At what age do you pick your career? 5th grade right!?
Not a chance. That would be absolutely CRAZY.
Then why are we picking one position (or one sport, but we’ll save that for another day) that early in our baseball career?
It’s fair to say that if a player only plays second base then he’s going to be better at second base than someone who only plays there sometimes (generally speaking). Same with a team…if they only play players at certain positions, they will “win” more than teams that challenge their players to play a few different positions. But at what cost?
Playing a young player at only one position is pigeonholing them and hamstringing their career/long term development. No one knows what position an 11yr old is going to project to 5-10yrs down the road. So they end up losing the opportunity to learn different positions, develop different skill sets, and are only able to look at the game in a very narrow lens.
And before you think that players positions are set once high school, college, or even pro ball…think again.
Bryce Harper was a catcher until college. Manny Machado was a short stop. Sean Doolittle was a first basemen. And my brother has made a career at the MLB level by being able to play all over the field.
Those are just a few examples, but think…if players are being asked to play different positions or switch positions at the highest levels of baseball, don’t you think that is a skill you should be learning now?
Take pride in being versatile. Realize that you don’t know what position you will project to down the road. Learn the game. And put short term “success” on the back burner in place of long term development.
Just like you wouldn’t pick your career in 5th grade, you shouldn’t pick your position. Be obsessed.
Director of Baseball
Maplezone Sports Institute