HS baseball: Parenting advise

1,599 Views | 22 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Bulldog73
JayAggie
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AG
So we're venturing into unchartered territory with our oldest son and would appreciate all serious and even some humorous advise here. I never played baseball, so not sure what is normal to expect at HS level baseball. Thank you for those that read the whole post.

My son made his sophomore team (they have sophomore, JV, Varsity) at a 6A school as an incoming freshman.

His background:

- has almost exclusively only played rec ball
- rec ball, but when he pitched he typically gave up 0-1 runs during his outings, he struck out usually 9+ batters when he pitched a whole game, we actually signed up for select last year to challenge him, but then the team fell apart last minute and we had to scramble back to rec
- almost always played SS or 3B
- we took him to private lessons during the past summer and fall to prepare for tryout - feedback from that person was he'll make team on pitching alone, he's really incredible. hitting and fielding very solid.

What we were expecting when he made team, due to his lack of select experience:

- he would probably play OF, maybe some 3B at times
- he would pitch (his strongest ability)

What has been happening for the first month of season:
- he has played every 3rd game, sometime less. All at OF, so new position + new level of competition he is learning on the fly - he has not made any errors or played a ball wrong and has made all the routine plays
- he has not pitched at all

Observations:
- the IF is pretty incredible, I'm not surprised based on those other kids talents and experience that he hasn't played IF, he even agrees with that
- there is one kid that clearly throws much faster than everyone else, but he's erratic, he walked 10 batters in one game, and allowed 10 runs; allowed 7 runs in next start, and then struck out 14 batters. All the other pitches seem very comparable to my son
- this past week my son got pretty down for the first time, but responded by asking if he could do more lessons and saying "dad, I just need to work that much harder" I encouraged him to talk to his coach (not on gameday), but he isn't so sure. He loves being on the team and doesn't want to be a distraction, but he thinks he can help the team with his pitching.

Seeking advise:
- Should he talk to his coach? ( I know I should NEVER talk to his coach) If so, when should he? Is it better before or after practice?
- How should he approach the coach? I.E. "I want to play, what do I need to do?"


Any rate, if you've read this far thank you.
03_Aggie
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Is his coach aware of his pitching ability? I can't imagine not still trying to throw a lot of kids at that age if they have experience and are capable.

He should be able to ask his coach for an opportunity. That said, and maybe you're in a lucky situation, sophomore baseball coaches aren't always guys with baseball experience. So misplaying kids and mismanaging games is sometimes what you just have to suffer through.
979ag
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Some initial thoughts from someone who was playing HS baseball just 5 years ago.

From a 6A standpoint, once you start pitching you usually become a PO. Those high schools have starters, bullpen guys, and position players just like college teams. So if you're son wants to pitch, he probably needs to go up to the coach and ask if the coach would watch him throw a bullpen before/after practice one day to show his skill set. If he's really good, he might kiss his hitting/fielding days goodbye.

From a playing time standpoint, hitting is key. If you make hard contact, hit it far, and hit it consistently, coaches will put you on the field. Bat ability is more important than glove ability.

High school baseball is tough. From my experience, once a coach has his lineup, it's hard for a bench player to break the lineup without someone ahead majorly effing up. Coaches will never sit a starter who has been performing at expectations.

Biggest thing for you son is to show heart and determination. Hit in the cages after practice for an hour, be the kid running the hardest on/off the field, ask the coach to hit fly balls to him for extra reps before/after practice. Simply putting in the extra work outside of normal practice hours will show the coaches he wants to play. Coaches will try and put him in when they see all the extra effort.

Don't be discouraged so early in HS. Your son doesn't sound like baseball will extend past HS, so he still has 3 more years. I started on the infield my sophomore and junior year on varsity, but got DH'd for every game. The coaches knew I couldn't hit at a varsity level. But I spent countless hours in the cages with coaches after practice those two years, and my senior year when I finally got to hit, I led the team in Hits, HR's, and RBI's. Keep working and be the best teammate anyone could ask for. That's my advice. Good luck
JayAggie
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Thank you for the solid advice. He's only gotten 9 AB's but he's 6 for 9 with one SO. He has 7 RBIs (helped that 2 of his AB's were with bases loaded, which is where 4 of his RBIs came from). So that adds to the confusion, but other than the top 2-3 kids that always seems to get a hit, I can't say how that compares to the other players on the roster.

He does get bullpen sessions at practice, and I know my son does not practice well (I have not seen him at all this season, he says he's doing good - not great, but not terrible - he thought he was 2nd or 3rd best P heading into the season).

I will definitely tell him to ask the coach about more OF reps and BP sessions before or after practice.

JayAggie
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He knows he pitches. However this is his same position coach from FB, that even if we were down 45-0, my son wasn't put into game (he played backup QB on Freshman A team). I hate to suspect "politics" but I feel like my son has a good self evaluation of himself. He was injured and miss 3 weeks of football so I just wonder if that had something to do with it and it's carried over to baseball.

I've asked my son a couple of times, are you sure you haven't done anything to piss him off? But he can't think of anything.
Fore Left!
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After practice, I think a conversation of "what do you think I need to work on the most to get better, coach?" never hurts. Shows initiative. I wouldn't mention PT. Given he made the 10th grade team, they apparently like his skills. Keep putting in the work (visibly when possible), keep a good attitude, and stay patient. Reality is that many of these HS coaches are meatheads, and all you can do is keep working, keep a good attitude, and produce when you get your chances (which it sounds like he is). Will it change anything this year? Maybe, maybe not. But it will put him in as good of a spot possible over the 4 years
DallasAg 94
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CampingAg
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As a HS coach, THANK YOU for encouraging your son to talk to the coach instead of you talking to the coach. Kids in HS need to learn to fight their own battles. If I had a dime for every time I've said "Why are you asking me and not your son?"

But yeah just have him talk to the coach respectfully and ask if he can get some work on the mound and if not, what he can do to earn it. Maybe the next bullpen day he can ask if he can also throw one.
Mr. White
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CampingAg said:

As a HS coach, THANK YOU for encouraging your son to talk to the coach instead of you talking to the coach. Kids in HS need to learn to fight their own battles. If I had a dime for every time I've said "Why are you asking me and not your son?"

But yeah just have him talk to the coach respectfully and ask if he can get some work on the mound and if not, what he can do to earn it. Maybe the next bullpen day he can ask if he can also throw one.


I love the emails I get when I've never heard one word from the kid.
94chem
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CampingAg said:

As a HS coach, THANK YOU for encouraging your son to talk to the coach instead of you talking to the coach. Kids in HS need to learn to fight their own battles. If I had a dime for every time I've said "Why are you asking me and not your son?"

But yeah just have him talk to the coach respectfully and ask if he can get some work on the mound and if not, what he can do to earn it. Maybe the next bullpen day he can ask if he can also throw one.


And coaches are teachers. They get the same $56,000/year as everybody else. Unless they're in some high pressure district, they don't get paid to pay attention to every detail, like who has the best arm, who needs a few AB's, or how they can rip off their families by making up excuses to have film sessions when it's really just some time to eat donuts and work on their coach guts. The point is, coaches actually miss LOTS of stuff, and if they are actually willing to have conversations with their players, productive things can happen. The kid needs to have a plan, and just pray that the coach is neither too smart to listen to others nor so dumb that he feels intimidated by basic logic. Good luck.
94chem,
That, sir, was the greatest post in the history of TexAgs. I salute you. -- Dough
94chem
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Quote:

Winning baseball games is very low on many HS coaches agenda.


So true. When they are on the sidelines, they have accountability in the football program, but once baseball season hits, they have nobody watching them, and the ones with Napoleonic fetishes can be as petty, obtuse, and vindictive as they want. Usually this involves tobacco juice, which for some reason is perfectly legal in HS dugouts.
94chem,
That, sir, was the greatest post in the history of TexAgs. I salute you. -- Dough
JJxvi
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AG
How old is the rest of the team?
bigjag19
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94chem said:

Quote:

Winning baseball games is very low on many HS coaches agenda.


So true. When they are on the sidelines, they have accountability in the football program, but once baseball season hits, they have nobody watching them, and the ones with Napoleonic fetishes can be as petty, obtuse, and vindictive as they want. Usually this involves tobacco juice, which for some reason is perfectly legal in HS dugouts.


Despite everyone watching in football it's pretty legal there as well.
JayAggie
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8 freshman and 5 sophomores.

And thanks for all the advice.
10andBOUNCE
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Have coached several seasons of freshman and JV baseball in the past. Like others have said, absolutely have him respectfully talk to his coach if he wants to get PT in the infield and on the mound.

And from a dad perspective just keep encouraging him and being his #1 fan. Worst thing you can do is put any extra pressure on him. Sounds like you're on the right path! Keep us updated.
Sgt. Schultz
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Fore Left! said:

After practice, I think a conversation of "what do you think I need to work on the most to get better, coach?" never hurts. Shows initiative. I wouldn't mention PT. Given he made the 10th grade team, they apparently like his skills. Keep putting in the work (visibly when possible), keep a good attitude, and stay patient. Reality is that many of these HS coaches are meatheads, and all you can do is keep working, keep a good attitude, and produce when you get your chances (which it sounds like he is). Will it change anything this year? Maybe, maybe not. But it will put him in as good of a spot possible over the 4 years
Truth bomb. I would say a good majority when it comes to baseball in Class 4A and lower.
One thing that never changes

Liberals lie, its what they do. You literally cannot spell liberals without the letters L-I-A-R-S.
Miles Finch
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I won't waste your time on my opinion/experiences with HS baseball coaches. Depending on the coach, having your son talk to the coach likely won't hurt, but in reality, don't expect much in return. The better path is for your son to work hard in practice (and away from practice) and take advantage of the chances he does get. Control what he can control and hope the cream rises to the top. Remember, he is in year one of a four year commitment. He has time to take the approach I mention above. Just be patient and hope his hard work pays off. That's, unfortunately, the best approach.
TarponChaser
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JayAggie said:

8 freshman and 5 sophomores.

And thanks for all the advice.

So 13 kids on the roster? Or 14 including your kid?

Either way, I'd think the coach would be pitching every arm he has unless he's under specific instructions to try and develop a couple kids in particular.
TAM85
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Try to let playing in the program be your son's experience, and try to let him figure it out. Approaching a coach or a boss to discuss something may be intimidating but it is a good thing to experience.
TAMU1990
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He should tryout out for a summer team to play more and to get reps. It's hard to pass up kids that play summer ball (and fall ball) when yours only does HS baseball. If that's not what he wants then it might be difficult to keep up. Just depends on your school and if it's in a baseball heavy district.
agsalaska
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TAMU1990 said:

He should tryout out for a summer team to play more and to get reps. It's hard to pass up kids that play summer ball (and fall ball) when yours only does HS baseball. If that's not what he wants then it might be difficult to keep up. Just depends on your school and if it's in a baseball heavy district.
I agree with this.

Our high school coaches in our county are very aware of the kids coming up thru the select teams. Rec teams too, but more the select teams. It is possible that the coach has watched or even coached some of those boys for years as they have grown and trusts them.
12thMan9
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Lots of good info here, from coaches, parents, recent players.

You didn't say where you were located, but you indicated 6A. But w/only 13 on a team, my guess is maybe a new school in a growing area.....?

Further, not making a judge on the talent on the rest of the team or your son, but your son may be kid #13 in that coach/coaches eye given your statement he's only done rec ball. Add to that his football experience w/this coach he may indeed be fighting a perception issue. And that sucks. My son, and several others, had this at high school b/c of his size, and he eventually quit baseball, as did the others.

I agree on getting on a summer team, if he truly wants to continue to play & work on his skills. Reps, reps, reps. If he wants to pitch, spend a little to get an opinion on his prospects. Ask around, teammates might have names. Just remember, they will all say he can do it if he continues to work with them.

And yes, it needs to be his desire, not his parents.
Ronnie '88
Bulldog73
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AG
As a former coach, I applaud you for encouraging your son to take the initiative here.

One thing I saw a lot though, was the kid would coast or jack around in the weight room, be lazy in warm ups, then wonder why they weren't getting many game reps. I'm not saying this is necessarily the case with your son, but it is a possibility.

Yes, a lot of coaches are meat heads, but I can say without a doubt that outside of maybe one the I've worked near over the years, they genuinely wanted good things for their kids. If they don't, they are in the wrong profession.

Thanks for attending my TedTalk.
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