Thursday, March 20, 2014

WAA League Info: Developmental

It's very common for parents of younger kids to ask which league they should register in. We'll create a series of blog posts that provide information on each league to try and help you decide.

The WAA Developmental League is for players ages 7 & 8 however we allow kids age 6 to sign up if they have completed a year of t-ball (WAA t-ball or another league). The key reason for this is because the league is strictly working on teaching kids fundamental baseball skills. When players reach the age to start playing in Minors, it would be best if they had 2-4 seasons of developmental-type instruction (working on the basics). If a player age 8 is trying baseball for the first time, this would be the appropriate league.

The WAA Developmental League plays like this: in the first inning, each team bats the entire line-up and hits off of the tee. Outs can be recorded in the field but the entire line-up will bat. Starting in the second inning, the coaches will pitch to their own players. Each batter will get up to 6 pitches to put the ball in play (balls or strikes). If after 6 pitches they have not hit the ball in play, the tee comes out to complete the at-bat. Players in the field try to get 3 outs and if they do, sides switch. If they don't, a maximum of 8 batters will bat that half inning.

This approach gets batters introduced to the thrown pitch and attempts to get them to be able to differentiate between pitches that are strikes and those that are balls. They are taught to not switch at the pitches that are balls.  Infielders are trying to make outs and are taught what a lead runner is, and how to try and get the lead runner out if possible but if not, to try and get the out at first. Outfielders are taught to get to the ball in a hurry and throw it to the infielder. Base runners are taught to advance while listening to the base coaches and to try and not watch the ball.

The flow and play of the game is very informal. The game can last up to 6 innings or less if it's been too long or is getting dark. Score is not kept and there are no playoffs.

Each team should have up to 3 coaches but parents are needed and encouraged to help. During practices, the coaches can help organize and run the drills while the parents reinforce the training. During games, parents can help keep the bench area organized and safe, act as base coaches, and keep the kids aware while in the field.

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