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Manager’s Guide to T-Ball

                                                   

Thank you for volunteering your time and talents to the Belmont-Redwood Shores Little League program. This guide is intended as a guideline to help you throughout the season, however it does not include instructions for every situation that may present itself. If you have questions or concerns, your first call should be to the T-Ball Division Coordinator.

T-Ball Overview

T-Ball is the first division within the Belmont Redwood Shores Little League (BRSLL) and is for all 5 and 6 year-olds (both boys and girls) who will be that age as of August 31st of this year.

T-Ball is typically composed of about 14 teams in two divisions with approximately 10-13 kids on each team. Each team also has 3 Coaches (one of which is the Team Manager), and 3 team parents (one of which is the Head Team Parent). The coaches’ and team parents’ responsibilities are outlined in this document.

                                        

T-Ball is a non-competitive sport and no score is kept during the games. This is to help ensure that the kids learn to enjoy the game and are able to enhance their athletic skills and sportsmanship. The goal of T-Ball is to have fun while learning the basics of baseball. If, at any time, a parent, coach, or child is observed performing acts contrary to this goal, they will be warned and potentially suspended from playing in the league. For more information on the BRSLL Complaint Policy, please refer to the appropriate section in this document.

                                        

We hope that you find this document useful and that you will take the time to read through it to help ensure your child benefits fully from his/her participation in T-Ball. We look forward to a wonderful season of T-Ball and hope that you will feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions or concerns or suggestions.

                                        

The league’s main website is www.brsll.org and contains a wealth of information. If you are new to the league, you should spend some time reading the pages in the Parents and Managers sections. There is a wealth of information there.

You may also want to follow BRSLL on facebook (here) and on twitter (here). The league’s mailing address is P.O. Box 1, Belmont, CA 94002.

Goals and Responsibilities

This year, you should focus on:        

                        

                                                

                                                                                 

You should not teach on the following. These elements are taught in later seasons.

                                        

Coaching Goals:

                                                         

Building Your Team

                                                                                

Team Manager

                                        

The Team Manager is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the Team Coaches. They are also the main contact between their team and the T-Ball DC for any communication of events, information, concerns, questions, etc. For each practice and game, the Team Manager is responsible for ensuring that all of the player’s medical forms are at the game in case of any injuries. The Manager also ensures that children are rotated through the fielding positions to ensure that all children participate in all fielding positions throughout the year.

                                        

Team Coach

                                        

The Team Coaches are responsible for helping organize and conduct the team practices as well as the games on Saturday’s. They are the principal means through which the players will learn how to play the game of T-Ball during practices and games.

                                        

Head Team Parent

                                        

The Head Team Parent helps coordinate the efforts of the Team Parents. They act as the main contact between the Team Parents and the Team Manager as well as the DC over T-Ball for any communication of events, information, etc.

                                        

Team Parents

                                        

The Team Parents coordinate the supplying of drinks/snacks for your teams after each Saturday game. The Team Parents also coordinate the end of year T-Ball party for their team.

                                        

Communicating With Your Team

The easiest and most effective (but not required) way to communicate with your team is by using a web site designed for team communication. The two most popular are Shutterfly and TeamSnap.

Once you add the roster and schedules, this will allow you to send practice and game reminders, as well as manage snack and photo responsibilities. The T-Ball DC will count on you to pass information from the league to your families, so you will want this to be easy. Create a “team roster” that shows jersey #, player’s name, phone #, parents’ names, and email address. You can also asterisk the coaches and team parents on the list as well. This list can then be handed out to the parents so that they get to know each other.

You should have a parents meeting prior to the first practice. This allows parents to meet each other and get to meet the manager and coaches in a non-baseball setting.

Learning all the kids names can be daunting! Consider playing “get-to-know-you” games at the beginning of the first few practices. At this age, you can even make name-tags for each of the kids to wear during the first 2-3 practices.

                                                                         

                                                                        

Uniforms

Team names are requested by the manager, and are first-come, first-served. You will pick up uniforms at the beginning of the season, which consist of a hat, shirt and socks, plus a voucher for a pair of pants from Goetz Bros Sports.

We recommend you line up players from smallest to largest and hand out jerseys based on player size, not based on a player’s request of a number. The uniforms supplied by the Little League are yours to keep at the end of the season.

Players will need their own glove. Cleats are optional. We have helmets to give to kids, but we strongly recommend kids purchase their own. Discounts are available if you mention BRSLL at most local (non-chain) sports stores such as California Sports in Belmont or Goetz Bros Sports in San Carlos.

Important: Remind all parents to put their child’s name and phone number on their hat, glove, bat, uniform, etc.                                                 

                                                                                 

Team Equipment                                        

All the equipment you need for practices and games will be stored in the lock boxes behind the backstops of the T-ball fields, or given to you at the beginning of the season.

In the lock boxes will be bats, helmets, tee, bases, distance markers and first aid kit. You will be given 12 t-balls when uniforms are handed out. After the season, kids may keep the uniforms and you may keep the t-balls. If you do not need the t-balls, you may leave them in the lock box after the last game and we will re-used them.

                                        

You may want to purchase some extra equipment for practices, but it is optional. Popular items include an extra tee, a “pop-up” net (for practicing throwing accuracy or batting practice), and a “hit stick”.        

Team banners are not required in the BRSLL, but are certainly acceptable if the team wishes to create one.

                                                                                

Trophies

                                        

Trophies are given to all T-Ball players at the end of the year. Trophies will have each player’s name on them so it will be important that you inform the DC of any name spelling corrections as soon as possible. The DC will communicate when the trophies are available so coaches can coordinate for “end of season” party.

                                        

Yearbooks

                                        

Each year, the BRSLL produces a yearbook, which has a picture of each team in it as well as several action photos taken throughout the year. Each T-Ball player will receive a yearbook at no charge. Yearbooks are typically available at the end of the season.

                                        

Practice Fields

                                        

All practices during the week should be held on the 3 grass backstops directly behind the Sports Complex building (numbers 1-3 above). The Babe Ruth League plays on the North Field. While they may be doing some work while you are practicing, they should stay clear of your area.

Game Fields

                                        

Rookies games are played on the same fields as the practices at 9am or over on the South (Softball) field at 8:45am. All games on the Softball field will need to begin promptly at 8:45am to ensure that T-Ball games are over before the Girls Softball games scheduled on Saturdays at 10am.

Veterans games are played at Fox Elementary School, starting at 9am Saturday mornings on Field #1 (South Field, closest to equipment sheds).

Both team are responsible for setting up the field (laying out the bases), and cleaning up after the game. The home team will take the first base side as their dugout. When setting up the field, be sure to keep parents a reasonable distance from the dugout/field.

                                        

Running a Practice

                                        

Do not be in a rush, the season is long and there is plenty of time to cover everything. Do not worry about if you are “ready” for the first game or not. At this age, most parents will be watching practice, so include them! Remind them of your objectives and encourage them to grab a ball and participate.

Spend time early in the season playing “get to know you” games with the kids at the beginning of each practice. Also set aside time to go over the “rules of practice” with your team. Set expectations with kids to:

                        

  1. Have Fun!
  1. Be safe (nobody wants to get hurt out here).
  2. When coach talks, players listen (you can't learn baseball if you don't listen).
  3. Do your best (explain what hustle means).
  4. Only throw a ball to someone when they are looking at you. Spread out from others.
  5. Never throw the bat.
  6. Only swing the bat in the batter's box, never around other people.
  7. Always wear a helmet when hitting.
  8. Stay on field - no wandering around.
  9. No tackling or jumping on your teammates.                                                                         

Stretching (5 Minutes)

                                        

  1. Arm stretch (arm across chest, push on elbow).
  2. Arm swings (in circular motion).
  3. Hip twists (slowly, with hands to side).
  4. Leg stretch (feet apart & straight, touch one foot, then the other, repeat).
  5. Run (pick a spot to run to & back or “catch the coach”).

                                                                                 

Player Drills

Remember to explain What & Why, Demonstrate, then proceed to Drills. You can start very simple, with underhand toss, without glove, or use tennis/wiffle ball. Focus on hand eye coordination, overcome fear of ball.

You will get a great book from Little League full of practice plans and drill ideas. However, here are some drills which have proven useful in BRSLL in the past.

Drill # 1 - Catching

Teach, demonstrate, then pair up players and drill:

                                        

  1. Pretend the glove is your mouth and the ball is an apple. Get into position to catch the ball, move to the ball & catch it
  2. Have to open your mouth to eat the apple. Open your glove to catch the ball
  3. Feet shoulder width apart, knees bent (sitting position)
  4. Ability to move back and forth
  5. Gloves up, throwing hand near glove
  6. Catch ball with mitt and close glove (with help from bare hand) Use two hands!

                                        

Drill #2 - Throwing

  1. Remind team of safety rule #1 - Don't throw it to someone if they aren't looking
  2. Good grip - two fingers (or 3 for smaller guys) on top (over seams), thumb on bottom
  3. Catch, grip, move into position, throw
  4. Feet position (shoulders point to target). Bunny hop to position. (Ride the skateboard)
  5. Flying bird position (hands up in the air). Throwing hand in "L" shape. Weight on back foot (Emphasize hand up high)
  6. Eye on target
  7. Throw ball to target and bring weight forward (hand above the head & release ball by ear), then follow through with arms.

Drill #3 – Fielding

  1. Fielding position - From ready position, take two steps & put glove down to ground in front of body, with throwing hand on top (alligator).
  2. Coaches: help roll the balls, help teach fielding technique.
  3. Move feet side to side to position body such that ball rolls in the middle of your feet. Practice side to side movement with team.
  4. Split team up into two and begin rolling balls to each.
  5. Coaches to walk around & teach.

                                        

Drill #4 - Hitting

  1. Helmet on, 4 swings, then rotate.
  2. Non-hitting players in "field" to shag balls.
  3. Rotate from 1B-> 2B ->SS, etc after each batter.
  4. Grip of bat - hold with fingers, middle knuckles aligned.
  5. Feet shoulder width apart, elbows down.
  6. Step forward (step on the bug), but stay balanced.
  7. Start swing with hips moving toward pitcher (squish bug with back foot).
  8. Swing bat through the tee.
  9. Head goes / stays down to hit (keep eyes on the ball atop the tee).
  10. Follow through
  11. Drop, don’t throw, the bat

                                        

Drill #5 - Run the bases

  1. Run to first base, as fast as you can.
  2. Run past base and turn to foul territory
  3. Play a scrimmage so they get used to game play.

                                        

Drill #6 - Positions review

  1. Run to a position
  2. Get in ready position, fielding position, throwing position.
  3. Learn to back up first base from RF
  4. Practice rotating

                                        

Setting Up Stations At Practice

                                

Station #1: Throwing station (4 kids)

                                        

Take a pitching rubber and make a target on a fence or use a pop-up net and have them practice throwing at the target. They can keep track of “points” or each time they hit it.

                                        

Station #2: Hitting station (2 kids)

                                        

Take two extra tees and have them hit into a net (or into a fence). Or use “hit sticks”. Allows assistant coach to really focus on proper hitting form.

                                        

Station #3: Fielding Station (6 kids)

                                        

Assign each child an infield position and throw one ball to each position and have them throw to first base, then first base throws home (coach). Each player gets a ball, then they rotate to the left. When all 6 kids have played first base, switch with the Station #1 & 2 above.