38 answers

Little League Baseball Games and Practice Schedule Going Overboard?

My son is 4, almost 5. He started at the age of 3 in T-ball and this year moved up to coach pitch. The last 2 years in T-ball we had 1 game and 1 practice a week, each lasting approximately 1 hour. This year they started right off with 5 practices a week for at least 2 hours a practice, sometimes more. Now that we have stated games, we practice most nights that we don't have games. We have at least 2 games a week lasting approximately 1 1/2 hour each and are required to be at the field 1 hour before games to "warm-up." Last weekend we had a practice that lasted over 3 hours and I just noticed on the schedule that we have a school night with a double-header. Also, we have 5 games that start at 7:30 on school nights over the next month-month 1/2. I am extremely frustrated. I think this is way too much!

I have tried talking with my husband about it and he thinks I am "babying our son." I think this is too much for this age group. We went from around 2-3 hours a week to at least 10 hours a week.

Opinions please.

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That is way too much...The other parents must be frustrated also. I would get with them and then get with the coach on how you feel. I don't think you are babying him, I think you are being responsible in realizing he needs time for other things, and so do you.

That is an insane amount of time for a child so young. Have you talked to the other children's parents to get their opinion on this schedule?? The other parents might feel the same way as you and it would be easier to confront the coach about reducing the schedule if you have other team parents backing you up.

WAY too much demand on the attention span of anyone...much less a 4 year old. My 16 year old brother plays on the varsity team for his high school and they don't demand that much time. Ridiculous.

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You are not babying your son in my opinion. He is too young to be going to practices that hard and that often. Let alone the double headers and late games. I love sports but the amount of practicing he does just blows my mind. He is only 4 yrs. old. When does he have time to just be a 4 yr. old? I'd be burn out if I had his schedule! Best wishes keeping your little guy in tact with that schedule.

1 mom found this helpful

That's crazy. I agree with you entirely. Not only are you not babying your son by opting out of this schedule, you're keeping your family's sanity. How can one even cook a healthy meal on that kind of schedule? What about *you*? Does your husband want to take your son to all of these practices and games? If you're the one doing all of the work, maybe that's why your husband doesn't see the problem with it. For one thing, as you're probably noticing, the more stressed you are, the more difficult it will be for you to model calm problem-solving behavior to your son, because you're more stressed.

It also sounds like the program your son is in is very winning-oriented, which can teach kids that nothing is more important than winning - not morals, not friendship, not enjoying life, nothing. This can lead to problems later, like workaholism (take it from the wife of a workaholic who doesn't know how to relax). The point is for a kid to have fun while learning and developing skills, but how is he supposed to have fun or even develop a lot of those skills with that kind of pressure?

I've been doing so much reading on child rearing, and the books that make the most sense to me tell me not to overschedule my family. Kids need down time, away from scheduled activities, TV, and other time fillers or time suckers that don't let kids learn how to be bored and learn how to get through it creatively, or get them out there looking at bugs and tree bark and stuff.

Again, it's not a matter of babying your son. It's a matter of guiding his development in a healthy, balanced (sane!) way. And the other end of the spectrum from babying a child is forcing him to grow up way too fast.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is starting his second year of T-ball and he's done soccer for two years. He's four. They practice or have games just twice a week and it last 45mins to an hour. My friends son was in coach pitch last year (age 8) and his schedule was the same. With our League, it is a league decision how much they practice. Not that the coach couldn't call for more, but they usually don't. I can't even imagine going as often as you are, especially not with other children at home. It really does seem excesive to me. Even if your son is really talented, he's still really young, and even talented people can get burned out.

What do other teams in your league do? Most practices last one hour, however, baseball and football practices and games can consume TONS of time and if you are here in the South where I am (AL), it is always about the practices and games. You just have to get used to it and make LOTS of friends in the ball-park, because that's where you'll be all the time. The kids love it and they make lots of friends also. Just sit, relax and cheer him on. Those years will pass quickly and he'll appreciate your support. If he doesn't enjoy it or it interupts his school studies (in a few years), stop and try a sport through your local YMCA which is usually one practice per week and one game on a Saturday.

WAY too much demand on the attention span of anyone...much less a 4 year old. My 16 year old brother plays on the varsity team for his high school and they don't demand that much time. Ridiculous.

My friends son is 7 and playing baseball. Even at 7, they only practice once a week for 1 hour and have one game a week. You are absolutely right about your son. I can't imagine putting a 4 yr. old on that rigorous of a schedule. I couldn't handle that kind of schedule myself, especially during the school year. You need to have a serious talk with his coach and if the problem doesn't resolve, maybe you can put him on another team.

That is way too much...The other parents must be frustrated also. I would get with them and then get with the coach on how you feel. I don't think you are babying him, I think you are being responsible in realizing he needs time for other things, and so do you.

Their pratices vary depending on the coach. Coach sets pratice schedules, not the league. As far as the games, you can take it to the person in charge of that League or find another league. I agree that is way too much on a child or a parent. It really takes the fun out of the game and burns the kids out to the point they don't even want to play anymore. Sounds to me like his coach is Very competitive, he is prolly a coach that yells at them & embarasses the boys cause he calls them out individually, I've seen coaches like this and I'm grateful my son has yet to be placed on one of their teams. I hope you get things worked out.

T., I think that is WAY too much for the age of four or five! That's nuts! My son is 9 and has also played since age 3. My husband is the coach and our team is very competitive. Still, we practice twice a week and that's it other than occassional weekend practices and tournaments. If you read about this, you will find that statistically 80% of kids will drop out of organized sports by age 12, usually because of burnout. Not to mention how taxing it is on th whole family to be on the run like that every night. I would look for a league or team that is more balanced...

You have got to be kidding me! My son is 9 and has played in baseball for the past 4 or 5 years and I have never known him to have a schedule like that. I am not sure what the schedule will be like this year but last year I think they had one game and two practices per week (the practices lasted for 1 to 1 1/2 hours each.

I think the coaches need to realize that the kids are their to play - they are not there to earn a paycheck.

My son is going on 6 and still in t-ball one more year.
Our park rules must be different. 4, 5, 6 are t-ball,
7, 8 coach pitch, 9, 10 kid pitch and 11, 12 are major then 13, 14, 15 babe ruth league. We have one practice and 1-2 games a week. No more than 4 or 5 hrs a week. Between school for 8 hrs a day and homework and t-ball he barely winds down to sleep by 9 pm.
Good luck. I don't think I would be able to do that long,especially with 2 older ones into their activities too.

Your Little League should have a web-site. Visit it, they will have the By-Laws posted on it. You will see that the league has a limit on practice/games per week. The state also issues a "law" through Little League on these limits. I know for a fact no more than 1.5 hours a day. It also needs to stop across the boarder. Every coach in that division needs to cut back on practice time. I bet your coach just feels he need to "keep up" to be competetive with the other teams. My family also does little league baseball and the whole family is committed to it, we know we really can't schedule any other family activities during baseball season. It is over in a few months. Baseball is a childhood memory! But when it interfers in sleep, school, and the developement of the child, it goes overboard. Unless mothers get together and make a stand to the coaches, board of directors, nothing will change. You will have to deal with it and argue with your husband, or take him out of baseball. Hopefully you can find the best solution for your family.

I think people let this get out of hand in the hopes that their kid will end up with a full-ride scholarship to a major university. My nephew was extremely talented. His dad had him very involved in sports (but not as young as 4 years old). When he was in high school he hated sports and wouldn't even try for the teams. He was rebellious towards his dad and it caused a lifetime of trouble between them. A YMCA team is good enough for a child his age. They have 1 practice a week, and 1 or 2 games on Saturdays. They focus on having a good time, playing fair, and being a good sport. He needs to learn of the other good things in life besides playing ball.

I think that is WAY excessive. At that age, unless they are getting a lot of rest during practices, that is far too much stress on growing bones and muscles. They are setting these kids up for injuries and burn-out. That's my professional opinion. Are the other teams practicing this much?

That is RIDICULOUS! It's supposed to be an extracuricular activity not a lifestyle - they aren't paying him are they? At 4 years old kids should be using their imagination & just PLAYING. My 4 year-old certainly won't stay focused in on 1 activity for that amount of time...too much to do! When is their time for family time or dinner??? A couple of hours a week sounds much more reasonable to me...especially at that age. When kids are forced into THAT MUCH PRACTICE they lose interest!

That's way too much!!! My husband and I coach one of our son's teams and we only practice 2 nights a week for a hour each time. Once games start we will not practice as we will play 2 games a week. I wouldn't take my son to practice that often. The coach will get the hint.

I'm on your side. This schedule is crazy! Way too much for kids that age. I have three boys, ages 6, 11, and 15. Our two older sons have never had a practice schedule like that and believe me, they have played plenty of sports. I think it just burns the kids out. When do they just play? ride a bicycle? Baseball is fun, but it isn't life! Sounds like your coaches priorities are a little out of kilter. Good Luck! Your son will have plenty of time to be scheduled to death when he is older!

Hi T., i agree that that is way overboard for that age child....but, i raised 2 boys and was up to my eyeballs in sports year round even tho we only allowed the boys to play one sport a season.....another thing to consider is that if your son is really good and shows a lot of potential he will get on teams that require much more than you can image. i guess the question for me ... is your son enjoying this or is he doing it because he thinks you'll want him to....if he's enjoying it, his grades don't drop and his attitude stays good then i say, suck it up and play baseball.....if he isn't enjoying it then your son's going to have to understand that he can voice that without disappointing dad....which is usally what makes kids keep quite....T., i learned a long time ago that if yor son is a really good athlete that this is what you're looking at....i also learned very early that my husband was the one that needed to have conferences with coaches....and he did when something was out of whack....just so you know, one of my sons had a full scholarship to play soccer in college and the other was an all state football player who also had a full scholarship ...so, i know where you are.....sorry, i know you were looking for a different solution....but i still agree that at 4-5 years old, it's a bit excessive....but i can see this by 7-8....good luck ... R.

I have never heard of such rigorous practice schedules at that age. You might talk to the other parents and get their opinions since your husband doesn't agree. I bet all the other parents on the team are feeling like their time is being robbed from them. Plus, is this a highly competitve team? Usually at this age they are playing more of a recreational league which is less practice, less commitment.

This isn't practical over the long run and your child will get burned out. So will you!

Also, look around and do some research on other teams or leagues. I doubt if this is the standard.

GOod luck,

Just my opinion but ...I completely agree. My son is 5 and this is the first year he has been able to play tball. Luckily we have a coach that will practice once a week until games start and then won't practice after that. He feels like the kids are there to have fun. Kids now days are over involved with stuff that is in the long run not as important as school, church and family. I'm trying to keep mine young as long as possible and try to control how much they are involved in. I don't even remember my dad praticing the tournament teams that much!!!!!

My brother-n-law was a professional ball player and he is not going to start his son until he it 8 or 9 in Little League.

He says that they burn the kids out at a young age and that is why you are seeing fewer and fewer Americans playing in the major leagues.

He plays with him in the yard and the boy is very talented like his father, but he doesn't need to play to prove anything yet.

My son is 7 and in his 4th Coach Pitch season..Fall, Spring, Fall, This Spring. My husband has always been his coach and practice has always been 1-1.5 hr, once MAYBE twice a week, with games twice weekly lasting an hour. Show time pregame is 30 min. for warmup, some people show 15 min pregame.
No , I don't feel you're BABYING him.. that schedule sounds CRAZY!!
Which park do you play in? We are in Fern Bell/Gulley and LOVE IT! It is about the kids, after all?

my son is playing for his second year and that is absurd my husband is coaching this year and we practice sometimes once a week sometimes twice.. these kids are going to get burnt out before the seeason is mid-way through i suggest saying something to the coach... it also interferes with homewrok rituals and supper too it's hard enough only practicing two times a week and once we star playing we don't practice at all the games are practice enough

My son is 6 and in his second year of T-ball. They practice 2X a week, the games are also about 2X a week. Usually the games are scheduled early, around 5:30, a few at 7:00. I do think that your ball schedule is TOTALLY out of control. Children at this age need time for "free play" to use their imaginations, rather than so much scheduled sports. What do the other parents think of so much time spent on this? Maybe you could get together with the coach or league and let them know that this is too much practice/games for kids this age?

I hate to tell your husband, but your son still IS a baby! This is pushing too hard, and will likely burn him out and make him resent baseball in the future. When does he get to rest, or just make believe, or play with toys? Too much of any activity can cause health and emotional issues. Take it from an RN...

I have taught school for the past 29 years and have witnessed what "Little League" does for children.
It is extremely overdone, especially during school. We have many parents keeping students home an extra hour, missing their first class, because ball practice lasted until 10 PM.

Children have so many practices and games they miss summer fun. Some scheduled activities are fun, but not when they take up all your spare time.

My 3 sons played Little League with most games the laterpart of May and all of June. That was too much and today it is much worse.

That is an insane amount of time for a child so young. Have you talked to the other children's parents to get their opinion on this schedule?? The other parents might feel the same way as you and it would be easier to confront the coach about reducing the schedule if you have other team parents backing you up.

My first questions is is this team a select team or a rec team? If it is a rec team, yes this is too much, if it is a select team, no it is not. I have 3 sons and we are on rec teams. We practice 2 times a week for 2 to 2 1/2 hours at a time. My suggestion to you is that you and your husband need to be on the same side. Once you have come to a place where both of you are happy, then approach the coach and tell him how you feel and see if there is a compromise with him. You may be stuck this year, but next year you might find another league that is good with all of you.

I agree with you whole-heartedly. It's too much. When is he supposed to just be a kid? I don't know about where you live, but here in AL the youth sports are run by Parks and Rec and the coaches are unpaid volunteers. They are given some basic rules and guidlines, but for the most part practice frequency and duration is up to each teams head coach. If this is how your children's sports is governed where you live, my suggestion would be to explain your concerns to your husband and ask if you can make a compromise and have him change teams to a coach that doesn't think he is training future pros, but that he is teaching kids to have fun with baseball. Afterall, if you take sports too seriously so young, they get burnt out and stop enjoying it. And that just defeats the purpose we put our kids in sports to begin with. We want them to have FUN and be active. If you push them too much, you get negative attitudes toward sports.

Way too much. I think organized sports for 3 year olds are rather silly. Four year olds can only focus for 45 min or an hour. I have coached many rec teams (soccer, basketball, t-ball) we practice one hour a week. When the kids are 7 or 8 and showing a love of the sport, I have added a 2nd practice each week. For a really competitive team, throw in a weekend practice every now and then, or some off-season practices to keep the skills fresh. Your just gonna make the kid hate t-ball with that level. I'm surprised he's not complaining already.

that is way to much for a 4 yr old.. I think u need to talk to the coach about this and if he dont want to tal;k then go over his head.

I agree!! The schedule you describe sounds too extreme for that age group. I'm only stating my opinion, but it would seem that 4-5 year olds shouldn't be on the field that often. Developmentally, a 4 yr. olds attention span is only about 30-45 minutes and that's in a perfect environment! Maybe practicing 2x per week with 1 game on the weekend would be more appropriate.

You should talk to the coaches for your son's team. If they don't give you satisfaction, take your concerns to the President of the Board for the ballpark. He/She should then be able to address your issues with all the park coaches and possibly institute some new park guidelines that limit the number of practices during the week to something more appropriate for this age group.

It's unfortunate that the coach for a team of 4-5 year olds is demanding so much from the little ones. I can understand the desire to develop their skills, but a grueling schedule like that is more likely to cause the kids to lose interest in the game... :-(

C. K.


That does seem a bit much to place on your child at his age. I'm sure he doesn't mind but it's taking away time that he can be spending with you and his dad learning different things. At times coaches can be unrealistic, I say, they probably don't have children of their own so they don't think when it comes to interrupting home life. We went through a similar problem when my son played grade school soccer. It was an everyday thing. My son was also in the school band so it was rare to see him home at a decent hour. I talked with the coach about all the practice and explained that my son had other responsibilities along with playing soccer. The coach said he had to choose between soccer and band. My son chose band and became the leading drummer for the band. I really hated telling him what the coach said but knew it was for the best. Today my son is a soldier, plays druns, guitar, keyboard, piano. His love for music seemed to grow every year that he was in the school band.

T., I would talk with the coach and see if something can't be worked out that is more reasonable for you and for your child. And I don't think it's babying him, it's looking out for your son's best interest.

J. Blue Star Mom and Proud Army Mom

That is way too much for a 4 OR 5 year old child. I am the parent of 4 girls....my twin 13 year olds play year round basketball and soccer. THEY don't even practice that often. That type of schedule could burn him out at a young age. You are not babying your son.....you are following your gut! Always go with your gut.

We had the same problem.The coaches and some parents even just get to worked up about a game that is supposed to be fun for children.When we could choose a specific coach-we did,but in the end,we ended up pulling our own children out for this very reason.

You are right. That kind of schedule and pressure is not healthy for such young children. He needs time to be a kid.

I agree! It sounds like too much for the age agroup!! My child plays tball also and it is not that intense. He has practice 1 night a week for 1-2 hours. I can't imagine keeping the kids attention for longer than that!!! Are other parents worried?

Hi T.,

I don't believe you are "babying" your son. He's a little boy and to be honest, practicing two hours five days a weeks for someone his age is a bit much. If this type schedule continues, not only will it take the fun out of playing ball but it could impact his free time to do other things he enjoys. Are you friends with any of the parents on the team? If so, perhaps you could get together and explain your concerns to the coach. I truly believe your son's coach is asking too much of his team. Sometimes we forget that children are children.

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