We will spend some time in 2021 taking a closer look at many of the key clubs and teams that bring excitement and competition to Triple Crown’s Colorado Baseball division. Here’s a visit with Chris Taylor, co-owner of Elite Athletic (based in Golden) and 11u head coach.
Q: What are you most excited about for this team?
A: This team enjoyed a tremendous amount of on-field success in 2020. We are returning a great core of kids with a few new additions, and I can’t wait to see how the team comes together. We were lucky enough to receive a few invites to national events, including Triple Crown’s Best of the West, and I am very excited to see how our team can compete against some of the top talent across the country.
Q: What constitutes a successful season for you?
A: At this age, it is all about growth and development. As the game gets faster and more complicated I want to see our kids grow with it. Smart work ethic, a will to compete, and leadership are staples of our team, and I want to see that continue to grow in all our players. Winning is a byproduct of those things, but ultimately my goal is to prepare them for whatever their next level of competition is. As long as we compete no matter the situation, I am happy with the season.
Q: Would you call 2020 a success for your team and your program with all the challenges and hurdles you faced?
A: For our team 2020 was definitely a success, both on the field and off. Our team chose to play up an age group for most of the summer and it really helped our kids grow as players. Being able to string together 26 straight wins also helps, but I was more proud of how our boys (and families) dealt with the ever-changing circumstances throughout the season. The kids worked hard on their own during the shutdown and were ready to get back to team activities as soon as we were allowed. We obviously would have like to play more games and travel but all-in-all it was successful.
Q: What separates Elite Baseball from the other programs?
A: Elite as an organization takes a player development approach with all our teams. Our focusing is on making sure we develop the player’s skills and by doing so that will result in success on the field for our teams. Danny Vais (my co-owner at Elite) and I take pride in being heavily involved with all of our teams, not just the ones that we personally coach. We know all the kids across the organization, not just a select few. Whether that is working with the kids directly in a training environment or supporting our coaches throughout the season, we want to make sure they have the tools for success.
Q: What’s the team expectations this year?
A: I expect our team to build on the success they had last year and continue to grow as players and leaders. I am sure our players will tell you they expect to win every time they step on the field, and that is great. We are very excited to, hopefully, get a chance to travel this year and test ourselves against some great competition.
Q: What’s the best thing about the state of youth sports right now?
A: For me, it continues to be the great life lessons that sports teach our kids. Hard work, leadership, dealing with failure, being part of a team, are all great skills that will translate into all aspects of life. Unfortunately, I think some of these things have fallen off in society in general and we have created environments for kids that don’t teach them how to fail or deal with adversity.
Sports provide that for these kids, and I believe will set them up to be more successful later in life. The level of instruction is also at an all-time high in my opinion. The opportunities for these kids to train and compete at a high level is better than it has ever been.
Q: What’s the worst thing about the state of youth sports right now?
A: At times, I think people lose perspective on who youth sports are for. Parents and coaches make it more about themselves, and their ego and aspirations, instead of the kids. In the baseball world a lot of these kids won’t go on to be varsity players, and even fewer will have the opportunity to play in college. If we don’t cherish the time they play as a youth, it will be gone before we know it.