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When does the season start?

Opening Day in the Spring is usually the Sunday after Patriots’ Day.  Opening Day includes a parade of the teams in their uniforms, a brief ceremony, and a Majors game.  Majors and Minors teams typically start practices before Opening Day – as soon as weather allows, post team announcements.

 

When does the season end?

Majors and Minors playoffs wrap up the weekend before Newton Public Schools are dismissed for the Summer.  Farm & Tee typically wrap up around the second week of June.

 

When are practices/games this season?

Tee Ball:  Wednesday evening (~5:30pm) games, Sunday afternoon clinics, team practices determined by coaches.

Farm:  Practice schedules are determined by the coaches.  Games are on Sunday afternoon + one or two weeknights (5:30 or 6:00 start).  Earlier in the season, we try to schedule 2 games per week.  Later in the season, you may see 3 games per week.

AA and above: Practices are determined by a team’s coach.  Games and practices will be Mon-Thurs (5:30 or 6:00 start), weekend games on Sunday afternoon/evening.

Tee Ball and Farm games typically last around 1.5 hours.

Minors and Majors games typically last around 2.0 hours.

 

When do we find out what team we are on?

Majors teams are announced the week after tryouts, usually the first or second week of March.

AAA teams are typically announced about two weeks after Majors.

AA teams are announced the same week as AAA.

Farm & Tee are announced in late March/early April.  The reason for the delay at this level is due to a history of late registrants, combined with the desire (no guarantee) to keep kids from the same school on the same team.

 

How do I volunteer to become a coach?

Register as a coach hereIf you have questions about coaching, feel free to ask a question to one of the board members.

 

What is the time commitment for coaches?

In Tee Ball there is 1 game and 1 practice a week, plus any team-only practices you desire (certainly not ideal, but zero does happen).

In Farm, NSELL expects three events at minimum – one game, two practices or two games, one practice.

AA-AAA should have three or four events per week.

Majors typically has three to five events per week.

Weekend games are usually on Sunday afternoon/evening.

Please plan extra time for planning practices and setting up lineups.

IMPORTANT Securing an adequate number of coaches has historically been a challenge.  In order to facilitate this, we do try to meet requests for coaches to work with people they know.  If you travel but have a friend who can fill for your absences, for example, we try to make it happen.  Due to a dearth of coaches, we may need to ask you to split.  It’s rare, but does happen.  Remember – a volunteer is volunteering toward the league, not just their own child.

All coaches serve at the discretion of the board.  NSELL has a zero tolerance policy with regard to sportsmanship and the Board does our best to ensure coaches display appropriate behavior.

 

What divisions require tryouts?  

AAA and Majors require tryouts for players who are trying to move up levels from the prior Spring.  Tryouts are not required for players who intend to return to the same division.  Players who don’t try out will be put in AA, except for 12 year olds, who must play Majors (waivers are available).

 

When are the tryouts?

Tryouts have historically been in late February or early March.  Updates are available on the NSELL website.

 

How are kids placed on teams in each division?  

In Tee Ball (K and ‘next year’ K), kids are placed solely by school, with one or two schools represented on a team.  The number of coach volunteers and coach/player ratios drive this.  We try to limit tee ball teams to 7-8 players.

Farm consists of 1st and 2nd graders, with teams made mostly by school, but may have one to three schools represented.  We try to limit teams to 9-11 players.

AA, AAA, and Majors—teams are either drafted or put together by the league to balance players based on coach evaluations and tryouts—no consideration of schools or friend requests.  These teams typically have 12 players on the team.

 

Can kids switch teams if they can't make the scheduled practices due to another sport?

In Tee Ball, all games are on Wednesdays and clinics are on Sundays.  Switching teams for practice purposes does not really come into play.

For Farm, there is very limited flexibility to jump teams.  Remember – your switch requires another player to switch back.  It is easier to ask your coach to try to keep your schedule in mind, if at all possible.  One possibility is to join another team for practices only, rather than work a “trade”.

No team switching is allowed in AA or above to allow for the teams to be properly balanced. 

NSELL encourages its players to participate in other sports and asks parents and coaches to work together to balance a player’s schedule.

One sure way to guarantee a convenient practice time for your family is to coach!

 

Can kids switch teams because they need to carpool with a neighbor?

See previous answer.

 

What percentage of kids in each grade play AA, AAA, Majors?

The vast majority of 3rd Graders play AA.  All 12 year olds (most 6th Graders and all 7th Graders) play in the Majors (unless a waiver is obtained).  A select number of 4th and 5th Graders are typically drafted.   AAA is made up of a select few 3rd Graders, most 4th Graders, along with some 5th and 6th graders (provided they are not 12).

 

If I want my 3rd grader to play AA, should he/she try out for AAA?

Most 3rd graders will play AA and many parents don’t want their players to be selected for AAA.  We encourage 3rd graders to tryout for AAA only if the family fully expects to play AAA, if selected.

 

What are the key rule changes in each level?

Rules for each division are posted on the website.  As small tweaks are possible, year to year, it is best to look there.

 

What should we expect from a Tee Ball season?

Tee Ball is NOT a “drop off” event.  Parents should expect to stay at the field.

Kids in Tee Ball are 4-6 years old and are just beginning to learn the rules and skills of baseball.  Expectations from parents and coaches should be age appropriate.  The kids will learn some basic swing mechanics and how to run the bases (in the right direction, in the right order). Throwing and catching will be a work in progress, especially catching.  Expect that some kids will be very engaged and others will refuse to participate.  As parents and coaches, do everything you can to make games fun and fast moving.

 

What should we expect from a Farm season?

Farm is split into 1st and 2nd grade teams.  The first graders are still learning the basics, but will start to take to coach pitch, with some kid pitch at the end of the season. The 2nd graders will begin limited amounts of kid pitch.  A Tee will be used after around 5 swings/misses at the coach’s pitches.  This is done to keep the game moving and the fielders engaged.  Scores are not kept, all players bat every inning, albeit bases are cleared when the fielding team makes three outs (batters continue to bat through the lineup). 

We strongly encourage the kids to keeping track of/focus on “outs made” rather than runs scored.

 

When do kids start pitching?

Some kids will do a bit of pitching in 1st grade, and most games will have some kid pitch in 2nd grade.  The general rule for 2nd graders is to allow kids to throw 6 balls each to 3 batters, then a coach will come in to finish each batter and the inning.   This helps maintain the pace of play.

No kid will be forced to pitch and no kid will be forced to bat against kid pitch in farm.

AA and up are completely kid pitch.

 

How many innings are played?

Tee Ball plays 3 innings or 90 minutes.  Farm plays 1.5-2.0 hours.  Often, coaches can agree to cut a game early if there is evidence of fatigue or disengagement.   AA and up play 6 innings or 2 hours.

When do the kids switch from hitting from the T to coach pitch?

Coach pitch begins for 1st Graders.  At the end of the Tee season, a few kids can try to hit coaches’ pitches, but should receive only 3-5 chances.  It is IMPERATIVE to keep tee games moving at a good pace.

 

What should coaches do with kids who don’t come to practice?

Encourage attendance, but understand that many people are juggling multiple priorities.  “Benching” kids isn’t the right path.  There are minimum playing time rules at each level.

 

Can my second grader play kid pitch?

It is possible for 2nd Graders who are aged 9 by Little League rules to make a case to play with their age group.

 

How are kids placed together, can my player be on a team with their best friend, neighbor, etc…?

See above, regarding how we form teams.  It’s likely friends from the same school will be together in Tee and Farm.  At the older levels, it is more random.  Coaching tandems MIGHT make this work, but there is no guarantee we can always have certain volunteers work together.  It really depends on how many volunteers the league has.

 

How do the Minors teams get formed/kids slotted to AA or AAA?

Children who register for Minors are able to attend AAA Evaluations/Tryouts.  Skills are assessed by independent observers and players are slotted accordingly.  Anyone who registers for AA/AAA and does NOT attend tryouts are slotted into AA.

 

Can my kindergartener play coach pitch?

No.  There have been EXTREMELY few exceptions to this rule – typically around family hardship (think language barrier) or safety concerns.  Many more people have been turned down than have been granted an exception.