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Here is an excerpt from ESPN.com writer Tim Keown’s article entitled, “Where ‘Elite’ Kids Shouldn‘t Meet”.

Parents line up to have their kids try out for under-10 fall baseball teams, where tiny kids compete for the right to have their arms trashed by pitching in four different games over two days of a weekend tournament put on by a for-profit organization that gives teams 10 minutes between games to warm up.

There is the allure of better coaching (sometimes true), better gear (nearly always true) and better competition (debatable). Still, is there anything dumber than holding tryouts for 9-year-olds? We're not talking about Little League tryouts, which don't include cuts and are intended to place kids at the appropriate level for their ability. No, we're talking about putting 9- and 10-year-olds through an extensive tryout to keep some and cut others.

And then, five years down the line when Little Johnny decides to trade his bat and glove for a skateboard and a piercing, his parents can scream and yell about the travel ball coach who ruined baseball for their son by taking their money and not playing him. It's an overgeneralization, sure, but the whole operation has a way of surgically extracting the fun out of a sport at an age when fun is all it should be.

Here's what the dream-peddlers don't tell you: Anyone who has spent more than five innings watching 10-year-olds play baseball -- or one half of a basketball game -- knows that athletic ability in a kid that young is directly related to physical maturity. The kid with hair under his arms in sixth grade is going to hit the baseball farther than the prepubescent kid who can't get out of the dugout without tripping over his own feet. It's really not that hard.

The full article, which can be found at ESPN.com and is a must-read for all parents who have young children playing sports at competitively, or are contemplating the benefits to “travel” or competitive sports.

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Great article, thanks for posting.

Reading the comments is hilarious.

So many parents on there obviously don't realize they're the kind of parents the author is making fun of.

One guy was arguing with the author's points but while doing so he kept using words like "elite" and "advanced" for his sons development while talking about how much money he spends on tournaments, gear or when MLB talent comes in to run a few practices.

What a joke.

All of those kids will end up where I have, and my boys will - playing rec league softball or 35+ hardball.

And nobody's going to care if anyone in those leagues used to be an elite 9U player. Congrats, you're parents spent thousands on your baseball career while I was on a cruise, at Disney land or ski resort with my parents and siblings. Oh, and I still got to play lots of 'lowly' baseball.

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It's a shame that parents who are supposed to be looking out for their children's best interests are instead putting their children at risk. Baseball is a wonderful game and unfortunately like a lot of good things, can be turned and used for someone's profit. Kids should be encouraged to play "multiple sports" and participate in a diverse collection of athletics. This not only prevents the over development of certain muscles, but allows the player a chance to "step away" from the game and come back with a refreshed mind.

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