The Ole Ball Game

My son is a junior playing in JV and is being benched with freshman

by Elizabeth

Elizabeth asked: Hello,

I just wanted to get advice on my son's current situation. He is a junior playing in JV and is being benched with freshamn and Sophomore. Currently he is only junior playing on the team the other junior who was playing got hurt. My son might not be a great player but he is a good one (he played in all stars every year when playing in the little league). Coach states that there is a better 2nd baseman player but as I have been to all the games this season I have seen this 2nd baseman player do several of errors.

Don't know how to treat this situtation. Please help.

Rick answered: Thank you for your question.

Let me start by saying that since the varsity coaches kept 2 juniors to go with the JV, they must feel there is potential for them to make the varsity next year and contribute.

My sophomore season in high school, the varsity sent down 1 Junior to play first base. The senior ahead of him on the Varsity was an all city, all state player. The coach knew he would need this junior the next year as a starter and wanted him to get the experience, rather than sit on the bench behind the senior.

The next year, that junior was the starting first baseman on the varsity, anchoring the entire infield, on a state runner up team.

Did the varsity coaches talk with your son before assigning him to JV? It has always been my practice, and the practice of most all coaches I have been associated with to do so, and let the player know what his situation is at that time, and find out if he wants to do this or not. Some players see this as all negative and would rather not play, others see it as an opportunity to improve their skills and gain experience for the next year.

Something for your son to consider, if the JV coach has stated there is someone, in their opinion that is ahead of him now, he may want to look at changing positions, which

could potentially increase his opportunities now and in the future. The more positions a player is able to play, their chances of locating a spot are greatly enhanced.

A good approach would be for your son to talk with his current coach and ask him if it would be possible to start working at other positions, in an attempt to break into the line up.

At that point, the coach can provide some insight into options they could try, or he can also let him know if they don't really have a plan for your son moving forward, or exactly what it is that keeps him out of the line up. There can be many factors.

Once he has that talk, he then has the information to set some goals and a plan for himself, so that he is able to make the varsity next year. Does he need to get stronger, hit better, throw better; whatever it is, it is all good information and something concrete that he can do something about.

He obviously loves baseball, as long as he has played it. Just because this season maybe didn't work out, use the information gained in talking with the coach and set about making improvements to his game to make them keep him and play him.

I always tell my players, no matter how much you put into baseball, it will always give back more to you than you put in.

We have an MLB player who comes and works out with our team when we start up in February. He has been an every day player at that level, has lately become a utility player.

Two years ago he spent the winter learning to become a good enough catcher that he could become a MLB teams emergency catcher. He already has the ability to play all 4 infield spots, and both corner outfield spots. It was all about making himself more valuable within the team structure.

I hope this works out well for your son. I would be interested in knowing what the coach had to say, and what direction your son has taken.

Yours in baseball,


Comments for My son is a junior playing in JV and is being benched with freshman

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Apr 12, 2017
Getting sent down to JV from Varsity
by: Anonymous

My son junior started in varsity. Only got 10 AB and he ended the game .300 stat 2 doubles one triple and a walk. Coach didn't play him for the next four games!? and decided to sending him to JV WTH! this does not make any scenes. coach told my son he needs players that can hit. My son clearly can hit. Help don't understand.

Mar 18, 2017
High school baseball
by: Anonymous

As a mom of 4 kids, 2 boys all play baseball, softball my opion is its how the coach thinks is best, or depending on the parents who know the coach. My oldest son now a senior is playing varsity baseball, 3 out of my 4 kids are good the other one I letsit on the bench and tell them to practice. Be real with yourself and your kid. Not every kid iso going to be good, but they can get better

Jan 18, 2017
Little league doesn't matter
by: Anonymous

If your kid isn't playing varsity and is getting benched he has to work harder and beat the other kid out. Obviously your son is not better than the kid that is starting.

Nov 28, 2013
All Stars?
by: Anonymous

I'm a sophomore pitcher and 3rd baseman that started on the varsity baseball team last year as a freshman and finished the year with a 2.20 ERA (3rd in my league) a 4-1 record, 37 innings pitched, 43K's, 1.2WHIP, the 16 best ERA for freshman in the state of california, and we won the North Coast section. California is to big to have a state title so it's broken up into sections. i was only selected to 2 all star teams from age 9-12. i played juniors all stars at 13-14. But all stars doesn't really mean any thing. my 12 y/o season, i didn't make the all star team and they were runner up in the state of oregon. all stars doesn't really mean anything. it's great and all, but i absoloutly hate little league baseball until it moves up to a regulation field. Kids in little league think they are so much better than they actually are. i love watching them transition onto the gigger field and som of them never really make the change even though they were studs in little league.

Jan 21, 2013
son played all stars every year in little league
by: Anonymous

Just want to point out that all stars in little league doesn't mean that much. Many little league organizations choose their "all stars" based on other players voting for them making it a popularity contest (friends vote for them not considering baseball talent). Also majority of coaches/managers recommended players to go to the all stars because they are the kids of their buddies and their own kids (others with more talent are bypassed, not given the deserving opportunity). Additionally, all the kids of the board members make the all stars. Strange phenomenon that the kids just described above always make it to the "all stars" (sarcasm detected).
In the meantime well deserving, very talented kids get bypassed. So the moral of the story is that "all stars" is just a buzz phrase that can confuse people into thinking that they are the best players when in fact that is not a fact. "All Stars" at little league level is not better players but players that get to continue playing through the summer.

Jan 04, 2012
Your son is a junior play jv
by: Anonymoss :)

I came across this page so I decided to chime in. I coached my son from the age of 3.5. To me he was always the best player on the team, he starred in all-stars for a few years. But all that didn't mean a lick once he got to HS. When he got there, he tried out, made the team but barely played his freshman year. Of course his feeling were hurt and discouragement set in but he didn't give up. We got him on a select team mid way through a season, and again he barely played. I knew he was better, I coached him for years. So I felt the frustrations you are writing of. the bottom line is there was a point where he had to be accountable for his baseball career. He had to man up when I told him, "Look, I taught you all you know but it's your decision now what you do with it." I could not hold his hand anymore if he was to succeed. When he'd come home complaining, I reinforced my previous statement. See, it's up to him. The coach doesn't want to be questioned on his decisions, he doesn't have kids on the team of his own, so what he's doing is what he feel is best for the team. Now, my son is on a select team, he hustles and works his butt off every practice and they're touting him as one of their stars for the HS team. It was all because I had spoiled him, pumped him up and when he didn't get his way, he showed frustrations. Now I see the best thing for him was to just cheer on the team, cheer him on and not get involved with listening to complaints. I see you posted this in March of 2011 that means your son has his senior season which tryouts should be starting anytime within the next 2 months. My suggestion is you get your son working out now, running, fielding and hitting. And, when tryouts start, its a brand new season where the coaches are looking at everyone equal the first few days. Your son has to change the coaches mind about him, so your boy has to work his butt off, every practice, every pitch. Make him own it, it'll build his character in other aspects of life...

Mar 23, 2011
by: Anonymous

Rick, thank you so much for your response.

It will be great if the Varsity coach (s) did keep my son in JV to contribute. But how will my son actually get more experience if he is not getting much exposure (playing time)?

The JV coach did talk to my son before the season that this was his version “Mario is not currently a starter at 2nd base because there is another player in front of him. I talked to Mario before the season about his role on the team and that playing time may be hard to come by for him because he is behind other players on our depth chart right now. I explained to him that for him to play in front of our other 2nd baseman he needed to work extremely hard to get better (remember I have gone to every game and this other 2nd baseman player has a many errors not to mention that because of 4 errors that were done by him our last game which was a championship game that we lost). My sons version was that the coach told him that he was not going to have a lot of playing time because he should have already been playing Varsity and that he wanted to play and work with these other player (newer) to improve so that they can move on to Varsity. Which to me with the coach’s actions which I have personally seen makes my son’s version more credible?

My son told his coach that he is a better player than the short stop and 2nd players. As I also have told the coach that my son not only has played 2nd but also plays good in short stop and also pitched for several years except for the previous last 2 years.

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