Consider Playing Up
It is not uncommon in youth baseball for younger players to join and play on baseball teams with older players. This is referred to as playing up. If your son’s athletic skills are advanced for his age, you might want to consider looking at older teams. There are good reasons to have your child play with older kids, as well as reasons to not have them play up.
Some Leagues Say No
Some people believe under no circumstance should kids advance pass their own age group when playing baseball. They typically say that it puts undue pressure on a child, or they feel for social reasons they should not play up. Some of these people include league directors and park board members. So before even thinking about it, check to make sure your league rules will allow for kids to play on the same teams with older kids. Some leagues prohibit playing up.
My Youngest Did It
My youngest son is six years younger than his next oldest brother. This older brother played competitive baseball and usually played sixty or seventy games each summer. So the youngest son pretty much grew up on a baseball field. Once he was old enough to play catch he was warming up with the team. By the time he was old enough to start playing baseball his skill level was very high.
Starting at the age of seven he was playing for a team of nine-year olds. He played with this team until he was the age of ten. Then he joined a team of eleven year olds. I have to say that playing at higher skill levels than his own age really benefitted my son. He is in high school now and has enjoyed a great deal of success.
Maybe my son would be just as good if he had played with his own age group all the way through little league. But I know of other players who played up and all are very good high school players. This experience has made a believer out of me about playing up.
Advantages of Playing Up
The advantages of playing up are pretty obvious. To get better at something you need to compete against good competition. Playing with older kids should provide a more challenging environment. Even if you are not playing competitive ball, but playing recreational baseball, I would still consider playing at the right skill level, not necessarily the right age level. » Read more: Playing Up