Answering Some Questions

I have enjoyed reading some of the comments and experiences of people who are following this blog. I do understand that not everyone agrees with my opinion, and that is all I am actually offering...opinions. I do think that they are relatively educated opinions, because I ask many questions to the people who do this baseball thing for a living, and feel that our collective ideas may help some of you. With that being said, I will try to answer some of the questions that have been coming into this site. As a disclaimer, I by no means claim to be the "youth sports guru." But, you asked, so here you go.

What about lefties playing all positions?
I believe that this is an easy answer for the early developmental years. Once again, I am going to bang everyone over the head with this question...What is the end game anyhow? I hope that the answer is to teach these kids a love for sport and competition, and to help develop them in positive ways that go way beyond the baselines. If you agree with that statement, then why wouldn't you let every kid play every position on the field? If your model is trying to turn Johnny Jr. into a college recruit by the time he reaches puberty, then you may want to stop reading now, because you won't like what you are going to hear. This is not about winning games at the earliest levels. Who cares if you have a left handed catcher or shortstop? Is it fun for the kids? Then let them play wherever they want to play.

The challenge comes into the equation as the kids get older and into their teens, and they have shown that they have the ability and desire to continue playing at higher levels. Now, I may have just opened Pandora's box, because I am asking parents to determine whether or not their child has ability and desire. I hope that you will have a good sit down with your child before we go any further and make sure that it is THEIR desire, and I would encourage you to get a non biased evaluator to help evaluate the ability level of your child. If both of these boxes are checked, then I believe it is a good idea to start focusing on a couple different positions, and this would be the time for left handed players to migrate to first base, outfield and the pitchers mound. There are plenty of left handed odds-beaters who have played the other positions, but the deck is stacked against them at the higher levels. If your son or daughter just loves to play but you are realistic that their talent level is not going to take them to the next level, great, find a recreational level team and league and let the lefties keep playing all over the field until they are in their 80's.

A successful baseball career does not have to include a scholarship or a signing bonus. It does have to include having fun.

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  • Lefties

    Great article. From the mom of a lefty who loves 2nd and is only 8 but already getting advice from club coaches to move him out of the position ( at 8, really ?). Love the message of keeping focus on what's important .
  • Youth Sports

    I commend you for speaking out on youth sports. It seems that as my kids get older I am so alone in my thought process of what sports should be at an early age. My son was cut from a baseball team he loved being apart of at the age of 9. He has not picked up a baseball since. He just asked over and over why didn't they like me? Was I really that bad at baseball? The team he was on hadn't won a game all season. I don't think it really phased the boys, they were enjoying themselves. So at the end of the season they didn't invite back 4 boys. Is that worth what you do to a child's spirit to win a game at age 9. To me, no but to the parents apparently so. My son is 11 now and to this day has not played baseball. Sports has not been the same to him. I have taken a very strong stand to keep sports fun because that is what it was to me. With this stand has come many lost friendships. A coach telling me "this is a big deal and if you don't take it seriously you have no business being on this team". Also being told that "kids suffer from parents poor choices" for skipping a practice to have a family evening. So we found ourselves leaving another team in a different sport. This issue is getting bigger and needs to be addressed. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking out and trying to make a difference.
  • Beyond Little League

    Mike, as a parent of a high school athlete completely dedicated to making it to the minors, how do you know the next step? JUCO, 4 year etc? Any thoughts on JUCO vs University? We are standing behind him a 100% and know he had what it takes but there seems to be so many decisions for our Senior to juggle. We know he's got what it takes, his coach knows and he knows, but he's always worried about making the wrong choice that holds him back. With a batting average from 500-750 through 4 years of high school I would have thought choices would have been easier.
  • My husband just took over the

    My husband just took over the baseball league in our community - THANK YOU - your blog has been so helpful keeping us grounded!! We have two boys who LOVE baseball (and the cardinals) - one is a leftie who is a catcher - People get so upset with us when they see him catching like we are making him do something terrible - He wants to catch!
  • I am left handed and when I

    I am left handed and when I was 13, I was playing 2nd base for my local pony league team. I went to a camp put on by college coaches. The coaches split everyone up by position and I went to second base. I will never forget this hall of fame coach looking at me and telling me, "I couldn't play second base because I was left handed". I was devistated. I went to practice the next week and told my coach that I couldn't play second because I was left handed. He told me as long as he was the coach and making out the lineup, I was going to be our team's second baseman. I will never forget how great this made me feel. I ended up eventually moving to the outfield as I got into high school, but for that 13-15 year old team, I played second base and will always remember the coach who didn't care which hand my glove was on.
  • Thanks Coach!

    Thanks Coach! I am so glad to have big leaguers like you that understand the big picture in baseball and life! I grew up playing baseball and soccer and things are so much different now. It took a while to get accustomed to the skill development focus and a lesser focus on winning and stacking teams. In the end the "academy" concept that soccer follows worldwide works so well for all sports if parents can simply change their focus and accept the process of development in their kids. Keep up the good blog posts. Go Cards!
  • Couldn't agree with this

    Couldn't agree with this article more. Fun should be the root of all sports. I often see fathers or grandfathers with their kids at batting cages or at the fields, driving their young kids to be better and better. Trying to cram every little mechanical problem into the kid's head. Often time the child is under 8-10 years old and they look like they are having no fun. These are the children that wanted to have fun and will be burnt out on baseball by the time they are in high school. Sad to see sometimes.
  • I think the last paragraph

    I think the last paragraph sums it all up, just have fun. I am a high school coach, and sometimes it seems kids focus on one sport for a chance at a scholarship. I often wonder, what happen to just playing a high school sport just for the fun of it. It reminds me of Bo Jackson making the comment once, "I love baseball, I play football for a hobby in the off season." It is unfortunate, because kids are missing out on a great opportunity to play a sport for enjoyment.
  • Hi Coach,

    Hi Coach, Im heading into my first season as a T-Ball coach with the attitude of "having fun" while trying to teach the basics. Any advice you can give me to be as successful as possible in this experience? Thanks for your time!