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Stages of Development
Instructional Stage (Age 9-10)
Coaches at this level are encouraged to focus on skill development, teaching the game, and the correct way to play the game. Players will play multiple positions but clearly every player won’t play every position due to talent or safety concerns. Playing time will be fairly distributed. This is the stage where we promote infusing players with knowledge of the game and how to handle situations at a number of different positions. The focus at this stage is almost entirely on player skill development and instruction rather than wins and losses.
Intermediate Stage (Age 11-13)
Coaches at this level are encouraged to continue to focus on skill development while having players specialize in 2-3 positions and becoming more competitive. Playing time will still be fairly distributed but players will no longer play multiple positions. Players will still be exposed to multiple positions in practice. This is the stage where each player’s skills are becoming more evident. There is still a strong emphasis placed on teaching and giving each player a solid foundation of knowledge in the game and the proper way to play. The focus at this stage is evenly distributed between instruction, skill development, and competing.
Competitive Stage (Age 14)
Coaches at this level are encouraged to teach the players how to compete while continuing to refine their skills and knowledge of the game. At this level, baseball is played as it will be played in high school and beyond. There is no guarantee of fair playing time but coaches are still encouraged to play each player. Players will probably be limited to 2 positions where they can maximize their abilities. While skill development and instruction are still highly valued, the focus at this stage has shifted towards competition and winning.