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OldRaider

6U or 7U Travel Team

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You all need to lay off this guy. I agree that alot of the parents of kids playing at 6 are in it for themselves, but there are actually kids who want to play baseball instead of watching Spongebob or playing Playstation all day. There is still time to play and go on vacation. If you can find a quality travel ball team, then go for it. In our area the local league is the place where the crazy parents are at. The ones that never played themselves and want to live through their kids. For the most part they rarely receive quality instruction and they are forced to play with kids who build castles in the dirt. If the guy's kid wants to play them so be it.

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I've got mixed deep emotions about all this. This will be long, so hope you all like reading. This is just a little testimony, as well as a little insight from a parent that has gone through it with 1 son, and is trying to make better decisions with a younger sibling. Fortunately, both my sons have good athletic bloodlines, physically, but more importantly, mentally as well. I was fortunate enough to play in a very well organized, but oftentimes political little league some 30 to 35 years ago. The political part of it will never go away, not then, nor now. As long as it doesn't get downright dirty political, most of us can deal with it. Heck, we do everyday on our jobs, in our families, etc., and we seem to get by. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> I started playing when I was 7 years old. I usually played anywhere from 15 to 18 games a summer, maybe went to a local camp taught by an ex minor leaguer and many other town concerning non son playing parent men. I went through minor league, little league, babe ruth, pretty much like this, always going on to the next sport, football, then basketball, after a usually short baseball all-star stint. I went on to play in high school and be a part of an undefeated high school state champion baseball team. I never played the 40 to 60 games of summer ball, it didn't start then until you were in high school, and as a senior I was fortunate to get a few sniffs from some baseball scouts during our run. They wanted to know my interest, which was not much, I'd been fortunate enough to have a football scholarship already signed, and that's what I had always wanted, so it really was a no brainer in my mind. I guess no point to any of this than to make sure anyone over I guess around 25 years old understands, "Today’s world of youth sports is not the same at all" This should be a no-brainer when we just look at the over coverage of today's athletes, espn, sports talk shows, and yes, even coacht. I do give the internet and just plain ole continued improved technology kudos in some ways, but in other ways, I think, what in the world have we created. Yes, I say we, because I do listen to sports talk shows, look at coacht daily, look at rivals, scout, etc.

I have a 15 year old who is a very good athlete. He played baseball from the time he was 6 until he was 12. I pushed him in baseball from an expectation point of view. He had players around him that were more mature in baseball than he was at the time. I could not work him enough to help him catch up. He made the after season travel teams, and even then travel ball only played about 1/3 of what is played today, some 8 or 9 years later. I know I ruined the fun of baseball for my son, and I could not ever get it back. It was not done intentional or with cruelty in any way. I just did not allow him to mature in this sport at a normal child's pace, and it cost me the joy of watching my son learn to love America's pastime like any real Dad would want for his son. He has played football and basketball for that long as well, and really enjoys both, and has been blessed with the ability to play both very well, but more importantly, he truly loves them both. I drove him from baseball, but I knew I had taught him to love football and basketball. Oh, don't we learn from our mistakes!!!!!!!!

Now, I know an 8 year old travel baseball team that has played over 60 games this spring and summer. My seven year old son has played over 40 baseball games a year, in league play and travel since he was 5 years old. By the way, by today's standard, this is about average to a little above. He is now seven, and has gotten his 40 in already this summer between league and some travel. He does not play fall ball, nor do his mom or myself really have much interest in mentioning it too much. Yes, he wants to play, but this is football time, if he desires, and basketball time, which he enjoys quite a bit. He's seven, and in the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter. Most of his 6U-State runner up travel team teammates from last year played fall play last fall, and I was kinda concerned that they would get way ahead of my son from playing fall ball. Nope, it took him a few weeks this spring to get his swing and fielding down, but after some work, he was right back to his ole self, and one of the better seven year olds in his age group. Now, he can run circles around his older brother in baseball at this age, but more importantly, he loves baseball. As a Dad, I've seen him come up to bat and make the last out, I've seen him drive in runs to help win games, and make plays in the field to do the same. The ride home from the park is usually the same though, not much talk about the game, and a lot of concern as to if McDonald's is still open, can we get an ice cream cone, etc. He's seven, and in the big scheme of things, it doesn't really matter.

Old Raider, there's so much more to say, but I've been on here a while now. If I could give you some solid advice from my experiences, it would be:

1. Get with quality coaches, preferably someone who does not have a child on the team. If that cannot be accomplished, then make sure the head coach has great character and concern for others. If not he'll fail your son and you before the season is over. You don’t' want to go through this.

2. If you coach your son, make sure you know your stuff. If you don't, sit down, and get him with someone who does.

3. If you coach your son, assuming you know your stuff, do most of your instruction at home with him. Spend your time at practice helping other kids as much as possible. If he likes playing at home like your post suggests, this shouldn't be too difficult. Make sure he understands what you are doing, but this will go a long way in keeping some god harmony amongst the other players parents. You may need it at some point in the season. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

4. Set an honest minimum number of games you feel will work for a 6 year old. 20, 30, 40, I don't know, but don't let anyone dictate whatever that number is you set. You know your son; make sure everything about this experience fits him, his personality, his habits, likes, dislikes, etc. That may mean your personality, your likes and dislikes, etc. Remember, he's only 6.

5. Make sure you rarely ask your son to go throw, go hit, play catch, etc. Believe me, if he loves it like you say he does, he'll ask you. My Dad taught me this one after he saw me screw up my oldest son. He asked me, how many times did he ask me to go throw? I don't ever remember him asking me, but I do remember my father, myself and my brother playing, throwing, or hitting all the time when we were young. This one will get you if you do it right. It's amazing.

6. I've had good experiences; I've had bad experiences with this travel ball. I have friends who have their SEVEN year ole son in counseling from these experiences. I've seen sister in laws almost come to blows after a game over something that had nothing to do with ball, I've seen sponsors who seemingly never pay for anything, ask parents for $650 to play for the summer, then want a fund raiser car wash to get money for the team, and the $1000 the car wash makes seems to disappear. Believe me, if it gets to that, go to the camps the guy suggested, work really hard at home, play with your local youth baseball program, and tell your 6 year old how doggone much you love him if he asks "Can he play travel ball?"

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Great post amazedbutwhy. I've got a 16 year old that's playing travel ball and an 8 year old in the rec league for what it's worth.

 

Our H.S. team just got back from UT's team camp which is the best I've ever been associated with by the way. At some point during camp there's a lecture session about the NCAA rules of eligibility and how to get noticed at the next level. A question from the back was when kids should start playing travel ball if ever and who was more important in the recruiting process to the college coach. There were coaches from several colleges in the room.

 

Coach Raleigh had a tough time with the question. His 11 year old is playing 'travel' ball but they haven't left Knox County yet because there are like 40 11U teams in that area. The previous year his kid played Little League in North Carolina because they had to travel. He didn't recommend true travel ball at all until 14U or so. You don't know at 11 or 12 or even 14 or 15 what a kid's college potential is going to be. He didn't want information on a kid until his sophomore year in high school at the earliest and the high school coach was his best contact because they were professionals in the education industry and would be straight up with him about grades, character and that sort of thing. Travel ball was a means to an end because he could go to one site and watch several games in one weekend during his off season.

 

I think you have to come up with a legitimate definition of 'travel' and the pros and cons for your child at any level. I think anything below 10U is too much too early. There are travel teams that will play a 30-40 game schedule in the summer in the same area code more or less. That's not a lot of travel. These are typically high school teams that stay together or limited travel teams that get together. Elite travel teams that travel to regional type tournaments every weekend that go out of state on a regular basis don't need to start until 13U or so, certainly not 6U or 7U.

 

I know more kids that have quit my high school aged sons 7 and 8 team than those that stuck with it 3 to 1. That's from experience and it's typically the parents that either burn the kid out or force his hand on multiple sports later on because they're burned out.

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What area are you in? I'm one of the coaches for the 7u soon to be 8u Franklin Force. A few of our kids will be playing in a 8u kid pitch league this fall and we are looking for more kids. We also will be having tryouts for our 2009 season this fall. We also have a 6u team that will be having tryouts for 2009 also....Our website is www.franklinforcebaseball.com......If you would like any other info just let me know...I can be reached through the website....thanks Greg

 

Oh and most of the people that replied don't know what there talking about. If your loves it that much let him play. Also this day in time a kid will get left behind. The more games the better.

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What area are you in? I'm one of the coaches for the 7u soon to be 8u Franklin Force. A few of our kids will be playing in a 8u kid pitch league this fall and we are looking for more kids. We also will be having tryouts for our 2009 season this fall. We also have a 6u team that will be having tryouts for 2009 also....Our website is www.franklinforcebaseball.com......If you would like any other info just let me know...I can be reached through the website....thanks Greg

 

Oh and most of the people that replied don't know what there talking about. If your loves it that much let him play. Also this day in time a kid will get left behind. The more games the better.

 

OMG!

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What area are you in? I'm one of the coaches for the 7u soon to be 8u Franklin Force. A few of our kids will be playing in a 8u kid pitch league this fall and we are looking for more kids. We also will be having tryouts for our 2009 season this fall. We also have a 6u team that will be having tryouts for 2009 also....Our website is www.franklinforcebaseball.com......If you would like any other info just let me know...I can be reached through the website....thanks Greg

 

Oh and most of the people that replied don't know what there talking about. If your loves it that much let him play. Also this day in time a kid will get left behind. The more games the better.

 

 

 

Spoken like a true parent.

 

Kids do not get left behind. Athletes are athletes. If you could make them into college prospects or major leaguers by putting them on elite travel teams and playing 40 games a summer, everybody would have the secret formula. I can guarantee you that the 12 year old that burns out after 300 games of baseball in 5 or 6 years will never know what his potential is if he quits. I have had this same discussion countless times with starry eyed parents who have been told that their little Johnny is the next coming of Mickey Mantle. That discussion is much different a few years later when little Johnny is left behind. Sometimes a kid reaches his potential when he hits a growth spurt and becomes faster and stronger than his team mates overnight. Kids peak at different ages. Sometimes the Tee Ball phenoms egos can't take it when the other kids catch up with them. It's a marathon, not a race.

 

Travel ball can be a good experience under the right circumstances. Franklin Baseball Club is basically a rec league for travel teams. They have league games and then they travel around Williamson County maybe? Middle Tennessee for the most part with an occasional jaunt to Cooperstown or Florida for a vacation/tournament? That can be a good experience. It's no different that the Little League tournament teams that play an entire season after the regular season is over. As I said, I'd have to see what the definition of travel was. Little League is now offering play in rather than pay in state tournaments at 8U, 10U, 11U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U.

 

My opinion is based on my personal experience and listening to others since 1995 when my oldest first started playing. My kids have played rec ball and travel ball. There is a point where the better competition pays off in my opinion. It's sometime after puberty. Everything up until then is just preparing you for the big bases and the big field. You're no better learning it when you're 8 than when you're 13. The most important things to me are: 1. Is the coach teaching fundamentals? 2. Do the rules of the league/team put safety first or win at all costs, i.e. pitch counts, days rest, teaching good mechanics 3. Is my kid learning the game and having a good time.

 

The most successful coach in youth baseball is the one who has the most players return the next season. Usually when they quit, they're done.

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