I am just throwing something out here. we played mostly LL and had a very good LL district team and lost in sectionals.
This fall I took alot of the kids and went and played in a PONY Elite program, Loose
bases, balk's real baseball. I am shocked to see how far behind the LL kids are.
Is it better to go ahead and learn the loose bases,stealing and pitching rules. When they are at a younger age, maybe at age 10?
I know they will learn it but it may take 1 full season and some will play highschool ball next year, leaving me the assumption they are way behind.
It's kind of a tradeoff.
While there is benefit to learning the rules, strategies, etc. at a younger age - it can make for some brutal games.
Our league has open bases and balks at the Mustang (9-10) level. Some games are rough. Is it the right age to be playing with open bases? If you have coaches more focused on winning than teaching the right way to play, then I would say no. Too much possibility for coaches to teach kids dumb habits and "plays" that will do nothing other than get them thrown out once they move up a level. Big pet peeve of mine.
At the Bronco level (11-12), the diamond gets bigger along with the players, and the games themselves are much better. At that level the players have a couple of years of both pitching and hitting live pitching experience. At that point I think it is appropriate to introduce open base rules.
As for players being behind coming out of a LL program... I would say maybe at first, but the better players should have no problem catching up quickly. Learning the new base running skills shouldn't take more than a practice to at least establish the fundamentals. The pitchers have a bigger learning curve with holding runners on and balks, but it still shouldn't take too long to pick that stuff up.
I'd worry less about whether or not the kids are learning the open base skills, and more about the level of competition they are playing. If the PONY league gives the players better competition, then stay with it. If not, then I'm sure that coming out of a LL program won't hamper them too much in the future.
This isn't a LL v. PONY debate. It's a 46/60 closed bases v. 50/70 open bases debate. It's an argument that's been beaten to death on this board. If your LL'ers are behind as they hit the 60/90 field at 13U, is it lack of instruction or lack of talent in the program?
If a kid is talented, playing closed bases in LL isn't going to hold him back. The kids I took on my 13U team who only played LL picked up the open bases nuances quickly and are playing in high school.
By high school it doesn't matter where a kid started (LL or PONY). What matters is he had the athletic talent, baseball talent and work ethic to get to there.
"The pitchers have a bigger learning curve with holding runners on and balks, but it still shouldn't take too long to pick that stuff up."
It takes ten minutes to teach a pitcher how to make a runner come to a stop when taking a lead. Chances are the runner will steal the base anyway. Even in the majors steals are successful 70% of the time. Making the runner come to a stop may the difference between getting one base or two on a single.
The pitchers who get to the high school and college levels usually don't have the best moves to first. They didn't allow many base runners when they were at lower levels. Therefore, they weren't making a lot of throws to first.
Sometimes just throwing over repeatedly and getting to runner to thump himself on the ground a few times is all that's needed to slow him down. When I did this in high school and college I didn't lose focus on the hitter because I had no intention of going anywhere but first.
Dont agree. LL is fine for every talent level and that is why IMO, there are so many rules that restrict the above average player. If we are talking PONY (13/14) with 54/80 fields there is no comparison and the LL player will be at a severe disadvantage. Players in PONY League from Bronco (11/12yr old) with 48/70 are playing real baseball with leads, balks, etc. , and the move up isnt that dramatic. It would be in LL. I am not knocking LL, since it serves its' purpose, but those players would not fair well against PONY and if PONY players (13 yr olds were to play in the LL World Series,(especially in the band box fields they play on) they would dominate. Most importantly, the really talented players would certainly be at an advantage when trying out for their HS Teams. Don
How to take a lead isn't rocket science. It doesn't take years to learn - it takes minutes.
I'd much rather have the pitchers learning pitching mechanics and how to pitch at the younger levels. A few days of practice will get them their hold-on lessons.
"Real baseball"? What is real baseball anyhow? MLB rules? HS rules? NCAA rules? Back yard rules? Do you know of any amateur organization that plays strictly by OBR?
I don't care who agrees or disagrees. This debate is the most beaten dead horse on this site. It's real simple and not worthy of debate. If a kid has the talent and the desire to play high school ball it's not going to matter a rat's patutie where he played and under what rules as a prepubescent, mini-field player. Who cares if a kid is 2-4 weeks behind on a few skills at 13U.
My son's 18U showcase coach laughs when parents promotes their son mentioning anything more than his current ability and where he played last year. 18U coaches don't ask whether kids played LL or PONY. They ask current sixty times, throwing velocity, POP times, etc along with where they played last year. And chances are at this level the coach knows of the player anyway. By knowing of him I'm talking about his current ability, not where he played as a prepubescent preteen.
PONY plays OBR Rules. And apparently you have never been a pitching coach nor have you spent enough time on running and base leads and how to read a pitcher. Also the proper way of leading off (never cross your legs etc.) and how to dive back to the base with ur hand to the outfield part of the base. These are only a few of the drills we practice on a regular basis. Don
While I hate to disagree with TG - who clearly knows everything about everything including what is and isn't worthy of debate - I will nonetheless beg to differ. Keeping in mind that things seem to vary from region to region, I will tell you how it works in my neck of the woods (Southern California).
The only Frosh/Sophs I have ever seen play on varsity at our two local high schools played PONY ball (and travel). Why? Because not only do they know how to play the game, but they are comfortable playing the game. There is a lot more to baseball than hitting, fielding, and throwing. Don't get me wrong, if you can hit, field, and throw very well, you'll get a chance but only after you learn and become comfortable. But you better have eye-popping talent if you don't know how to play the game because you will probably get cut before you get a chance if you don't. High School ain't baseball school around here. It is an accumulation of skilled and experienced players who are managed, not so much taught. It is a dogfight to make the Freshman roster.
This characterization that it only takes a couple weeks to catch up, especially as a pitcher, is completely laughable. It is a mental game and things like pitching with runners on base are mental skills that take time and game experience to master.
...but those players would not fair well against PONY and if PONY players (13 yr olds were to play in the LL World Series,(especially in the band box fields they play on) they would dominate
In my area we have both, and I've umpired both. The PONY leagues are weak, and so are the high school programs they feed. The LL fed programs have dominated them for years.
BUT it's not a matter of the programs, but the adults who run them. THAT'S the deciding factor, not the size of the field you play on when you're 12.
OK, Don, what do we do after the first 20 minutes of the first LL Juniors practice, then ?
Explain how it is my son, who never played anything but LL ball, read pitchers very well, and has from the moment he stepped on a 90' diamond ? He's a base-stealing machine. It wasn't until THIS year that he was caught stealing on the 90' diamond (and he's 17). He's NOT blindingly fast either. He just gets an excellent read, and slides well.
It isn't rocket science. All it takes is observation.
Merrimack Valley Umpires Association Board of Directors - http://www.mvua.org
Practice, regardless of which area you are concentrating on at that particular time, is repetition, repetition, repetition. If your only spending 20 minutes on base running drills, base leads and dive backs, reading the defense while on base, reading the pitchers' moves then you are very lucky. Most coaches dont spend enough time on these, because they are, in fact, boring, but Oh so necessary. I cannot comment on your son, since my post is a generalization.
So Kyle, you dont think it makes any difference that the LL fields are smaller, the mound distances are shorter as well as the bases ? Very unusual since size, in this case, does matter. I agree with you the coaches who run these programs make the real difference regardless of which organization it is; but the distances involved are very important. Don
First of all let me set this Post straight????? its etc. not ect. That being said, I could not find "A Rats Patutie" in my Funk and Wagnell, so that too confuses me. TG, how the heck to you think those 18U players got to where they are now? The Tooth Fairy, or good coaching when they were matriculating through the various levels of baseball. Good coaching at lower levels, HS and Travel or Tournament ball get players to the Showcase Level. I wish i could get a emoticon for a dead horse, but alas , they dont have any.
PONY plays OBR Rules.
They play on a 90' base distance field with 60'6" pitching distance?
They play 9 innings?
The don't have pitching limitations?
They don't have boundary limitations?
They don't have age limits?
They don't require safety bases?
They only allow wood bats?
They allow unlimited offensive times out?
They allow alcholol ads and spoinsors?
They don't have curfews?
They don't have a 10 run rule?
Pitchers can return to the mound?
They don't allow starter re-entry?
Huddles are not limited th three players max?