some extent that what happens before big field is irrelevant.  If you start playing travel young enough on a high level team you learn mechanics and build a resume.  You also are not overwhelmed when you hit the big field because you have seen the high caliber pitching/hitting.  You will not be scared of anyone you face because you have seen it.  I look at most of these kids and they were in the recruiting process as incoming freshmen in high school.

RJM is so right, my son excelled on the smaller fields and struggled at 60/90 primarily due to being smaller and not as strong as a late bloomer. That combined with his lack of focus practicing hitting as he lost his IF spot (due to lack of hitting) combined for our talk about him not playing the game for me....and do what he wants to do and enjoy it. If you don't want to work at it to be better and enjoy the game, then move to another sport. He stuck it out and the rest is history as he is a pitcher and rarely hits...lol.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×