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Thread: 14U or 16U exposure?

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    Softball Junkie joemcq51's Avatar
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    Default 14U or 16U exposure?

    My 13 YOA DD is currently playing on a 14U team. The team is competetive and they are all 98's. She has been asked to play on a 16U team that will focus mainly on exposure tournaments. Personally I think she should be able to dominate at 14U before we move her up to 16U. The 16U coach has some greats points. He says that the top 14U teams can compete with almost any 16U team. So if my DD can hold her own in 14U, she would do well in 16U. The exposure schedule looks like it has her in some good tourny's. Rising Stars, Fireworks, Strike 3, etc... I was wondering what some of you thought. She is a 7th grader. Is that too early to be worrying about exposure? I would think she would still have a few years before it is necessary.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball GOINGDEEP's Avatar
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    When you say "she" should be able to dominate, I naturally think of a pitcher. If so I'll continue with my opinion based on our experience with this same de lima last summer. Lots of pros and cons to both.

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    Softball Junkie joemcq51's Avatar
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    Deep- You are spot on. She is a pitcher. It seems coaches are constantly questioning why she isn't playing up???? Does that ever stop? I am imagining that when she is ready for 18U Gold teams, it will only get worse. I really question if it is because I am not sending the right message to these coaches. I try to be nice and listen to their constant recruiting. How do other parents handle this? Ultimately I want to do whats best for my DD.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball GOINGDEEP's Avatar
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    Well, good pitchers are in high demand, and most teams plan a year or two ahead of time to dine them into their fold. I usually build my team around my pitching. You can have a super great defense and poor pitching and never win a game. But the other side of the coin, you can win games with a super great pitcher and a poor defense. ( and a few good sticks ) IMO you want as few balls in play as you can.

    We stayed down in 14u, and it was a long thought out process. ( huge success but I'll never know if it was the right choice ) At that time 14u was still 40' ( even though she was a freshman throwing 43' in HS..... and yes she is very young age wise ) but she had no problem switching between the distance. I was like you, 14u in our state had some powerful teams. Most could/did beat the crap out of the 16u when we played them. We also wanted to stay in our age group for our last vacation type far away tournament. Triple Crown Series. ( I knew it would probably be the last year of FUN as appose to a business schedule of play ) There were also 2 huge State tourneys that no 14u team from our area had ever won. ( we won both ) So we shall always have those bragging rights.

    The older teams watch 14u very close, doesn't matter if you are 10 playing 14u or 14 playing 14u. That age seams to be a magical time line for some reason. The average players start quitting, and skills really take off for studs. The coaches from the 16-18u teams are scouting at the tournaments just like college coaches at exposures. You will have more offers from various teams and TIME to evaluate them. Not so much if you jump on the first or second 16u offer, then youre stuck for the season. ( meaning you skip 14u )

    Lots will tell you, she needs to move up to progress. She needs to see better batters. And that's true to a point. But she AND you will never have this chance again. And that means staying in your age group and dominating. Once she gets a true age of 16 you will find out lots of tourneys are 16-18 combined. ( except big exposer type ) Enjoy her being the big dog, enjoy people patting her on the back, enjoy that feeling of "dang that pitcher is tough". 16u will be here before you know it, if she is good enough it won't matter when she started playing it. College coaches will find her.

    Powerhouse D1 schools will be the only disadvantage to my opinion. They start looking before 16u. But in reality, less than 1% of the DD pitchers on here will play for those schools.

    My DD and I are now trying to decide over 3 18U Gold teams, college summer camps, and her school of choice based on her degree field. That is another complex formula.

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    Certified softball maniac SBFAMILY's Avatar
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    Depends on your goals. We skipped 14U and played 3 years of 16U. That gives you the most college coach exposure. 90% of the D1 players have a verbal when they are sophomores. Coaches in the D1's are working on the 2014 and 2015 class now. This weekend a D2 coach watched an indoor game of 15u's 2015 class, so they start early.

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    Yes, the good 14U teams can compete at a high level with 16U teams.
    My concern would be the social aspect of mixing the values of a 7th grader
    with those of HS sophomores and juniors

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    First congrats. to your dd for her hard work.If I was in your shoes,which I'am not,I would keep her down this year.IMO there even seems to be a big diff. between 7th graders and 8th graders,the 8th graders seem more advanced, if you know what I mean.I'am not doubting your dds abilities.My dd is in 7th grade and just turned 13 in Oct.,but watching how the girls act in 8th grade,she is not even at the same social level they are.But in the end, I would let your dd decide,but with info to consider.Good Luck to your dd.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball GOINGDEEP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBFAMILY View Post
    Depends on your goals. We skipped 14U and played 3 years of 16U. That gives you the most college coach exposure. 90% of the D1 players have a verbal when they are sophomores. Coaches in the D1's are working on the 2014 and 2015 class now. This weekend a D2 coach watched an indoor game of 15u's 2015 class, so they start early.
    So how did that work out for you? Did the 3 years pay off? You mention D1, was that your goal? Did your DD sign? I understand your opinion and it's validity, but curious how it worked out. Only since we are taking another road.

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    Super Moderator sluggers's Avatar
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    Parents just can't seem come to terms with sports. Everyone is so worried that their DD will be shattered because (Oh no!!) she lost a softball game or someone hit a home run off her.

    Kids who become "good" aren't playing the sport because they enjoy winning. They play the sport because they enjoy *COMPETITION*.

    Your DD is a pitcher. She enjoys pitching against good players. By now, she has probably struck out enough bad players to last a life time. She does want or need to strike out one more player--what she really wants is to be challenged and to be pushed to her limits. She wants to know just how "good" she really is. She isn't going to find that at 14U.

    "Real" softball is first played at the 16U level. The girls are bigger, faster, and stronger. The kids who don't want to play are long gone. So, all you have left at 16U travel ball are talented kids who really want to compete.

    There is no point in playing any sport at a level where she "dominates". If this is all you want, then put her in a low level rec league. She can strike out 21 batters a game and be the MVP for the league.

    Enjoy her being the big dog, enjoy people patting her on the back, enjoy that feeling of "dang that pitcher is tough".
    I don't get this at all. So, he should keep her down at 14U so that Daddy feels good about the DD's accomplishments? You can get the same experience for much less money and time by letting her play rec ball.

    The real joy is watching your DD compete. Winning is better than losing, but, ultimately, the kids are there to play the game, not to polish any trophies or medals they might get.

    GOING DEEP: So how did that work out for you? Did the 3 years pay off? You mention D1, was that your goal? Did your DD sign? I
    My DD went from rec 12U to travel 16U as a pitcher. She loved 16U. It was much, much more competitive, and much, much more difficult. But, she loved it. She adapted. She learned to pitch. Sh did play D1.
    Last edited by sluggers; 01-16-2012 at 11:39 AM.
    Ray

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    Certified softball maniac SBFAMILY's Avatar
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    Yes, but our goal was D2. Can't sign yet. In the visit mode, but she is being recruited in two sports and like a typical 17 year old it is a tough choice for her. Many D3 are trying to have her play both, but I don't think she can handle it. I agree with sluggers post. Big jump between 14U and 16U.

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