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Why Stats Do Matter in Youth Baseball

One of my favorite things to do is to listen to dads tell people their son's batting average when their son is 12 years old. It's even better when they're 7 or 8. Do your son's statistics really matter when it comes to youth baseball?

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The answer is no. Maybe the title isa bit misleading. Sure, statistics accurately describe what a player has done, but they don't always accurately predict what a player will do.I will actually hit on one small instance where they can be somewhat helpful at younger ages, so keep reading.

Why Are Statistics Important to Baseball?

Statistics are one of the key elements of the game as the level of play progresses. Coaches, scouts, recruiters, and teams use statistics as a way to measure performance and evaluate players. The key is that there has to be a benchmark, or some standard that they can compare the evaluations to in order to use as an accurate prediction tool. The more advanced the level, the more accurate picture statistics will paint.

Depending on the classification, some high school statistics can tell quite a bit about a player. But I've still known guys to hit .600 in high school that never get a sniff when it comes to college or professional scouts. That .600 only tells us that he got a hit 6 out of every 10 at-bats. It doesn't tell us the circumstances surrounding those 10 at-bats.

Statistics in college baseball tend to become more accurate in portraying the actual performance of players although there is still quite a bit of variance in talent, skill level and competition.

Statisitics at the Major League level swing a lot more weight than at all levels below. We know the competition is the best in the world, and there are years and years of data to compare. We know that hitting a career .300 will almost assure you a spot in the Hall of Fame.

It's All Relative

The problem with keeping up with your child's stats at such a young age is that it's all so relative to the competition. It's hard to brag about your son hitting .800 when the coach is lobbing a fat one right down the middle hoping Johnny hits it a mile.

On top of that, chances are pretty good that you're counting all of the errors as hits as well. No, a ground ball that goes between the legs of the pitcher, shortstop and center fielder all the way to the fence is not a home run. I'm all for letting your 6 year old think that, but that's about as far as it goes.

Even when they get to player pitch it's all relative. Sure, it becomes a little harder to get on base, but the amount of errors and lack of defense can make even a below average hitter with little potential an all-star.

What You Should Be Bragging About

Instead of worrying about your 9 year old's batting average, you should be bragging about the following accomplishments (in order of most importance):

  • My son LOVES playing baseball and has really enjoyed the season.
  • My son has learned some good life lessons such as how to deal with winning and losing, teamwork, dealing with conflict, and life's not fair.
  • My son has learned so much about the game from his time on the field this year.
  • My son has really improved his game over the course of the season and has become an all around better player than when he started.
  • Your son's statistics.

Sure, as your son gets older and has the opportunity to play in front of scouts and coaches, their performance becomes more important. But if you focus on those other four points, chances are their game will develop much better in the long run -which might just produce better statistics .

When Stats Do Actually Matter in Youth Baseball

I do think there's a need for some statistical analysis on the part of the coach at the younger levels. Knowing some simple stats such as RBI's, OBP, BB/K, RISP can be very helpful when making out a lineup. I recommend GameChanger to keep things nice and neat on the computer, but I advise against making it public for parents to see.

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Posted in Entertainment Post Date 01/15/2016


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