Getting Ready for High School Baseball

This is the age when baseball starts to get "serious." I've never really liked that term because I think baseball should always be fun. You see many professionals who embody having fun like Torii Hunter of the Angels, or Ryan Spillbourghs of the Rockies, or Pablo Franciso of the Giants. These players are often seen smiling and truly enjoying themselves. It's no coincidence that they are also successful. Have you ever seen Ozzie Smith, the Hall of Fame shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals do a flip as he ran onto the field? Was he having fun? I think so...

At this age many players have decided they may want a chance to play high school ball. Or they may feel baseball is not a long term game for them and it's their last chance to play. The fact is, often players are alienated at this age by travel or competitive tournament teams. This is a real shame because many boys haven't developed physically at this time and may have many great years of baseball ahead of them if they continue to play. Help your young teenager find a league to continue his progression in the game and you may be surprised by how their interest grows.

Having a good coach at this stage is critical for players to make the transition to high school. Playing competitive baseball is not necessary at this age, but it could help. Particularly if the high school coaches are involved in the programs. This is the unfortunate part of youth sports, where politics interrupt where the focus should be. However, it exists and understanding them, instead of fighting them can only work to your advantage. If your player wants to play, help them play. That is your role as a parent of the teenage ballplayer.

If your child has not developed the proper fundamentals at this age the chance of them being successful is slim. However, if they are athletic, have a good coach and are willing to put in extra effort it is certainly not too late to succeed. It just will not be easy - but hey, isn't that what this game is all about? Learning how to work hard through adversity and in the end feeling good about yourself for the dedication you've shown.

I've seen many kids who were not standout players at 12 or 13 years old, go on to become very good high school players. The fact is that it doesn't matter what your child accomplishes at a young age. What matters is that a love of the game is developed and your child is active and healthy. The results will come, they will be successful and they will continue to play the game!



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