Move Up to 16U or stay 14U?

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Aug 4, 2020
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Hey everyone, looking for some thoughts advice. I have an '07 DD playing 1st year 14U on an average B team. Our team stays mostly local and plays a lot of USSSA tournaments. She has goals of playing in college and would most likely fit skills wise in the middle skill level of the average "A" teams in the area. (I have no idea if she will be good enough or what level of college she could play. That is up to her and the effort she puts in the next couple of years.)

She is currently playing on a mix team with three 06 girls and the rest 07s. The coach has stated that her intention is to move up to play 16B. We have not yet discussed anything with her about next year and love the coaches philosophy and approach, but our feeling is if she doesn't do something about the bottom of the team, they may struggle playing up. We also don't know whether she plans to stay mainly local again or do some different types of events. I have had some discussions with another coach in our organization that has an all 07 team and has seen my daughter play multiple times and has shown some interest. This team is most likely going to be a registered A team next year and is already playing larger regional tournaments and showcases As tryout season starts getting earlier and earlier, we are in a quandary as to whether we should stay another year in 14U or move up with the current team.

If you were in a similar situation, what would be your decision factors? What is important as we consider and think about college? When do the girls need to start playing in larger regional/national events vs. local USSSA tourneys?

Thanks in advance.
 
Feb 20, 2020
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We found it a big jump to go to 16B with a lot of 14s. That’s a tough place to be because the girl’s are all full-grown women at that point.

why does the coach want to move up since most of the team is still 14? Are they key players? And then is the coach going to be anxious to get to 18 in two years?

I think girls — especially at the B level — deserve the chance to play against their own age group. I appreciate the coach’s loyalty to his aging out players, but I think your DDs experience might be better looking for a second-year 14 rather than playing against girls who are just older and better.

ETA: I think if she’s a middling A talent and wants toplay in college, it’s time to start identifying programs she likes and contacting those coaches. Showcases and tourneys aren’t going to help her as much as contact, videos and camps. There’s probably scream for most girls out there, but the work to get there is going to be as much research as it’s going to be field work.
 
Last edited:
Jul 31, 2015
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If she’s serious about playing in college, find the best team with the most exposure where *she’s a regular starter*. Nothing else besides grades matters….playing time and level of competition are key to moving up to that next level.

Also reach out to colleges, let them know she’s interested. It’s never too early.

Good luck!!
 
Apr 16, 2013
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What Murph said. Competition makes you better. If she wants to play in college, she should be playing the best she can, now. NOW is the time college coaches start taking notice. She'll take her lumps, but as long as she's got the right mindset, she'll eat up all the knowledge she'll gain.
 
Nov 18, 2013
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The 14U A team will expose her to a much higher level of competition than 16U B. Not only are they playing a regional schedule, but A level is almost always higher than B regardless of age. She’ll be hard pressed to find the competitiveness and commitment it takes to play collegiality on a B team. At younger ages B is about development and many girls are still driven. By the time they get to 16U/18U If they’re still B level they’ve largely checked out of the rat race and are just playing for fun.
 
Jun 4, 2019
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The path to colleges is also going to their camps. Not too many schools really spend time at tournaments hoping to randomly discover a girl.

it’s a tough choice. I know a few really solid players in that age who are stuck on A teams and aren’t playing. This leads to the never ending cycle of team jumping. I always think “you’re 14, if you aren’t playing at this age, when will you ever?”

The difference between a decent B team and a decent A-Team in my area is usually just a dominant pitcher 2-3 better hitters down the lineup. Maybe a few girls will leave the team and they can upgrade?

Of course the bigger name A teams that recruit kid mercenaries from around the region are a different story.
 
Dec 2, 2013
2,163
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Texas
The 14U A team will expose her to a much higher level of competition than 16U B. Not only are they playing a regional schedule, but A level is almost always higher than B regardless of age. She’ll be hard pressed to find the competitiveness and commitment it takes to play collegiality on a B team. At younger ages B is about development and many girls are still driven. By the time they get to 16U/18U If they’re still B level they’ve largely checked out of the rat race and are just playing for fun.
This is true. I can't figure out what grade is an '07. 14U can be 7th grade to 9th grade. If they 14U A team has primarily 7th/8th graders then that could be a good place to be. As soon as you hit HS, you are playing 18yr olds. 9th/10th grade play 16U and 11th/12th grade play 18U. Some programs will want you to stay down to your age group as long as possible since they are chasing National Championships. If you are good enough as a 9th grader she can play 18U for 4years. Baylee Klingler played on Aces Express 18U Gold Team as an 8th grader.
 
Apr 20, 2015
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Agreed if she wants to play in college she should play on the highest level team in her age group that she can play on. 16u B is definitely not the place to be for the reasons mentioned above. There is also a huge jump in talent and commitment between local A, regional A and national A. Lots and lots of teams consider themselves A until they try to step up on a bigger stage and come up against the main teams in organizations like the Thunderbolts, firecrackers, impact gold, not the franchised money teams from those organizations. but the actual big dog teams. There is a place in college for nearly every kid that wants it so she should keep working hard for her dreams.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 
Jun 8, 2016
9,307
113
This is true. I can't figure out what grade is an '07. 14U can be 7th grade to 9th grade. If they 14U A team has primarily 7th/8th graders then that could be a good place to be. As soon as you hit HS, you are playing 18yr olds. 9th/10th grade play 16U and 11th/12th grade play 18U. Some programs will want you to stay down to your age group as long as possible since they are chasing National Championships. If you are good enough as a 9th grader she can play 18U for 4years. Baylee Klingler played on Aces Express 18U Gold Team as an 8th grader.
07 would be either 8th or 9th grade in the Fall.
 

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