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Titan32

How important are Freshman teams?

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I think the sweet spot for this question is 2A, 3A and maybe 4A.  In football my experience has been when a school can't field a freshman team....the program itself is more than likely in decline.  Also....can the same be said for baseball and basketball...or are those sports completely different animals?

 I know some schools attach some sort of prestige to a freshman playing on JV or Varsity, (I use the term playing loosely...it might mean siting the bench), particularly in basketball (even when the numbers are there for a freshman team).  It seems to me that the prestige strategy often disrupts the team dynamic or at least does nothing to improve the ability for an entire team to play together or prepare to play together down the road.

Also, how much additional development is really achieved with the move up? Or, if winning is the motivation...how many additional games are won?  In terms of baseball...if you have to have freshman to fill out your JV squad and kids who would normally be JV moving up to Varsity in 2A through 4A....I would think the odds are that program won't be a state contender anytime soon.

We all don't have the luxury of great numbers...and you do what you have to do in any of the before mentioned sports.  I guess I am curious where we all think the line falls in terms of moving freshman up because you have to....or because you want to.  And....when the numbers are bad, is that automatically a head coach problem?

 

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I know we love fielding 3 teams for our H.S. level.   We believe in putting our kids in competitive situations as much as we can and getting them live game REPS.  Our freshman sometimes as little as 12 or 13 total players have taken on JV and C teams just to get in games/reps.  Care less about records, just want the reps on film and working on competing.  

Sometimes we will send lesser sophomores with freshman to maximize quarters if we catch an injury here or there or run out of quarters because of Friday night game management issues.   Sometimes kids play out of normal positions, but hey its fun game and its about competing.   

It has become harder and harder to find games but we typically get 7-8 freshman games (played Indy Northwest last year) and 7-8 JV games.   

Our total roster numbers hover around 50-55 players year in and year out.   

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I'm still trying to figure out how my HS had 2 freshman, a sophomore, a JV, and a varsity team for football. Basketball was 4 freshmen, 2 sophomore, a JV, and a varsity. The school had 2000 students so it's good size, but no schools in Indiana have that many teams. It allowed a lot more kids to keep playing and make us one of the better teams in the state. There were other schools in our conference with similar numbers.

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12 minutes ago, Coach Nowlin said:

I know we love fielding 3 teams for our H.S. level.   We believe in putting our kids in competitive situations as much as we can and getting them live game REPS.  Our freshman sometimes as little as 12 or 13 total players have taken on JV and C teams just to get in games/reps.  Care less about records, just want the reps on film and working on competing.  

Sometimes we will send lesser sophomores with freshman to maximize quarters if we catch an injury here or there or run out of quarters because of Friday night game management issues.   Sometimes kids play out of normal positions, but hey its fun game and its about competing.   

It has become harder and harder to find games but we typically get 7-8 freshman games (played Indy Northwest last year) and 7-8 JV games.   

Our total roster numbers hover around 50-55 players year in and year out.   

Did you drive the Bomber Mini-Bus to Indy NW?

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6 minutes ago, Coach Ellenwood said:

Did you drive the Bomber Mini-Bus to Indy NW?

Indy Northwest came to us.   We maybe going down their this year.  We get Yellow buses and I have since retired for the most part of driving the mini's that is the job of the Low Man No Neck A.K.A. Coach Lineman No Neck or CLNN for short.  

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For us, its about finding games at the Freshman level,  we start out the year with Freshmen games, but by the time its up to playing them, they get cancelled due to not enough players. Our roster these last few years has been  between 61-74 kids out. We didn't play one freshman game this past  year due to games getting cancelled. Our conference teams just dont have the kids to field a freshman team.  We ended up playing Beech Grove twice in JV games due to one team not fielding a JV team. We get the most we can get out of the quarters we do play though. Our freshmen get playing time in those JV games.

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4 hours ago, Titan32 said:

In football my experience has been when a school can't field a freshman team....the program itself is more than likely in decline.

North Posey has very rarely fielded a freshmen team. The two times I remember us having a freshman team they played only a few games, the rest of the time they were with the JV.  In 1981 North Posey went to semi-state with 31 players freshman thru senior. They followed that up with 7-3 and in 84 was PAC champs again. So I don't think they were in decline. 

I dont remember Heritage Hills having many freshman teams during the legendary Coach Clayton years. 

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30 minutes ago, Cappy said:

North Posey has very rarely fielded a freshmen team. The two times I remember us having a freshman team they played only a few games, the rest of the time they were with the JV.  In 1981 North Posey went to semi-state with 31 players freshman thru senior. They followed that up with 7-3 and in 84 was PAC champs again. So I don't think they were in decline. 

I dont remember Heritage Hills having many freshman teams during the legendary Coach Clayton years. 

Excellent example!

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47 minutes ago, Cappy said:

North Posey has very rarely fielded a freshmen team. The two times I remember us having a freshman team they played only a few games, the rest of the time they were with the JV.  In 1981 North Posey went to semi-state with 31 players freshman thru senior. They followed that up with 7-3 and in 84 was PAC champs again. So I don't think they were in decline. 

I dont remember Heritage Hills having many freshman teams during the legendary Coach Clayton years. 

Actually Heritage Hills has fielded a freshman team for years on my website I go back to 2002 and we have had a freshman team every year also I have old programs from the mid eighties and we had a freshman team back then also. Not a lot of games most years though. 

 

The 1986 program has the frosh-JV schedule listed together with 5 games listed as frosh, another 5 listed as JV and the 11th game didn't list either one so it might have been combo I have no clue because I didn't attend lower level games until the early 2000s.

 

My 1983 yearbook has a small article on the JV and Freshman teams and it said the frosh were 4-0. 

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16 minutes ago, dave mosbey said:

Actually Heritage Hills has fielded a freshman team for years on my website I go back to 2002 and we have had a freshman team every year also I have old programs from the mid eighties and we had a freshman team back then also. Not a lot of games most years though. 

 

The 1986 program has the frosh-JV schedule listed together with 5 games listed as frosh, another 5 listed as JV and the 11th game didn't list either one so it might have been combo I have no clue because I didn't attend lower level games until the early 2000s.

 

My 1983 yearbook has a small article on the JV and Freshman teams and it said the frosh were 4-0. 

Thanks for the correction Dave!

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Being in a mid sized 4A program, I think fielding a freshmen squad is critical. We have one PAL team, and one Middle School program that feed into our school. There is another Junior High that feeds into each of the high schools (there are 5 in our district) as well. By 6th or 7th grade, a program may be down to one QB. To go a season as maybe a scout team QB or a backup JV QB would be difficult. There are other positions as well, that may be in the same boat. Even if the team gets just a few games, it is still critical for them. In each class, there is a program at the top that is a program to model. If you want your program to become competitive at the top of a given class, what are the top programs doing? 

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I think 3A-6A HAVE to have a freshmen team in order to be a successful program they have the numbers of total kids in the school so if you don't have the numbers to field a Freshmen that would mean your program is lacking appeal for students in your school (can't win if large numbers your best athletes aren't playing football). 1A and 2A school can survive without but it certainly is a nice luxury to have if you have it at that level. My Jr year at Monrovia we maybe had 20ish kids on jv and 20ish kids that played Varsity only about 47 kids total and were 14-1 

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I believe that most coaches use the freshman team as an introduction to the varsity system. I have actually seen it trickle down all the way through the 7th and 8th grade teams. So a freshman team can be an important step in preparing the players for Friday nights. 

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I can't remember the last time Frankfort, a supposed 4A school, fielded a freshman team.    In recent years they have even had to combine the 7th and 8th grades teams together to form a squad.

 

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Posted (edited)

Very important IMHO.  Just like all the other sub-varsity levels, those kids are your future varsity players.  Still teaching fundamentals to a point but also integrating the kids more into the varsity system/more complicated plays/more strength training/etc.  It's the chance for a lot of these kids to continue getting GAME reps vs. riding the JV bench.

I would think 4A and larger should have a decent sized freshman team and have a full schedule of games, if possible.  1A & 2A probably are typically set up where the JV team is the de-facto freshman team mixed with soph's who are light on talent or just haven't developed enough to make varsity.  3A could go either way depending on enrollment, but I would suspect that the upper-tier 3A programs field a freshman team and at least play a partial schedule.

Back in the day (early-mid 80's), we were a 2A school and had varsity, JV & freshman teams - full schedules all around.

Edited by Bonecrusher

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For us, a 3A school, we love to have a freshman team, but it just doesn't always work out. Sometimes, like the pieces of the puzzle don't fit well and we just have a larger JV team. Also, our conference does not usually allow us to hold a full JV schedule as not all school have a freshman team. Sometimes we end up making more or less a C team to try and get those young pups some game reps. In my opinion you should have one if you can, but if you're going to send out 15 kids, play them out of position and have them get slaughtered, I don't think you should stretch it. 

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Sure getting everyone playing time is key, but back to your question.

No I do not think freshman should be moved up.

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46 minutes ago, jmills said:

Sure getting everyone playing time is key, but back to your question.

No I do not think freshman should be moved up.

I agree I don't think it is a big jump from Freshman to JV anyway so if you can keep a group of kids together that have been playing with each other since youth league (if your a small town school) or Begin to develop some chemistry with all of your kids coming from different middle schools (if your a 5 or 6A program) is going to pay dividends in the long run and you still get the same development on the field. IMO the only time you bring up a Freshman is if he is good enough to play Varsity which does happen at 4,5,6 A schools but not often its better to keep them with their classmates than play JV, plus its more playing time for your 10th and 11th graders that might not see Varsity action. 

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Posted (edited)

Regarding moving freshmen up...... My only recent frame of reference is my kids school, present-day.  We are 2A in a 1A-6A system.  Typically 40-45 kids play and we usually dress ~25 varsity leaving 15-20 JV.  Usually 1-2 freshmen make varsity - and those are usually good enough to be starters from the get go.  Those kids are outliers and the bulk of our freshmen obviously don't yet have the skills/size/development/etc. to compete with varsity players, but can compete just fine with other 2A schools' JV teams (with the same situation regarding freshman players) and the occasional 4A JV "B" team.  Not a surprising scenario for a small school.  Most 3A's around here have all three that play dedicated schedules but no "B" teams, and sometimes the freshmen teams are a little light and may be combined with JV during the season if injuries hit either team.  4A+ have all teams with "B" and "C"for each fresh/JV depending on size of school.

IMHO if you have enough kids to field all three, let the freshmen play freshman and so on.  Keeps the jump in talent you are playing against from becoming too large for some kids to handle.

Edited by Bonecrusher

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If you know your JV will struggle to win, do you still think a Freshman team is important? Is fielding a Freshman team more important than teaching kids how to win? We have done both at Salem, yet when we did have a Freshman team our JV squad was very thin and really struggled to compete with the larger schools on our schedule. Just something to think about when making the statement that it is VERY important. I feel teaching kids how to win is much more important than field a Freshman team. A way that we have tried to fix the issue of playing time w/o a Freshman team is to be 2 platooned. Again, we still have a few that struggle to get much time.

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 do you still think a Freshman team is important? YES

Is fielding a Freshman team more important than teaching kids how to win? YES and that is also teaching them how to win.

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1 hour ago, jmills said:

 do you still think a Freshman team is important? YES

Is fielding a Freshman team more important than teaching kids how to win? YES and that is also teaching them how to win.

I agree, and for many programs, freshmen are coming from different schools, so that time to bond into one team is critical in the bigger picture. Take care of really is important about what we do as coaches, and the winning will take care of itself.

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I would guess finding teams to schedule is a major headache  until recently when Gibson Southern started fielding a freshman team every year the only two PAC schools that consistently fielded a freshman team were Heritage Hills and Southridge, Tell City on occasion  would cancel JV season and play freshman instead  and might have had both a few times  and I know South Spencer attempted a freshman schedule a few years ago but ended up canceling it.

 

Heritage Hills always manages to schedule freshman games even in years where numbers are down, In 2013 we had 35 players grades 10-12  and 18 freshman and had a rash of injury's at times that season we had under 30 available players on the varsity roster and struggled with the worst record in school history but even in that situation they continued to play JV and freshman games giving players reps and the following season we were back in Semi state, 2-8  to 12-2.

The coaches have to quarter players up in positions where they are thin and have players playing out of position but they don't normally cancel games because of numbers. Last season we had two sophomore quarterbacks playing varsity so the two freshman had to split quarters at JV and frosh normally one would play the first half on Monday and the other the 2nd half leaving both players with 3 quarters on Thursday but it normally works out. 

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On ‎4‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 2:54 PM, Titan32 said:

I think the sweet spot for this question is 2A, 3A and maybe 4A.  In football my experience has been when a school can't field a freshman team....the program itself is more than likely in decline.  Also....can the same be said for baseball and basketball...or are those sports completely different animals?

 I know some schools attach some sort of prestige to a freshman playing on JV or Varsity, (I use the term playing loosely...it might mean siting the bench), particularly in basketball (even when the numbers are there for a freshman team).  It seems to me that the prestige strategy often disrupts the team dynamic or at least does nothing to improve the ability for an entire team to play together or prepare to play together down the road.

Also, how much additional development is really achieved with the move up? Or, if winning is the motivation...how many additional games are won?  In terms of baseball...if you have to have freshman to fill out your JV squad and kids who would normally be JV moving up to Varsity in 2A through 4A....I would think the odds are that program won't be a state contender anytime soon.

We all don't have the luxury of great numbers...and you do what you have to do in any of the before mentioned sports.  I guess I am curious where we all think the line falls in terms of moving freshman up because you have to....or because you want to.  And....when the numbers are bad, is that automatically a head coach problem?

 

Been a LONG time since Bremen has had a Freshman football team, probably dating back to Coach Bunge years. We've had recent multiple sectional championships in both football and baseball and our numbers are still declining. If memories serves me right, this past year, we had 4 or 5 freshmen for football and only one freshman for baseball. We do have jv football that helps get the reps but our baseball team has a "partial" jv team that will play a very limited schedule. 10 sophomores on the baseball team but only 2 that start varsity. Too many sports for our small town... so my opinion is that if a program doesn't have  freshman football "is more than likely to decline" can also include "will start a decline"  especially  at the 2A level, unfortunately.

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On 4/17/2017 at 3:45 PM, Longgreenline82 said:

Been a LONG time since Bremen has had a Freshman football team, probably dating back to Coach Bunge years. We've had recent multiple sectional championships in both football and baseball and our numbers are still declining. If memories serves me right, this past year, we had 4 or 5 freshmen for football and only one freshman for baseball. We do have jv football that helps get the reps but our baseball team has a "partial" jv team that will play a very limited schedule. 10 sophomores on the baseball team but only 2 that start varsity. Too many sports for our small town... so my opinion is that if a program doesn't have  freshman football "is more than likely to decline" can also include "will start a decline"  especially  at the 2A level, unfortunately.

How does a good little league program like Bremen, produce 1 freshmen?  Did you see South Bend Riley's softball?  The more time goes by, the more I suspect athletics and education will separate. 

South Bend Riley

 

 

 

 

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