Youth Sports -- Vent/Advice needed — The Bump
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Youth Sports -- Vent/Advice needed

When my son was 4 or 5 years old, there was no way he was emotionally or socially ready to play t-ball or soccer.  He had zero interest in that kind of stuff, and I didn't push him because I didn't want to turn him off to doing organized sports. 

When he was 7, he started karate, which has been AMAZING for him in a million ways.  He's not a superstar in karate, and there are kids who have started after him and progressed a little faster.  But he has seen the value of working hard, practicing, and sticking with something, even if it is hard.  Also, he has become much more physically sure of himself, and this has allowed him to take more joy in the recreational activities we do as a family such as mountain-biking, hiking, swimming, frisbee, and bodysurfing.

Now, just as he's about to turn 10, he's become really interested in baseball.  His dad and I have tried to satisfy some of his interest by playing kickball or flies'n'grounders in the backyard.  He's really enjoyed this, and the next logical step would be to sign him up for a not-too-competitive baseball team in the fall or spring.  But I'm pretty sure that no team at his age level will take a kid who has never played before.  It just sucks that you have to start sports so early, or you're locked out.  I know if I had forced him to begin t-ball at age 5, he would have hated it and probably wouldn't be playing now.  And I feel just as strongly that, with his new-found confidence, he could probably pick up the basics quickly if he had the right coach and a little practice.  He's just sort of a late bloomer when it comes to sports stuff.

Also, I know practically nothing about little league baseball, as I grew up in a house with only a sister, and my H also never played little league.  Is it even worth it at this point?  Anyone have any advice about what to do with this situation?  Should I bother pursuing this, or just take him to some major league games and keep playing catch in the backyard?
High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade

Re: Youth Sports -- Vent/Advice needed

  • In our city, the parks and rec department offers week long "camps" (1.5 hours for five days) throughout the summer to teach the skills of tons of different sports. Do you have anything like this around you...?
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  • ppantsppants
    Long-Lasting Membership 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Photogenic
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    We have a league during summer that consists of teams from other local small towns. Kid signs up and is placed on a team. We play for 6 weeks, twice a week. Maybe check with a Y and see what they have available.
    Wendy Twins 1/27/06. DS and DD
  • Also, do you have batting cages nearby? It might be a good place to start.
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  • I completely understand what your saying but yes absolutely sign him up! Our very close friend and neighbor coaches his son Lacrosse team(his son his my twins BFF-their words not mine) convinced us last fall to sign them up for an indoor all game clinic. My two never touched a stick in their life and the first few games were hysterical, they never moved, more or less looked like they were out catching butterflies. It was pretty clear to see they never played before but they picked it up quick and just found a love for the game and had fun. They even made it into a big tournament and did well! I think the whole point for organized sports is just to support them and encourage them, although a lot of parents lose sight of that! Your so right in your reasoning!!!! So I get it but if he wants to do just encourage it.
    Married 07/15/2006 DS # 1&2 born 07/06/2007 TTC# 3 since 10/2013
  • Maybe talk to the Little League coach and see what he/she recommends?  DS loves soccer, and DH insists that he play club soccer rather than the YMCA rec league.  There is no club team for our area, but DH contacted the coach directly to get DS on a team across town.  (DS is really into soccer, so we're not forcing him, but I still think the rec league would be fine.)
    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
  • ss+elss+el
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    I know what you mean, they start so young now! We did "clinic" style T-Ball, soccer and football from ages 3-5 and they were fun and low key, but he didn't fall in love with any of them. It seems like most everything from age 6 up is so competitive, so I'm really looking closely to see where to sign him up for the next step.
     
    If there is a park & rec or non-tournament Little League, he should be fine until he gets the hang of the sport. My brother started baseball at 9 and held his own ok.
  • Wow, everyone!  Thanks for such great advice, and especially stories of other kids who started a sport a little later on in elementary school.  Our next door neighbor's son is in college, but he played baseball all through elementary, middle, and high school.  Their son was pretty competitive, but they may have a feel for what league or group would be better for my son.  At a minimum, we could go to the batting cages.

    Our county has a really good recreation department that has a pretty big variety of sports classes and camps.  He might have to wait until spring or do a "general sports" camp that includes baseball to begin.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • My oldest son started begging to play hockey when he was three.  I made him wait until he was six...and found out he was behind already! It took him two years before he finally caught up.  Thankfully he has a confident personality and didn't seem to even realize how far behind the other kids that he was.  After two years of being the worst player on the team it just clicked for him.  He spent the whole summer practicing in the basement, studying plays on tv and acting them out, and we put him in a few clinics.When the season started we had several people come up to us and ask what we did b/c he had improved so much.

    This spring he decided he wanted to play lacrosse.  Again, he was on a team of kids who have played for at least a year or two.  He was again the worst player on the team.  This time, he had an a**hole coach who yelled at all the kids, other coaches, refs etc.  My son got yelled at a lot b/c he didn't know what he was doing.  One game I watched the coach yell at him while on the field for a mistake he made, then yell at him when he got off the field about the same mistake, and then heard him bring him up to team during halftime as an example of what not to do.  I normally make him finish any activity he starts, but in this case I said he could quit the team b/c of this coach (three other kids did quit b/c of him).  He decided he wanted to finish the season.  That said, he has decided to switch to baseball next year b/c lacrosse became stressful and not fun.  So he will be 10 and playing baseball for the first time.  I have asked my husband to throw a ball around in the yard and take him to the batting cages a few times and just hope it goes okay!  

    I guess it depends on your sons personality.  My son is very confident and while sports don't come naturally for him he loves them and is willing to work at it.  My youngest son is a perfectionist and gets so upset if he makes a mistake.  He would have a hard time taking up a sport with kids who have a lot more experience.  I would be inclined to give him a chance, sports can be so great for kids.  I would warn him he will have some catching up to do and help him however I could.
  • Honestly I think its disgusting how competitive the kids games are in America. I mean, my girls could all ski before they could walk, but even now, none of them ski competitively. I didn't start to ski competitively until I was 12 and that was my job for most of my life. DD1, who is 7, has just started hockey and everyone in her team is also just starting out and there are 10 and 11 year olds on it.

    Personally, I'd try to a non-competitive team for him to start off with, and then if he likes it, maybe find a camp for him. 
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  • cjcouple said:
    Skadii said:
    Honestly I think its disgusting how competitive the kids games are in America. I mean, my girls could all ski before they could walk, but even now, none of them ski competitively. I didn't start to ski competitively until I was 12 and that was my job for most of my life. DD1, who is 7, has just started hockey and everyone in her team is also just starting out and there are 10 and 11 year olds on it.

    Personally, I'd try to a non-competitive team for him to start off with, and then if he likes it, maybe find a camp for him. 
    In America - really? So other countries where they basically give their children away so they can be athletes are fine? Maybe I am mistaken but I think america is mild in comparison to lots of other countries


    _____________________________________________________

    By no means am I saying that other countries are all absolutely 100% perfect, nor am i saying that countries where people do that are even slightly okay. But that doesn't make how childrens games are treated in America okay in my opinion either. 
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  • cjcouple said:
    Skadii said:
    cjcouple said:
    Skadii said:
    Honestly I think its disgusting how competitive the kids games are in America. I mean, my girls could all ski before they could walk, but even now, none of them ski competitively. I didn't start to ski competitively until I was 12 and that was my job for most of my life. DD1, who is 7, has just started hockey and everyone in her team is also just starting out and there are 10 and 11 year olds on it.

    Personally, I'd try to a non-competitive team for him to start off with, and then if he likes it, maybe find a camp for him. 
    In America - really? So other countries where they basically give their children away so they can be athletes are fine? Maybe I am mistaken but I think america is mild in comparison to lots of other countries


    _____________________________________________________

    By no means am I saying that other countries are all absolutely 100% perfect, nor am i saying that countries where people do that are even slightly okay. But that doesn't make how childrens games are treated in America okay in my opinion either. 
    It's just weird you pinpointed America. It's not just an American problem....lol  

    I am in Northeast CT and personally have not experienced that anyway.   Yes, my kids play sports young (started both at 3yo) but they don't keep scores until 9 or so in most sports. In fact I see the "trophy for everyone" a lot more than the competitive side for young kids  My boys have done gymnastics, soccer, football, basketball, baseball/tee ball and every season ends with a trophy or a medal. I also have yet to be at a game that keeps scores. My oldest is almost 8 and he will move up to little league at 10 where the scoring starts. All the young kids sports seem to be instructional and training IME.  But yes, if you wait to sign up until it becomes competitive, than they will be behind in their skill sets.  


    I pinpointed America because we were talking about America. Had we been talking about another country, I would have pinpointed that one.
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