The Ole Ball Game

10 yr old son that has loved the game for 5 years says he still does, but is lethargic on the flield

by Ashlee
(Nashville, Tn)

Which player won a MLB Batting Title last season?

Which player won a MLB Batting Title last season?

Ashlee asked: First of all - love your site!

My question is about my 10 yr old son who is a natural athlete. Coaches have said he has a natural swing and great hand-eye coordination.

He's been passionate about ball since he was 3 and has played competitively since 5. He's been an All-Star every year and always awarded a "Heart" or "Hustle" award from coaches and teammates.

This year, his league played him up to the 11-13yr old division. Though he says he still loves the game and wants to play, he is lethargic in practice and on the field.

He's making contact at bat, but not getting the ball past the in-field. He's bobbling grounders and is always a step behind the base runner when hes covering second base.

As a parent, what should I do? I don't want to force him to "work harder" but I also know he's part of a team that's depending on him and his play or practice isn't up to par.

His hussle and heart don't seem to be there, though he vocalizes a desire. Any advice?

Rick answered: Ashlee, thank you for your question. Glad you like the site.

Your problems, as well as your sons problems, all began when the League decided to play him up to the 11-13 division.

As you look at the photo above, even at the MLB level, there is a vast difference in physical size between players.

While it may seem kids are kids, there is a world of difference between a 10 year old and 11-13 year olds.

The older kids are bigger, faster, stronger. The pitchers throw harder, everything in the game moves faster. He is feeling overwhelmed.

While it may look as though his skills are eroding and his attitude has gone south, neither is what is actually happening.

He is undoubtedly bobbling ground balls because he is hurrying to compensate for the increased speed of the older kids, and his still 10 year old arm strength. He is also looking at much harder hit ground balls than he has had to deal with before.

Base runners are beating him to the bag simply because he is not ready to play at that level, same with his hitting.

His lethargic body language is showing his frustration that he is unable to successfully do the things on the field within this age group, that he has always done to date.

He still loves the game; but he does not love the situation.

At this point in the year, moving him back to the 10 year old division may not be an option. Rosters are set, and moving players around effects others as well.

Try approaching the situation by emphasizing the head start he gets for next season.

Next year, when he's 11, he will still have things to overcome; but he will be a year older. At that age, it makes a difference.

While he will still be on the lower end of the age group; he will have experience with the game at that level that the other 11's won't have. That may provide him enough confidence to want to stay with it.

Stay positive for him. I am sure he could use a boost right now. Look for improvements in his game and let him know you noticed. They don't have to be big; baseball is a game of many, many little things that make a difference.

Good luck as you both move forward. I would be interested in hearing back from you on how things are going.

Yours in baseball,


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Nov 02, 2015
The Season ended well
by: Ashlee

Rick - I'm just following up with my question from earlier in the year. For the most part, my husband and I agreed with your assessment of the situation (him being frustrated at being the youngest/smallest/etc). We would have agreed fully if it hadn't been for similar attitudes shown in his other sports (he's a nationally-ranked triathlete) as well as in the classroom this year. After reading a book on adolescent boys, we realized this behavior can be very normal for this age. We started talking to him about how he felt about stuff vs. why he was performing/behaving the way he was performing/behaving. It boiled down to, "this is harder thain it's been before." And, apparently, he wasn't sure if he wanted to work as hard as he needed to to stay competitive. We told him that sports, though designed to be fun overall, take work and effort if he wants to do well. I believe (though it will be a lesson he continues to have to learn, especially through adolescence and puberty), he accepted this fact and started training jharder. And he started performing better, winning more, and having more fun as a result. He know knows that, at this stage in the game, if he wants to do good, he's gonna have to work hard. And sometimes hard work isn't fun. But it's worth it. This year he's learning that training and studying hard equals increased satisfaction and enjoyment in games/meets/classroom, etc. And what a wonderful lesson to learn! Thank you for your input. And, I still love your site! Thank you!

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