A great baseball parent will let their kid know that anything is possible with hard work. Even if it’s not baseball. A great baseball parent will let their kid grow and experience things with his team, without mom or dad there. A great parent will care and ask questions. A great parent will focus on building their child’s confidence through all sports and activities. And at the end of the day, a great baseball parent will let their kid know that baseball is a game that is played for fun and will support them in their dreams and aspirations.
Tryouts can be more nerve-racking for parents than the Little Leaguer®. Here’s some info to ease you through the process.
After registration, player tryouts are the next step in getting back on the field. To have teams, you need players and a tryout is how your local league evaluates a child’s baseball and softball abilities. Every league has its own way of running tryouts, so if you have questions seek out a local league official for answers.
At tryouts, Lansing Little League Coaches often will have bats and helmets available for players to wear, so there is no need (yet) to go out and buy new gear. For now, getting your player prepped for what to expect when you arrive is the first priority.
As you prepare for tryouts, check to see if your player’s hand still fits in the glove and if the glove is still in good shape. If it looks like it can handle another season, loosen it up with some glove oil.
If possible, try to find a place where you and your Little Leaguer can throw a ball. Simply having a game of catch will help to wake up the muscles and remind the body and mind that spring will soon be here.
By the time tryouts arrive, the league has compiled a list from registration that organizes the players by age.
Players league age 4-to-6 typically play in the Tee Ball Division and do not need to tryout.
If your child is seven or older, the tryout will involve these basic skills: running, throwing, catching and hitting. A tryout typically takes two hours depending on the number of players in attendance and if you’re in a gym or able to get on a field.
Each player who is age-eligible for the draft must attend 50 percent (or half) of the scheduled tryouts to be considered for a Major Division team. What this means is if a league has two different tryout dates, the player must make at least one to be able to be drafted.
Each player will be evaluated and assessed with a grading system that is established by the local league officials.
It is typical that each player will receive a grade based on ability, aptitude and age, but each league decides how it will evaluate players. Following all of the tryouts, the players will be placed into a draft pool that the volunteer managers will use to choose from to determine their teams for the season.
Players can tryout more than once and they can also tryout for different divisions. If a player is unable to attend any of the scheduled tryout dates, the local Board of Directors can consider other options to evaluate a player, but this would require a special circumstance (illness, injury, inability to attend) that is explained to the Board prior to the tryout date(s).
At the time of tryouts, some leagues may have selected their team managers, but it is not required. Often the managers are selected after the draft based on the number of players that are expected to be playing in a given division. All potential managerial candidates are invited to evaluate at tryouts.
With a large volume of kids attending, tryouts can be an overly enthusiastic, energized hustle of activity for both the player and parent. A solid piece of parental advice is to remember that your player will not be in mid-season form. When quietly watching your son or daughter, have realistic expectations and remind them to do the same. Reserve any judgments and do not criticize their performance. Remember, it is a long season, so start it off right with a high-five, pat on the back, and “good job” regardless of how your child performs at tryouts.
The following is a list of what your child needs to bring to every game and practice:
Athletic Cup and supporter
Filled Water bottle or Sports Drink
Cleated Shoes: are recommended as the Fields can sometimes get sloppy.
Your Child is welcome to bring other equipment as well, please be sure all bats and equipment are Little league approved.
Below is a list of items I have found to be very helpful when at a game. With a little planning we as parents can be comfortable in any conditions! Put these items in a duffle or gym bag. Keep the bag in the closet or in the car, specify this bag just for games. These items should be kept in the bag when not at a game so that you are not missing anything when it comes time to leave.
• Blanket or Lawn Chair- If you don’t want to sit in the stands
• Day Planner – to keep track of games, practices and obligations.
• Hat and Sunnies – for sitting out on those sunny fields
• Mini First Aid Kit – someone always needs a bandage
• Baby Wipes – cleaning dirty hands and faces
• Magazines – to read during waiting
• Sunscreen and Lip Balm
• Portable Phone and Device Charger – awesome to have when your batteries are running low
• Cash – the kids always want to go to the concession stand and they only accept cash
• Spray Bottle or Mister – for hot days (or to keep kids away LOL!)
• Bottled Water – just for Parents
• Extra hair tie for each girl in the family cheering section
• Hat and Sunnies – for sitting out on those sunny fields
• Light Jacket– for those early spring games or late fall games
• Small bag for garbage (plastic grocery bags work great)
• Small toy(s) for younger children
• Small pad & box of crayons
Obviously some of these items will have to be replenished after each game, but you get the idea. You can make baseball, or any other sport, an enjoyable experience for your child and the whole family.
Taking on the role of “Team Mom” can be a time consuming job if you are not organized right from the start! Check out our Team Mom Duty Checklist (and accompanying printables). You may need to make some slight modifications for your particular sport and league/program offering, but it should provide some helpful tips no matter the sport.
Sports Team-Mom Duty Checklist
Typically, at the start of every new season, the league will hold a Team Parent (i.e., Mom) meeting to inform you of all the events and important information throughout the season. This is a meeting you do NOT want to miss! You will learn about pictures, uniforms, game schedules, expectations and more. All of this information will need to be conveyed to the families on your team, so make it a priority to attend!
Communication is key in the Team Mom Leadership. People need frequent reminders about practices, games, snacks and more.
Print the Contact Information Sheet below and fill in the information.
Take the time to enter everyone’s email address onto a group contact in your email client. This will ensure that with the click of one button, you can email the entire team every time you need to send a note out.
Introduce yourself to the team families and highlight the important information they need to know about the upcoming season. Including:
If your team decides to personalize uniforms or equipment (e.g., names on the back of the uniforms) you will need to set this up with a screen printer and collect money from each family to cover the cost. We recommend that when possible, you collect monies BEFORE distributing the final products. You do not want to “chase” parents for payment all season.
I have found it is best to assign each family a game to bring snacks. If a family has a conflict with the date assigned, ask them to trade with another family and inform you of the change. This system is faster than asking families to sign up.
Ask for a handful of parents that can rotate either running the scoreboard, keeping the score book, etc. and assign them games at the beginning of the season. The coach may take on this responsibility, but if he/she “delegates” this task to you, at the very least, have the coach assist in this communication.
Let’s face it, family/work schedules can be hectic so it is helpful to receive reminders. The coach or the team parent usually will send the practice/game schedule each week and/or on the day of the event. This can be a time consuming process, so to keep everything neat and orderly, I have included a printable calendar that you can fill in with all practice times and locations. Refer to this calendar before sending out your email. Also, another good option instead of email is to send group texts (this is especially helpful when providing weather-related updates or last minute location changes).
This is a great time to recruit some other moms and dads to help you. The kids really love just hanging out together, so nothing super fancy is necessary, but a few ideas(depending on the time of year) are:
Use the Sports Team-Mom Duty Checklist below to make sure you have accomplished all necessary steps. The additional printables will help to make sure you have everything covered! Grab a clipboard and keep all of the Team Mom Duty Printables from below on it for the season. This is an easy way to have all of your information with you throughout the season. If parents have a question for you, you’ll have the answer readily available!