I encourage you to read this post by pitching instructor Dick Mills about the rise of young travel/select/challenge baseball teams that place their primary focus on playing as many games as they can, and sacrifice the practice time needed for their players to develop the skills and mechanics necessary to improve and advance in the game. Mills clearly believes that these teams need to place more of an emphasis on skills development.
I agree completely. At ages 8-12, and probably beyond, serious ballplayers must develop proper mechanics for hitting, pitching, fielding, throwing and catching. Sure, they need to play against competition in order to learn the game, gain experience and build confidence. But if in doing so, they continue to perpetuate the same old incorrect mechanics, then they are probably wasting their time and money if they want to continue in the game past their early teen years.
At the youth level, players can get by on natural coordination, strength and athleticism. But if you go watch a high school game, you rarely see a player with a bad swing, awkward throwing motion or weak glove work. And you never see it at the college level. The players that make it that far were taught at a young age how to do things correctly. They got the instruction, practiced it enough to build correct muscle memory, and then they put it to use in games. They didn't just play as many games as they could from the time they were 8 years old.
If I am paying for my child to play on a select youth team - I'm not, so this is purely hypothetical - then I am paying for skills development. I am paying for instruction in addition to the games. If there are more games than practices... if there is rarely any one-on-one instruction... or if my child's mechanical flaws are never corrected - then I wonder if the coaching staff has the knowledge and ability to really teach baseball. I also wonder if I have wasted my money.