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My son didn't make a freshman team. Coaches have a private program for 7th and 8th grades who'll attend the same high school they coach. Kids who were in this program all made it. My son was in a different program for 2 years. He's good and everyone is surprised he didn't make it. (He said he did good at tryouts and the coach said he would need to hit better...) What should be his next move to make the team next year? He's absolutely heartbroken, but wants to try out again next year.

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I'm sorry about your son.  How many levels of teams does the school have?  Is it freshman, j.v., and varsity?  Is the j.v. mostly sophomores?  Are any freshmen on j.v.?

These things matter because, as you go up levels, there are often kids from several years competing for spots.  Some of those kids who made the freshman team this year may not make a team a year from now.

If the coach said hit better, then your son will have to spend this year learning to hit better.  Does he have a summer team for next summer?   He will need to play live games in order to improve his hitting.  Does the school have school summer teams, or do they expect kids to play travel?

PitchingFan is right. Those are your options. For whatever reason, your kid is on the outside looking in. It’s possible for that to change but it often doesn’t. Especially if politics are in play.  I can’t count the times I have seen HS coaches make a judgment on a 14 year old that turns out to be wrong, they never change their opinion, and the kid has a miserable HS experience. So take off your rose colored glasses and see this for what it is - a potential roadblock. If it were me, I would have a hard conversation with my kid and lay out the options - and I would do it soon.

Agree that this is time for hard objective analysis of his situation.   I would also suggest privately asking an knowledgeable insider for honest assessment of your kid as a player and the HS program; not someone close to you and someone that you guarantee confidentiality and that you will not take any feedback personally.

Then you need to figure out where baseball fits in his life.  I've seen so many kids quit because of the wrong coach.  Heck my middle son quit soccer age 11 because of his jerk coach.   

Now if he says baseball is a priority and he has the skill (or potential athleticism to develop the skill) to excel, then you do need to consider a school change if another one is close to you and the primary problem is politics. 

Tell him about Jordan and Brady's stories.  "Practice and play with a chip on your shoulder, son".

The coach told him what he needs to do. He has to hit better. But, it’s not this simple. He’s currently not on the team. He’s off the radar screen. In the meantime the coach will be seeing all the players who made the team develop.

What “hit better” needs to mean to your son is hit so well he can’t be ignored. Hit so well the coach has to have him on the team.

If it doesn’t happen find an appropriate level of summer ball for him tomkcontinue to develop.

Last edited by RJM

Get better. Politics play a role but mostly for on the bubble players, studs always play.

So get bigger and stronger, work on your hitting and make sure you are not a Liability in the field and on the bases.

I don't like what the coach does with boosting his own summer team but really it probably means your kid isn't much better than the kids in the bottom third of the roster.

A way to be a part of the program is volunteer to be a manager. The plus is you’re not out of sight. Chances are the coach will ask how the hitting is going on occasion. He’ll ask where you’re playing in the summer. Otherwise, he won’t think of your kid at all until next tryout.

Offer to catch bullpens. Maybe the reward is being told to get up to the plate and take a few BP swings.

Last edited by RJM


You have a difficult decision.

IMHO, keep your options open but start planning an exit strategy.

Question, is this freshman team just for the fall or is this the team for the spring 2022?

I would question why selections are made for the spring team so early.

Have your son ask the coach if he has a winter workout program and if he can attend?

If the answer is yes, then it will give your son the potential face time.

If the answer is no, then you make the decision to transfer accordingly.

Note,  this winter have your son take between 4k and 7k swings live batting machine between December and February.

Use a pitching machine (84 mph - 87 mph),  note  this is what I had my son doing the winter of his freshman year in HS.

I knew he would be ahead of most of the players at any level.  As a freshman, he started as the #3 hitter on the varsity team, ended up being #5 or 6 by end of season.

If your son is not given the opportunity, refocus his energies to spring travel baseball (if available), let him get to 3 or 4 tournaments before the summer season.

In 2012, a friend's son had similar issues. 

The HS team's feeder system was the local American Legion Team, coached by the HS Coach.

Friend's son was already playing travel baseball and attending showcases, so playing legion at a lower level was not feasible.

Player's junior year,  coach had him play 3 games on varsity, then sent him down to JV.

Note, I don't know if Juniors can play JV, but that is what happened.

Senior year (2015),  he didn't play because he wasn't one of the coaches guys.

Father was concerned because in 4 year he only had 4 varsity games.

Told him his son didn't need HS Baseball.


Your son is 6'2,  strong arm and runs a 6.4,  60.

Received scholarship to Akron and then they shutdown program. Would subsequently go to d1 juco,  finished career at D2 school.

Note, not everybody is that fortunate.

Good luck

@Dominik85 studs do not always play. I would say it’s true most of the time. However, if a coach has an outside program that he depends on financially and he has enough players to win whatever he needs to win by playing the guys who play (and pay) in his program…he will play those guys over the better player. It happened to my son. Additionally, some coaches have a preferred type of player and a blind spot to other types of players.

i don’t have a perfect answer for you but I do agree that your concern is justified. If you have any specific questions about our situation and how we handled it feel free to DM.  

Last edited by PTWood

… some coaches have a preferred type of player and a blind spot to other types of players.

A particular P5 coach tended to have a lot of under six feet, dirtbag style, position players. After watching this team for three years I pointed it out to one of the parents. The parent told me the coach has a weak spot for recruiting players like himself when he played.

@keewart posted:

Interesting that tryouts are in September.  Find out for sure that is the for the spring team.   

(Does anyone else on here have high school tryouts in the fall???)

Our high school has a baseball class.  Kids that sign up for baseball class go through a cut in the first month and if they can’t play they get their schedule changed. There is another tryout in January for the spring team and another round of cuts.  The kids that get cut in the fall are those who are obviously out of their element.

Sent you a PM.  My son has been cut twice in his "career"  Once in college and once in high school.  Saturday, I watched him strikeout the first batter he faced as a professional baseball player in the minor leagues!

Getting cut isn't the end of the world.  Get stronger, work even harder than you did before!

Good luck with the travel team!  I hope that works well and your son improves a bunch.  IMO there are a lot of factors in this that only you and your son can read when it comes to how to handle next year.

1) is the coach truly objective and is he a good enough coach that will help your son get better?  - Personally, I'd try to answer the question of where your son would develop the most (playing for a outside travel team/organization vs. the coaches program).  I'd suggest you ask other parents of successful kids who have been part of that program for feedback on the coaching and program as a whole.  IF they don't say good things then beware.  I'd also avoid feedback from anyone that didn't find success as it might be harder for them to be objective.  It's easy to blame the coaches, program, etc. when players don't find success.

2) Can your son accomplish his goals without high-school success?  In our area I'd say the answer is yes.  We have some good travel baseball organizations that are good options.  These are typically more expensive and might require parents to taxi your son to/from practice but it might be worth it (if you can afford it). One player I can think of got recently got recruited to JUCO prior to ever getting the opportunity to play at HS Varsity level.  Heck, another kid just got drafted and signed by the MLB without ever playing for his HS.  Every summer he'd go south and play travel ball.  He's gifted and very talented.   

3) Should you consider transferring to another school?  A few here have recommended it and I don't blame anyone for taking this route.  However here's my opinion on not taking this route.  Our HS experience was challenging to say the least.  However, my wife & I made the decision early on that all of our kids are going to stay put and every time my son asked about transferring we told him "no, sorry it's not an option - just keep working and improving".  I believed that he was good enough and eventually by his Jr & Sr years he was given opportunities and made the most of them.  However, I'd say that decision was very tough as the whole family went through it for essentially his entire HS career.  Even in his Jr & Sr years there was a lot of coach driven drama and challenges that my son had to deal with...  However, the bright side is our son has experienced extreme adversity and survived.  Heck - maybe he transfers and still has challenges.  He's now in college and the "grind" that his coaches are putting his team through doesn't seam to bother him too much.  I'd like to think that his rough HS experience prepared him for this.  Now it's up to him finding ways to get better regardless of the coaches & systems around him.  Transferring always seamed tp me like the parent paving the road for the kid vs. the kid learning how to struggle over a rough road (my opinion anyway).  At the end of the day I pray our approach gives him the best chance of success in both baseball and life after baseball.  "If it's to be... it's up to me"

That being said - IF your kids love to play but maybe they aren't high level athletes, then a smaller school might be a better fit (assuming your in a big school).  I grew up in a small town and everyone was a multi-sport athlete because the teams needed everyone just to fill a roster.  Most kids got to find some playing time in various sports.  However, my kids HS experience is with a larger school where good athletes are being cut because they are too small as a freshman.  Or they have a hard time dealing with sitting on the bench so they quit to focus on a different sport that they excel at.  Most of the coaches say they want multi sport athletes but at the same time they don't want any of their players to miss their "voluntary" off-season workouts.  The kids that attend these workouts seam to have the inside track when the actual season starts.  I often say my kids are living my College experience in HS.  Most athlete's specialize in their HS specialize... just like college.

Good luck!

I see poster is in CA.  So, to those asking, it is totally normal to have tryouts in September.  Many CA hs programs have baseball as a class.  CIF rule is that at least one day of tryouts have to be after the first school day. (MANY are the weekend after that) We also have a pretty robust fall and winter (off) season with mini-unofficial leagues, scrimmages and tournaments (thank you mild winters) for HS programs.  If your son wants to make the team next year he will absolutely need to come in above the bottom third of the team. He needs to keep in mind not only does he have to improve, he has to improve at a rate better than everyone else on the team to gain positions...  So depending how intense your high school program is, you may need to find a fairly active travel ball program with a solid winter option (be careful, many say they have winter but because certain HS programs are so time intensive, they don't do much with their travel program.). Our travel program offers practices and games during the fall and winter but many of the players that are at the super competitive HS programs miss a lot and come back for tournaments or events. Yesterday son had baseball starting at 1:15 (6th period) went until 3:30.  HS team weights from 4-5:30 and then had to muster the energy to go to 7pm pitcher workout for travel, several other boys bailed on the travel practice. It's just something to be careful of when looking for a travel program.  And for your son to keep in mind.  Lucky for you, I'm guessing this feeder team the other boys were on probably cut back the more the HS team works.   Either way, you son is going to need to work HARD.  He needs a good weight training program and a good hitting instructor.  It can be done but it will not be easy, and it's certainly not a matter of hitting off a tee a couple times a week and thinking things will be different next year.

Best of luck.

"What “hit better” needs to mean to your son is hit so well he can’t be ignored. Hit so well the coach has to have him on the team".

This is what I tell my boys all the time. Hitters are essential, a good glove is a plus. It's not like my boys have had an easy ride through their HS program. The program is as political as it gets. They have managed to stay in, but they have worked their tails off to do it. They hit three days most weeks and take infield/outfield at least two. It's not optional. They know what they are up against. Travel season is a relief to them as they don't have to be nervous about every play or AB. In HS, they know they can't make an error or have a bad AB. It's one and done there. In travel, the coaches know that every kid will make a mistake. Honestly, I have told my boys that baseball is their first job. We have fun in practice but when they step on the field it is business. They have to do their job.

What I see in players that have a tough time with the game is that they lack the "skills" aspect. There is so much more to hitting and fielding. The fundamentals are so important, but many times they are overlooked. Baseball is a game that will bring any weakness to the surface. It doesn't matter if it is mental, physical or a combination thereof. That is why it is so important to work on the skills that are required to be successful. They must become second nature. I am lucky to have twins and they are constantly telling each other what might be a better approach or what they see the other doing right or wrong. Many times there is a "cadence" to a ground ball. How you approach it and field it is paramount to making the play routine, difficult or impossible.

During the off season, have your son work on the fundamentals of hitting and fielding, then build on that. Even if he thinks he is doing things right, get a good instructor/coach to work with him to be sure. Even the slightest flaw will have an effect on how he plays. After he has learned the skills, then it comes down to repetition. Refining a player's skill will make defensive plays look seamless. Refining his hitting skills including approach, will make him more successful at the plate. If he wants to be on the team, he will do thousands of reps and put in the hard work.             

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