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Move up or stay down and Split team

Jan 23, 2009
115
0
NE
I am coaching a 10U B to C level team. It is made up of girls born in 98 - 5, 99 - 5, and 00 - 2.

My DD is 12/27/99 (yes 5 days early) and has played 10U 2 years. The other coaches DD is a 98 and the bench coach's DD is a 99 & pitcher.

I convinced the 98 girls last year to stay down for their sake of getting better and being a leader on the field, which is the way I was leaning for my DD this year.

However; the team has been playing some great ball and seems to work well together. We have recently taken some A and high B level teams to the final innings with 1 run losses.

Question: Do I split the team up or do we move up to 12U? I would take 9 or 10 up as I know 2 of the 00's could not do it. I know we are going to struggle next year some but it could really position us well for the year after.

I am used to baseball where you play down until you can't so this concept of keeping a team together is new. Unfortunately, we don't have enough girls in one year range to make a team so we are always mixing.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,921
83
Dallas, Texas
With due respect, the first concern is for the kids, and not for the won-loss record.

Softball is different than baseball because many girls are physically mature by 12 or 13. So, you can often have a kid at 13 YOA who is able to compete with 18 YOA girls. (My DD pitched and won her first 18U game at 13.)

Because the girls mature earlier, the "blinders come off" earlier also. That is, the girls understand whether they have sufficient talent and interest to play the sport sooner than boys. Many times, girls see the writing on the wall (i.e., "Yuck. I'm not going to be very good at this") at 12. Some dads, based on their own experience of maturing at 16 or 17 YOA, tend to think that a mediocre DD will blossom as a junior in HS. It just ain't so. Girls drop like flies out of softball at the end of 12U.

So, the best you can hope for is your team to be together for 2 more years. You really need to determine what everyone wants out of softball. If your DD has the ability and desire to play in college, then she should move up. If your DD is doing this "for fun", and might prefer practicing the tuba to taking grounders (don't laugh--my middle DD did just that), then she might as well take it easy and have some fun.

You should talk to the girls about it. Every time you move up a level in play, the amount of effort and commitment by the players, parents, and coaches increase.

Ray
 

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