The Best Way to Ruin Your Son’s Baseball CareerSeptember 01, 2015
I have seen too many baseball careers end before they ever reached high school. More times than I can count, I have talked until I was blue in the face telling parents and young baseball players to stop playing baseball year round. It’s 2015 and I really hope that I sound like a broken record to parents of baseball players, travel ball, and little league coaches. Most of the parents that I talk to say they have heard the same story before, which is that: their children shouldn’t play baseball year round baseball.
Reasons I hear from parents as to why their kids should play baseball:
“I only let my son pitch 10 months out of the year.”
I can see how one may think this is okay, but kids really do need a break from doing overhead sports entirely.
“I told him he should play a different sport or take time off, but he just loves baseball so much.”
This has to be my favorite excuse! What would you say if I told you I let my 3 year old play in the street because he loves it? What would you tell me if I said my 4 year old just loves playing with matches? My 5 year old loves running with scissors and I just can’t stop him?
“But baseball is so competitive nowadays that he has to keep playing or he will fall behind the other kids.”
Mike Matheny, manager of the St. Luis Cardinals and former MLB player and author of the Matheny Manifesto says, that if a kid isn’t playing 3 sports until he is in high school, then something is wrong
The Risk Factor
John Smoltz, the great Atlanta Braves pitcher was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. In his induction speech he specifically mentions the risk to of young athletes of playing year round baseball.
“I want to encourage all the families and parents out there to understand that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 and 15 years old. That you have time. That baseball’s not a year-round sport. That you have an opportunity to be athletic and play other sports.”
Read his entire speech here
To some readers, my soapbox may come off as me being a guy who doesn’t like baseball. There couldn’t be a more inaccurate statement. I love baseball and have so many fond memories of going to Dodger games as a kid with my dad. I still have my baseball cards from the 70s and 80s. Did I just age myself? Now, I love to take my own kids to Angel games.
But, I can’t help but wonder how many kids with amazing talent will never make it the big leagues because they sacrificed their arms for their travel ball teams because they never took a break from playing the game.
Find a Solution
Here are some resources on ways to help prevent a devastating injury for youth athletes: