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Monday, November 7, 2011

5 Disturbing Items in Youth Baseball Today

5 Disturbing Items in Youth Baseball Today
By guest author: Allen R.

I love baseball. I played baseball from the age of 5 to the age of 18. I was in organized baseball leagues starting at the age of 8. After a layoff of 11 years, I played in a men's league for another 3 years and I've been an umpire for the past 5 years.

I've seen and experienced a lot during my time in the game. The last few years as an umpire, dad and coach has been eye-opening in regards to youth baseball. Here are 5 things I find disturbing about youth baseball at this time:

1. T-Ball as a "Level" - Yes, everyone does make contact but it does not prepare the player for the reality that they will miss the ball more often than make contact. I believe that it also retards the development of hand-eye coordination. One of the hardest things to do in sports is to hit a round baseball with a round bat while both are in motion. Why not allow children the opportunity to improve this skill as soon as they can? A hitting "T" removes most of that development by placing the ball in a stationary position. The batting "T" is a tool to improve one's swing or reestablish it after a long layoff or offseason - not a division in a youth baseball league.

2. Games Without a Score - This is prevalent throughout the lower levels of all youth sports. It is supposed to foster higher self-esteem in the players since nobody loses (I think this is supposed to make the parents feel better about themselves). In reality, all of the players lose. Keeping score is essential to charting a team's progress. I must admit that in my first year as head coach of my son's baseball team I succumbed to this regulation. This year, while the official line is we are not keeping score, I will keep it. This way I can see how we are progressing. The kids always ask me anyway!

3. Facemasks on helmets - Fortunately, this is not too common - yet. I understand the intent - to protect the player against injury and also alleviate a fear of the ball. While it will help the player now, these are 2 things they will have to deal with down the line when the consequences are much greater. I'd rather a player understand the mechanics of getting out of the way of the pitch (turn away from the ball) when it is traveling at 30 mph or so vs. 65 - 75 mph and higher.

4. Non-throwing rules for catchers - Again, thankfully, I have not run across this many times. There was a league that I umpired games for that forbid the catcher from throwing the ball to third base on a steal. This went hand-in-hand with the restriction on stealing third base only once per inning. This rule was put in place so the catcher wouldn't overthrow the base. Well, how is a catcher supposed to sharpen his accuracy if he cannot throw in a game situation? This was at a 9 year-old level, mind you.

5. Batting through the order each inning - This one I am torn on. The premise is a good one at the younger levels. Each team bats all the way through without regard for the number of outs. While it doesn't reinforce the importance of making proper plays and getting 3 outs quickly, it does keep the game moving at a good pace.

There are more things that bother me about the youth baseball leagues. These are just some of the most egregious.

Allen. R is a technology professional with over 10 years experience. He's been involved with the game of baseball for over 20 years as a player, umpire and manager. He currently resides in New York with his family.

For more helpful tips and articles, please visit http://www.prudentdad.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Allen_R.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick