Questions about "playing up"

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Jan 13, 2022
16
3
You, her, and a tennis ball. No gloves. See how many catches you can both make in one minute. Then try again to beat the score. Ensure there are giggles.

Agree with the other commenters about 10u. It can be really hard to stay engaged as a coach, let alone as an 8yo with focus issues. Frankly, it's a snooze-fest. Is she interested in pitching, though?
I love that idea! Do you have her catch with the glove hand? Or just a two hand catch? Thanks.

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Apr 17, 2019
244
43
I love that idea! Do you have her catch with the glove hand? Or just a two hand catch? Thanks.

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At first whatever secures the ball. If she needs to bounce it off her chest, fine! It gets her used to tracking a moving object coming at her. Add challenge as needed or to keep it interesting.
I still do this at 12u indoor practices - 30seconds, goal is to make 30 catches, have to catch with glove hand, fingers up. Then throw with glove hand, underhand flip, hit your partner in the chest. Then do it again catch throwing hand, return with a dart throw.
 
Jan 13, 2022
16
3
There are good reasons to play up...the main one is that the player has the physical and softball skills to effectively play at the older age. A not-as-good reason is to keep up with friends or just to be able to say "she's playing up".

Younger DD played up after her first year in T-Ball so I could have both kids on the same team. However, she skipped 7U to 8U...not really that much of a jump...and she could throw and catch from the moment she put on a glove. In fact, while her hitting wasn't that great, she was a star on defense. Being a bit small for her age at the time, I did hold her at 10U an extra year so she could catch up. It does makes me laugh a bit when people fret about their kid's size at a young age...DD is now at least as big as the average D1 player.

Get her playing catch. It doesn't even need to be with a glove initially, but she needs to learn that if she wants to keep playing. When DD was really little, we played catch in the pool with those spongy balls. She loved doing that and didn't realize she was practicing anything. She was catching them one-handed long before I ever gave her a glove.
How common is it in softball leagues for kids to play up? I ask because in our league it seems like the coaches' kids tend to placed up a level and then the other families feel like they need to "keep up" with those certain kids. IMO, a *few* kids truly are amazing at softball (not necessarily those coach's kids)... but others are just... good.. and then there are those that are slightly better than my daughter.. ALL deciding to play up a level. This wasn't a thing in rec league or even travel sports leagues when I was a kid. So I only have my daughter's small town league as a reference.. just curious if you know what's normal.

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Jan 13, 2022
16
3
At first whatever secures the ball. If she needs to bounce it off her chest, fine! It gets her used to tracking a moving object coming at her. Add challenge as needed or to keep it interesting.
I still do this at 12u indoor practices - 30seconds, goal is to make 30 catches, have to catch with glove hand, fingers up. Then throw with glove hand, underhand flip, hit your partner in the chest. Then do it again catch throwing hand, return with a dart throw.
I will definitely do this with her, thanks!

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pattar

A life wasted chasing rainbows
Jun 8, 2016
10,122
113
How common is it in softball leagues for kids to play up? I ask because in our league it seems like the coaches' kids tend to placed up a level and then the other families feel like they need to "keep up" with those certain kids. IMO, a *few* kids truly are amazing at softball (not necessarily those coach's kids)... but others are just... good.. and then there are those that are slightly better than my daughter.. ALL deciding to play up a level. This wasn't a thing in rec league or even travel sports leagues when I was a kid. So I only have my daughter's small town league as a reference.. just curious if you know what's normal.
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Like I said before, forget about what everybody else is doing. Ego drives a lot of parent’s decisions..
 

pattar

A life wasted chasing rainbows
Jun 8, 2016
10,122
113
In terms of playing up in rec, usually by 10u a kid will move to TB if they need to play up a year in rec in order to be challenged. In TB it is even less common. I would say that maybe in DD’s last 4+ years of TB, maybe 1 kid for every 5 or 6 teams so 1 in 60 maybe? It becomes more common at the older ages when everybody physically matures.
 
Last edited:
Oct 11, 2010
8,128
83
Chicago, IL
As long as we are picking on 10U.

DD played 8U until she aged out. She played up after 1 year of 10U. Some of the games can be brutal depending on the rules you are playing.
 
Jan 13, 2022
16
3
In terms of playing up in rec, usually by 10u a kid will move to TB if they need to play up a year in rec in order to be challenged. In TB it is even less common. I would say that maybe in DD’s last 4+ years of TB, maybe 1 kid for every 5 or 6 teams so 1 in 60 maybe? It becomes more common at the older ages when everybody physically matures.
Yes! This makes sense to me. 1 kid out of 60 being so good they play up. An entire grade of kids "needing to be challenged".. no. It's frustrating because what will end up happening is my daughter, who is actually in the right division, is the one feeling left out. I don't get it. And try explaining to an almost 9 year old that SHE is the one doing the right thing and playing in the correct level for her age/skill level. Ugh!

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RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,999
113
California
At first whatever secures the ball. If she needs to bounce it off her chest, fine! It gets her used to tracking a moving object coming at her. Add challenge as needed or to keep it interesting.
I still do this at 12u indoor practices - 30seconds, goal is to make 30 catches, have to catch with glove hand, fingers up. Then throw with glove hand, underhand flip, hit your partner in the chest. Then do it again catch throwing hand, return with a dart throw.
Way to go Gertrude the mutilator!

Can also use balled up socks to learn to catch.
Fun challenge to use with one hand.

I have used marshmallows to do the same fun thing also with framing for catchers.
 
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