What school to choose

We are moving to the Tampa area from overseas.    
Our 12 year old is a very good player ( lefty pitcher )  has played and performed well in summer camps in the US.  
We are only looking at Private schools 
Applying to Berkeley , Saint Stephens , Shorecrest and Carrollwood.   

We have 3 kids so there are other considerations.   We felt Saint Stephens was best overall fit for us.   I know other schools higher ranked in State , however SSES has 2 ex MLB left pitchers as their Coaches , Scott Sauerback and Scott Eyre.   I figure our soon could learn a lot from guys like that.  

I assume in Florida when the time comes , he should have an opportunity to be seen if hes good enough - even at a small school.  

Is my thinking correct or should we be looking for higher ranked programs? 

 

Original Post

Boomerusa,

My free advice to you is to take a step back and relax.  Your intention to send your kid to a private school in the Tampa area should not be contingent upon what their baseball programs are like?  If he were a 15 or 16 year old and was a stud, and was already on college recruiters' radars??  Sure, I get it.  But he's 12 and has only played baseball from an overseas standpoint.  Plus you have other children to factor in.  

Academic fit, for all your kids, should be the priority.  And then if your kids are athletic, then ATHLETICS can be a close second.  Notice I said, "athletics," and not baseball.  Kids jump to college ball out of HS and even pro ball from all sorts of HS settings.  I would not encourage anyone to choose a school for their 12-year old based on the school's baseball program.  Do people do this though?  Sure.  Would I?  No, never.  

I do not know any of the schools you mentioned, and I'm not even familiar with the coaches you named.  My concern would simply be not who the coaches are, but can my son, and his siblings have successful athletic experiences at those schools?  Ie., will they play?  Will they contribute?  Will they have fun?  Or will they be on the bench?  What other sports besides baseball do they offer?

Good luck with your decision.  I'd pay private school money for the education, I would never pay private school money for baseball.  But that's just me, and I sent my son to private school for 11-years, knowing full well I was not doing his baseball career and development any favors by making academics the #1 consideration.  

Welcome!

IMO, pick the school with the best academics, best guidence counselors, best track record of getting kids into top academic schools (ask to look at things like the "Naviance" software program which tracks that specific HS's college admissions stats), best motivating teachers, best classes which motivate students. In other words, bet on the next 50 years instead of betting on the baseball future of a middle schooler.

Individual baseball skills can be (and will be) built outside of any school program (so find great individual coaches); and the size and success of a HS baseball program or its coaches is irrelevant to any specific player's chances of being recruited/drafted. If a player is good, and the parents have an understanding of the process (recruiting and finding a good academic fit in college), a player will be found. 

It's great he is good and motivated in baseball and has supportive parents. I assume the same is true on the academic side. It comes down to this (in 3 - 5 years): the better the combination of baseball skills and grades/scores the more college options are available. (Every college kid with pro potential in the country is found - regardless of location, school size, division, league. But that stage is wayyyy into the future with lots of speed bumps in between.)

If your son has issues with reading or other academic skills (e.g., study discipline) now is the time to address it.

It's great you're looking ahead - but it's the combination of baseball and academics which can really give a kid leverage in reaching for a top college - thereby keeping all options open (baseball and the next 50 years).

JMO.

What Goosegg posted is true and good advice.

One thing I'll add, though: a super competitive HS baseball program can have the following very beneficial effects: (1) the coaching can be excellent; (2) the competition to get on the field can be intense, causing the players to drive each other to excel beyond what they would otherwise achieve, and to learn to "work while you wait"; (3) the competition they play against can be excellent -- many states have classifications that pit the top programs against each other, plus there are national tournaments -- which can really help in the development of the player (you get better by playing against better competition); and (4) the last item can help in recruiting -- if your son's HS video clips are of him facing D1 commits or MLB draft picks, it doesn't hurt, that's for sure.

Welcome to the site.  I agree with others that academics and other family considerations should be above baseball.  But I think you get that.  And, at the same time, if baseball is a primary interest of one of the kids, you will certainly want to put some attention there.  Given that you have choices, I'm sure you wouldn't want to send him to a school that has either no program or a very poor program.  A quick glance through Maxpreps shows that only one school on your list has been historically weak in baseball.  So that may be worth looking at.

Be aware that there is often much turnover with coaches at HS's, so considering your son is 12, the current HS coaches may very well not be there for any or all of his HS years.  But, if the HS has a decent program history, it is at least likely that they will continue to do so.

Also, regarding your assumption, yes Florida is in a relatively good region in terms of opportunities to be seen.  But, in case you are not aware, most opportunities occur via travel team events, showcases, etc. - typically far more so than HS baseball events.  So, again, this gives you the opportunity to put more emphasis on other aspects when choosing a HS and then finding the right travel organization when the time comes for better baseball exposure opportunities for that particular child.  

And, certainly, former MLB LHP's would be a great resource for your son.  But, again, will they still be there in 3 years, 5 years?  I would guess that you will have access to a reasonable abundance of qualified P coaches in the Tampa area that you can tap into via private instruction, regardless.

Boomerusa posted:

We are moving to the Tampa area from overseas.    
Our 12 year old is a very good player ( lefty pitcher )  has played and performed well in summer camps in the US.  
We are only looking at Private schools 
Applying to Berkeley , Saint Stephens , Shorecrest and Carrollwood.   

We have 3 kids so there are other considerations.   We felt Saint Stephens was best overall fit for us.   I know other schools higher ranked in State , however SSES has 2 ex MLB left pitchers as their Coaches , Scott Sauerback and Scott Eyre.   I figure our soon could learn a lot from guys like that.  

I assume in Florida when the time comes , he should have an opportunity to be seen if hes good enough - even at a small school.  

Is my thinking correct or should we be looking for higher ranked programs? 

 

Edit your topic to say (Tampa)...you will get more of the tampa/FL folks in here.

I have a close friend (military) who lived in the Tampa area for close to 10 years.
Have you made your housing arrangements yet? SSES is in Bradenton. A very long commute from most of Tampa. Also, Eyre's kid is a senior and Sauerback's is a sophomore... so there's that.
Are you trying to avoid the kids changing schools at high school? Jesuit (male only) and Tampa Catholic are excellent high schools. Tampa Prep is an excellent school with 6-12 grades.

Pick a school for academics. If a kid turns into a athletic stud he can change schools for high school. However, by high school if a kid becomes a college prospect it’s more about his travel team than his high school team in most cases. 

When we moved 2500 miles we chose the school district based on academic reputation. My kids were five and six months. Athletically it was only good in country club sports. By the time they were in high school every team competed for conference titles in almost every sport. My favorite line was one of the football coaches telling me it’s not easy recruiting off the mean streets of the country clubs (four within the district). 

Some great advice here and many thanks.    The schools we are considering are all very good private schools and they all place students at top universities.   I realize that there are some good public schools in the area but my children have only attended private international school and  have never lived in America so for us its not an option.  So all other things being equal trying to use baseball as tie breaker. 
We will look at the Catholic High Schools for our son though once we are there .  I hear great things about Jesuit.   Ideally  though we would like all 3 kids at the same school.   We are actually having a hard time in choosing  so baseball is just one factor. 
 

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