“How Does My Son Get To the Next Level?”

Your son has been playing baseball for a few years; he’s progressed from his town team to a summer town travel team or maybe even a club team. Each time he’s moved up the ladder you’ve noticed that he steps his game up to match the new level of competition. You’re starting to look ahead to high school, maybe even college and beyond. How do you balance your expecations with his talent, his own level of interest in baseball and the desire to take his game to the next level?

That’s a question we think about all the time here at Professional Baseball Instruction. Obviously we’re in the business of training baseball players. But we’re also in the business of being realistic. The chances of playing baseball at the Major League level are so small as to almost be ridiculous. Think about it – there are only 750 jobs at the Major League level. But for someone who wants to play at the high school level, or even in college, the odds are more in favor of the player.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to help your son get to the next level of his baseball career.

First, have a conversation with your child. Find out how much he really likes the game of baseball. Find out what his own expectations are. It’s very easy to live vicariously through our children. A child’s expectations shouldn’t necessarily be the same as a parent’s, but it helps if each understands the other.

Second, consider professional training. That does not always mean private lessons. They certainly work, but they can also get VERY expensive VERY quickly. Our winter training clinics here at Professional Baseball Instruction have a low enough player-to-coach ratio that your child will get the needed repetition of the basic core skills needed to play the game as well as some personalized attention. Baseball is a game of repetition. Major League hitters work off a tee all the time, in fact some hitters do tee work every single day. The reason? The constant repetition of the skills needed to hit a baseball.

Third, let your child know that it’s OK to fail. Baseball is a game of failure. Former Major League pitcher David Wells says that the reason he was as successful as he was during his professional career was that he wasn’t afraid to fail. Think about it – a hitter with a .300 batting average in effect failed 70% of the time.


But hit .300 for 10 years at the Major League level and you stand to make an insane amount of money and hear whispers about making the Hall of Fame. Pittsburgh Pirates manager (and PBI advisor) Clint Hurdle is very fond of saying that there are two kinds of people in baseball, “those who have been humbled, and those who are about to be humbled.” How your child reacts to that experience will help him not only on the baseball field, but in life, too.

And finally, let him have fun. Baseball is hard enough to play – Ted Williams believed that hitting a baseball is the single hardest thing to do in sport – without the added pressure of having to succeed. Kids have a difficult time living up to not only their own expectations, but also what they think our expectations as their parents are (never mind what a parent’s actual expectations may even be). Maybe he’s ultimately good enough to play at one of the local parochial power house high schools, or maybe his skills are better suited to the town high school. Further down the line, maybe a D3 college might mean being able to continue playing baseball while getting a good education. Keep the options open and the expectations reasonable.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or call us at 800-282-4638 with your thoughts.

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