Once good baseball players get to be 8th grade and beyond, they get the opportunity to play against older kids a lot more often. Our 14u Gamers have played a number of 15u teams already this Spring and recently came off a game vs. a very good 16u team in Des Moines. This can be an intimidating experience. But, it is very important to the process of learning to play baseball.
Size, strength and athleticism are important in baseball — but it is only part of the game. Skills, execution and mental toughness are just as important. When younger players play older players that are more athletic, they need to rely on the other elements of the game to compete. Throwing strikes, hitting cutoff men, controlling the running game, Quality at Bats, etc.. are still the secret to winning. It is all the little things that matter even more in these situations. It is how David beat Goliath.
As these opportunities becomes more frequent, good players rise to the challenge and start enjoying the process of competing against players that are older and more athletic. Slowly, players realize that the age and size of competition does not determine success. What determines success is performing to the best of your ability, regardless of the situation. If you achieve this, the competition does not determine your success — YOU DO.
That is a great spot to be in, competing against yourself.