Have heard few families decide to keep their player back a year. Talking 8th graders here. One even decided to do virtual home school. Why would someone do this?
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Chasing an athletic scholarship.
A kid will more physically mature for his grade if he’s a year older. It can benefit at recruiting time.
I’m not a fan. If a kid isn’t emotionally mature to start school at five hold him back from starting for a year. Our school district tests for kindergarten readiness. Once starting school I’m a proponent of a post grad year on the back end, if needed rather than holding a kid back at the beginning of high school.
i wonder how many kids get held back before high school for athletic reasons then don’t get athletic scholarships.
Repeating 8th grade is very common here (Southern California), along with the virtual home school. The kid enters freshman year and is bigger and stronger than his peers, and if he's a good ball player he looks like a stud. This gets the kid to varsity faster, and with PG now using the players grade for tournaments, it helps in those events too. I think this definitely gets the kid looks from colleges earlier, and perhaps looks that he wouldn't have gotten.
Risks? I've seen some of these "stud" freshman lose their edge as their peers catch up. The perception (and maybe reality) is that they aren't improving, that they sort of peaked and plateaued early. By Junior year people are wondering what happened to that kid and how is he going to survive at Big Name school.
In one metro area I'm familiar with it is almost the norm in many circles to hold the boy back somewhere, girls not so much, and the earlier the better. Yes, it's all about athletics and most in the area I'm thinking try to do it early, like in elementary years. I'm more familiar with the Jr year HS "reclass" option (usually a boy transferring from public HS to private HS and repeating Jr year at new private school), or as RJM references the PG ("post grad" or 5th year of HS) year.
Son currently doing a PG year now at a school of 1100 total students. 25 PG boys (football, lacrosse, hockey, basketball mostly), 4 PG girls.
Benefits: if athlete still has projection remaining, allows them to grow and settle into frame and mature across the board.
Risks: Intellectually and academically? None, in my opinion. Recruiting wise? Can extend window of recruitment if, IF, athlete improves markedly from previous year. If nothing changes? No further physical growth or development? Most likely not a game changer.
Risks? Kids hate their parents because they are embarrassed in front of their peers. Their friends move on to the next grade, they stay behind. They are labelled as dumb by their friends. You also get another year to do their laundry, clean up behind them.
Advantages? Another year for you to save for college. Maybe you get your grass cut for another year. Maybe.
If the kid is young for his grade (graduate at 17) , wants to stay back a year, has access to quality education, then go for it. Kid will be off to college before you know it anyway. Might as well enjoy having him at home another year. JMO
I’ve seen or heard of it a few times with folks that I know or know of and it’s mostly been done to gain an athletic edge. Not that it hasn’t happened but I’ve never seen or heard of it done with a non-athlete.
It can absolutely help a kid get into college but I have also seen it hurt a kid’s draft stock.
No doubt, it is a step NOT to be taken lightly.
Rarely happens in the rural area where I live and coach now. In more suburban areas where there are a lot of private day schools, it is more common, especially for athletes.
If done later in HS, and if done haphazardly, it can have potentially negative consequences if not done for a seemingly legitimate reason (makeup year for a year lost due to injury or other reason, shoring up academics for HA recruiting, shoring up skill set, etc) it can appear to be an act of desperation and likely a turnoff for coaches recruiting; especially if the kid is still the same kid they saw the previous year and closed the book on.
Former travel ball player of mine was a very gifted baseball and basketball player age 12-14. He graduated 8th grade middle school and dad enrolled him in the local Catholic school for another year of 8th grade. Dad then sent boy to local HS for the next year of 9th grade. Then somehow managed to get him transferred to crosstown public HS for 10th grade, and yes, 4 years and 4 different schools. A bit much for my taste, but not my kid so more power to him.
In the end the young man is playing baseball in college. Worked out for him but I think he would have played college ball if he stayed true to his original grad year.
So we held our son back before going into middle school. It was not for athletics. He was young for his age (late summer birthday). He went to a private Christian school and was always the youngest in his class (was subject to bullying) . All his friends from LL that lived nearby all were in a grade lower than him and attended the local public school. Wife and I could tell he was not comfortable at his school so we talked about holding him back a year and transferring him to the local public school to repeat the 6th grade. We asked our son if he was okay with this and he said he was. This extra year made the world of difference for my son as far as maturity and confidence. This was the best thing we could have ever done for him. He had a great MS and HS experience both academically, socially and athletically.
I have seen it done in conjunction with moves that do not affect the kid because no one knew about holding them back except the administration. When done without the move, it would be tough. Some will transfer their kid to a private school and then back to the public school. I don't think there is all the ridicule that is suggested because when it is done all the little Johnnies know why it is being done. When that particular little Johnny is starting as a freshman on varsity all the ridicule goes away. I cannot imagine the home school thing unless you are a stay at home parent plus they would lose a year of school ball.
As has been said, it is not to be taken lightly. I think the kid has to be on board with the decision.
Strangely, it's the opposite. The kids that "redshirt" in 8th grade are known as athletes and carry a certain pride for redoing the year. Not everyone gets to do it, only the better athletes... go figure.
(Just my opinion. In this area, one size definitely doesn't fit all.)
If a kid is succeeding academically and socially the reason for holding a kid back in eighth grade would be purely for athletic reasons. It is an undeniable truth that a kid will be bigger and stronger with that added year and gain the desired advantage in HS tryouts.
Conversely, the message conveyed is that athletics rule the roost; academics and social maturity issues are secondary. When the time comes to crack the academic whip in HS (when girls, driving, long showers , and other issues arise) which virtually all kids require, what will be the new message conveyed? Will the kid understand that the multi-month test prep is far more important than athletics?
Andecdotal evidence doesn't really prove any general principle, but the kids I knew from who were held back (strictly for the sports advantage) did play their sport(s) in HS and most were advantaged by the hold back (as strictly defined by sport performance). None played beyond HS; and none caught fire academically in HS. AND, their peers who moved on to HS in normal time, left their former peers to repeat that middle school grade. New friends I'm sure we're made by both groups.
College coaches do look less at projection and more to immediate potential impact; pro ball looks more at projections. Take that for what is is.
I wish I had the crystal ball which is needed to choose which path is better. Just understand the advantages and disadvantages in holding a kid back for purely athletic reasons. I'd add that if a kid is struggling academically, diagnosing the reason early and aggressively addressing it is far more preferable then believing a repeat of material from eighth grade will improve academic performance.
It's been mentioned in a few of the posts, but the age of the kid relative to his classmates is really important. If a kid is already older than a lot of his classmates (typically birthday just missed the normal cut-off date for a school district) and then he is held back another year, that can be really hard on the kid. In today's information age, kids know how old kids are and they will think a kid who is that much older was held back because he could not handle school.
You can go to the PG website and see how old a player is. We had a kid we knew who was a junior in HS but was older than all but one of the seniors on the team. They used to call him "old man" and such and he was good natured about it, but I wonder what he really thought. But if a kid is young compared to his classmates and tends to be grouped on 12U and 14U teams with kids at the grade below him, holding him back makes more sense.
Definitely not a decision to made hastily and without full support of the kid.
different for every kid, my sons best friend repeated 8th grade at a private hs before coming back to our public hs.
He was young for his grade, played little league with kids a grade younger and all his friends were in the grade behind him. he was a late bloomer physically as well. They held him back for all of these reasons, and yes, athletics was part of the overall equation. I don't blame them in the least- it was right for their boy. He's a freshman at a d2 school and got his first start yesterday, he's well adjusted and has good grades- so far so good. Had they not held him back he would not be where he is now. worked out well for them.
The private schools often require a recruited athlete to repeat 9th grade. They believe the kids haven’t been challenged academically in the past to what they will experience at a high academic private school.
i know a kid who went from public school after 9th grade to Catholic school repeating 9th grade. He had an August birthday. I believe it helped him athletically. Plus he was now in the same grade as all his baseball buddies. The LL deadline used to be 7/31.
Someone mentioned physical and emotional maturity. I started school at four years old. I was supposed to be a boy genius. My parents overlooked one thing. By 8th grade I was very physically and emotionally immature for my grade. The treatment I got from older kids (everyone was older) starting affecting my desire to get up and go to school.
We moved after 8th grade. My father decided to have me repeat 8th grade. I fit in. I returned to getting all A’s. I went from being a kid who made the lineup in sports to a dominant player. In any aged based rec sports I had always been dominant in my age group. A year makes a big difference before growing and filling out.
Player 1: Late August/September birthday. Not held back
Fresh 14 yo: 5'6 140 lbs, 78 mph
Soph 15 yo: 5'8 150 lbs, 82 mph
Junior: 16 yo: 5'11 165 lbs, 88 mph
Senior: 17 yo: 6'0 17 170lbs, ???
Player 2: Same Birthday. Same player, just held back
Fresh 15 yo: 5'8 150 lbs 82 mph
Soph 16 yo: 5'11 160 lbs 88 mph
Junior 17 yo: 6'1 170 lbs 91 mph
Senior 18 yo: 6'2 180 lbs 93 mph
Player 1 is a solid player but D1 schools didn't come running. He missed the P5 train and most likely a good amount of mid majors. His options would probably be lower D1/D2/D3/Juco. Will always be the youngest in his grade, kids from the grade below could even be older. He will be 16 when he starts his senior year of hs and 17 when he heads off to college unable to sign any paperwork if he ever gets sick or injured.
Player 2 is a top player in his state. Committed to a P5/quality mid major in between his sophomore/junior year. Most likely a draft prospect of some sort. Would have been invited to Area Code, ECP, and will play with one of the better summer teams (potentially for less $). Will be the first in his class to drive, first to turn 21, etc.
I'm not pro redshirt, nor do I have many problems with it. But we all know it's for sport specific purposes 95% of the time. Compare player 1 to 2 and tell me it can't make a big difference?
There are so many variables it’s hard to say what is the right direction to take. Each situation is it’s own case. I’m a proponent of post grading on the back end. My son was seventeen when he graduated. It didn’t matter. I know and know of kids who stayed back heading into high school who did not become better college sports prospects.
It really comes down to “do no harm.” If the kid isn’t harmed by being held back, regardless of the end result, so what.
No question about it, being held back will have him physically bigger and mentally more mature than if he wasn't. No guarantee he will be a better baseball player though. If main objective is to try to get as much college scholarship opportunities or pro looks then the gamble of holding back may pay off. Can also backfire though. Assuming he gets a scholly, redshirts freshman year, has a decent 3 years playing D1 ball, enters the draft as a 23 y/o Jr, might not be too desirable in draft eval. 2 - 4 years in minors minimum, now a 25-28 y/o trying to reach the show. I know of 3 cases where the above is happening, and I'm sure there are cases where it turned out great (just I'm not aware of them). If it makes sense to be held back excluding athletics/baseball then might be appealing. There is much more to being a top baseball player in higher levels than just being physically bigger in high school. Trust the process.
A practical benefit of re-classing really presented itself to my son and me on a recent weekend. He attended his first "big" showcase (he is a 2020). In his group was a kid who I figured was roughly similar. They were the biggest ones in the group, my kid a bit bigger. I noticed from the roster that they were born in the same month. My son was a good bit faster and hit well, but the other kid squared up more balls and had a more polished swing. My son looked better in the field. They both made the all prospect list.
A week or so later I checked the PBR Rankings for our state. My son is 50+.... not bad, but not earth shattering. I looked for the other kid but didn't find him. Then it hit me...I checked the 2021 list and the kid is right toward the very top in the state. As a 16 year old freshman I guess he re-classed somewhere along the way.
To be honest had I previously known how prevalent and accepted the practice is I would have suggested to my wife that we strongly consider it.
Thanks for all the comments. My son is a young 2022 and will start college at 17. So far he can keep up with his academics and sports, but I am intrigued by the PG option.
I've seen dads so it around 8th grade for sports. I've seen other parents send their kids to private schools and when they migrate to public, they start a year behind. Others use the homeschooling excuse or whatever. I say do whatever floats your boat, we "held" our son back in kindergarten as my wife was an educator and my son was a bit unfocused and she conferred with many who advised her that would have the least effect vs later in life. We had zero idea he would play baseball or any sport really. He was a young 2014 then and older 2015 afterwards which i guess could have helped him in baseball but he was still smaller than his teammates from about 12U thru HS. It was about maturity in the classroom back then.
For what it's worth, my son was a young hs graduate, graduated at 17. We knew about the holding back scenario but never really considered it, nor do we regret our decision. We can play the what if game all we want but at the end of the day we are grateful (like many others here) of what he achieved. Many tend to focus on the positives but I believe there are just as many negatives. For example, your held back kid gets a scholly to a P5 school because he is bigger, faster, better coordinated compared to others. Gets marginal playing time among the "big boys". On the flip side your age/grade appropriate son gets a scholly to a mid-D1 where he grows some and absolutely dominates on the field. If your son has the mojo of what it takes to get to the next level it will happen. Fate has a funny way of balancing out the playing field. Trust in the process, trust in Him.
Qhead posted:phillyinNJ posted:
A girl being young for her grade isn’t that relevant. Girls emotionally and physically mature much sooner than boys. They start drawing attention from 14-16 years old. My daughter was seventeen when she graduated. She got her first offer the summer after freshman year. She committed the next spring before summer travel started.
RJM posted:Qhead posted:phillyinNJ posted:
It was in our daughter's instance, especially as her recruiting class was stacked at her position compared with the following year. We were specifically told that by club coaches and college coaches that wished she were a grade younger. Sorry for the sidetrack from the OP which is of course is about 8th grade young men and baseball.
Unless your daughter had a very small list of where she was willing to go to college there’s no such thing as a stacked class. But if she’s happy where she is where she didn’t go doesn’t matter.
In our state once an athlete plays 7th grade ball, they’re only able to play ball for an additional 5 years. My son has a girl in his class that was having trouble with seizures. Parents decided to hold her back to repeat 8th grade due to this & having an April birthday. She travels with her basketball & softball team to all of the games, but isn’t playing, so that she’ll be eligible to play 9-12. One kid from our school didn’t find out the rules & repeated 7th grade. Ended up not being eligible to play his senior year. Definitely find out your states rules before placing your kid in that situation.
My 2037 (negative two months old as we speak) will simply be started late. His birthday would put him class of 2036. But having learned from mistakes with the others we will hold this one back right from the very beginning. As long as May 1 remains for some mysterious reason the cutoff for baseball. Youth ball should however just sync up with high school. Bottom line is it right to hold back? What does that even mean? Right and wrong are so obscure. Does it give your kid an advantage? You bet. Since I am in the business of caring about my kid more than yours I am holding him back!
The knew trick will be keeping them in the womb for a year longer and growing. Sell that to your wife.
This is a family decision. There is no right answer that fits all. My Baseball son had a Sept birthday. We sent him to school with his class. We had no idea of this thing called baseball recruiting, or playing for varsity in HS. We had an idea that he would be relatively gifted, at whatever he decided to do, but heck he had only played Tee-Ball. I never played High School Sports, so this never came into our thought process, until he got into middle school, and we found out that most the kids in the class behind him were quite a bit older.
However by this time he was doing well in school both socially and academically. He was always a starter in Middle school. In fact there were many complaints from other parents on why he received so much playing time. Freshman year he was so much smaller than all the other players in his class. He still hit high in the line up, and started every game at first. (god only knows why, everybody else considered him an outfielder except the Freshman coach.) He was the first in his class to make varsity. Grew a lot from his freshman to senior year. Played and had a good experience at a D3 school.
Would he have played at D1 or a level higher than D3 had we held him back? I doubt it.
However that is just my Families story, it does not have to or should be yours. Judge what is best for your son and family. Had we known more about athletics we may have started him a year later. However I do not believe we could have gotten by-in from my child or the school system, had we tried it after he started school. School has very strict rules on holding back a student. And at the time I could not afford to send him to a private.
Also take that newborn and make him use his left hand for everything. It will be better in the end. LOL I agree. It is what is best for the family not a generic for everyone.
My 9th grader is a true freshman (14, end of May birthday). He attends a smaller school in the LA City Section, so he was able to make the varsity team. However, we have heard many stories of good ball players who cannot make their freshman team at private schools primarily because they are at least a year younger and thus smaller than most of the other boys trying out. He played on a very strong travel team last summer, class of 2021 team. I believe only two of the players on that team qualified to play 13u last summer, as most had been held back at some point. As one of the youngest and smallest, he had to step up his game. I think it was good for him. He has been adding weight, so he'll likely catch up to the other 2021s in size soon. A friends son went to a D2 school, they said when they were recruiting him that they liked the fact that he was only 17 as a hs senior, as he still had time to grow and get stronger.
We have no regrets not holding our son back, but depending on where your son goes to hs, you should be aware that in some areas the practice of repeating 8th grade solely for sports purposes might be more common than you think.
Just don’t sit next to him at the dinner table.
in Texas you have to do it 7th grade year, UIL calendar starts in 8th grade, you have 5 yrs to compete. you might be able to do it and switch to a private school possibly. I had a few friends who stayed back when I was growing up and it worked out for one of them, Heisman trophy winner, 14 yr career in the NFL.
I have an honest question and I am not trying to be snide. Do you think that having the extra year helped the player become a Heisman trophy winner? Would he have missed that opportunity if he was not held back. I understand we will never truly know, just looking for your educated guess.
Kids either have the work ethic & talent or they don't. An extra year isn't going to help a lazy kid. A "late bloomer" with talent & drive will be able to find opportunities.
It is true that in the long run, probably by the time everyone hits their early 20s, things even out. Talent has either presented itself or not and a year or so here or there doesn't really make a difference. However, along the way there are certain times that are more critical to "career path" than others.
Freshman year of HS is one of those times...it is where a player starts to develop his reputation. If a kid who re-classes is more likely to separate himself as a freshman he has given himself a leg up that he can leverage going forward. He still needs talent, and still needs to work. And there will be late bloomers...reclassing doesn't provide any guarantees...simply an important leg up at an important time.
Benefits (athletic): player is better than he otherwise would be in that grade. That seems self-evident.
Risks (athletic): although the player is better than he otherwise would be in that grade, he's still not good enough to earn a scholly.
Here's an article from a few years ago. BTW, Mr Gerhart held all his kids back:
"Sociologists call it the relative age effect, or RAE.
It is a fancy way of saying that whenever children are grouped in one-year increments, those born immediately after the birthday cutoff can have mental and physical advantages compared to those born immediately before it. That the kid who is 11 years, 11 months old usually is a better pitcher in the under-12 league than the kid who just had his 11th birthday.
The older kid also gets the most playing time and often is selected to all-star or elite teams, where he is exposed to better coaching and a higher level of competition – which, of course, just makes him better. At a certain point, researchers suggest, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Most RAE research has been conducted in Europe. One of the most extensive studies, published in 2005 in the Journal of Sports Science, compiled birth dates of 2,175 players (mostly boys) from youth national soccer teams of 10 European countries. The findings: 43.4 percent were born in the first three months after the Jan. 1 cutoff date, and only 9.3 percent in the year's final three months.
The RAE, the British and Belgian researchers wrote, “may result in significant differences in performance.” Numerous studies in the U.S. and elsewhere have reached similar conclusions.
And that's just for children who are six to 12 months older. Imagine the benefits of being 18 months older, or a full two years older.
Fifteen members of USC's 108-man football roster from last season, or 14 percent, are at least a year older than their natural class. At USA Basketball's Youth Development Festival in 2007, which gathered 30 of the nation's top boys high school players, 19 were a year (and in some cases two years) older than their typical classmates."