Angels Baseball


Overusing "Development"

Are you developing or just working with the best kids?

This is the question that I would ask any program that states they are in the business of Development.  Many…MANY programs claim they are more focused on Development than winning.  They make claims about ‘developing’ kids both on and off the field.  They go on to say they are in the business more for creating fine young men than they are about winning trophies or seeing how many kids they can help get noticed by a college program.


And I won’t hesitate to admit that the Angels program makes many of these same claims.  Heck, several of our programs include the word Development.


BUT…BUT, are you really in the business of development when you have try-outs and cut kids?  When you hold try-outs you essentially send the message that you are only selecting the best kids.  This is fine, but it doesn’t mean you are in the business of Development.


The dictionary defines Development as “the process of developing or being developed.”  


Technically, one can say, without opposition that every youth program is in the business of Development; but to what degree.  Travel programs that have try-outs, selecting only the best kids take the easy road to development.  These kids will get better, naturally as they age, but stick these kids on any program and the results would likely be the same.  The kids that excel usually excel for many reasons other than the coach.  They watch the game more.  They play the game more.  They love coming to the field every day.  It’s EASY to ‘develop’ these kids.


On the other hand is your rec kid.  This is the kid that likely got cut from the travel team.  This is the kid who lacks skills.  This is the kid who doesn’t know if they want to play baseball next year, let alone next week!  To make this kid better takes true development.


I never understood why Travel teams don’t just take everyone.  Let’s say you have 35 kids try out for your program.  Instead of taking just 12, take them all!  Why not, it’s triple the revenue.  


Unfortunately, the simple, yet never stated answer is that they don’t want to have to coach ‘those kids’.  It doesn’t take much coaching skill to throw 12 good players on a field and win some games.  ANYONE can do it.  And when these programs update their websites, they are sure to mention ‘Development.’


But as I said earlier, are you really developing or just working with the best kids?