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DrungoHazewood

I finally see why kids don't like playing baseball

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I have two kids, 8 and 7. They've both played t-ball/baseball and soccer. One played t-ball in the past, but now plays soccer. The other played soccer for four years, wanted to play baseball this fall season, but probably will go back to soccer in the spring. Remember, their dad is a huge baseball fan. They love watching the O's with me. They get up in the morning and watch Quick Pitch without prompting. But playing baseball on an organized team isn't doing it for them.

The reason? ORGANIZED BASEBALL FOR 5-8 YEAR OLDS IS RIDICULOUSLY STUPID IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY.

Tonight, perfect example. Nate's 7-8 year old Nationals play the Rockies. Machine pitch - so there's this spring loaded contraption that throws 30 mph pitches, often in the vicinity of home plate. The Rockies are a bit more talented, meaning they often make contact (maybe 2/3rds of their players didn't strike out - yes the league probably has a 50% K rate.), so they usually max out their allowed five runs per inning. They're able to do this because the league BABIP is roughly .975. You'll see an out on a ball in play once or twice a game, on average. There were none tonight. Mostly the kids are kicking around in the dirt and looking at the lights, or the sky or their parents, because on any one pitch there's about a 10-20% chance the ball is hit, and maybe a 5% chance the ball comes anywhere near them.

Nate got to bat zero times this game, because he was 9th in the order, his team went 3-up, 3-down (all Ks) in two of the three innings, and they called it early because someone saw lightning.

So that's how a typical game might go. You never meaningfully touch the ball on defense, and you don't even get to bat. I think he has four or five at bats in four games. Practice is similar. With one pitching machine and a dozen players they get to bat once per practice.

It's pretty much insane.

Contrast this with soccer where kids of all skill levels are constantly running, touching the ball, doing drills. Breaking into small groups to practice specific skills. Everyone is always running, even back to get water on breaks. One of my rules as a coach is that you should absolutely minimize the time they're standing around. In games everyone plays, everyone touches the ball multiple times a game. In baseball they are standing around doing nothing literally 90% of the time and it really seems like they're barely participating.

I don't know the solution, maybe this is just a bad set of players/coaches, although previous seasons in t-ball weren't much better. I never played at that age when I was a kid. But if I were a kid now, like my kids, I'd make the same choice they are: soccer is fun, baseball isn't. My kids love playing baseball with me in the yard, but organized elementary school-age baseball is a huge dud.

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Is it typical for a game to be shortened by weather and the kid doesn't hit?

I guess I was spoiled. We had one man who ran the entire league from 5-8. It was coach pitch. Every kid got to try every position and hit.

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Is it typical for a game to be shortened by weather and the kid doesn't hit?

Typical is probably too strong. In five scheduled games only two of them have been shortened by weather and my kid didn't get to hit.

I guess I was spoiled. We had one man who ran the entire league from 5-8. It was coach pitch. Every kid got to try every position and hit.

I will give you that we're in a less-than-great situation with regards to the team. Probably bad luck that the team essentially has no top players for the league. The other teams appear to each have 2-3 players who have some chance of hitting a ball that reaches the outfield grass. The Nationals really don't. So it's compounding - they go 3-up, 3-down and in a normal game each kid gets one at bat. So in six weeks Nate has gotten five plate appearances in games, and another half-dozen in practice. An average kid gets less game action than David Lough, in the age where you're trying to get them hooked on baseball.

It doesn't help that the pitching machine is finicky, and needs constant adjustment. So kids will often get their six pitches, none of which are strikes. We had a practice, where I held my tongue so I wasn't that parent, but they went through the entire team and maybe 10-20% of the 100+ pitches were strikes. Have you ever watched a baseball game where 80-90% of pitches were swings and misses? It's like watching Clayton Kershaw face a high school team. Except the pitches are going (relatively) straight and 30 mph. I think there were kids in the field nodding off. They were certainly having more fun playing in the dirt than watching the endless strikeouts.

Also doesn't help that all but one or two of the players on the team are physically incapable of throwing the ball from SS/3B to first. Most of them also from 2B. The only hope of an out is if the ball is hit straight to the pitcher or first baseman. And even then you're left with a first baseman with a .060 fielding percentage and an attention span too short to care that someone is throwing him the ball. Outs on balls in play are truly a cause for celebration.

My youngest, Sam, when he played t-ball caught a line drive while playing first. I think the team put him on their shoulders and carried him off the field, maybe also sending emails to Cooperstown.

Edited by DrungoHazewood

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My kid is playing lacrosse for that exact reason. I will play baseball with him myself. When he gets a little older (12 or 13) and he wants to play, he can play. I don't want him standing around bored and I don't want to watch it.

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I have two kids, 8 and 7. They've both played t-ball/baseball and soccer. One played t-ball in the past, but now plays soccer. The other played soccer for four years, wanted to play baseball this fall season, but probably will go back to soccer in the spring. Remember, their dad is a huge baseball fan. They love watching the O's with me. They get up in the morning and watch Quick Pitch without prompting. But playing baseball on an organized team isn't doing it for them.

The reason? ORGANIZED BASEBALL FOR 5-8 YEAR OLDS IS RIDICULOUSLY STUPID IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY.

Tonight, perfect example. Nate's 7-8 year old Nationals play the Rockies. Machine pitch - so there's this spring loaded contraption that throws 30 mph pitches, often in the vicinity of home plate. The Rockies are a bit more talented, meaning they often make contact (maybe 2/3rds of their players didn't strike out - yes the league probably has a 50% K rate.), so they usually max out their allowed five runs per inning. They're able to do this because the league BABIP is roughly .975. You'll see an out on a ball in play once or twice a game, on average. There were none tonight. Mostly the kids are kicking around in the dirt and looking at the lights, or the sky or their parents, because on any one pitch there's about a 10-20% chance the ball is hit, and maybe a 5% chance the ball comes anywhere near them.

Nate got to bat zero times this game, because he was 9th in the order, his team went 3-up, 3-down (all Ks) in two of the three innings, and they called it early because someone saw lightning.

So that's how a typical game might go. You never meaningfully touch the ball on defense, and you don't even get to bat. I think he has four or five at bats in four games. Practice is similar. With one pitching machine and a dozen players they get to bat once per practice.

It's pretty much insane.

Contrast this with soccer where kids of all skill levels are constantly running, touching the ball, doing drills. Breaking into small groups to practice specific skills. Everyone is always running, even back to get water on breaks. One of my rules as a coach is that you should absolutely minimize the time they're standing around. In games everyone plays, everyone touches the ball multiple times a game. In baseball they are standing around doing nothing literally 90% of the time and it really seems like they're barely participating.

I don't know the solution, maybe this is just a bad set of players/coaches, although previous seasons in t-ball weren't much better. I never played at that age when I was a kid. But if I were a kid now, like my kids, I'd make the same choice they are: soccer is fun, baseball isn't. My kids love playing baseball with me in the yard, but organized elementary school-age baseball is a huge dud.

I hear you. The same scenario happened to my son a few times. And the coaches typically play favorites with their sons, hitting them early in the lineup. So unless your son is a future MLB player or you are one of the coaches, expect your son to hit 8th or 9th every evening. But worst is when they advance past machine pitch, if I remember well it was in the 9-10 year old league. Then the kids themselves have to pitch and the result is typically 80% wild pitches and most of the runners advancing and scoring on WP.

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I would add that the whole "baseball is a kids game" concept is a myth. Unless by kids you mean 15-year olds. Baseball is a game of high skill, probably the most difficult to play among the best-known sports (tennis also comes to mind).

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I would add that the whole "baseball is a kids game" concept is a myth. Unless by kids you mean 15-year olds. Baseball is a game of high skill, probably the most difficult to play among the best-known sports (tennis also comes to mind).

After this experience I'm thinking that actual games with this age group is totally counter productive. What they really need is more practices where they have a coach to kid ratio of about 5:1 and a lot more direct involvement with each kid. Current way of doing business, if this was British, would be known as "The Queuing Game" because most of it is waiting around, often in lines.

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After this experience I'm thinking that actual games with this age group is totally counter productive. What they really need is more practices where they have a coach to kid ratio of about 5:1 and a lot more direct involvement with each kid. Current way of doing business, if this was British, would be known as "The Queuing Game" because most of it is waiting around, often in lines.

You don't think five coaches for each kid is a bit excessive?

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You don't think five coaches for each kid is a bit excessive?

Depends on how good the coaches are. Pitching coach, hitting, strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports psychologist, agility...

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After this experience I'm thinking that actual games with this age group is totally counter productive. What they really need is more practices where they have a coach to kid ratio of about 5:1 and a lot more direct involvement with each kid. Current way of doing business, if this was British, would be known as "The Queuing Game" because most of it is waiting around, often in lines.

Five coaches to one kid sounds crazy, but formal games should definitely be minimal at that age. You make games out of the drills during practice.

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You don't think five coaches for each kid is a bit excessive?

Damn. I only had to read one more post to avoid a redundancy and still didn't do it...

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After this experience I'm thinking that actual games with this age group is totally counter productive. What they really need is more practices where they have a coach to kid ratio of about 5:1 and a lot more direct involvement with each kid. Current way of doing business, if this was British, would be known as "The Queuing Game" because most of it is waiting around, often in lines.

Counter productive indeed. Some kids aren't fully coordinated until they reach 8 or so. Soft-toss a ball to many 5-6 year-olds and they'll close their glove roughly the same time the ball has bounced out and is halfway to the ground.

Your observations about soccer vs. baseball in that age range I think are spot on.

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