Youth Baseball Position Rotation

I have coached youth baseball for over 10 years and for many of those seasons I struggled with how to track who was where, when, and how many times one little guy, or girl was playing what position.  The ages I am addressing in this post range from 3 yr old Tee ball through 9U travel ball.  The reason for this range is because this is where most kids are being introduced to the game and really don’t have any ideas about positions they like.  Yes, there will be that kid who does not want to be the catcher no matter what, but that is generally the exception.  This time frame is the time for exploration and discovery.  This time is also time for headache for coach if you are not prepared.  You will have mom, dad, gramps and granny too, breathing down your neck because they came all that way and little Harry or Sally didn’t get to play first base as much as the other kids.  What I have for you coaches is a simple method to track all of it and know what is coming next.  We will start with the rotation matrix in this post.  Another post will go into the benefits of batting the next kid up.

The rotation matrix as I like to call it is a simple way to track who is going and who has already gone.  The process is simple but takes a little bit of thinking to set up.   A key to success for this is to remove all players from your bench spots the next rotation.  Another point to consider is if you have all players playing it may be simpler to swap major locations and only rotate high action spots like first and pitcher.

  1. Start with a list of all players on the team in a Players column
  2. At the top fielding row header list all positions on the field according to classic baseball numbering plus the amount of bench spots.
    1. This list will be the amount of innings it takes to fully rotate all players through the matrix.
  3. List the number of players you have that would be sitting on the bench as a position
    1. If you have 13 players and are playing with 10 players on the field add 3 bench spots so that there are 13 places for people to rotate through
  4. When you have the players listed and all of the spots listed in a row do the following
    1. Go to column 1 denoting the first inning  and put numbers in counting down from position 1 all the way to your final bench spots.
    2. In the example below we started with 1 and finished at 13.
  5. At this point you have a choice to make.
    1. You can continue happily rotating your kids in a position circle from 1 to 2 to 3 etc.  This is simple enough and will allow you to track where everyone is.  It will do the job of keeping visiting grandparents happy with what is going on because they don’t feel that the next million dollar arm is being left on the bench for too long.
    2. The other method is the one I have below where a map of the rotation is needed to track who is going where next.  Look at illustration B for the map.

 

Illustration A the Rotation Matrix.

Fielding Matrix 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Player Player Number Positions Rotation for (2 innings)
Brody 3 1 11 7 4 10 2 12 6 8 3 13 5 9
Ben 6 2 12 6 8 3 13 5 9 1 11 7 4 10
Tyson 7 3 13 5 9 1 11 7 4 10 2 12 6 8
Broden 8 4 10 2 12 6 8 3 13 5 9 1 11 7
Tristan 9 5 9 1 11 7 4 10 2 12 6 8 3 13
Luke 10 6 8 3 13 5 9 1 11 7 4 10 2 12
Garrett 13 7 4 10 2 12 6 8 3 13 5 9 1 11
Sam 21 8 3 13 5 9 1 11 7 4 10 2 12 6
Cal 22 9 1 11 7 4 10 2 12 6 8 3 13 5
Caden 24 10 2 12 6 8 3 13 5 9 1 11 7 4
Ryan 27 11 7 4 10 2 12 6 8 3 13 5 9 1
Texton 35 12 6 8 3 13 5 9 1 11 7 4 10 2
Sam 87 13 5 9 1 11 7 4 10 2 12 6 8 3

Illustration B Rotation flow diagram

Rotation Flow
Rotation Flow chart

As you can see from the rotation flow chart.  Each position, even the bench positions are listed on the diagram and numbered to correspond with a position on the matrix.  Notice that when a player goes to the bench it is only for a single rotation.  Additionally, remember that it is important to keep kids moving and energized.  That is why they move in a web from infield to outfield to out of the game.  I have found that this type of movement keeps kids excited about where they are going next.  The benefits are many with implementing this type of system for youth sports.

1.   Kids stay engaged and are excited about where they go next
2.  Parents can follow along and you have a written record of where all players are going.
3.  you know exactly where to start for the next game
4.  There is no argument about who is playing where next or complaints because the matrix ensures that all players will get a chance at all spots.
5.  This can be delegated to a parent helper to keep the rotation.

So there you have it in full flow.  The matrix made following along and tracking where we go next easy for our team.  We will use it again this season so that our players can be trained.  The best part of this was that by the end of the season.  I was able to see each kid in the positions several times and know where they had strengths that would help us at the state championships.  What will affect this a bit is  how you account for pitchers and the face that they may not make it through their 2 innings.  We used this for all of our tournaments except for the last one where our parents knew

Recruiting Real Talk E7 Where Your Supposed to Be

Itunes | Stitcher | Castbox | Tune In

Former Detroit Lion, Chicago Bear and Iowa Hawkeye Defensive Lineman Mike Wells shares the recruiting story of his son Logan who has signed with the Air Force Academy. This is truly a recruiting story of finding your true fit, which is hard. Mike says it clearly that finding where you’re supposed to be is tough but worth it.

There are several points that are important to take away from this story.

  1. Learn more about the types of schools that your ACT scores can take you to.
    1. This Prep Scholar site has been a pretty good resource for information about grades and ACT comparisons.
    2. Different schools have different entrance requirements.  Mike mentioned a time where Logan asked the recruiter from an Ivy League school about chances of getting in with out football.  The response was “If you couldn’t rush the passer we are not having this conversation”.  To clarify, what he was saying is you need something more than just good grades to get into the most competitive schools.
  2. When you attend a camp on campus or a showcase understand that eyes are everywhere and they are evaluating you the second you show up.
  3. Parents don’t be shy about sharing information about your kid with perspective schools.  Like mike mentioned several times his wife sent out about 1k messages before all said and done.

I hope you enjoy Mikes story and heed his warnings.

Find out more about JC Moreau and the Strength U

Beginning and end music by The Original Chu, Where I’m Supposed To Be

Follow us on twitter @hofteetsports and on facebook 

Recruiting Real Talk E6 Parent Perspective

Itunes | Stitcher | Castbox | Tune In

How does a corn fed Midwestern Iowa girl end up at University of Tampa in Florida to play the new sport of Beach Volleyball?  The great part of this story is that you get to listen to the amazing details as told from her mom Rachael Overton.  Learn how they were able to use her camp and showcase experience to gauge her interest in playing division 1 volleyball and what allowed them to find where their daughter would truly be happy.  Tampa is far away from Iowa but close to her heart and that is what matters.  The happy relief can be heard in this mom’s voice as her hard working daughter has found a college home that suits her academically and athletically.

Take aways:
Rachel and family used NCSA more for the database which provided them contact information for coaches and data about majors

Finding a high level of competition helped them find the right level of college for their daughter who ended up not wanting the D1 life. like US News and Word Report Rankings

There are many resources out there that can provide information about colleges and their majors but it is important that you get a feel for the life of the school.  If you can attend a camp to see if it is a right fit.

@hotfeetsports @thestrengthu @IowaRockets @prepdigia