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Thread: Youth Baseball League Advice

  1. #1
    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Youth Baseball League Advice

    Hey all. I will be the commissioner of a youth baseball league this spring. The age of the kids are 5th and 6th graders, so the league is kid pitch. The league is wanting to really stress building teams as even as possible. The reason is obvious, you want as many kids having a positive experience as possible, and having one or two teams that totally dominate while 1 or 2 teams are total doormats, leads to too many kids not having fun playing baseball.

    Now as many of your know, this all SOUNDS good, but making it happen isn't quite that easy. The league is mandating the draft be a blind draft, which means I assign the teams. One rule we will implement and I support, is limiting coaching pair-ups. I won't, nor should I, guarantee coaches who want to coach together that they will be paired up. The obvious reason for this is if both the coaches have strong players, it might be better to have the players on seperate teams to help spread out the talent.

    What has experience has any of you learned about the best way to build teams to make as competitve a league as possible? My initial plan is to evenly divide up the pitchers so no team has too many top pitchers. We will have league evaluations before the draft to get an idea of each player.

    I'll then divide up catchers, so each team has at least one experienced catcher. After that, I'll divide up the remaining hitters and try to balence out the overall hitting of each team.

    Sounds simple enough, but it is still very easy to build a league that has too many strong teams and too many very weak teams. So I ask, what advice do any of you have in assigning out teams that are as balanced as possible?
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by CySeymour View Post
    . One rule we will implement and I support, is limiting coaching pair-ups. I won't, nor should I, guarantee coaches who want to coach together that they will be paired up. The obvious reason for this is if both the coaches have strong players, it might be better to have the players on seperate teams to help spread out the talent.

    ?
    Personally I think this is a mistake. You want the coaching staff to be familiar and comfortable with each other. It does not benefit the kids to have coaches not on the same page coaching together. Besides the coaches kid is not always a stud or dominant player. They could be average or even less than average.

    IMO having the coaches draft the kids is the best way to go but I guess your league opposes that.

    Im being blunt but IMO your focus on parity is something I would drop. No matter how the kids are divided up you are going to have very good and very bad teams. It just always works out that way.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Personally I think this is a mistake. You want the coaching staff to be familiar and comfortable with each other. It does not benefit the kids to have coaches not on the same page coaching together. Besides the coaches kid is not always a stud or dominant player. They could be average or even less than average.
    Well, we had a couple of instances last year where coaches got together who both had sons who were very strong pitchers, and that tilted the league. So basically what you got was a lot of parental complaints. I do agree coaches being familiar to each other is a plus, but on the other hand it is also good to try and spread good coaches around if possible to get more kids exposed to good coaching.


    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    IMO having the coaches draft the kids is the best way to go but I guess your league opposes that.

    Im being blunt but IMO your focus on parity is something I would drop. No matter how the kids are divided up you are going to have very good and very bad teams. It just always works out that way.
    Again, this comes from parental pressure. I totally agree that no matter how hard you try, there is really no way to keep one or two teams from being better then the rest. Reasons for this include teams with better coaches, players who develop faster then others, and also players who either out perform or under perform their pre-season evaluation.

    Thanks for the input, George!
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    The way we do it is that we only let head coaches have their kids. Assistants can't be chosen until after the draft if they have kids. It works well. I could go on about this forever, but it works well and all of our teams are pretty even.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Make sure that you keep brothers or cousins etc on the same team. When I played the age range was 8 to 12. My younger brother was automatically assigned to the team I was on.

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup View Post
    The way we do it is that we only let head coaches have their kids. Assistants can't be chosen until after the draft if they have kids. It works well. I could go on about this forever, but it works well and all of our teams are pretty even.
    Please, go on and on if you wish. You can send me a private message if you have more to share!
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallen5862 View Post
    Make sure that you keep brothers or cousins etc on the same team. When I played the age range was 8 to 12. My younger brother was automatically assigned to the team I was on.
    I contact the parents before putting together the rosters to get their wishes. Last year, we had 3 siblings in the same league, and the parents requested one be seperated from the other 2, which wasn't a problem.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Personally I think this is a mistake. You want the coaching staff to be familiar and comfortable with each other. It does not benefit the kids to have coaches not on the same page coaching together. Besides the coaches kid is not always a stud or dominant player. They could be average or even less than average.

    IMO having the coaches draft the kids is the best way to go but I guess your league opposes that.

    Im being blunt but IMO your focus on parity is something I would drop. No matter how the kids are divided up you are going to have very good and very bad teams. It just always works out that way.
    I'm with George. Did it for years, and I always won, whether I drafted the kids or if they were drafted for me. The 3 Years my son spent in little league before moving to travel baseball when he was 10, we won the championship his first and last season and finished second the middle year. You can't legislate parity. I've never seen it work.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

    John Wooden

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN INDY View Post
    I'm with George. Did it for years, and I always won, whether I drafted the kids or if they were drafted for me. The 3 Years my son spent in little league before moving to travel baseball when he was 10, we won the championship his first and last season and finished second the middle year. You can't legislate parity. I've never seen it work.
    Randy, I don't think you can in reality as well. But you do have to at least give the impression you are trying. I look at the team the ultimately won our league last year, and they had two pitchers who out performed their preseason evaluations as pitchers, and that really pushed them over the rest. Plus I really feel they had the leagues best coach, which at that age really does give a team a big advantage.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by CySeymour View Post
    the league. So basically what you got was a lot of parental complaints.




    !
    If this is a league in Carmel then GL with trying to make those parents happy. My travels as an umpire take me all around central Indiana and Carmel parents are probally the worst. You will NEVER make them happy.

    Good Luck tho!!!
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    If this is a league in Carmel then GL with trying to make those parents happy. My travels as an umpire take me all around central Indiana and Carmel parents are probally the worst. You will NEVER make them happy.

    Good Luck tho!!!
    lol Actually, no it isn't Carmel, but a neighboring community.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Coming from a parent of one kid who is bad at sports and one kid who is good, I have mixed feelings. While I like it that my kid the budding soccer star has been able to play on the same team with his friends for a really good coach, my other son and some of his friends have been put off by playing baseball in a very lopsided league. Part of the problem was dividing teams up by school. Kids on from the same elementary school were put on the same team as much as possible. Of course the team with the kids from the local catholic school was insanely talented and had 4 coaches that could have been head coaches for other teams. Of course a lot of the naturally athletic kids go there to play CYO football. Playing that team and another deep team was no fun for anyone.

    One thing my soccer boy's league does is encourage strong assistant coaches to consider taking over open head coach spots to make sure talented coaches are spread out across teams. Kids will play up for coaches who are good teachers and keep the kids engaged. You'll always have good teams and bad ones, but you don't want to set up a league where a few teams are able to monopolize good coaching.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Our society has made it so that everyone has to feel good all the time, everyone gets a trophy, everyone has to be equal. I think that stinks. You are only entitled to have as much success as you are willing to work for.

    The Little League where my son played in Charlotte tried to label the fall season as a "developmental" season and told the coaches that winning wasn't to be the focus. My reply was that as long as someone was keeping score, my team was going to do it's best to win. That's why they keep score in sports. Practice is for developing talent, and I practiced a lot. Games are for seeing how well you have coached. My first priority was to try and make each kid as good as he could be, within a team concept. The team always comes first. I tried to develop a winning attitude. I always told the kids that they were never a failure as long as they did their best and that only they knew if they had given it. I would ask them, after every game if they had given their very best effort and to just think about it, not telling anyone. Hold yourself accountable. I had high expectations for each player and I found they always did their best to try to meet those expectations and were happy that someone cared enough to have those expectations for them. Only once in nearly 30 years of coaching at all levels from Coach pitch to 18 year old travel teams did I have a parent complain to me about their kid not having a good time. The reason the kid wasn't having a good time was that he didn't want to be there in the first place and he actually told me that he hated baseball and that the only reason he was playing was because his parents were making him play. Most parents usually told me that it was a great experience for their kids, and I have kept many cards and letters that told me how great it was to have someone that actually cared about preparing their kids for the challenges of life as well as baseball. I never wanted to prepare kids to accept being anything less than their best. We always strived to win, and when we didn't, if they gave their best effort, I was always proud of them and told them. My teams always expected to win when they walked on the field. I would watch the teams that switched positions after every inning. Each kid got to play every position. Those kids were usually miserable and usually learned absolutely nothing about playing any position. They were always asking me to draft them the next season.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

    John Wooden

  15. #14
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN INDY View Post
    Our society has made it so that everyone has to feel good all the time, everyone gets a trophy, everyone has to be equal. I think that stinks. You are only entitled to have as much success as you are willing to work for.

    The Little League where my son played in Charlotte tried to label the fall season as a "developmental" season and told the coaches that winning wasn't to be the focus. My reply was that as long as someone was keeping score, my team was going to do it's best to win. That's why they keep score in sports. Practice is for developing talent, and I practiced a lot. Games are for seeing how well you have coached. My first priority was to try and make each kid as good as he could be, within a team concept. The team always comes first. I tried to develop a winning attitude. I always told the kids that they were never a failure as long as they did their best and that only they knew if they had given it. I would ask them, after every game if they had given their very best effort and to just think about it, not telling anyone. Hold yourself accountable. I had high expectations for each player and I found they always did their best to try to meet those expectations and were happy that someone cared enough to have those expectations for them. Only once in nearly 30 years of coaching at all levels from Coach pitch to 18 year old travel teams did I have a parent complain to me about their kid not having a good time. The reason the kid wasn't having a good time was that he didn't want to be there in the first place and he actually told me that he hated baseball and that the only reason he was playing was because his parents were making him play. Most parents usually told me that it was a great experience for their kids, and I have kept many cards and letters that told me how great it was to have someone that actually cared about preparing their kids for the challenges of life as well as baseball. I never wanted to prepare kids to accept being anything less than their best. We always strived to win, and when we didn't, if they gave their best effort, I was always proud of them and told them. My teams always expected to win when they walked on the field. I would watch the teams that switched positions after every inning. Each kid got to play every position. Those kids were usually miserable and usually learned absolutely nothing about playing any position. They were always asking me to draft them the next season.
    The one thing I think is important in coaching is to be positive with the kids as opposed to negative. I am hardly a bleeding heart, feel good type but from my 14 years umpiring and 10 plus years coaching I have seen alot of coaches and many teams and more often the ones that are successful are the ones where they focus on the positive things the kids are doing. When you dwell on the negative or make the kid look bad on the field the kid ceases to see the game as fun and then coaching them becomes a real chore. For example if a kid misses a ground ball, say something like you did a nice job getting in position BUT you didn't follow the ball to the glove. Try to match a negative with a positive.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Re: Youth Baseball League Advice

    What has experience has any of you learned about the best way to build teams to make as competitve a league as possible? My initial plan is to evenly divide up the pitchers so no team has too many top pitchers. We will have league evaluations before the draft to get an idea of each player.

    I'll then divide up catchers, so each team has at least one experienced catcher. After that, I'll divide up the remaining hitters and try to balence out the overall hitting of each team.
    Great approach.

    ... you do have to at least give the impression you are trying
    .

    Exactly. Your league is lucky to have someone who will get things started on an even keel, with the talent distributed as equally as possible. Too often youth sports get co-opted by the most aggressive parents who are bound and determined to organize things in such a way that their children get to win all the time. I've had two boys go through youth sports in many different contexts -- both even competed at the college level -- and I saw way too much emphasis on winning at all costs.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini


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