I have a special message for the little guys. These are the players who rarely stand out on a baseball field. They’re not as big or strong as some players. They don’t hit those big, majestic homers or throw harder than everyone on the field.
I have a soft spot in my heart for these players. Maybe it’s because all three of my boys were “little guys.” And maybe because I grew late and was often a “little guy,” too.
But, I also appreciate this group of players because of the struggle that is required. The adversity and frustration that they go through can help them develop into great players as they grow.
This message is particularly for that group of little guys from the age of 12 to 15. It’s when their teammates and peers begin growing quickly while they mostly stay the same. Some of these kids grow so early that it becomes a major advantage for them while the rest of their peers catch up.
Little guys, you’ve got this…
It’s Tough as a Little Guy
I get it. As a little guy, you need to barrel that ball perfectly just to have a chance (minus the lucky bounces here and there). And as you get older and the field gets bigger, getting a hit can be challenging. Extra-base hits suddenly feel like an impossible chore.
So you work harder (you were always told that you have to be the hardest worker on the field!). You’re scrappy. You hustle. You never take anything for granted.
You know how hard it is to get a hit.
The Big Kids
Truthfully, this is as much a message for the big kids as it is for the little guys.
The big kids have a major advantage growing up. You don’t need a perfect swing. Sure, it helps, but you can still get good results. Your strength often makes up for it.
You don’t need perfect throwing mechanics. Again, it wouldn’t hurt, but your size often leads to throwing the ball harder.
You’ve benefited from this advantage during the years of youth baseball.
Do not get complacent!
Those little guys are working their butts off just to try and keep up. They will hit a growth spurt. They will get bigger and stronger. That gap will start closing.
In some cases, those little guys will eventually be as big if not bigger than those who were previously the big kids. Some kids simply hit that growth spurt super young and some have to wait a while.
The little guys who were working hard will suddenly start to get noticed. The ball will fly farther when they hit it. They’ll run faster as they get taller and stronger. They’ll throw harder. Suddenly, results will follow all of that scrappiness and hard work.
A Message for Those Little Guys
I know this period of time is hard. But, trust me, the frustration is only temporary. Please, do not give up!
Don’t stop working hard. Never abandon the scrappiness and hustle that help you compete right now.
Know that this hard work will pay off. You will get bigger and stronger. You will close that gap. And when you do, because of having to be the hardest worker, you may just be the best player on the field.
Don’t Take it for Granted
That means that this is an important period for those big kids. Do not take this advantage for granted. That gap will start to close and it may close entirely. Your advantage can’t just be your size and strength.
Make sure that you have a swing that will scale as you grow.
Make sure that you have the athleticism to play anywhere on the field.
Make sure that you have the mechanics that, combined with strength, will assure you’ll always have a chance.
For the Coaches
Finally, a message for the coaches…
Do not overlook these little guys at younger ages. Keep encouraging them. Help them understand the value of process over results, that they can do everything right but it feels like the results just never come.
Help put these little guys in the best position to succeed now, but make sure they know that the little things they’re doing will eventually pay off.
Do you know any little guys who are struggling during this difficult phase?
Let me know in the comments below!