All-star season can be a source of great joy and pride for youth sports coaches, players, and parents alike. It can also be a source of stress, frustration, and disappointment

For every kid who gets the opportunity to represent his or her town or county at the all-star level, many more will be disappointed to be left off the roster. It’s even more heartbreaking for the older children in an age division to miss out, considering many only have a viable chance of making all-stars every other year. (For example, 10-year-olds naturally are more likely to make all-stars in a league for 9- and 10-year-olds.)

Bluffton WavesThe world of youth travel baseball has grown exponentially in recent years with teams full of players as young as 6 and 7 years old traveling to regional tournaments and beyond every weekend, year-round in some cases, in search of top competition and the opportunity to hone their skills against the best.

As teams progress, they often have to stray farther from home to challenge themselves, and that has been the case for the Bluffton Waves 11U team coached by Toby Colella. Colella has coached the same core group of players for four seasons, starting at the 8U level.
”We started out as a rec all-star team getting experience in local tournaments,” Colella said. “As we grew and evolved, we challenged ourselves with bigger and better tournaments and the team has improved as a result.”

tennisWhen the weather turns warmer, there’s no shortage of sports-related activities to choose from in the Lowcountry, so our list of sporty things to do with the kids in May is chock full of options.

Dade StanleyThe Lowcountry is widely known as a hotbed for talent in golf and tennis, but it’s less well-known that the area has developed a reputation for producing world-class Olympic weightlifters.

Coach Ray Jones has been developing standout weightlifters in Beaufort for years, with several enjoying success on the national stage and beyond. The latest phenom to make a name for himself is 16-year-old Dade Stanley, a junior at Beaufort High School who last month swept silver in the 81-kilogram weight class at the IWF Youth World Championships in Las Vegas.

baseball coachConfession time: I was not a great athlete as a kid.

I could always crack the starting lineup in baseball and made the all-star team as an alternate a couple of times; I was a pretty good wrestler until high school, when I couldn’t beat any of the state-placers around my weight on a powerhouse team; and I played No. 6 on the high school golf team in rural Kansas, not exactly a hotbed for golf talent.

But I was a student of the game — every game.