Frequently Asked Questions
his FAQ is intended for all parents. If you are new to T-Ball, you might find a few more specific answers in our T-Ball FAQ.
If my question is not answered here, where can I get more information?
What ages can play?
Can girls play?
When is registration?
How do I sign up?
Where can I get information on registration?
This is my child's first year and I need to show proof of age or proof of residence. What do I do?
Why do we need to provide so much proof of age and residency?
My child has never played before. What skill level is required? At what level should I register?
What does it mean "American" and "National"?
How long is the season?
Once I'm registered, what's next?
When, how long and how often are practices?
When and how often are games?
What equipment does my child need?
Do we need a bat?
What equipment does the League provide?
What kind of glove should I buy?
If I choose to buy cleats, what kind of cleats should I buy?
What experience is required for coaches and managers?
How are teams formed?
Could you provide more detail about the team volunteer positions?
Do I need to submit a Volunteer Application?
For religious reasons, my child cannot play on certain days. Can we still sign up?
My child goes to school in Palo Alto, but we live in a different city. Can my child play in Palo Alto?
Q: If my question is not answered here, where can I get more information?
A: We try to put as much as we can on our web site at www.maderanational.com. You might want to start with the Parent's Handbook here:http://pabaseball.org/parents/handbook.html
Local rules can be found here: http://pabaseball.org/info/rulebook.php
We have found these links useful: http://pabaseball.org/info/links.php
Q: What ages can play?
A: Players with a “Little League” age of 5-16 can play. A player's Little League age is determined by his or her age on April 30, 2010. A Little League age calculator can be found on our site here. Any child (boy or girl) born between May 1, 1993 and April 30, 2005 is eligible to play Little League in Palo Alto this year.
Q: Can girls play?
A: Yes. Little League is for boys and girls. For those who think girls can't throw, check out this article on Katie Brownell's perfect game.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Brownell
Q: When is registration?
A: Registration begins in early December and ends in early March. After January, late registration is followed by a waitlist. For specific dates of registration seehttp://pabaseball.org/registration/index.php
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Registration is online. Please go to www.pabaseball.org for information. Actual registration is done at http://registration.pabaseball.org
Q: Where can I get information on registration?
A: Most of the information you need is here:http://pabaseball.org/registration/index.php A section to read carefully is here:http://pabaseball.org/registration/eligibility.php
Q: This is my child's first year and I need to show proof of age or proof of residence. What do I do?
A: Please come to an in-person registration listed here:http://pabaseball.org/registration/index.php
Q: Why do we need to provide so much proof of age and residency?
A: Sadly, many people have cheated in Little League. A team even made it to World Series by fielding a 14 year old, 2 years older than allowed. Consequently, Little League International has established strict rules on the subject that we must follow.
Q: My child has never played before. What skill level is required? At what level should I register?
A: No baseball experience required. For a new player, you should consider the following guidelines:
- 5-6 T-Ball
- 7-8 Coach Pitch
- 9-10 Machine Pitch
- 11 PCL
- 12 Majors
- 13-14 Juniors (players starting baseball at this level or above is rare)
- 15-16 Seniors
Skill evaluations help to place players "playing up" from their default level. The player agents decide placement for all levels except Majors, where players are drafted by team managers.
Although we like to encourage kids to pick up baseball at any age, players at the higher levels have more strength and experience. If you have any questions, you should discuss your child's prospects with the player agent of the appropriate level prior to tryouts.
Q: What does it mean "American" and "National"?
A: Palo Alto Little League has two divisions in the Majors league. Divisions may not have more than ten Majors teams and divisions within the same community may not vary by more than one team. "Palo Alto American" and "Palo Alto National" are the names of the Palo Alto Little League divisions. Both leagues draft eligible players living within the Palo Alto and Stanford boundaries (common-pool draft). Palo Alto has All Star teams representing each of these divisions. Players are only eligible for the All Star teams in their divisions.
Q: How long is the season?
A: The practices will start around mid-March, with games starting in early April. The season usually ends around the first Saturday in June. Once the season has been scheduled, it will appear at http://www.pabaseball.org/calendar/
Q: Once I'm registered, what's next?
There is a Parent's meeting in mid March (except Majors, Juniors and Seniors). You should receive an email with the exact date, but just in case, check the web site at http://www.pabaseball.org/calendar/ At the parent's meeting, you will find out more information about the season, which team your child has been placed and practices times. At this point, your manager takes over team-related communication.
Q: When, how long and how often are practices?
A: It depends on the division.
Tball, Coach Pitch and Machine Pitch:
- Practice days and locations are fixed and are set prior to the Parents meeting.
- Practices begin after the Parent's Meeting in mid March.
- Teams generally practice two times per week before the season starts.& Once the season starts, teams have a practice on a weeknight.
- Games start in mid April.
- Practice length depends on the division and the manager's preference, ranging from about one hour in T-Ball and up to 1 ½ hours in Machine Pitch.
- Machine Pitch teams often add a batting practice.
PCL, Majors and Juniors
- Practice days and locations are fixed and are set prior to the Parents meeting.
- PCL will expect players to attend clinics which will be held in late part of February.
- Practices begin after the Parent's Meeting in mid March (after the draft for Majors)
- Teams generally practice 2-3 times per week before the season starts. Once the season starts, teams have two practices per week and possibly batting practice.
- Practice length depends on the division and the manager's preference, ranging from about 1 ½-2 hours
The Seniors season is somewhat compressed with possibly more than two games per week, so there is often only one practice.
Q: When and how often are games?
A: Once the season begins, there are games twice per week. One game will be on a weeknight. The day of week will change from week to week, but the start times will be around (although the schedule is not yet set). The other game will be on Saturday, starting at different times each week. Games last 1 ½ hours in lower divisions and 2 hours in PCL and Majors. Juniors and Seniors games may run longer.
Q: What equipment does my child need?
A: Here are the rules and guidelines
- A glove is required.
- Boys must wear protective cups if they are catching, although we recommend it for all players above T-Ball.
- Some kids like knee pads and, when they are old enough to slide, sliding pants.
- Most kids also wear cleats, though they are not strictly required. Cleats do help prevent kids slipping on the grass. Soccer cleats are fine. Note that you can use soccer cleats for baseball, but not baseball cleats in soccer.
Q: Do we need a bat?
A: No. The league provides bats at all levels. If choose to buy a bat, it must be marked "BPF 1.15" to be legal in our League ("Little League Approved" is not sufficient. The bat must comply with all Little League standards, although it does not need to be marked as such. Bats must be in good working condition. For safety reasons, we discourage and, in some cases, prohibit the use of certain high-performance bats. For 2008 season PCL and Majors will only allow players to use aluminum bats provided by the league. Players can also use a personal wood bat that meets LL standards.
Q: What equipment does the League provide?
A: We provide uniforms (jersey and pants), and all playing equipment (bats, bases, Tees, catcher's equipment, batting helmets, etc.).
Q: What kind of glove should I buy?
A: Most importantly, buy a glove that fits properly (big is not necessarily better). It should be small enough so that they can easily raise it and move it around. There's no need to buy an expensive, fancy glove. Often, the most expensive gloves take a long time to break in.
Q: If I choose to buy cleats, what kind of cleats should I buy?
A: Cleats are not required, but can help prevent a child from slipping on the grass. Baseball cleats are slightly different from soccer cleats. Cleats made especially for baseball are not allowed in soccer, and soccer cleats work just fine for baseball at lower levels.
Q: What experience is required for coaches and managers?
A: This depends on level of play.
At the lowest levels, no coaching experience is required. Anyone interested has the opportunity to attend a Coaches Clinic to learn how to teach baseball skills, a Positive Coaching class to learn how to work positively with young children, and a First Aid Training course. If you are good with children, know the basics of the game and have even minimal playing experience, you should consider coaching.
As you advance through the divisions, more knowledge and experience is required.
Q: How are teams formed?
Teams at all levels are created through processes that are intended to balance teams and create the best environment for the players. The specific process differs depending on the level.
Majors and PCL is described here:http://pabaseball.org/calendar/PALL_tryouts_facts_2010.pdf"> (follow the link for the fact sheet).
In T-Ball, Coach Pitch and Machine Pitch, the Player Agent build teams while considering the following:
- Each team must have a manager and a coach
- Teammate requests
- Grouping players by school
Constructing teams is very difficult and time consuming. There are many competing goals that must be balanced. We do our best to accommodate all requests, but that is not always possible.
Juniors and Seniors have skills evaluations and teams are drafted by the managers.
Q: Could you provide more detail about the team volunteer positions?
A: The league is run by volunteers, starting with the Board. It takes roughly 30,000 volunteer hours to conduct a season. Your help is greatly appreciated.
- Manager: Typically, you will be at every practice and game. You will also communicate with the parents with the help of a Team Parent. You also communicate with the Player Agent.
- Coach: You will spend as much time on the field as a manager, but without some other responsibilities. Very often a team will have multiple coaches, some of whom are only available at certain times. The "team" approach to coaching works well, especially at the T-ball level.
- Team Parent: Helps the manager communicate with the parents (e.g., last-minute rained out practice), creates snack schedule, organizes team events and anything else that comes up. This can take some time, but very often you can make your own schedule.
- Batathon Coordinator: Coordinate with League Batathon coordinator to receive and distribute forms, encourage players to raise money (a significant portion of the League's budget comes from Batathon), and coordinates the team during the Batathon.
- Pictures: Coordinates the distribution of photos and organizes the team on photo day.
- Positive Coaching Advocate: One 2 hour training course. Promotes positive behavior throughout the season. This is part of the League's participation in the Positive Coaching Alliancehttp://pabaseball.org/parents/pca.html
- Scorekeeper: Keep score during games. No training required. A team can have more than one scorekeeper. If you are going to be there anyhow…
Q: Do I need to submit a Volunteer Application?
A: If you have a position that will require interacting with the players (manager, coach, umpire, etc.), you must submit a volunteer application prior to commencing your duties. This is a Little League International rule designed to protect the safety of the kids. The form can be found here:http://www.littleleague.org/common/forms/volunteerapp_08.pdf It must be submitted with a copy of government issued picture ID (e.g., driver's license).
Q: For religious reasons, my child cannot play on certain days. Can we still sign up?
Q: My child goes to school in Palo Alto, but we live in a different city. Can my child play in Palo Alto?