I borrowed this from a friend of mine here in the north who coaches a large travel program AND has a son who is playing D1 in the south. He truly sees the light.
Good Reading, especially for parents
This is kind of an interesting topic since it runs the spectrum from Little League Baseball up through college and possibly beyond although I have no experience with the beyond. By TRANSITIONS, I'm speaking of moving up from one level of baseball to the next and the problems that arise when doing so.
Go back to the start of Little League, T-Ball and how there was always that one kid who was bigger, stronger and could hit the ball further at 6 but by the time the kids were 12, he wasn't the biggest or the best. I can remember there being parents who kept track of their son's home runs through the first few years of coach pitch and minors, pretty funny stuff. Then came "Majors" with it's tryouts, practices and playing on a fenced field, complete with dugouts. All really neat stuff. The reality is, at 12 years old, playing on a field with 200' fences was the last and only time that a player can dominate a small field. Even the LL World Series has had to move the fences back in Williamsport to 225' because of the equipment and the fact that the kids are bigger and stronger. Here lies problem #1. When I played LL there was 1 All-Star team selected from the best players in the league that were 11 and 12 years old. Now we have 10U, 11U and 12U All-Stars, and then there are some All-Star "B" teams as well as the summer travel All-Stars. So just about every kid in the league who wants to play beyond the regular schedule is put on some sort of All-Star team. This is where the nightmares start for the high school coaches..
The following year is the big move to the big field, 90' bases and 60'6" mound all fit in a field with 400',370' and 330' dimensions. Those 200' home runs now land 30' out beyond second base. The hot shot SS with the rifle arm, struggles to get the ball across the diamond and the pitcher who threw smoke or had the nasty curve can barely reach the plate. Tryouts come for the school teams, modified, jv and varsity. Lots of changes and of course cuts.
As a high school assistant coach for 12 years I heard plenty of times about the kid who didn't make the school team and "how was that possible? He was an All-Star!" Sorry but the field outgrew him. He did not make the TRANSITION from small field to big field or he was a big kid at 12 and just hasn't grown as much as the others. Rarely will you find the big homerun hitter at 12 to be the same slugger at 17. Parents however, they don't see this. They still have little Larry going to the HS tryouts with his town All-Star shirt on.
It doesn't stop there.
A player who has really enjoyed success in his baseball career, has worked hard and made those first few transitions. He's now a HS senior who has played varsity 2 or 3 years and gone from the timid underclassmen to the kid who's name is in the paper all the time and in fact he has a baseball scholarship to a nice school. It's only a partial as most college baseball scholarships are but the numbers are exaggerated by mom and dad. We hear "full rides" and other such percentages that most times are false. Here in this situation, Larry is fortunate, he's had a great high school career, All League, All County, All State etc etc, school Wall of Fame, Prom King and the accolades go on and on. Off to college we go.
Larry steps on campus and fall ball starts. Larry is now playing and competing with MEN 4 years older then he is. It's the first time that he has had to do this. In LL it was 11 and 12's. In HS it was Jr's and Sr's. Now it's 4 years worth of players between the ages of 18 and 23 years old. Men who can go out at night, go to bars, buy a beer and some may even be married with kids all playing with Larry. Mom and Dad however just remember all the letters and accomplishments from just a few months ago and they expect their son to jump right into the starting line-up or pitch the Friday night opener. Guess again..... TRANSITION.... New school, new coach, new classes, new teammates who were all the best players on their respective, LL, HS and Summer teams, New system, new signs, new schedule (50+ games), study hall, women and of course mom and dad and their expectations.
Most freshman do not play much the first year in college and even fewer start any games at all regardless of what the college coach said during the recruiting process. Remember these words, "If he told you that you would not play until you were a junior, would you chose his school". The answer is "NO" and the coach knows that. He tells you what you need to hear to chose his school and he will continue to, so that you stay. Is he a coach, politician or counselor? All of the above.
This to me is the toughest year and believe me I have heard from my share of parents on this one and I have heard all the BS from the coaches. It's ego, history and the lack of knowledge that really hurt the situation. I wrote last week about going out and watching games and pre-game. See for yourself. Can your son play at a top 25 program when he wasn't the best player on his HS team? Should he be starting for 4 years in college when he only started for 1 in high school? His high school only had 15 players, now his college team has 35, where does he fit? The college coach is giving him scholarship money, he likes him and wants him to succeed, it's just going to take time. I'm not sure of the percentages but the number of players who transfer within the first 2 years do so because of the failure to make this TRANSITION. It's around 30%
Enjoy the ride! Your son has made the team now let him make the TRANSITION. Don't make it harder or make it worse. Help him to understand that at each new level there is a new beginning and a clean slate. Once you're there, no coach cares what you did last year or for the last coach. He only cares what you are going to do to help his program. It's going to take time. Understand this and help your son do the same.
Let it Rip!!!