Where I live in GA there is a plethora of travel baseball teams. Some teams are known as "THE BEST", and yes they play in, and do well in, several of the larger tourneys.  However, I don't see the point in a 9u kid being on such a team. Playing in the best tourneys means paying out the high costs to be in these tourneys, where is the value at age 9?  But when does it become important?

If the goal of a player is to play in College when is it important to be on a high level team?  Rising 9th grader?  Rising 10th grader?

Original Post

CACO3: This post should definitely get feedback..as one said a while back in college baseball recruiting, "one size DOESN'T fit all." At 9 years old playing on a $$ team is it the parents' enjoyment or the player's? Both my boys played travel soccer early, because they liked the game and competition and for my 2015 it didn't overlap with baseball. I got to know of many town in the state.

My 2015's path wasn't so much due to the TEAM he was on, but the coach of the team he was on who had been his manager on different teams from rising 8th grade on up. (Worked out as son moved up, mgr was promoted) His manager had contacts and with the schools son was vetting. Son decided he wanted to play college ball and the conference now playing since 8th grade. Looking back (aside from talent, grades, etc), his keys were the manager in place and the organization's flexibility to allow him to play up, 17U as an 8th grader, and 19U as a 10th grader.

To answer your question in general, either 9th or 10th grade should be good to play for a team that can get visibility for the player. And playing for the BEST of the BEST TEAM on the bench is not where you want to be.  JMO

I can only speak from my experiences.  A 9u player needs to play on a team where when he gets up in the morning he is excited to either go to practice or a game. He is looking forward to being around his friends and coaches where he is allowed to dream of being whoever his favorite MLB player is.

Now if the player has talent maybe exceeding his peers at this time then maybe he plays on a higher caliber team to play against better competition .  A 9u player needs to play at his skill level... maybe that's rec league maybe that's the elite 9u teams... if there is such an animal.

I would say in this day and age you need to play on the best travel team that you can where the following criteria is met. ( any order) 

1.) playing time  ( whats the point if no one sees you play )

2.) competition ( play where you are at least in the top 1/3 , too little and you do not grow, too much and you fail)

3.) finances ( do what you can afford)

lastly, I would do this as a rising freshman.... too much growth and changes to worry about anything until then and even then so much will change year to year.  as a freshman you get a year or two to feel out the process

Now if you can afford to throw tons of money around play for whoever

 

 

A player who has his sights set on college level ball should, yes, play competitive ball and that usually means playing on "elite" or high level teams.  You only get better by facing good players.  That means constantly developing your skills.  Playing parks & rec/Little league usually doesn't cut it.

However, by HS age the emphasis needs to go from winning tournaments to showcasing the player's skill set to college coaches. That means participating in PG type showcases.  Winning high level tournaments mean nothing if the right people don't see you.

I really wouldn't worry about showcasing until HS age (sophomore-junior year) after the player has transitioned to the 90' diamond.  You'd be surprised how many drop out at that point.  All of a sudden the 225' HR is now just a long out.

Yes, my son did play travel beginning at 9-10 years of age, but it was more a local travel team and the coach was very selective of what tournaments the team participated in.  I couldn't see paying thousands per year when he was at the age.  The objective of that team was preparing the players for HS level ball.

And grades are just as important.  You can be a 5 tool player, but if the GPA is low it's highly doubtful a D1/D2 scholarship will be offered.  NCAA minimum is 2.0 (the school can have a higher minimum) and I would advise an athlete maintain at least a 3.0 (the higher the better).  Coaches figure a student's GPA will drop by 0.5-1.0 once they are in college (assuming they get an offer).

Not before the parents understand what they are getting out of being on a high level team$$$. By that I mean they have to know the coaches are developing their players. If they are more concerned about saying little Johnny plays for team X then it's probably a waste. As long you can see that your kid is progressing at the same rate as the BIG teams ,you're good. A lot of that is playing against them though. That's a lot easier in GA than MI. We have to travel to GA to play the top teams . We also have to pay for indoor practice in the winter. Up here we will play in tournaments that are a couple of age groups up. Just to be ready to come down there. The teams up here that do that are the BIG teams . It is a lot more expensive to play up here . That being said I'm sure a good portion of the money I've spent was a waste. I would say 8th grade summer . You just want to make sure they're not jumping on a running treadmill. The big teams probably have more connections with colleges and the ability to get those colleges to come watch their teams.

If I had to do it over vs what happened

What happened - Son played on a very good local team (same city) that became a good area team (5-6 cities) by 12u. Traveled mostly within 90 minutes from home- 1-2 over night trips a year. Played 12-13 weekends and a couple during week every week between late March and end of July. Practiced once a week, not well thought out. Roughly 70-90 games. I was assistant coach and into it big time. He was always best player- both as pitcher and hitter.

Did that until 17U (summer before senior year), son then went to an area team where I was a Dad, it was amazing how much he blossomed once I got out of way. It was best area team (15-18 cities) and he was one of two best players. Thru that team started recruiting, but that team was a single age group team (as was his previous one), so though they did have a few contacts, It was very much up to son and I. Did have less games, practiced twice a week- very focused practices. Was really deep in pitching so got deep in regional tournaments.

What would I do over?

Same team early- LESS games, more practice - only maybe 8 tournaments and let them be boys in summer doing other things. Me too- spend time with my wife and other kids.  Leave about 14U instead of 17U - get on an origination that had reputation for getting kids seen and have real contacts. There were 2 really good ones at that age and by 16U the team that had national contacts within 45 minutes from home (he had all those options ).

In the end it worked out very well for him, but I think he missed out on being a 9-13 year old boy playing so much and I missed out on being a husband and dad to my other kids during those years.

The benefits of playing - he saw good competition from 9U on so never was phased or intimidated, still isn't. He made some lifelong friends on those 2 teams.

Define "The Best".  Is it the team that wins the most games?  The team that does the best job of developing the kids to play "at the next level".  The team that does the best job getting the kids in the right places to be seen?  

IMO there is no reason for a 9YO to be too concerned about being on the best team.  They should be playing on the team that gets them the most on field time and provides good development through coaching.  Now if the goal is to play in college (which it should not be at that age) and your path to college runs through a program which is difficult to make at the older level as spaces are locked up at a younger age then you may want to consider getting involved in that program at a younger age.

CACO - I'll answer your question a different way but ultimately the goal should be to maximize development / exposure.  For some that may be on one of the best showcase teams (as the cream of the crop prospects), but for most its gonna be on the best team to maximize playing time and development.

One of the best comments / advice we got from Guerry Baldwin @ ECB years ago was....  If ya ain't playing, your not getting better - and everyone else is getting better around you.  Doesn't do much good to be the 6th outfielder on one of the top teams in the country if ya barely leave the dugout.  Another one of my sons former coaches would tell us.... It's about the journey, and where ya end up (versus this years team).  Those pieces of advice have really helped to guide my son thru the years/teams.

At the younger age groups - have fun on the best team that you can find while making sure your son is challenged, developing and learning to play the game the right way.

I won't comment on 9 year old teams, but I would recommend that any talented player should try to find the best possible competition at age 13-14 these days.  This is something that has changed over the past several years.

Everyone talks about the best or elite level teams.  It's really not up to you which team is a possibility.  That is all up to the talent level of your son.  Sure there are teams where you can buy a roster spot.  These are not among the better teams.

I understand why people call our tournaments showcase tournaments.  The big ones are the most heavily scouted events in baseball.  I understand that teams go and want to get their players seen.  But do not kid yourself, the best teams are in fact there to win!  For those that make it to the playoffs it becomes very obvious how important winning is.

So these big tournaments really are just baseball tournaments.  They just happen to have more scouts and college coaches in attendance.  And even those not in attendance can easily follow or find out who the top prospects are.  

To me, the first question shouldn't be how important it is to play high level. The first question should be is my son talented enough to play at a high level?  And yes, it is my opinion that a talented player should seek the best possible competition and the best possible exposure.  In fact, a little research will show that is the path most top prospects take.

My kids took different paths to the same result. Both played rec ball in their preteen years. My daughter (softball) had zero inclination to practice on her own or play for a travel team when the rec season ended. At nine and ten my son played on a community sponsored travel team after the rec season. It was essentially the CR all star team. At eleven and twelve I operated a AA level USSSA team in a Sunday doubleheader league. The roster was fifteen potential LL all stars from our league. My son hit and hit off his Little Tikes tee from the time he was eighteen months old. He always wanted to practice on his own (with me).

Starting with 7th grade my daughter played in a travel program known for their 18u players going on to college softball. The objective was to advance her skills to become a high school player. The thought of playing college ball never crossed anyone's mind until she grew (shot up) in 8th grade and made varsity freshman year. The travel program moved her up to 18u freshman year. She verballed after soph year. That's somewhat late for D1 girls.

i created a USSSA Majors team for my son at 13u. The Jr Legion coach's philosophy was 13yos don't play (at all). They sit the bench and pay their dues. I felt my son was better than half his players at thirteen. No way was he going to sit for a year. My team was thirteen of the best former LL all stars from our district. 

The objective was to turn the kids into high school players. Along the way for three years I chatted with the coaches of academy programs as often as possible to build a bridge for the players to get to showcase ball. Eventually the team was obtained by a new baseball academy. The purchase price was the kids played for free one year. Several kids including my son switched programs for showcase ball. Some of the kids stayed with the program.

i felt playing top competition starting with 13u might have got my son to varsity a year early. I don't believe it changed the big picture outcome. Playing 16u after freshman year got him ready for high school ball. 16u got him exposure for several showcase team invites.

To net it out I would say the most important thing in middle school is best coaching and playing time. Once a kid can handle the 60/90 field he should play up as far as he can handle. By 7th grade he should at least be playing grade appropriate and not down a year in an age group. My son has a May birthday. The deadline change occurred allowing him another year of 12yo LL. He passed and moved on to 13u with his grade and friends.

Note: Due to the success of my son's LL all star teams based on the extra competitive travel experience and starting a more elite level 13u team each year following my son through LL started the same process. It destroyed the Legion program. None of the better players play Legion anymore. At the Legion meeting is a voodoo doll of me they stick with pins. Ten years later they're still ripping me behind my back. What they don't realize is they ruined the Legion program with their approach. You don't sit players who can play. The Jr Legion head coach was in love with himself. He always bragged about his 20+ years of coaching experience. From what I saw he had one year of experience twenty times over. He knew it all. He never grew with the game. 

Son started playing on a local travel ball team at 11 years old and also played other sports. Summer prior to 8th grade he transitioned to one of the higher level club baseball teams in the region and has done just fine. He is now a 9th grader, playing multiple sports in high school and more than holding his own in the couple of big (big for 14 year old level I suppose) tournaments he's participated in.

9U, 10U way too early to gun for that "elite" travel ball team. The couple of elite travel ball teams (which my son was not a part of - too intense) in our area disbanded once the kids hit 7th/8th grade. 

Make sure he is having fun and continues to learn. In my area, there are many elite 10U and 11U players that aren't even playing baseball any more.

Good luck!  

 

 

Thank you for all the responses.  Just to clarify my son is not 9, it was just a number I threw out of when I was SURE it didn't matter that a player was on an "elite" team. 

My son is 13 with a weird birthday so he's 8th grade (2020).  He was asked last Spring to join one of the "BEST" teams, but no I don't have a definition for what "BEST" means other than they go to multiple PG events, play in all the big time tourneys (where they do very well), this particular place does NOT have 10+ teams per age group, and they are known for paid lessons and player development.  Anyway, due to family and work commitments I had to decline on behalf of my son.

I ran into a person from there last week and he said "So, are you ready to come on board yet, offer is still open."  I wouldn't consider asking my son to leave his current team, but it did put the thought in my head of when is the right time to have a player with college aspirations get onto a higher level team. Apparently my son is qualified, I just don't know when it is a good time to make that move, hence my question.

joes87 posted:

Define "The Best".  Is it the team that wins the most games?  The team that does the best job of developing the kids to play "at the next level".  The team that does the best job getting the kids in the right places to be seen?  

IMO there is no reason for a 9YO to be too concerned about being on the best team.  They should be playing on the team that gets them the most on field time and provides good development through coaching.  Now if the goal is to play in college (which it should not be at that age) and your path to college runs through a program which is difficult to make at the older level as spaces are locked up at a younger age then you may want to consider getting involved in that program at a younger age.

Isn't this really the question?  How do we define elite or best?  In our case my son is clearly not good enough to be on some super team that just meets at tournaments and has players from several states.   So for him there are really only a few choices.  There are about 4 or 5 'best' organizations/teams in the entire state.  Only two are within an hour.  He is at one of them.  He is 14u.  One of the parents said the other day "how cool is this for the kids...  A Florida commit and possible draft pick out of HS is giving them front toss"  I guess I never really thought about it that way.  There are a bunch of D1 commits at our place.  But then I stopped and thought about what he said...  Its true it is neat.  And they see these kids first hand and their work ethic.  And they understand what it takes and what you have to become.  I think that may be the most important part of being with an 'elite' organization.

2020dad posted:
joes87 posted:

Define "The Best".  Is it the team that wins the most games?  The team that does the best job of developing the kids to play "at the next level".  The team that does the best job getting the kids in the right places to be seen?  

IMO there is no reason for a 9YO to be too concerned about being on the best team.  They should be playing on the team that gets them the most on field time and provides good development through coaching.  Now if the goal is to play in college (which it should not be at that age) and your path to college runs through a program which is difficult to make at the older level as spaces are locked up at a younger age then you may want to consider getting involved in that program at a younger age.

Isn't this really the question?  How do we define elite or best?  In our case my son is clearly not good enough to be on some super team that just meets at tournaments and has players from several states.   So for him there are really only a few choices.  There are about 4 or 5 'best' organizations/teams in the entire state.  Only two are within an hour.  He is at one of them.  He is 14u.  One of the parents said the other day "how cool is this for the kids...  A Florida commit and possible draft pick out of HS is giving them front toss"  I guess I never really thought about it that way.  There are a bunch of D1 commits at our place.  But then I stopped and thought about what he said...  Its true it is neat.  And they see these kids first hand and their work ethic.  And they understand what it takes and what you have to become.  I think that may be the most important part of being with an 'elite' organization.

I don't think the above can be dismissed.  The talented And driven should be playing, practicing and in the gym with each other. Like minded individuals like this foster competition and growth naturally. 

johnnysako posted:

Me and kid just had this conversation the other day about how long he will play for his TB team and will he ever play for the Tri State Arsenal, i said, if your ever good enough, now get to work

My son decided he would rather beat them than play for them. When he was that age they were the top team in each age group. The motivating comment directed at my son was made by an ***wipe dad of a 5'8" 13u player when my son was 5'2". Guess what happened when my son was 6'1" and the other kid was 5'9". At the time the kid no longer made the Arsenal team. 

...when the kid is 1) older than twelve  2) "high level" 3) want to 4) meets your son's goals 5) and you can afford it.

And as long as your kid's not pitching a lot, it doesn't hurt to run around with crazy baseball parents spending lots of money under twelve years old.  Just make sure your kid is having fun and takes a break from it.  Raise your hand if you have bought clothes to match your son's team.  Raise 'em high.

Now let's get back to being in the MLB by 18...

Clothes to match the team? Only a polo shirt or tee with the team logo because I was a coach. When I stopped coaching, no.

Back in rec league sports every year all coaches were given polos that said "Coach." I also received "commissioner" and "board" polos. Some wore it like a medal. I had enough people approaching me in the grocery store without a sign that said, "Complain here."

RJM posted:
johnnysako posted:

Me and kid just had this conversation the other day about how long he will play for his TB team and will he ever play for the Tri State Arsenal, i said, if your ever good enough, now get to work

My son decided he would rather beat them than play for them. When he was that age they were the top team in each age group. The motivating comment directed at my son was made by an ***wipe dad of a 5'8" 13u player when my son was 5'2". Guess what happened when my son was 6'1" and the other kid was 5'9". At the time the kid no longer made the Arsenal team. 

We dont play them, ever, we dont travel more then 45 minutes to play except to Ripken MD and Cooperstown this year. Not sure where they even play at 12U, In fact i didnt even now they had 12U team, id be willing to bet I cant afford it anyway. Ive heard those comments a couple years back, i dont hear them anymore.

I would bet that at least half of the 9 year olds on "the best" 9 year old travel teams never set foot on a high school baseball field.   So forget about that.  Keep him playing, make it fun.    My opinion is the summer after 9th grade, then if college baseball is still his goal, get on a team that gets exposure, has a coach or organization that has contacts and goes to tournaments where they'll be seen.    before that, just make sure he's learning and having fun.

BackstopDad32 posted:
2020dad posted:
joes87 posted:

Define "The Best".  Is it the team that wins the most games?  The team that does the best job of developing the kids to play "at the next level".  The team that does the best job getting the kids in the right places to be seen?  

IMO there is no reason for a 9YO to be too concerned about being on the best team.  They should be playing on the team that gets them the most on field time and provides good development through coaching.  Now if the goal is to play in college (which it should not be at that age) and your path to college runs through a program which is difficult to make at the older level as spaces are locked up at a younger age then you may want to consider getting involved in that program at a younger age.

Isn't this really the question?  How do we define elite or best?  In our case my son is clearly not good enough to be on some super team that just meets at tournaments and has players from several states.   So for him there are really only a few choices.  There are about 4 or 5 'best' organizations/teams in the entire state.  Only two are within an hour.  He is at one of them.  He is 14u.  One of the parents said the other day "how cool is this for the kids...  A Florida commit and possible draft pick out of HS is giving them front toss"  I guess I never really thought about it that way.  There are a bunch of D1 commits at our place.  But then I stopped and thought about what he said...  Its true it is neat.  And they see these kids first hand and their work ethic.  And they understand what it takes and what you have to become.  I think that may be the most important part of being with an 'elite' organization.

I don't think the above can be dismissed.  The talented And driven should be playing, practicing and in the gym with each other. Like minded individuals like this foster competition and growth naturally. 

^^ I agree! I wish my son would have tried out for his club team a year earlier. He is a 2018 and this summer will be his first with the team. In hindsight, last summer (as a rising Sophomore) would have been an ideal time for him to start with this club team. He works out with D1 college commits 2-3 days per week. It has been a tremendous motivator for him and has really helped him solidify his goals and understand what he needs to do to achieve them.  

pabaseballdad posted:

I would bet that at least half of the 9 year olds on "the best" 9 year old travel teams never set foot on a high school baseball field.   So forget about that.  Keep him playing, make it fun.    My opinion is the summer after 9th grade, then if college baseball is still his goal, get on a team that gets exposure, has a coach or organization that has contacts and goes to tournaments where they'll be seen.    before that, just make sure he's learning and having fun.

During the offseason (because this idea has come up before), I looked at the 9yo rosters from on USSSA from my son's 9u season. Just looking at the top six teams in the state, almost all were on JV or varsity rosters last season as freshmen. In fact, looking at the roster of my son's 9u team, every single player will play varsity as a sophomore. All but my son and another kid are on the same 4A team. My son moved and will play varsity elsewhere and the other kid played varsity on this team last year as a freshman, but moved out-of-state in the off season. I think you will find, across the board, the rosters of top 9u teams are made up of rosters of kids who will play high school ball at something around a 90% clip or above.

roothog66 posted:
pabaseballdad posted:

I would bet that at least half of the 9 year olds on "the best" 9 year old travel teams never set foot on a high school baseball field.   So forget about that.  Keep him playing, make it fun.    My opinion is the summer after 9th grade, then if college baseball is still his goal, get on a team that gets exposure, has a coach or organization that has contacts and goes to tournaments where they'll be seen.    before that, just make sure he's learning and having fun.

During the offseason (because this idea has come up before), I looked at the 9yo rosters from on USSSA from my son's 9u season. Just looking at the top six teams in the state, almost all were on JV or varsity rosters last season as freshmen. In fact, looking at the roster of my son's 9u team, every single player will play varsity as a sophomore. All but my son and another kid are on the same 4A team. My son moved and will play varsity elsewhere and the other kid played varsity on this team last year as a freshman, but moved out-of-state in the off season. I think you will find, across the board, the rosters of top 9u teams are made up of rosters of kids who will play high school ball at something around a 90% clip or above.

I did the "reverse" of this exercise recently, where I looked at the playing history of the two JV squads at son's 6A school. The results were surprising to me. Many players, way more than I expected to see, had either no history at younger ages 8-12u (presumably rec) or primarily AA experience. However, the overwhelming majority played at least AAA level USSSA beginning at age 13.

johnnysako posted:

Can someone help a newb out, what defines a top 9-13U team, do they travel the country and play certain tournaments where they get ranked?

http://www.perfectgame.org/Rankings/

Our friends at perfect game do that.  It's clearly fragmented, as it is only perfect game events.  California and west coast are very underrepresented.  Georgia/Florida/SE overrepresented.  But teams on the ranking are definitely "high ranking".

I'm sure there are other rankings out there.

My kid was never on the best team, but did play on a few where his playing time was limited due to competition at a position/performance., probably 12U and 14U.  We tried to find those teams that could compete and win, which is fun-er while allowing him to play and not sit. From 15U till 17U until college, he played on a team that was good but allowed him to pitch alot. He enjoyed that too. I can recall listening to baseball friends complain about their/other kids and teams and limited playing time etc on "Elite" teams and i was glad we made the choice we did at 15U.

roothog66 posted:
pabaseballdad posted:

I would bet that at least half of the 9 year olds on "the best" 9 year old travel teams never set foot on a high school baseball field.   So forget about that.  Keep him playing, make it fun.    My opinion is the summer after 9th grade, then if college baseball is still his goal, get on a team that gets exposure, has a coach or organization that has contacts and goes to tournaments where they'll be seen.    before that, just make sure he's learning and having fun.

During the offseason (because this idea has come up before), I looked at the 9yo rosters from on USSSA from my son's 9u season. Just looking at the top six teams in the state, almost all were on JV or varsity rosters last season as freshmen. In fact, looking at the roster of my son's 9u team, every single player will play varsity as a sophomore. All but my son and another kid are on the same 4A team. My son moved and will play varsity elsewhere and the other kid played varsity on this team last year as a freshman, but moved out-of-state in the off season. I think you will find, across the board, the rosters of top 9u teams are made up of rosters of kids who will play high school ball at something around a 90% clip or above.

roothog, I guess you got me there.  I was using our experience, my son played on a "good" for this area 9-10 year old travel team.  out of that team of 12 kids, only my son and three others are still playing, our  best pitcher ended  up ruining his arm before he was 15 (that's a whole separate thread I'm sure), best infielder is now the captain of our hs hockey team, others lost interest, focused on soccer, or just got passed up.     I'm sure others have different experience, but I do strongly believe that the goal at that age should be just to keep them playing and having fun.  Plenty of time to get serious and worry about recruiting later. 

At 13U, he'll want to play on the best team possible where he's receiving a satisfactory number of reps.

He'll jump to 14U this Fall, and tryouts for those teams will take place in the June/July timeframe. It's at this point where he'll want to consider a very good to excellent organization, again where he'll play a satisfactory number of reps.

At the 15U level, that's when you'll want to consider an elite organization, but only if he's forecasted to play. This is very important, as you can't get to the 16U level without succeeding at the 15U level! Ditto 16U to 17U.

 

CACO3Girl,

You're going to get a lot of different answers, which is the beauty of HSBBWeb

I've had 3 sons go through this decision on their way to high school baseball with one playing in college (oldest son).  It was very important for my oldest son to play against the best competition (his choice).  So, from 11U all the way to 18U that is what he did, and it pushed him to get better at each step of travel baseball and high school.  It was the same for him with academics.  He is a very driven individual.  My middle son liked baseball alot but didn't love it.  He liked to play good competition but he didn';t live for baseball.....he liked baseball when it was on his terms.  He challenged himself more in the classroom.  My youngest didn't play travel baseball or American  Legion until after he made the high school team as a freshmen.  

Three very different paths.  We provided the level of baseball that my sons wanted in their young lives.  it was 100% up to them.

pabaseballdad posted:
roothog66 posted:
pabaseballdad posted:

I would bet that at least half of the 9 year olds on "the best" 9 year old travel teams never set foot on a high school baseball field.   So forget about that.  Keep him playing, make it fun.    My opinion is the summer after 9th grade, then if college baseball is still his goal, get on a team that gets exposure, has a coach or organization that has contacts and goes to tournaments where they'll be seen.    before that, just make sure he's learning and having fun.

During the offseason (because this idea has come up before), I looked at the 9yo rosters from on USSSA from my son's 9u season. Just looking at the top six teams in the state, almost all were on JV or varsity rosters last season as freshmen. In fact, looking at the roster of my son's 9u team, every single player will play varsity as a sophomore. All but my son and another kid are on the same 4A team. My son moved and will play varsity elsewhere and the other kid played varsity on this team last year as a freshman, but moved out-of-state in the off season. I think you will find, across the board, the rosters of top 9u teams are made up of rosters of kids who will play high school ball at something around a 90% clip or above.

roothog, I guess you got me there.  I was using our experience, my son played on a "good" for this area 9-10 year old travel team.  out of that team of 12 kids, only my son and three others are still playing, our  best pitcher ended  up ruining his arm before he was 15 (that's a whole separate thread I'm sure), best infielder is now the captain of our hs hockey team, others lost interest, focused on soccer, or just got passed up.     I'm sure others have different experience, but I do strongly believe that the goal at that age should be just to keep them playing and having fun.  Plenty of time to get serious and worry about recruiting later. 

A lot of it is going to be regional. The teams I was looking at were mostly metro Denver teams, and there are enough high schools that you could spread them all over the place and still have a lot of high school roster spots left.

Where I live now, we lost all but one starter from last year's team. This year's starting line up will look almost exactly like the local all-star team from 10u up. My son moved here two years ago. If you look at the 12u all-star team from here that went to the Cal Ripken World Series in 2012, seven of those starters will start on the high school varsity as sophs or juniors, one other will be on the bench and the last guy may play jv or varsity - toss up. But, other than my son, none played high level travel )no one in the area did).

pabaseballdad posted:

I would bet that at least half of the 9 year olds on "the best" 9 year old travel teams never set foot on a high school baseball field.   So forget about that.  Keep him playing, make it fun.    My opinion is the summer after 9th grade, then if college baseball is still his goal, get on a team that gets exposure, has a coach or organization that has contacts and goes to tournaments where they'll be seen.    before that, just make sure he's learning and having fun.

I think this comes down again to defining 'best'.  And as always when we have these conversations also differs from one area to another.  Also there is the fact these kids are so young they have no idea what may be their favorite sports later on.  But around here certainly they make high school teams if they choose to with few exceptions.

Go44dad posted:
johnnysako posted:

Can someone help a newb out, what defines a top 9-13U team, do they travel the country and play certain tournaments where they get ranked?

http://www.perfectgame.org/Rankings/

Our friends at perfect game do that.  It's clearly fragmented, as it is only perfect game events.  California and west coast are very underrepresented.  Georgia/Florida/SE overrepresented.  But teams on the ranking are definitely "high ranking".

I'm sure there are other rankings out there.

Usssa has rankings but they are not very reliable.  However if you look at it in clumps page 1 is going to be better than those on the bottom half of page 2 and beyond.  The very top ranked teams - by power ranking not points - are sure to be pretty good.

johnnysako posted:
RJM posted:
johnnysako posted:

Me and kid just had this conversation the other day about how long he will play for his TB team and will he ever play for the Tri State Arsenal, i said, if your ever good enough, now get to work

My son decided he would rather beat them than play for them. When he was that age they were the top team in each age group. The motivating comment directed at my son was made by an ***wipe dad of a 5'8" 13u player when my son was 5'2". Guess what happened when my son was 6'1" and the other kid was 5'9". At the time the kid no longer made the Arsenal team. 

We dont play them, ever, we dont travel more then 45 minutes to play except to Ripken MD and Cooperstown this year. Not sure where they even play at 12U, In fact i didnt even now they had 12U team, id be willing to bet I cant afford it anyway. Ive heard those comments a couple years back, i dont hear them anymore.

It's been several years since my son played 13-16u. At that time the travel teams in the area played a lot of ECTB tournaments in Reading and Allentown. 

When we had long breaks between games I sometimes watched part of 9u to 12u games. Actually I was observing the parents for delusion. There was plenty of it. 9u Arsenal parents were paying $300 per month for lessons year round plus the cost of the team. They thought their kids would play college ball because they were in the Arsenal program. I got to know a dad in my son's age group. Only four players from the 13u team made the 17u team.

2020dad posted:
Go44dad posted:
johnnysako posted:

Can someone help a newb out, what defines a top 9-13U team, do they travel the country and play certain tournaments where they get ranked?

http://www.perfectgame.org/Rankings/

Our friends at perfect game do that.  It's clearly fragmented, as it is only perfect game events.  California and west coast are very underrepresented.  Georgia/Florida/SE overrepresented.  But teams on the ranking are definitely "high ranking".

I'm sure there are other rankings out there.

Usssa has rankings but they are not very reliable.  However if you look at it in clumps page 1 is going to be better than those on the bottom half of page 2 and beyond.  The very top ranked teams - by power ranking not points - are sure to be pretty good.

Correct. And I think these guys do a pretty good job with 12U and 13U rankings: www.baseballyouth.com/rankings (these ones are from last May)

My son played on the "best" 9u team in our town, and it was recognized by the community as the best for one reason--we had the best coach. He picked players with strong work ethic and willingness to learn, wit's parents who were supportive. He avoided players with attitude. He picked players who could be taught, and he taught them to both play and love the game. 

joemktg posted:

At 13U, he'll want to play on the best team possible where he's receiving a satisfactory number of reps.

He'll jump to 14U this Fall, and tryouts for those teams will take place in the June/July timeframe. It's at this point where he'll want to consider a very good to excellent organization, again where he'll play a satisfactory number of reps.

At the 15U level, that's when you'll want to consider an elite organization, but only if he's forecasted to play. This is very important, as you can't get to the 16U level without succeeding at the 15U level! Ditto 16U to 17U.

 

While I agree with this 100% in terms of 14U, 15U, etc., for the OP poster's son, since he is a 2020, I think next year he is going to want to play 15U -- in other words, on a 2020 team. And I agree at that point you'd want to consider an elite organization. Otherwise, if her son does 14U next year, a lot of the competition in 14U will actually be in 8th grade, which I don't think would serve him well, long-term.

I've watched many kids under age 14 put on "high level teams" and tried to determine any significant value in doing so to see if it's something I should do for my son.  Many parents recommended it for my son, but I just couldn't find any significant benefit for the expense.  Eventually, I did get him into a "high level team" to see if he could adjust and compete with a higher level of play.  And from our experience, I found that those who did it earlier really had no significant advantage over my son or any other player who didn't go into "high level teams" earlier.  The only reason I got my son onto a "high level team" when he turned 14 was that I wanted to raise the bar and see if he could compete with the "higher level" players on such a team.  If he hadn't been able to, I would have pulled him out.  And one of the key things I looked for in a "high level team" was some "high level" coaching along with practices.  And most importantly for me in getting my son onto a "high level team" was the amount of play time he would get.  If a player doesn't get much play time, then there's not much point to being on such a team.  I feel it's better to be on a lesser team and get a lot of play time as a lot of play time is important in getting live game experience that than be brought into high school.   Even then, the playing environment changes as the various players age and mature and entering high school decides what he likes and what they don't like where interest in baseball often gives way to other sports or girls or what ever.  Many of the kids I've watched on the "high level teams" quit baseball at various times for various reasons.  As a kid grows older and matures and maintains a passion for baseball, I feel the "high level teams" then have a lot to offer, especially if the kid's high school doesn't compete at a high level.  One other observation I've made is that many of the kids who are starters and get a  lot of playing time on "high level teams" at age 14 and above tend to be top players on their high school teams, but hardly not as much for player on "high level teams" at younger ages. 

Certainly, putting kids on a younger "high level team" doesn't hurt the talented players.  And if a parent has the financial resources to do so, why not?   But I feel it's mostly delusional to think there's any  significance to a kids future in baseball in getting them involved in such teams at such a young age.

Just my two cents. 

Truman posted:

I've watched many kids under age 14 put on "high level teams" and tried to determine any significant value in doing so to see if it's something I should do for my son.  Many parents recommended it for my son, but I just couldn't find any significant benefit for the expense.  Eventually, I did get him into a "high level team" to see if he could adjust and compete with a higher level of play.  And from our experience, I found that those who did it earlier really had no significant advantage over my son or any other player who didn't go into "high level teams" earlier.  The only reason I got my son onto a "high level team" when he turned 14 was that I wanted to raise the bar and see if he could compete with the "higher level" players on such a team.  If he hadn't been able to, I would have pulled him out.  And one of the key things I looked for in a "high level team" was some "high level" coaching along with practices.  And most importantly for me in getting my son onto a "high level team" was the amount of play time he would get.  If a player doesn't get much play time, then there's not much point to being on such a team.  I feel it's better to be on a lesser team and get a lot of play time as a lot of play time is important in getting live game experience that than be brought into high school.   Even then, the playing environment changes as the various players age and mature and entering high school decides what he likes and what they don't like where interest in baseball often gives way to other sports or girls or what ever.  Many of the kids I've watched on the "high level teams" quit baseball at various times for various reasons.  As a kid grows older and matures and maintains a passion for baseball, I feel the "high level teams" then have a lot to offer, especially if the kid's high school doesn't compete at a high level.  One other observation I've made is that many of the kids who are starters and get a  lot of playing time on "high level teams" at age 14 and above tend to be top players on their high school teams, but hardly not as much for player on "high level teams" at younger ages. 

Certainly, putting kids on a younger "high level team" doesn't hurt the talented players.  And if a parent has the financial resources to do so, why not?   But I feel it's mostly delusional to think there's any  significance to a kids future in baseball in getting them involved in such teams at such a young age.

Just my two cents. 

Thank you Truman, your two cents puts my mind at ease.  I guess my question should have been does a kid who plays on an "elite" type team for youth travel ball have any significant advantage in high school over a player who plays on decent teams but not these supposed elite youth teams. 

My son will attend a 6A High School and even the JV roster is full of players on very well known local teams. I wanted to raise the bar of competition for my son but didn't want to invest another grand to see if he could hang with tougher competition. If he couldn't, or lost his passion for the game, I was going to encourage him to run track.  However, this year even though he was 13u eligible I asked him to play 14u, he was okay with that. I did not take him to any tryouts for the "BEST" teams, but he will see them on occasion in competition.  So far he seems to be hanging just fine, still loves the game, and is enjoying himself. I guess I'll reevaluate in July when he is a rising 9th grader.  If he's welcomed onto a "BEST" team roster that the coaches see him having a significant role then good.  If not, then at least he will see where he is lacking compared to the other kids who did make the team, and it will give him something specific to focus on.

Iowamom23 posted:

My son played on the "best" 9u team in our town, and it was recognized by the community as the best for one reason--we had the best coach. He picked players with strong work ethic and willingness to learn, wit's parents who were supportive. He avoided players with attitude. He picked players who could be taught, and he taught them to both play and love the game. 

How long ago was this?  What happened to those players?  Did they go on to success?  How big is your town?  I think I am getting your point but I am not sure that is why the questions.   I think yo u are saying that travel ball is unimportant at that age.  Cause these aren't really the type of teams we are talking about.  Unless you live in a big town - like 300000 plus or something.  See I really believe that 9 year old travel team inspired him.  He loved his tee ball and coach pitch.  But that travel ball opened his eyes to another level.  Its not that the concept or the winning was such a big deal.  And certainly not the coaching.  But just seeing the beauty of the game when played by really really talented little kids.  Made him want to be one of those.  MIne is 14u this year and high school next.  We have no idea where this journey will end.   I will say this though the experience has clearly been a benefit.  Maybe its different for different kids but for him its been the best.  I think if my kid was naturally super talented I would think it wouldn't matter as much.  But for him it drives him to keep competing with kids who are better athletes than him.  Same in basketball.  Once he started playing AAU ball he started getting better and better.  He was the last kid on the team and pretty much used for defensive purposes.  He loved it.  Got so much better practicing against those kids.  He still is with the same team but now practices only and subs when they are short.  He has no desire (or time really) to play with a lesser AAU team so he can be a main guy.  I guess its all what you are looking for.   And maybe as is usually the case its just that simple - do what is best for your son!

Somewhere around 12 or 13 my youngest son was on one of the very top teams in the state.  Not sure why he was on this team because he really didn't get to play that much.

The team went to Colorado to play in some kind of big tournament.  They took a bus and I couldn't go.  They did very well, think they darn near won it and played something like 11 games in one week.

So I picked him up from the bus when they returned.  While driving home I asked him how he did and if he had fun.  He said, "It was a blast".  Once again I asked how he did.  He said he didn't play much, only played about one inning, but we really did good.

I will admit that I was kind of angry that they would take a kid for a whole week and not let him play.  But he was so happy about it all, so I didn't let it bother me. I really liked his attitude about the whole thing.

That team did have a lot of young talent.  They all started in high school.  Several played college baseball.  A couple played DI.

My son slowly improved and at age 22 he made his debut in the Major Leagues.

I've told this story a few times on here.  I'm not positive I remember all the exact details.  I just know I learned something from that experience.  The most important thing I learned is to not get in the way.  And it is easier to develop a good attitude when you enjoy what you're doing.

I still think it is most important to play.  However, it doesn't mean it's a waste of time sitting on the bench for a real good team.  There is always something to learn.

 

PGStaff posted:
 I learned something from that experience.  The most important thing I learned is to not get in the way.  And it is easier to develop a good attitude when you enjoy what you're doing.

I still think it is most important to play.  However, it doesn't mean it's a waste of time sitting on the bench for a real good team.  There is always something to learn.

 

Thank you PG.  Very nice perspective.

I personally just think competitive kids gravitate to these type teams.  Most all kids want to know how they "stack up" by middle school.  I never told or suggested to my son which team he should play on.  We are from a very small, rural area and he played with his friends until age 14.  We did travel some and played against some of the top teams, and this fueled my son's desire to play at that level because he felt he was good enough.  I told him that if he ever were asked to play with a top level organization, I would be open to the idea, as long as it was the best team in that organization at his age level.  Before you think that sounds pompous on my part, understand our situation.  We live 3 hours from Atlanta, 2 hours from Tallahassee and 3 1/2 hours from Savannah.  These are the larger cities in our area that had the academy-type organizations.  I wasn't willing to drive that distance to fund the top level team just so my son could say he was playing with "X".  After his sophomore year in high school, he was invited to play with the East Cobb Astros.  He gladly accepted this position and actually lived in Atlanta with one of the players on the team during the summer between his junior and senior year of HS.  This was really the only way we could even make this work.  Luckily for us, the team had a charter bus that took the players to all the tournaments.  It was a similar setup to college.  All I had to worry about was getting myself there and finding lodging for me.  The team took care of travel and lodging for the players.  

The bottom line for us was our son was no different than most of yours.  He wanted to play with and against the best competition out there.  It was just a little more difficult for us because of geography.  If we had lived in Atlanta and he wanted to play with the Astros when he was 12, I would have been all in as long as he was competitive.

PGStaff posted:

Somewhere around 12 or 13 my youngest son was on one of the very top teams in the state.  Not sure why he was on this team because he really didn't get to play that much.

The team went to Colorado to play in some kind of big tournament.  They took a bus and I couldn't go.  They did very well, think they darn near won it and played something like 11 games in one week.

So I picked him up from the bus when they returned.  While driving home I asked him how he did and if he had fun.  He said, "It was a blast".  Once again I asked how he did.  He said he didn't play much, only played about one inning, but we really did good.

I will admit that I was kind of angry that they would take a kid for a whole week and not let him play.  But he was so happy about it all, so I didn't let it bother me. I really liked his attitude about the whole thing.

That team did have a lot of young talent.  They all started in high school.  Several played college baseball.  A couple played DI.

My son slowly improved and at age 22 he made his debut in the Major Leagues.

I've told this story a few times on here.  I'm not positive I remember all the exact details.  I just know I learned something from that experience.  The most important thing I learned is to not get in the way.  And it is easier to develop a good attitude when you enjoy what you're doing.

I still think it is most important to play.  However, it doesn't mean it's a waste of time sitting on the bench for a real good team.  There is always something to learn.

 

That is an outstanding story, and it says a lot about you, and your boy!  I must admit that I would have been VERY unhappy, if they took my son, and he only played 1 inning out of 11 games.  Something tells me they could have found a way to get him some time in a few of those games.   All 11 games wouldn't have all been super tight.  I would have been very upset, and I don't think I would have handled it that way THEN.  Over the years though, I have developed the thinking that there is something to learn from being on the team and sitting on the bench.

Ryno,

I did feel exactly the same way you would have, but what are you going to do when your son tells you he had a "blast" and he actually means it?

I could have said something to the coaches, but determined that that would be counter productive in every way.  And who knows, maybe had he played he would have cost them the game and then all the fun would have disappeared.  Somehow everything worked out well in the end.  

PG's story reminds me of a philosophy I had coming through the process. The kids would have more fun if the parents would stop telling them they're not having fun. PG decided if his kid thought it was fun that's good enough. I've seen parents turn their kids into players with attitudes because the parents weren't pleased with the situation.

We had a tournament facilty near us. We didn't need to travel. We did one road trip. The kids had a great time. They won the tournament. But all they talked about was the great time they had hanging out together 24 hours a day for three days.

There was a kid I wanted on my 13u team. He was a stud on his LL all star team. I was advised to stay away due to the dad. I respected the advice. At 17u the kid was asked to play for the same team as my son. I got a full dose on the sidelines of why teams didn't want this dad around. 

As I read other responses I think I see that the word "important" seems to have different meanings or connotations.   I took it to mean as having value in terms of skill development for later years to help with a kids position for playing on a HS varsity team and onto college teams.  If "important" simply means having your boy enjoy a fun experience, then having him in a "high level team" can certainly provide wonderful experiences.  How can a kid on such a team traveling around to fun places playing at complexes like those of Field Of Dreams not have a great time?  Even parents at those games tend to have a great time when doing this (except a few who take exception to their kids who don't get to play much and the team losing and not going on to extra games for championships ;-) ).  So, if it's "important" for your boy to have a good time, certainly having young players like 9U's on a "high level team" can be a very fun and even inspiring experience.   Though as I recall,  kids of this age tend of have fun experiences any time they can get out and PLAY with others.    And I guess, this day and age it's also a way to keep them out of trouble . . .???

PGStaff posted:

Ryno,

I did feel exactly the same way you would have, but what are you going to do when your son tells you he had a "blast" and he actually means it?

I could have said something to the coaches, but determined that that would be counter productive in every way.  And who knows, maybe had he played he would have cost them the game and then all the fun would have disappeared.  Somehow everything worked out well in the end.  

Very similar story for me (well, without the kid going to MLB! At least as far as I know!). When 2019Son was starting up his 12U year in September he joined an "elite" team (not trying to define that in this thread! Let's just say a competitive Majors team in SoCal). He had previously played a total of two travel ball tournaments in his life -- one in May and one in July. He was, essentially, a rec ball player. In September the new team had a big tournament in Vegas -- I took a Friday off work, drove to Vegas, paid for the tournament, hotel, etc., and he got 3 ABs the entire tournament and barely played in the field (as I recall, there were only 12 kids, so everybody played a lot, except for 2019Son). I kept my mouth shut. 2019Son wanted to quit the team, but we have a family rule that if you join a team you have to see the season through -- in this case, he had to play through the end of the year. He ended up playing 12U and 13U for that team.

My 2018 played 'travel ball' from 9u-14u.  In my area (Nebraska) that really consists of regional travel and just a couple of times per year.  For him the highlight was getting to stay in a hotel with buddies, swim in the pool, and play hotel tag.  We couldn't have asked for a better experience for him and I'm really glad we didn't stick with little league.  The competition and coaching is terrible and they play very few games.  It's unfortunate but it is what it is.  Clearly we aren't at the end game with my son and his story is still to be determined.  But what we gained from playing at a higher level at the younger ages was far superior coaching, better competition, more reps, and confidence from having success against top teams in the region.  And their 10 year old season they qualified and went to the Elite World Series at Disney.  Does it really get better than that at 10? 

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