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Here is our situation, need some advice. Our son is currently a sophomore on the JV team as a pitcher and 1b. He pitched Thursday night a complete game 2-hitter, 11K against the strongest team we will face all year, and the varsity got clubbed 12-0 with no pitching (all varsity pitchers graduated). Seems as though he will be on JV this year and next, because varsity is carrying 20 players, of which 8 are pitchers. Our varsity coach has us, although our son has all the talent to pitch at the varsity level, I don't want to bring him up because he is young (15)and don't want to ruin his confidence. I don't know if he can handle the pressure. Even though his pitchers currently on his roster have no varsity experience and he really doesn't know if they can handle the pressure either. He says he is maybe gonna bring him up if things go bad, and our son has a couple of good outings on JV. We are torn because we want what is best for our son, and don't know if playing on JV all year and pitching everyweek is the best or going to varsity and pitching maybe three times because of the number of pitchers on the team. Same can be said for next year, because there is only one pitcher who is a senior this year. Maybe it is parents wearing the "rose colored glasses", but our son is clearly better than all varsity pitchers currently on the roster, even the coach has said so, but he is afraid of his age and ability to handle the pressure. He definetly isn't being challenged at the JV level. We have come to the conclusion that next year is gonna be alot of the same, because now he would be a varsity pitcher with no experience, and all the pitchers who are on varsity this year, will be returning, and our son won't see much action again next year. Do we wait until his senior year to see if things shake loose? Or look for another program? Any help will be much appreciate, our son is already frustrated with the whole situation. Even all the varsity players tell him, he should be up there pitching, which doesn't help with the frustration level. Thanks.
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Just a guess, but your son will probably get called up this year and possibly work his way into the rotation. Next year he'll make varsity and compete on an even basis with the other pitchers. The "senior to be" may be given preference but the others won't. Just a guess, once again, but I don't think you have anything to worry about.
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dadchs24 –
I’ll share our son’s experience, which was a good one, of a freshman on varsity. He was asked by the coach to pitch in a fall varsity-level game and based on that performance was invited to tryout for varsity as a freshman. He was also 15 and made the team. His experience was great and we have no regrets. The better competition just helped to make him a better pitcher. I don’t feel it ruined his confidence, but challenged him to work hard and earn his spot on the rotation. All kids are different. If your son gets discouraged easily with competition, then its something he’ll need to work on within himself, the sooner the better! It sounds like if the coach is bringing him up to varsity, it’s to have him pitch not sit. The key issue would be how the other varsity players will react. He’ll need to be ready to take some ribbing. I don’t think they ever used our son’s name that whole year, just referred to him as “freshman”….. and, we parents were also the new kids on the block, joining a group of families that had known each other for 3 years. But, it was a great year. So, based on our experience, I say let him take on the challenge and just be there to be his best fan. Smile

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If "the pressure" is the main concern, all involved should try and make your son's experience as pressure-free as possible. Where's all this pressure coming from? Pressure is all in the mind and the perception of the situation can be controlled to a large extent. I hope he moves to varsity, takes no prisoners, and HAS FUN doing it!

"Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
H.L. Mencken

As the father of a 4 year varsity starter, I say go for the best competition you can get. The main objective of a HS coach is to win, but as the father of an athlete, my goal is to get the athlete prepared for the next level. That can probably be accomplished better at the varsity level. Sure, his stats will look good on the JV team, but look at the experience he can get at the varsity level. Go ahead and put him in the pressure situations, let him learn how to work his way out of a jam; it may take a while but in the big important games later on he will have already been there and done that.

Just my opinion.


Practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.
What is all this talk about "pressure" ??

When I was a kid you just went out and played baseball with the best players you could find-- What pressure !!!!!!

The parents are creating the pressure beginning with 6 year old "elite" travel teams

Perhaps it is not for the kids anymore -- it is for one oneupmanship between parents !!!!

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TR you are so right. I think if the kids could just play, there is no pressure. Many of the so called pressures is coming from outside sources, i.e. parents. When I used to coach, I always thought the game would be so much better for the kids, if the only ones who attended the games were the players, coaches, and umpires. No politics, parents, and all the petty problems. Jeez, 6 year old "elite" traveling teams, people need to get a life, and let kids be kids, and grow up on their own time, at there own speed. Parents need to stop trying to make kids something they are not. Is it the parent who wants the kid to be a baseball player, or the player himself. I actually had a kid tell me once, I don't really like the game, but I play because my dad wants me too. So, when I was coaching I asked the dad about this, and he said the same thing, "my son doesn't really like baseball, but that is too bad because I do, and he can't quit. What a shame, kids heart just wasn't into it, and it showed on the field.
As the Mom of the pitcher we are talking about, I'm going to pipe in with my two cents worth. (If you ask my husband, he'll tell you it's more like a dollars worth, but that's a different topic!) I think the "pressure" is the expectation to perform at the Varsity level, that the varsity coach sees my son might have trouble with. Last year, I would have agreed, as he was somewhat immature and needed the confidence to perform at the high school level. He excelled on the freshman team, leading the team in strikeouts, batting, slugging, rbi's etc. It did wonders for his confidence. Since the freshman season ended last May, he has been playing with the Varsity players in summer, fall and winter ball. He also went to Australia with Area Code. His maturity level has grown by leaps and bounds, and his confidence has also. He was successful playing against varsity competition, and knows that he can excell at that level. The Varsity coach could not watch him play since last July, so he is going by last years opinions, which is that he was immature. And he was. But he's not anymore. He's very frustrated by the fact that he's playing with and against lesser competition. He needs a challenge and he's not getting it at the JV level. This is just not our opinion, his fall coach and the Varsity players have said the same thing. Both games we have played so far this season, he was asked by mulitple players on the other team, and the other teams coaches why he wasn't on Varsity. It is not the parents who are applying the "pressure" here, it is the coaches perception of how our son will handle Varsity competition. I think we are just asking for him to have the chance to prove himself.
Sounds to me like his experience and confidence level is sufficient to handle it; our youngest made varsity last year as a freshman, and we learned, at the end of his first game, that he'd be our closer. He wasn't our fastest pitcher, but he threw pretty hard for a freshman, and carried ridiculous confidence for a freshman. Perhaps most importantly other than the confidence, he threw strikes and wasn't going to lose a game with walks.

He got a boatload of appearances, he had some great success, made some mistakes, and he also got knocked around a couple times, but learned a ton about pitching. There is no substitute for live game play against good competition, and your son will handle it if everyone realizes that he will make mistakes, but you also have a pretty good pitcher coming back for two more years after this one.

As good as your son likely is, he's still a sophmore, maybe still has animals on his bed at home, maybe still will allow hugs when the guys aren't looking. Fans may lose sight of the fact that he's young, but as long as you don't, and it sure sounds like you won't, he'll be fine. Enjoy the ride!
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