SHOULD YOUTH BASEBALL PLAYERS PLAY WITH OLDER KIDS?

From Carlos in California:

Should Youth Baseball Players Play With Older Kids? I have been coaching for 6 years and, for the last 2 years, I have had the opportunity to coach an All-Star team. First, it was a 10U team with my oldest son and last year was with an 8U team.

I have only had a short amount of time to work with the kids. Do you suggest to start coaching a traveling baseball team with younger kids so they can play together longer? Should Youth Baseball Players Play With Older Kids?


MY YOUTH BASEBALL RECOMMENDATION

Thanks for the question Carlos!

Well, the simple answer for both of your questions is to do what is best for the youth baseball player. Sometimes, adults (usually parents) want their ballplayer to be a superstar when he really isn’t. Many times, parents push their child to play at a level that they can’t succeed at and/or the kid doesn’t even want to play at.

Below are some ideas to help you make the correct decision for your youth baseball player:

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  • Ask him if he wants to play baseball with older kids. Don’t try to manipulate his answer. Find out if he really would like to play up a level or two. If he seriously wants that, then do some more research.
  • Ask other baseball coaches that have watched your player for their input. Especially do this if you are the parent of the kid because we all tend to think our own child is a little better than he really is. Neutral and unbiased opinions are a good thing. We all want to make sure the kid is successful at the higher level.
  • If possible, let him attend a couple practices with an older baseball team to see how he fits in physically and socially.

If, after doing some research, you AND the kid feel like he is ready to play baseball at a higher age level, THEN GO FOR IT! If he is ready, he will benefit from the higher level of competition and his baseball skills will develop quicker.

Remember to always keep the game of baseball fun for the kid. If it becomes a job and he feels like he has to play at a higher level only for you, he may feel resentment later in life and quit playing. The best way to measure a kid’s love for the game is a smile when he is on the field. If he is smiling more often than not, he loves the game. Keep an eye on that!

Thanks again for the question Carlos! I am sure you aren’t the only baseball coach/parent that has that question.

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