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Old 08-22-2019, 08:38 AM   #1
Kentucky_Bat_Cat
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Youth Baseball question for the board

My son is an 11U 2020 player who just had a try out for a local travel team. He has been playing and training for baseball for over 5 yrs now.
My son was offered a spot in the starting rotation but the position wasn't mentioned until after the tryout was pretty much over. The coach asked us if he could be their catcher. The only problem with this is he has always trained to be an infielder or pitcher and has very little game time experience as a catcher. He has a strong arm and is quite fast on the bases. I'm not sure how to respond to this offer as a catcher? Can anyone here help us with this subject because I have no idea how to handle this. It seems to me the only reason the coach would offer us a catcher position is he doesn't already have one or all the other infield positions are spoken for. Looks like the team has three coaches with their sons on the team.

Any help here would be much appreciated

Thank you
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:02 AM   #2
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Did you talk to the coach? Did you ask him about infield/pitching?

He's a professional coach I assume, maybe he sees some potential in your son that you don't. He spends a lot of time with youth baseball I would guess, so he probably has a good eye for talent.

Maybe he thinks that strong arm is just what the team needs behind the plate.

Could just be Coaches giving theirs sons prime positions, but you really need to ask some questions of the Coach.

Me, I would just go and talk to the coach and tell him what experience my son has, and ask him why catcher? Don't be afraid to ask questions.

And most importantly, above all else, ask your son how he feels about it. This should be your primary concern.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:24 AM   #3
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Hi Bluenoser,

I appreciate you replying.

The coach and I haven't really talked yet about playing time at certain positions. The team is not professionally run it's a mix of players from our county rec league.

My son has the most experience at third base and this offer as a catcher has blown my mind. When the coach asked us about him being a catcher I stated that he should ask my son as I didn't want to make that decision for him. My son said yes to the coach but he will need to put in some work in the gear to get up to speed with being a backstop if you know what I mean.

I do believe the other prime positions are spoken for by the coaches kids.

This whole travel team vs rec league stuff has been very difficult to handle and I'm losing sleep over all of these decisions.


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Last edited by Kentucky_Bat_Cat; 08-22-2019 at 09:26 AM. Reason: misspelled word edit
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:05 AM   #4
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Well, it's an important decision so I can understand your trepidation. If either of you is uncomfortable with the situation, maybe look at other options (if they exist).

These things have an affect on your sons future, so better to be sure.

Hopefully someone with experience in a similar situation will reply to this thread as well. My experience with youth baseball is minimal, but as a parent with 5 children and 7 grandchildren, I understand your position.

Good luck with this.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:20 AM   #5
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So, did your son put on the catchers equipment and catch with a live batter at the plate during the tryouts? If not, has your son ever did so in the past? I'm not talking simply catching the pitcher. I'm talking about catching with a batter at the plate taking actual swings.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:52 AM   #6
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Talk to the coach and are there other options/teams. If not, talk to you son and leave it up to him.
Okay, I am showing my age, let a kid play all the positions. I think it is ok to focus on a position when they are age 6 but do not exclude the other positions. You never know what their best position will be when they are 17. IMO.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:15 AM   #7
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Catcher

He has been a catcher in live practices in the past but never the starter in a game situation. He gets very excited when he is asked to wear the catchers gear.
The only problem I seem to have with this is the fact that he is quick on his feet and I just feel like another position suits him best. I also realize that good catchers are kind of hard to come by as we move up.


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Last edited by Kentucky_Bat_Cat; 08-22-2019 at 11:24 AM. Reason: adding to post
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentucky_Bat_Cat View Post
He has been a catcher in live practices in the past but never the starter in a game situation. He gets very excited when he is asked to wear the catchers gear.
The only problem I seem to have with this is the fact that he is quick on his feet and I just feel like another position suits him best. I also realize that good catchers are kind of hard to come by as we move up.


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Oh man if he's caught before and enjoys it, let him do so. I thought by the tone of your post, that he'd never done it before. At that age, I don't think anyone knows what the future holds. LIke Reed said, learn as many positions as one can. Heck, at that age a kid might be the best SS on his team. He gets to Junior High and all of a sudden there are 2 or 3 other kids just as good or better. High School 4 or 5.

Plus, he will be playing a position in which he is a part of every single play on defense. There isn't a better way to learn the game.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:19 PM   #9
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Even pros change positions when needs arise. Some people can handle the switch, some can't. The best way to figure out is to do it.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:34 PM   #10
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I can offer some perspective as a High School Varsity coach with a healthy amount of experience if it helps you.

Kids 11 and under should be playing the game for fun. If he enjoys the position then there really isn't any negative to playing it. Young players should gather as much experience as possible around the diamond. When he does physically mature and his body settles into a certain sort of skill set, that positional knowledge combined with muscle memory will be invaluable.

Catcher is a super important often times under appreciated position. A good catcher can win a lot of games. A great catcher is a second coach on the field and many times your team leader. However, I don't feel like it can be forced. The player has to want to do it. It is demanding, grueling, painful, and has a steep learning curve. Guys that figure it out and embrace it however, have simply loved it in my experience. They learn so much about the mental game that other players simply lack.

If college is a baseball goal for your son down the road then catcher is one of the few named positions asked about. The value of a catcher cannot be understated and often times will allow a program to overlook a underdeveloped aspect of their overall game (hitting as an example) for positional importance.

I feel bad that you are losing sleep, I hope you are being semi sarcastic with that remark because all in all whatever is decided is not going to hurt his growth or development. You didn't mention his age but at maximum he is 11 and so much is going to happen developmentally and mentally in the years to come.

Finally, as a coach, I welcome parent communication. I would rather have a conversation with a parent as opposed to them growing disgruntled and skeptical about what I'm doing. That situation will quickly turn cancerous and it leaves the poor kid in the middle not knowing what to think. I'm not a giant fan of the parent coached teams when it is decided to make the transition to a more competitive baseball atmosphere. It isn't about coaching caliber either. I just find that a lot of these teams devolve into unhealthy situations for the kids. EX: Parents feel coach is playing favorites with his own kid. Coach goes out of his way to be tougher on his own kid which ultimately alienates his own kid. So on and so forth. I feel that there may be something there since you mentioned it in your post.

Anyway, just a perspective that I thought I could offer you. Good Luck!
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:52 PM   #11
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Catcher

Thank you to everybody who replied back, I appreciate the responses.

Ty
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:23 PM   #12
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Thank you to everybody who replied back, I appreciate the responses.

Ty
Please give us some updates. Hope he has a great season and a great time.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:47 PM   #13
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If I can offer one piece of advice it would be to spend some money and invest in those foam wedge shaped 'knee savers'

There is some promising research that their use can save wear and tear on the knees and reduce future injuries.
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