Through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, the Little League program assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being.

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Weston Little League

 T-Ball Program

  

T-Ball is the entry sport to baseball and softball for young players (both boys and girls).  Members of two teams take turns hitting a ball off a batting tee set on home plate. Batters try to get on base and advance to home; fielders try to prevent that from happening. Tee ball develops the primary baseball skills of hitting, running, fielding and throwing. The players gain an understanding of the fundamental rules, which allows minimally competitive league play at all age levels.

As the game is one of the first team sports for most children, there is a high level of adult support and enthusiasm. Tee ball has proven to be a natural transition into standard baseball and softball. As such, it provides a steady supply of young players already equipped with the basic skills and an enthusiasm for these sports.


Objective:

·        The goal is to create children’s interest in this great game of baseball while having FUN. 

·        Every child should feel good about themselves after every Tball practice and game.

·      To teach and instruct in a way that the child learns in a non-competitive “FUN” environment and wants to come back and do it again the following Saturday.


Eligibility: 

Boys and Girls enrolled in Kindergarten during the 2014-15 school year.


Time & Location:

A combination Practice and Game will be scheduled for the Fall 2014 season on Saturday mornings, 10:30am-12:00pm on the Fire House, Bus Garage, Onion Barn, and/or Coley Fields.


Dates:

TBD


Equipment: 

All players must bring their own glove and athletic shoe (sneakers, baseball or soccer cleat is preferred but not mandatory). Each player will receive a WLL team hat and shirt. We will have a supply of batting helmets on hand however, for sanitary reasons we strongly encourage each player to bring his/her her own batting helmet. It is league policy for all boys to wear a protective cup. All teams (head coach) will be issued a batting tee, age appropriate bats, soft Tee balls, league helmets, and an equipment bag. All equipment (except the baseballs) will be returned at the end of the season.


Organization of Time:

First 30-45 minutes-Practice:

Each coach and assistants takes his/her team to an open end of the field for a practice period. During this practice period coaches can start by having the kids do a light jog and talk to them about the importance of stretching and warm ups. Coaches can then demonstrate how to throw and catch to all kids. Start by breaking the kids into two manageable groups (5-6 players each) and throwing grounders and catching with one child at a time, going through each child as they are lined up across from you. Progressing to throwing softly in the air to each child and having them demonstrate they can catch and throw the ball back. When coaches feel that two kids have the necessary skills or capability of throwing and catching with each other, they can pair off and practice together for a few minutes to allow you to concentrate on others that need more instruction.

After throwing and catching skills instruction, move the kids on through to a batting station set up (Tee facing the backstop). Your assistant coaches can help with this. Teach the kids a basic batting stance and how to hold the bat. Keep the skill of hitting simple and easy for them to make contact off the Tee. At this age, remember the most important thing is the child making contact and feeling the excitement of running and getting to first base.

Everyone hits off the tee. No exceptions. No pitching to a child even if they have the skill. This is Tball!

At this point the game will be ready to start and the remaining time will be an instructional game between the two teams.


Next 45-60 minutes: Game

In field -

1.   Place kids in recognized positions throughout the infield; 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, yet have 2 pitchers; one on each side of the mound but far enough back to be safe. An assistant coach (adult only) will play the position of Catcher, no child playing defense behind the plate or near the tee while there is a batter.

2.   Place players in ‘outfield’ positions but not too far back. Best location is just where the infield/outfield grass and dirt edge meet - so outfielder can field anything that gets passed the infielder. Teach kids to field ‘their’ position! No scrum as in a pile-on or convergence on a loose ball in play. You must rotate kids each and every ½ inning to give all kids a chance to play all positions possible; pitcher, infield, and outfield. Realizing you will probably only play 3 full innings, it will be important to start kids in different positions the following week to give them equal chance. And definitely use your discretion as coach for the better skilled positions like pitcher and 1B if someone has little to no ability of catching a ball and might get hurt. Remember, safety first! Don’t put a child in a position that they aren’t ready for.

3.   Goal is for position players to make every attempt at making the right play and throwing to appropriate base. If an out is made, that runner can return to bench. Coaches on both sides should explain what happened and why. There will be no recording of outs other than trying to make or attempt at an out. Both teams will bat through lineup completely (all kids) regardless of any outs made. A ½ inning of infield play is over when the other team bats through its entire lineup once. The At Bat Coach will notify Infield Coach when the last batter is up – after batter hits the ball, all remaining runners on base can run the bases until they reach home plate (including the last batter) or at coach’s discretion - just hit a single and then take the kids off the field and change sides. Try and control kids at this point by not having them chase the base runners and to complete the ½ inning quickly and change sides.  

***The coach and his assistants should be on the field instructing the players on proper defensive fundamentals of the game. Like proper positioning (ready position), fielding, catching, throwing, and covering a base. 

 

At bat – Have a 1B and 3B instructional coach (adult base coaches only – no kids). Talk to the kids and teach them the fundamentals of base running while they are on the bases.

1.   Every player bats in the lineup. All players must hit off the tee. No exceptions. Batter and base runners must wear a helmet.

2.   The batting order should be changed every ½ inning to give each player a chance to bat ‘leadoff’ or last in the order. Mix the order up from inning to inning and game to game.

3.   Once the ball is in play (approximately 8-10 feet past the tee) the runner will advance to first base. If there is a put out at any base, have that
batter or base runner return to the bench but explain to them the rules of the game and why they are out. This is baseball and a ‘put out’ should be recognized and taught at this early age. You just might have to put your arm around a child and further explain so they understand the rules of the game.

4.   No advancement of a base on an overthrow ever. And only advance to second (double) if the ball is really clobbered and hit far on into the outfield. Singles and 1 base advancement for the base runners is the best way to teach and will most likely be the norm, but there will be an occasional hit that calls for a double, at coach’s discretion. Remember, this is Tball!

5.  The ½ inning ends after all kids have batted. The At Bat coach will notify Infield coach when the last batter is up – after batter hits the ball, all remaining runners on base can run the bases until they reach home plate (including the last batter) or at coach’s discretion - just hit a single and then take the kids off the field and change sides. Try and control kids at this point and complete the ½ inning quickly and change sides.  

6.  No balls and strikes. No leading at any base. No stealing of any base. No scoring is kept.

***The coach should go up to the tee and help the batter in the best instructional way possible. Goal is for that child to make contact, put the ball in play, and feel the excitement running to first base. The bench coach should have the awaiting hitters in line and ready with their helmets on waiting for their turn at bat.
 

At the conclusion of each game (and practice) have your team end in a Team Cheer. This begins to teach kids sportsmanship and teamwork. For example, have your team gather in a group circle putting their one hand in the middle and all together say, “1, 2, 3, GO LUGNUTS”. Or whatever your team name is…

At the conclusion of the spring Tball season, each coach will receive a participation trophy for each child on his team. They are to be handed out at the last game of the season. Lastly, my experience over the years is to allow drinks only on the bench, not snacks. Have parents save those for after the game.