Need some feel good stories

Brief background.  13u (just turned 13 -so second youngest on the team) but a bigger kid 5'8 140lbs, 7th grader, playing 54' 80'.  Normally a great hitter.  Moved up to more of an elite team and is struggling at the plate.  Is 9 for 28, hitting mainly grounders with just a couple of line drives.  Because of this he is batting at the bottom of the order and not as often as he would like.  It is breaking my heart to see him struggle like this.  I am doing what I can to help him - he is getting lessons (and does phenomenal) I have golf ball wiffle balls that he hits with a 1" diameter pipe, and to make things even more challenging and fun for him and his younger brother, I started throwing airsoft bb's from about 10-15 feet - which he does very well hitting them (with the 1" pipe) as well.  So I know what he is capable of.  A positive is that he is doing way better at 1st base then I thought (and the coaches thought) he would do.  He does typically start in the big games at first.  Although, the bad thing with that is he might play 4 - 5 innings but not get an AB (which isn't helping him).

Anyway, I am looking for any stories you all might have where you knew of someone who struggled early but then came into their own. 

Original Post

I was waiting for someone else to post first, but....they didn't.

This is the second topic regarding what you feel is your sons poor performance. Everyone struggles at one time or another, your son is young and he is JUST ONLY 13. 

My suggestion to you is to let it all go. Forget the whiffle balls, forget the lessons, take him to the batting cages and just let him hit. Stop putting pressure on him. 

Feel good stories should be about the joy of watching your son play. Things will get better, as he gets older and more mature. You will look back on this and laugh.

JMO

I have a feel good story for you, though it may not be the one you want.  I have photos of various teams my sons played on and/or that I coached over my desk.  Right now I'm looking up at my 2017's LL team from 2010 -- that was a great year. I coached a good bunch of kids with a good friend.  We didn't win, but  we were in the hunt for the Majors title all year. My friend and I went on to coach a travel team together for a while, then with his boy a year older, our kids went their separate ways, but off on an on for the next 5 years, my friend and I and our two boys would meet weekly at the cage. They would talk and hit; my friend and I would just talk.  As it turns out, my kid is still playing, and his kid stopped after JV in HS.  That kid could mash.  He was a little small and a little slow, but he raked. In the cage and in LL at least.  I think he loved the game, but just not enough to put in the work in the end, and not enough to go through the transition to having a very tough HS coach at the Varsity level.  

Like most 13yo baseball players, even those with considerable talent, he was out of the game by the time he graduated from HS. That is just the way the numbers are.  Why is that a feel good story?  Well because that is okay.  His playing days are over, as they will be for everybody as some point, but he's still a great kid!  He's working hard and finishing up at a Juco this year. He and his dad still love to travel and camp and fish and see baseball games together, just like they did back in his playing days.  Even if he didn't play as long as my friend would have liked, I think that all those days in the cage with dad, and going to tournaments and games, helped make him who he is today. Same for my boy.  In both cases that's a good thing.

TPM is right. Try to relax and enjoy the ride while it lasts, wherever it takes you son.

This board is full of posters whose son has

  • increased his level of competition,
  • faced new challenges that caused them to struggle,
  • made an adjustment to their game

and exited on the other side a better ball player. 

You said your son has moved up to more of an elite travel team. In other words, he improved his level of competition. If I had to guess,  I would bet that your son is now seeing better pitching.

Continuing my guess, I’ll go a step further and assume that due to your son’s size, he’s seeing more spin and / or more fastballs away with fewer mistakes over the middle of the plate. 

It may be time to work on identifying the adjustment  needed at the plate. 

Take him to a youth field. Grab a bucket of balls and play a game of home run derby. Just see ball...hit ball mentality. Have some fun with it. It may not fix the adjustment needed but it should be relaxing and fun. Since I didn’t provide a feel good story, let the home run derby be the beginning of your own feel good story. The story has to start somewhere

 

I agree with JCG and TPM.  Enjoy the time with your son while it lasts.   The next few years (MS/HS) will go by quicker than you can imagine.   One day he is just starting to play JV and the next thing you know it's his senior night.

Just to put it in perspective, you post your son is only 9 for 28 - ummmm.....that's a .321 batting average...about normal.  Considering he moved up to a higher level team that's not bad and he's no doubt playing on a 90' diamond.

My son't playing days have long since past, but I remember about the time he was 12 he struggled hitting as he went through a growth spurt.  Once things settled down, he was fine.  He went on to be a starter for his JV and Varsity teams.  His senior year they won the district championship in which he came through with a crucial hit in the bottom of the 7th.  He went on to play three years of college ball (2 JuCo and one D2).

He now lives a good days drive away so I cherish any time I can spend with him.  Even just a few minutes on the phone is a pleasure.  I recently visited with him and we took in the NASCAR race in Bristol.  It was a good father-son weekend despite the weather.

Relax and Enjoy The Ride. 

 

I agree with TPM, not sure about all the gimmick stuff. Tee/cage work. I'd guess you have your kid thinking way too much at the plate  

I'm not sure how the feel good stories are going to help. I'd assume you're going to show him and be like "see  everything will be fine" ?

At 13U you have puberty coming and that's the big unknown  Three years from now he might have gained a few pounds,  grown a few inches  and be "the man". Or not. 

No, my son has no idea how I am feeling.  I always present a positive front and let him know I am proud of him.  I don't know that he even knows about this website.   I spoke with his hitting coach and he said my son is doing great and is really impressed with how he can hit the ball.  He stated the same thing you all did, it will just take a little bit of time for him to adjust and if he isn't getting consistent abs, it is like coming in and trying to pinch hit, which is one of the most difficult things to do.  I really like that idea of a home run derby.  We did that with the tee a week or so ago and he put more than half of the balls over the fence.  Of course it was only a 200' fence, but still he had a lot of fun.  We do have a softball field with 225' fence so maybe I will take him there and let him swing away.

My biggest thing is I just want him to have fun.  I want to make sure he doesn't get discouraged.  I am sure he will end up doing just fine whether it is this year or next.  And when he mentions he is bummed I let him know to use this as a learning opportunity.  I would rather him struggle now and learn how to deal with it then get into hs and have to try to cope with it for the first time.  (And me too!!! this is tough, but I am smiling about it knowing he will do just fine - I am just not used to seeing him struggle.  Also, it is good to know I am not the only one I guess)

And so what if he struggles when he gets to HS ,so what if he struggles when he gets to college, so what if he struggles if he gets to proball.

Baseball is about struggle, it's real ( you know that old expression), it's about failure, it happens and it's going to happen probably over and over. As a very well known coach told me a long time ago when pitcher son was in college, this is part of the game, how one deals with it, is how one is able to get through to the next game. Game by game. Season by season, level by level. I understand why he is so successful and churns out first rounders. 

If one can't take their son struggling when their son is 13, better check yourself out now. Really. Come. On. 

I am pretty sure son struggled when he was 13. Who cared!!!  Don't be that dad. It's not healthy.

JMO

 

I’ve got one for you. It’s real and personal. My son lost is ability to hit a baseball at 13-14U. The transition to the large field and introduction of breaking balls compromised his ability to get on base. 

He lost his infield spot, remember now we played “major” ball back then and you had to produce to be on the field. Winning was everything.

I guess I would agree with TPM that back then it was a world stopper for me to the degree that we had a serious talk about him not playing for me, and playing for himself and quitting baseball if that’s what he wanted to do.

He had pitched some and got a chance to relieve some games and start others. That’s when his passion for pitching began. He made varsity as a freshman in HS and got to hit on his HS team but was never the best hitter, same for travel ball. 

He stuck it out and needless to say I am beyond impressed with his maturity and growth as a man, teammate and a baseball player.

Have fun, it goes fast and believe me you’ll wish you were having a bit more fun back then. 

Shove,

Confession is good for the soul! 

How about having the best hitter on the team only allowed to pitch?  Mr. TPM had a tough time with that, but pitching paid for his college education and made him some money later on, and yes at times the struggle was REAL. 

 

 

 

Hitting .328 is not a slump!!! 28 at bats is not enough if a sample size to judge anyways.  If he was 14 for 28 that should taken with a grain of salt, too... Stop fretting about it.  It is 13U, it is not a big deal.   Do stuff that is fun.  HR Derby is a great idea.  Have him throw a left handed bullpen.  Seriously.  Just let him be a kid and keep it fun.  Continue doing the lessons etc but focus on enjoying the game.

My advice, get away from baseball.  Take a few days off.  No thinking about baseball.  Do something else.  go fishing, hit up a museum, etc.  Get his mind off of baseball.  Let him relax.  He's probably feeling the pressure at the plate.  Even if your not putting it on him, he knows.  This is the 13u version of a slump buster.

BTW like 3and2 pointed out he's hitting .328, and 28 ABs are not enough of a sample.  

Last summer, first tournament of travel ball, my son is hitting 4 hole. 10 strike outs in a row. 0-14 I think for the tournament.  Parents are getting irritated. I’m just sad for him.  Coach doesn’t blink. Keeps him in like nothing is wrong.  My son says...why does he keep playing me???? I said, he knows you can.  Finally, son gets a hit and coach says, welcome back. Next tournament, he is named player of the game in 3 of the games by the tournament .  Twice for hitting, once for pitching.  Sometimes it just takes not panicking and letting them work through it.  Even pros have slumps. A 13 year old is going to slump. Relax.

joes87 posted:

My advice, get away from baseball.  Take a few days off.  No thinking about baseball.  Do something else.  go fishing, hit up a museum, etc.  Get his mind off of baseball.  Let him relax.  He's probably feeling the pressure at the plate.  Even if your not putting it on him, he knows.  This is the 13u version of a slump buster.

BTW like 3and2 pointed out he's hitting .328, and 28 ABs are not enough of a sample.  

At 13 son played golf, played basketball, street hockey, bowling and went to surf camp one summer and was going to be the next David Copperfield. 

Life is too short at 13 for just baseball and same for folks too!

Dadof3 posted:

......

  It is breaking my heart to see him struggle like this.  I am doing what I can to help him - he is getting lessons (and does phenomenal) I have golf ball wiffle balls that he hits with a 1" diameter pipe, and to make things even more challenging and fun for him and his younger brother, I started throwing airsoft bb's from about 10-15 feet - which he does very well hitting them (with the 1" pipe) as well.

....

There is NOTHING wrong with wanting your kid to succeed and wishing things were different for them when they struggle.  How many of us watched our kid learn to ride a bike, or taught them how to swim, and every failure they had we wished it would get better quicker?  Nothing different when it's a slump at the plate.

My GUESS would be growth spurt combined with the added pressure of knowing he's not the top tog right now.  I saw a great quote on twitter the other day, hit like it doesn't matter.  And it's TRUE! Ge out of your head, imagine it's in a game that doesn't count, you are lead off and there are no outs.  Hit like it doesn't matter!

During our Area Code Games at Fresno State, 4th August, temp at 98º.

One of the players from Hawaii did not have a College Scholarship.

Bobo Brayton, Coach at Washington State "lost" a player to the draft and the Scholarship was now available. I requested the Hawaii player [pitcher] to pitch the next game.

The player from Hawaii graduated 4 years later from Washington State. A "true story".

Bob

 

 

CaCO3Girl posted:
Dadof3 posted:

......

  It is breaking my heart to see him struggle like this.  I am doing what I can to help him - he is getting lessons (and does phenomenal) I have golf ball wiffle balls that he hits with a 1" diameter pipe, and to make things even more challenging and fun for him and his younger brother, I started throwing airsoft bb's from about 10-15 feet - which he does very well hitting them (with the 1" pipe) as well.

....

There is NOTHING wrong with wanting your kid to succeed and wishing things were different for them when they struggle.  How many of us watched our kid learn to ride a bike, or taught them how to swim, and every failure they had we wished it would get better quicker?  Nothing different when it's a slump at the plate.

My GUESS would be growth spurt combined with the added pressure of knowing he's not the top tog right now.  I saw a great quote on twitter the other day, hit like it doesn't matter.  And it's TRUE! Ge out of your head, imagine it's in a game that doesn't count, you are lead off and there are no outs.  Hit like it doesn't matter!

I agree but that's a hard concept for an adult to live by, let alone a 13 year old.

Today's sports parent is completely different than when my kids were 13.  We all know that it's not all good.  When 13 year old athletes are committing, we know that isn't always healthy.  That's why the NCAA made a rule change in recruiting, to take the pressure off the prospect in making a hasty decision. IMO, that should also take pressure off parents thinking their players are falling behind, or even question maybe they don't belong.

As stated, enjoy your kids,  when they stumble as well as when they rise up. It goes by so fast. Too fast.

We are all lucky to have them here on earth, some are not.

 

A small kid who is struggling doesn’t need a feel good story. He needs to decide how badly he wants to succeed in baseball. He needs to determine what it will take to get it done. He will go as far as his grit and talent can take him. 

A feel good story is a teammate saving another teammate’s life and feeling bonded for life. A feel good story is an athlete having a positive effect on his community. A feel good story is watching a disabled kid smiling while playing baseball in a Miracle League or LL Challenger League game.

My son was 5’2” 100 in 13u as a 12u eligible.

younggun posted:
hshuler posted:

Saw the kid in this article get a long and well-deserved standing ovation last night after winning a perseverance award.

http://www.gwinnettprepsports....35-36026e9cc00f.html

Herb, what an awesome story.  Thanks for sharing that. What an incredible young man.

Thanks.  Let’s just say that they must have been cutting up onions all over the auditorium. Not a dry eye in the building, except mine of course.  j/k

TPM posted:

Shove,

Confession is good for the soul! 

How about having the best hitter on the team only allowed to pitch?  Mr. TPM had a tough time with that, but pitching paid for his college education and made him some money later on, and yes at times the struggle was REAL. 

 

 

 

I think this happens a lot.  Happened to Ryan.

Shoveit4Ks posted:

I’ve got one for you. It’s real and personal. My son lost is ability to hit a baseball at 13-14U. The transition to the large field and introduction of breaking balls compromised his ability to get on base. 

He lost his infield spot, remember now we played “major” ball back then and you had to produce to be on the field. Winning was everything.

I guess I would agree with TPM that back then it was a world stopper for me to the degree that we had a serious talk about him not playing for me, and playing for himself and quitting baseball if that’s what he wanted to do.

He had pitched some and got a chance to relieve some games and start others. That’s when his passion for pitching began. He made varsity as a freshman in HS and got to hit on his HS team but was never the best hitter, same for travel ball. 

He stuck it out and needless to say I am beyond impressed with his maturity and growth as a man, teammate and a baseball player.

Have fun, it goes fast and believe me you’ll wish you were having a bit more fun back then. 

Son had a similar experience at 11U. I remember having the “I think this is his last season” discussion with other coaches. Next practice I noticed that he wouldn’t move until ball was in flight while taking fungos in the outfield. 

Luckily, instead of becoming a PO he got contacts. :-)

It's funny how something can feel so important and when you look back on it you say to yourself "What was I thinking?" And then there are those things you are 100 percent sure are the worst thing that could happen. Only to look back on them and say "That was such a blessing." The journey of baseball is so much like the journey of life. 

For me what was the end result of the experience? Did it make you a better person? Did it mold you and shape you? Did it give you more than you took from it? For some it's just a game. For some it is much more. In the end they all have to put it down one day. What do they take with them for life? That's the feel good story for me. 

Hey Coach, it's funny you say that "something can feel so important and when you look back on it you say to yourself "What was I thinking?"".  It has only been a month and I look back and see how anxious I was for my son to succeed right then at that time when none of this matters.  Who cares what he did or does at 13?  It is more important to enjoy this time together and to make sure he is HAVING FUN.  He could be the best player out there, but if he isn't having fun what does it matter?  I took a step back and am now just focusing on making sure he is having fun and hopefully getting better at the same time!

Good for you DADOF3. I wish I could watch my son play another game. I have to resort to watching t-ball kids on facebook videos. Enjoy the next few years with whatever he wants to do. FYI my son was about your son's size at 13 maybe even shorter. He's now 6'2' and 250 at 22, a full 3 inches taller than me. So he was time to grow.

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