By: Zane Kelly
Dear parents and players,
Here are reasons why your son should NOT play for multiple teams over the course of a season:
1) It makes it harder to see someone
When I was coaching at the collegiate level, I spent time reviewing schedules and rosters daily. Our staff would come up with a plan of attack to enable us to go watch possible recruits play. If a player was absent due to playing for someone else or if there was a player not listed on the roster playing, it was confusing and wasted our time.
2) It signals commitment issue
When a possible recruit is on a roster and a college coach asks about him, what is the high school or club coach going to say? “He only plays with us sometimes” - the coach thinks to himself why? What’s going to happen if I bring this kid into my school? Will he look for excuses to get out of studyhall or weights?
3) It makes it hard on both sets of coaches
It’s tough on coaches (and teammates), to not know who’s on the roster from day-to-day. It's impossible to make out a line up in advance. This creates a lot of scrambling before the game, when coaches should be using the time to get the team warmed up, etc.
4) It’s hard to keep a pitcher healthy when you have two cooks in the kitchen.
In 2007 before I opened Athletes In Motion, I coached for another organization and we agreed to allow one of our pitchers to throw part time for another team. The agreement was that we would provide a pitch count allowance (when he was with the other team) and they would abide by it. The system broke down when the other coach felt like the games they were playing were increasingly meaningful. He disregarded our guidelines and threw the kid roughly 3x beyond what we had planned. After that I talked with my assistants and the player’s parents and removed the kid from our pitching staff. We used him as a position player only from that point on. I learned then (before a pitching guideline was implemented) that agreements like that are a recipe for disaster. There are too many moving parts to try and coordinate with another coach when little Johnny will be ready. Additionally from a mechanics and return to play standpoint you will end up on two different plans trying to do one thing and it only makes things worse for you. Not better. You can read more about various pitching related risk factors [HERE]
In Oregon some kids and families are scared to leave the high school over the summer fearing repercussions to be felt the following Spring. Rule 7 in the OSAA Handbook protects families from being bullied by coaches.
If you feel that a coach at your high school is violating this rule please write an email to your athletic director and CC Kris Welch at the OSAA [firstname.lastname@example.org] to protect yourself and your son. You will be heard and they will take your words seriously.
Make the decision based on who you think will best develop your son. Make the decision based on pitching philosophy or how they will use your son during the season. Make the decision based on who you believe will provide you the most opportunities for exposure. The decision to put it off or play for multiple teams sends messages you don't want to send to colleges.
Think about it this way:
Q) When is it easiest for college coaches to get out and see players, Spring or Summer?
A) Pretty hard for a coach to get out and watch games if he’s coaching. Summer is best.
Q) If you are a college coach going out to recruit; what is the best way for you to spend your time, seeing several players at one time you might be interested in or just one?
A) Coaches look to kill as many birds with one stone as they can. They're going to see games with talent rich rosters.
Q) Is the roster you are looking at joining (club or high school) comprised of other players from your class who are looking to play in college?
A) It’s not uncommon for high school kids to be good enough to help their high school team but not want to pursue baseball in college. It IS uncommon for a kid playing on a club team not to be interested in pursuing college baseball.
Player/families are not property
I hear this over and over from both high school and club coaches. "My guy” did this or he's "our guy." We work with them. That's it. If you want to get technical we probably work FOR them. We are in the service industry to help people. It's not semantics when you genuinely believe that player belongs to you. When a coach asks me if he's one of our guys I tell him what the player does with us i.e. he plays on our college prep team or he's in our Skill Development Program or does strength and conditioning with us. We take satisfaction in helping players but we don't take credit for what they do.
Make your decision and then stick with it. If you want to play for your high school team and have fun with the boys that’s fine. Just understand, you might be limiting exposure and development because of it.
At AIM: We practice over the summer. If we don’t have a game on the schedule you can expect to practice. On game days we often have early work. Off days on our schedule will be listed as “OFF.”
We are here for guys who want to get better. We look long term at our athletes. Our ultimate mission isn’t what appears on the scoreboard but what happens with our athletes over time. Where are they at in their development? What are their goals? To make a college roster? Our training/development is centered on the long term development of the athlete not short term success.
Playing on multiple teams makes life hard on two sets of coaches, not just one. Neither staff will see you on a regular basis and be able to develop you like they want. Pitchers and catchers especially need to worry about overuse.
Think about what you want to get out of your summer. You can read more about our thoughts on the subject [HERE]
A player who leaves one team in favor of another and then plans on coming back for playoffs or the last tournament to play will not be looked at favorably by peers/parents. They got there without you. Be happy for them. Show them support. But don’t try and join that team and expect not to ruffle feathers.
Sometimes a player tries to play for multiple rosters in hopes of getting more opportunities to play. That in and of itself is a gamble based on several factors. Depending on who’s writing the lineup you may or may not be in to start. Depending on the situation you may not get in later on. Play with fire and you eventually get burned and can develop a reputation for spelling team “teME”.
Commit to a club or don't.
Commit to your HS or don't.
You can help or hurt yourself based on how you handle it.
Bottom line - just pick one! And then show some GRIT and stick with your decision.