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What are your thoughts on "playing up"?

Is it beneficial to have an advanced player play up at the next age group?

Is it better to find him a more advanced league of the same age such as travel baseball as opposed to playing up?

If you have played up, what happened? Was it beneficial? What if the player struggles? How did the player handle this from a social perspective?

Any insights or experiences are appreciated.  Thanks.

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playing up cn be great, depending on why,  my kid played up in early years of little league,  had to go to board to get it allowed but he belonged there because he would have hurt somebody at his age, he continued to play up and in the top percent of the age he played up at,  he still plays up and still performs at the top level,  if he did not i would not hesitate to move him back down to his age,  playing a kid up that struggles does him no good, setting the bench of having you're confidence crushed doesn't make you a better player,  i would say if they can play up and are in the top half of the age they play up at then it can be a good thing,  if not let them play down at their age and be a stud. 

Just remember they need to have fun either way,  if not they won't play at any level or age,  and they sure won't get better

If you don't know where your son fits ask somebody you respect that might know or better yet hire a stranger that knows and get his input,  you might be surprised either way.  they may tell you he needs to move up thats he's is being wasted at his on age or they may tell you your crazy for playing him up, 

I agree now days its more about the money than making better ball players and it makes it tough to tell the kids that want to play year round no, but I believe it needs to be done,  its hard to tell a coach thats wants to pitch a kid 75 pitches one day and pitch him again the next day no but i will do that in a heart beat,  the better the player the more i protect NOT overplaying him,  

The more I think about this the more I realize too many kids are playing up. It really should be a rare occurrence.

And the PREACHER called out, "Amen".  And the choir sang out "Amen".  And finally God (particularly the gods of basebal)l leaned down and said ... "AMEN brother"!!!

So ... amen!!!

Playing up can be done for several reasons. Our guys (12-13 year olds) play up in the Fall season to prepare for the school season, which is the most important season for us. Typically we will play 14&U because of field size and bats. At 14's we play on a 60/90 field vs. the smaller fields at 12 or 13. We also swing BBCOR bats since that is required for school ball. Do we win? Yes. Do we get waxed sometimes? Yes. But at the end of the Fall, we are much better prepared for our Spring school season. The parents and players understand we are not looking to win hardware. We are looking to develop players and get them ready for our middle and high schools. 

Mike-  I like it more when an entire team plays up as you're doing. If you're team stayed at the 12/13 level would they over-match their opponents?

For every Bryce Harper who's playing up 2-3 levels you have numerous good players who are just filling a roster spot for a travel program or feeding a parent's ego. I'd be curious to see how kids who "play up" at a young age fare at the HS level vs. kids who just stayed the course and played at the normal level each year.

Bill, our situation isn't so much the competition level as it is the base distances. School ball is done on 60/90 fields so we have to prepare guys for those distances. We played this Summer with our 11/12 year olds at the 13U level to get them started in the progression and we were basically a .500 team without our returning players from our school team. If we were to play normal 12U or 13U ball, we would probably be very strong, not dominant, but certainly in the top tier. Another of our issues is that none of the national organizations do things by grade level, which is what we have to do for school ball. I understand their logic, but it is counter to what we are focused on. 

As far as our HS guys after coming through our program of "playing up", I can attest to the fact that every graduating senior except 3) over the past 6 years has been offered to play at the college level. We have seen guys that did not play at that level because of their study majors, but all but 3 have been offered. When they get to the HS level or college level they have played older guys for so long that there is no intimidation factor at all. These guys, no matter size or age are ready to get with it and show what they can do. 


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