Questions about "playing up"

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Oct 4, 2018
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My daughter started travel in 10U and could throw and catch ok. She did fine.

How is she in comparison to her friends she wants to stay with? That's how I'd answer the question.

My daughter loves softball but still doesn't ask me to have a catch. I'm always the one who initiates it, but she very rarely says no. I think that's a personality thing more than anything.

Personally I'd let her play up with her friends if they are of equal skill level. But I also would have by now played catch with her almost daily for 10 minutes each day. Do that for a few months and you'll be amazed. When I coached rec I told the parents that the girls getting better at this sport was more in the parents' control than mine. You work with her daily for just 10-15 minutes and she'll be catching and throwing in 4-6 weeks. Get on it, help her get better.

In the process, you'll get better and have some nice bonding with your kid.
 
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Oct 4, 2018
2,998
113
The most important question to consider is what is her skill level compared to her peers? DD played in a pretty strong rec league, where the Allstars always went deep into the postseason tournament. But during the regular season, even through 12U, there were plenty of beginners. The girls who could really hit and throw were spread out.

The elephant in the room here is that 10U rec is a snore-fest. Nobody can pitch, nobody has hit against someone who is actually trying to get them out, and base running has mostly been a station-to-station affair. I coached a lot of 10U games, and never saw a kid get more than a bruise.

Your DD will not have much fun playing with first-graders. If playing with her friends who can catch & throw doesn’t inspire her to get to their level, softball probably isn’t her sport.


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Very well said.

10U is all about walks and "advance on wild pitch". I wouldn't worry much about getting injured. 10U rec is perhaps the worst of all softball. At the younger ages they are cute and adorable and it's coach pitch so things move along. 8U you get to celebrate some firsts (first out at first base, first "home run", etc).

10U Rec you simply sit and watch and get frustrated with how bad it is. But that goes away as they move to 10U travel or older ages of rec.
 
Dec 15, 2018
521
93
CT
Very well said.

10U is all about walks and "advance on wild pitch". I wouldn't worry much about getting injured. 10U rec is perhaps the worst of all softball. At the younger ages they are cute and adorable and it's coach pitch so things move along. 8U you get to celebrate some firsts (first out at first base, first "home run", etc).

10U Rec you simply sit and watch and get frustrated with how bad it is. But that goes away as they move to 10U travel or older ages of rec.

It really is the worst. Same applies for 10u baseball today.

For baseball, we avoided this in medieval times (the 1980s) because back then Little League was 9-12yos. Sure, as 9s we barely played, and struck out a lot, or bunted a lot, but at least it the game resembled baseball, and you learned what it was supposed to look like. Pitchers could pitch. Catchers generally could catch (and throw you out stealing). You also were drafted at 9, and stayed on the same rec team for 4 summers. Simpler times.
 

pattar

A life wasted chasing rainbows
Jun 8, 2016
10,186
113
It really is the worst. Same applies for 10u baseball today.

For baseball, we avoided this in medieval times (the 1980s) because back then Little League was 9-12yos. Sure, as 9s we barely played, and struck out a lot, or bunted a lot, but at least it the game resembled baseball, and you learned what it was supposed to look like. Pitchers could pitch. Catchers generally could catch (and throw you out stealing). You also were drafted at 9, and stayed on the same rec team for 4 summers. Simpler times.
Good points regarding LL. Back then in our town, for 7 and 8 YOs (eg before regular LL) it was half coach pitch and half kid pitch so by the time LL rolled around some kids had been on the mound for a few years already. I started “pitching” when I was 7.
 
Jan 13, 2022
19
3
She is a bit below her friends..but I also think it has more to do with confidence than they are *that* much better. She gets nervous! I also offer to play catch with her all the time! I love sports and being active, she usually doesn't want to. She is a bit afraid of getting hit with the ball.. which I think is part of why she doesn't want to play catch.

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Jan 13, 2022
19
3
Oh gosh, that does not sound fun. Lol. We also are concerned because she often doesn't always know what to do with the softball when she gets it in a game.. like it just seems to come easier to some kids.

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Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
1,576
113
There are good reasons to play up...the main one is that the player has the physical and softball skills to effectively play at the older age. A not-as-good reason is to keep up with friends or just to be able to say "she's playing up".

Younger DD played up after her first year in T-Ball so I could have both kids on the same team. However, she skipped 7U to 8U...not really that much of a jump...and she could throw and catch from the moment she put on a glove. In fact, while her hitting wasn't that great, she was a star on defense. Being a bit small for her age at the time, I did hold her at 10U an extra year so she could catch up. It does makes me laugh a bit when people fret about their kid's size at a young age...DD is now at least as big as the average D1 player.

Get her playing catch. It doesn't even need to be with a glove initially, but she needs to learn that if she wants to keep playing. When DD was really little, we played catch in the pool with those spongy balls. She loved doing that and didn't realize she was practicing anything. She was catching them one-handed long before I ever gave her a glove.
 
Mar 4, 2015
362
63
New England
8u is coach pitch, 10u the girls pitch.

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OK, that explains why so many are moving up early. There's this idea that if you don't start playing 'real' softball ASAP that you'll be so far behind. I see why it's frustrating for you. She not only belongs in 8U skill-wise and age-wise, but the 8U game is lots more fun than 10U for most players. It's true she might have more fun with her friends, but she won't have more fun with softball. In our rec league, looking back 12 years now, you go from 4 at-bats per game in 8U to 1.5 at-bats per game in 10U rec. And with the walks, and strikeouts, certain players might go a 12-game season and put the ball in play 5 times. And then if you're spending a bunch of time in the outfield, oh dear. If it were me, I'd have a chat w/ some of the league coaches (to see how much she might be in harm's way in 10U, depending on how competitive it is) and also w/ my daughter and lay out the facts and hope she can make a good decision for herself. Based on my rec league, it's not necessarily more dangerous in 10U because there isn't much happening. Bunch of sitting and standing around. I would hope she plays 8U, I loved that level, but I understand the social element.
 
Apr 17, 2019
246
43
She is a bit below her friends..but I also think it has more to do with confidence than they are *that* much better. She gets nervous! I also offer to play catch with her all the time! I love sports and being active, she usually doesn't want to. She is a bit afraid of getting hit with the ball.. which I think is part of why she doesn't want to play catch.

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You, her, and a tennis ball. No gloves. See how many catches you can both make in one minute. Then try again to beat the score. Ensure there are giggles.

Agree with the other commenters about 10u. It can be really hard to stay engaged as a coach, let alone as an 8yo with focus issues. Frankly, it's a snooze-fest. Is she interested in pitching, though?
 
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Jan 13, 2022
19
3
That is really good to know!!! The games at 8U can already be kind of slow-moving.. one highlight is that each girl gets like 3 or 4 chances to bat every time.. so it's something to look forward to (your child batting) when watching. I can't imagine only one at bat in an entire game! I will tell her all of this..it's seems like for a kid her age there are so many advantages in staying in the right age group.

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