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How to Improve the Landscape of Youth Baseball

I sat down this morning and started writing a blog post about how I would organize a youth baseball league.  To aid in my writing, I looked back at some of the comments from my readers on my blog, on twitter, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn and realized that my readers have an absolutely outstanding view on youth sports and youth baseball in general.   So I decided to let you write this blog post by answering the following question...

Youth players

"If you were starting a youth baseball league from scratch, how would you organize it, what would be different about your league, and what would your priorities be??"


I'll get us started with a big one in my mind... I would ensure at least one practice for every game.  I look forward to hearing your responses and insight!  In a few weeks, I will put together a post summarizing your comments!

You can leave your comments here or on the blog on my website at  

Views: 329

Comment by Mike Greene on November 1, 2013 at 11:33am

Kyle, having been in this very situation several years ago there are several things that come to mind. First, and the biggest one for us was: NO PARENTS of current players on the board of directors. The board needs to focus on what is good for ALL of the kids, not worry about little Johnny's team. This was our #1 rule and still is to this day. When the directors can focus on the entire group instead of a few players, then decisions are much better. #2.) All coaches attend coaches clinics and training to improve their skills at teaching the game. We are not a large group (400 players), but our coaches do know what they are doing and are constantly improving. #3.) Disruptions from outside the fences or inside are not tolerated. Zero tolerance period. #4.) At tee ball, coaches pitch and 9/10 year old ages, players need to learn and play multiple positions. Specialization can come later. #5.) ALL pitchers work off a pitch count, not innings. We do not go crazy like LL, but we do focus on saving arms. #6.) EVERYONE participates in fundraising activities.

I know this doesn't cover all of the baseball stuff we or any other organization does, but it covers the basics for us.

Comment by Kyle Nelson on November 4, 2013 at 11:12am

Thanks for reply Mike!  I have received some great feedback and will be putting a synopsis of the ideas presented together this week!

Comment by Michael Paes on November 4, 2013 at 11:37am

After attempting to run for VP and getting denied on a technicality that could not be checked or verified, I would add the following:

1. Except for sons/daughters of coaches, no player has the same coach more than one consecutive year (have to allow coach's kids, or tough getting coaches, with the time commitment for multiple teams)

2. Travel has to keep a separate budget and be fully self-funded. Travel and district teams are important, but should not be subsidized by the in-house league.

3. At every age, every player has to play at least one inning in outfield, and 2 in infield every game.

4. Whatever limitation you use on pitching, time from another league counts.  For example, if your limit is 6 innings a week, and a player pitches 3 innings in AAU or some other team, that counts against his limit in the league.  This is a big abuse as players get older.

5. After age 7, no participation trophies. After age 8, no runner-up trophies (but always for winners).

6. I don't like T-ball. Start with coach pitch - if a player misses three pitches, then use the tee for that at bat.

Comment by Kyle Nelson on November 4, 2013 at 2:10pm


Thanks for your comments!  You said "I don't like T-ball."  I agree with you!  But do you have any idea for what  a league could do with kids who are 5-6 years old?  Thanks!


Comment by Michael Paes on November 4, 2013 at 2:13pm

In my town, even with the youngest players, they started out with coach pitch - usually from their knees to get the best pitch trajectory.  No balls or called strikes.  If the batter swung and missed 3 times, they brought out the tee for that at bat.

It worked out well - even the weakest players sometimes made contact, and even the best players sometimes needed the tee.

Comment by Kyle Nelson on November 4, 2013 at 3:02pm

Nice idea! Thanks for your input!

Comment by Scott Finkle on November 4, 2013 at 5:17pm

I would like to see all coaches receive some level of training.  This isn't just for the fundamentals of baseball (which would be nice because some coaches have zero understanding), but also how to deal with kids of different ages in what is really a teaching environment.

Comment by daniel on November 5, 2013 at 12:56am
My five year old grandson plays coach pitch with a level 5 baseball and baseball gloves I would like to see beginning 5-6 yo play with a Nerf ball and wear no gloves I have done some practice games with a nerf ball /no glove the kids have so much more fun and make more plays on the field not afraid of catching and fielding the ball
Comment by Kyle Nelson on November 5, 2013 at 6:57am

Scott - Agreed!  That is the mission of the Cornerstone Coaching Academy, to improve the quality of coaching at the amateur level!  We focus not only on the skills of the game, but also on team management and how to teach the game.


That is a cool idea for young kids.  Hadn't heard that before, but I certainly see the benefits of using a nerfball/wiffleball for such young kids.  I have loved the game since I was  3 and have fond memories of being excited about t-ball, but I know most kids are bored to tears playing t-ball then go play a sport with more action.  

Keep the great ideas coming!

Comment by Bill Stanton on November 5, 2013 at 10:43am

Great stuff guys!  I see T-Ball far differently.  I think it increases the pace of the game and gets more defenders involved. For 5-6 year olds most balls hit in coach pitch are hit back towards the mound weakly. Then you have the factor of so many coaches who just cannot pitch!  With kids this little, let them step up to the Tee, get them in the right spot in the batters box (often overlooked) and let them take a hack. They put the ball in play with more force then when the coach pitches, the defense gets more balls to field and the game moves along much faster. As the kids get more adept at hitting off the Tee their confidence builds and they love the game.

Play this way for the first half of the season and then maybe move into coach pitch if the skill level is there.


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