I have a 2024 who has committed to a D2 school, and a 2027 who wants to play with his brother for a year. Without injury, my 2027 will not make the lineup. He might make the pitching staff, but I wouldn't expect him to pitch a whole lot. My question is should my 2027 play on a VERY crappy JV team against VERY crappy competition with a coach who is less than spectacular or would it be better for him to practice with the big boys and sit the bench?
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Logistically, it would be better for our family to have them together. We've been split up for baseball for 7 years. I'd like my wife and I to be able to watch 2024 in his senior season and not have to travel on the same day to the away game. I have a good relationship with the head coach and it is a small family first school community. Should I talk to the coach?
My so had this scenario. He was a PO for varsity, two way in freshman/jv. He asked the HC if he could play with his friends if he wasn’t pitching. To me sitting in the bench does nothing for you, and we learned that you don’t know how many chances you have to play. 2020 knocked out our senior year. That said, your son may not have a choice. And he should probably preface it by saying he will do whatever the coach needs him to do.
You are lucky if your 2027 has any say in the matter. My 2026 had no say as to what team he played on last year as a freshman whatsoever (very large school with 4 baseball teams).
Just saw your follow-up post - I think it really depends upon your 2027. Is he strong enough to pitch to varsity players as a freshman? In our school's league, 97% of freshmen pitching to varsity would have their pitches crushed by older, stronger, more experienced players. I am guessing that this is not a problem for your son. Personally, I would not have brought my son up to just pitch as a freshman, as one of his many strengths is as a hitter. On JV, my freshman son was able to pitch and hit, and they often worked out with varsity (they almost never saw the other freshmen players on the frosh or soph teams). Will your son be ok without batting all spring? There is something to be said for taking live at bats. Will this place him at a disadvantage when he starts with his summer team? Son's summer team had a game during school finals...so there was not any downtime.
Players don’t develop on JV playing mediocre competition. They develop in the summer playing quality travel competition. Chances are the travel team plays twice as many games or more than the JV team.
How do you get to varsity? Impressing the varsity coach in practice. Ask yourself, can he impress the varsity coach playing in JV games or at varsity practice?
My son played at a high school where the varsity coach didn’t believe freshman should play varsity. Watching JV ball freshman year was the worst time I ever had watching baseball. I wasn’t excited watching my son dominate. I expected nothing less. I can’t imagine what it would have been like watching the freshman team.
I don't think you should speak to the coach at all, even in a small school. I can see why a coach might not want a spare bench-player on varsity. If you phrased it as "better for your son to practice with varsity," what would be to stop all the other j.v. players from asking for the same thing? What if they actually need your son on j.v.?
If your son is on j.v. and it's your older son's senior season, I don't see why you couldn't skip the j.v. games and have both of you watch all of the varsity games. Presumably your younger son would understand. He might prefer playing on j.v. to having you watch him sit the bench on varsity. We made a point of going to all the games of our son's senior season, which meant abandoning his younger brother sometimes.
@BB and BB posted:
... My question is should my 2027 play on a VERY crappy JV team against VERY crappy competition with a coach who is less than spectacular or would it be better for him to practice with the big boys and sit the bench?
seems like you answered the question for yourself ... if you and your '27 son already know what is to be "VERY crappy" in the coming spring, He should avoid it by preparing this fall/winter to be ready to compete with the older varsity players. IMO, best to avoid the crap! .... regardless of the playing time.
My 2024 played varsity hs baseball as a freshman, he wanted it. He was the first freshman on varsity in over ten years (under a new head coach). In hindsight, it was good for his development, but it came with many highs an lows for him over a 10 week sprint. As a freshman, two seniors took my son under their wing and mentored him (and drove him everywhere) as they felt my kid could help them win. The interesting dynamic was the next year as a sophomore, the prior year's juniors resented my son playing varsity as a freshman, and when the juniors became seniors the culture shaped by the next crop of seniors and some of their parents shifted toward "my playing time is more important than winning" - it became a crappy season really quickly. It took the head coach an entire year to figure it out and he started making cuts and in-season demotions the following season (last year). For a second year in a row, a small group of parents have tried to get the new head coach fired. So glad none of this drama exists in our hs basketball program.
Things your freshman son can do on a very crappy JV team that will help him the next few years (and life):
1. Show the coach that he wants the ball.
2. Develop himself as a leader. Easier to be a leader on varsity if you get a practice round with JV.
3. Get it done, grind it out, despite knowing mom/dad/big brother won't be there every game.
I totally empathize with wanting to attend all of the senior's games. Senior season was a special time for our family. Your coach may empathize and indulge your logistical preferences. But for the next 3 years, is he going to judge your younger son differently -- the guy who would rather ride pine next to his brother than get on the field and help the (very crappy) JV team win?
One strategy could be: Let baseball figure it out. Don't talk to the coach. Younger son wants to play with his brother - let him go for it. Invest in private instruction. If he can make his way to varsity it will be his achievement.
Enjoy the ride!