Rules and Regulations
Coaching youth baseball is an exciting and rewarding way to be involved with youth sports. It is not always easy though. A majority of the coaches at t-ball level are coaching for the first time and sometimes become overwhelmed or have reservations regarding their new responsibilities. This is not surprising because coaching youngsters requires more than bringing bats and ball to the field. It involves preparing them physically and mentally to compete fairly and safely in the sport of baseball and to provide them with a positive role model.
We hope this handbook will guide you as a coach and that you will experience the many rewards of coaching youth baseball. This handbook will familiarize you with the YCLL rules regarding t-ball. It will give you coaches' tips regarding baseball and administrative tips to facilitate your coaching responsibilities. The manual will also give suggestions on drills to assist your players on skills development.
The YCLL Board of Directors appreciates your support and involvement and thank you for your time.
T-Ball is a baseball game for young boys and girls. It is a way to have fun while learning how to play.
YCLL T-Ball League Standing Rules
1. The T-Ball League will consist of five and six year old players, as of May 1st.
2. There will be no standings or score keeping in the T-Ball League.
3. Only soft baseballs may be used.
4. Players must bat off a tee. Each batter will have seven attempts to get a hit before being called out (strikeout). If a hit ball travels less than then ten feet from the tee it is a foul ball.
5. Only nine fielders will be allowed on the field at one time. Mangers will use the t-ball rotation scheduled outlined in the t-ball manual.
6. There will be no base stealing or base leading allowed.
7. Game length will be no more than 90 minutes or five innings. An inning will end when all players on both teams have batted. Managers will use their best judgment before starting a new inning.
8. Field managers have the right to call scheduled games due to inclement weather or field conditions. Team managers will be notifies at least one hour prior to game time. Games may be re-scheduled with the help of the managers involved and the YCLL Board of Directors.
9. Managers and/or Coaches should be on the playing field to explain to the players what they are doing wrong and to show them proper procedure or play.
10. The entire team roster will bat each inning. The next inning will start with the batter following the one who made the third out in the previous inning.
11. No defensive player shall play the same position for more than one inning per game. All players will be rotated around the field according to the t-ball rotation schedule. The same rotation will continue in the next game.
12. Outfielders cannot make an out by tagging a runner or stepping on a base. Outfielders must relay the ball to an infielder who can tag a runner or step on a base.
13. When a player is determined out, they are out, and must return to the dugout.
14. The pitcher must be in contact with the pitching rubber when the ball is hit.
15. The ball shall be live after it is hit into fair territory, and shall remain live until it is returned to the infield. The ball shall be considered dead when it reaches the baseline between first and second bases or the baseline between second and third bases. Once the ball is judged dead, the play is stopped, runners still advancing to a base may continue to the next base if they have advanced at least half way to that base. If the runner is not half way to the next base, then he must return to the previous base.
16. One base is allowed runner(s) on an errant throw.
17. There will be no forfeits in the T-Ball League. Players may be borrowed from the opposing team if necessary.
18. Any player, who represents a danger to the safety of the other participants because of size and/or ability, should be brought to the attention of the YCLL Board of Directors who will determine the player's possible re-assignment and if necessary, inform the parents of the League's decision. It is a managers duty to make recommendations to the YCLL Board of Directors as to a players level to be considered for the following season.
The ball is not pitched. It is hit off a batting tee. Every player bats and plays in the field. There are no strikeouts or walks (bases on balls). When the ball is hit, don't throw the bat. Runners must stay on base until the ball is hit. There is no stealing. The inning is over when all players have batted once. Player must hit off a tee and no keeping score. Safety helmets must be worn when at bat or on base. At all time remember SAFETY comes first.
Here is a list of ten points to keep in mind:
1. Keep things simple.
2. Avoid technical information.
3. Apply basic fundamentals.
4. Use easy to understand terminology and use it consistently.
5. Adopt the kids' slang and apply it to your baseball teaching.
6. Celebrate the individual talents and differences... no cloning.
7. Work in small groups, we call them stations.
8. Keep things interactive and fast moving. This will deal with their attention span.
9. Involve parents as your helpers. This is absolutely important.
10. Whenever possible, make things into a game.
T-Ball Tips for Coaches
1. As a coach, get organized; develop a plan before for your practices and game situations. Learn as much about t-ball and baseball as you can.
2. Remember to present your material in kids' terms. Successful coaches know their audience and use analogies and common visual imagery for their coaching tools. For t-ball players, these images are best when they are a bit dramatic.
3. Don't assume anything. Go over all the basics: Where all the bases are and the defensive positions, which way to run to first, when to start and stop running, how to hold a bat and glove, number of outs, innings, fouls etc.
4. One of the most difficult things a coach has to do is see the twelve players on the field who are not related to him or her. Remember to be a coach on the field and a parent off the field. If possible have your assistants instruct your son or daughter to avoid conflicts
5. Coaches need the assistance of their players' parents. Parents are normally willing to help out but are usually reluctant to come forward unless asked to assist. If you give them specific things to do, they will be more comfortable.
6. On the field, you have to be a teacher as well as a coach. Teach them what they need to know, show them what you taught them, practice the things you taught them over and over, then be prepared to do it all over again
7. To make the most of your practice time, break the team up into two or three groups, depending on the number of coaches. This will enable you to keep more kids occupied and less bored. Remember the attention span of a 5-6 year old is measured in minutes.
8. The game: Sit the players on the bench in the batting order. No one should have a bat in their hands. Horsing around on the bench will translate into foolish behavior in the field. Place batting tee directly on top of plate. Position batter slightly back of tee. See illustration:
9. Keep the parents informed as much as possible. An ideal handout will have a schedule of practices and games, the times and location. It is important to include your phone number and try to insist that parents call if their child will not be at a game.
Show where 1st base person is to stand when no runner is on base and when one is on the base. Practice fielding plays; ball thrown to 1B by infielders.
Position player in place, anticipating action. Practice fielding plays; such as,
tagging a runner out at 2nd base and if running in the base line to the base.
Show positions: one between 2B and 3B. Practice fielding balls and throwing to 1B or 2B for an out. Remind them they can tag a runner.
Show position, anticipating action. Practice action such as, player diving to knock down ball and fielding pop-ups in foul territory.
Stands in pitcher's area but acts as an infielder. Practice fielding ball and throwing to 1B. This position sees a lot of action and the player must pay attention.
Stands behind and away from home plate until ball is hit Demonstrate: after ball is hit, adult removes tee and bat; catcher moves up to cover plate. Practice actions: catcher tagging base runner out, catcher throwing to 1B.
General infield activity
Catching short fly balls.
Field balls and throwing to a base or to home plate. (Do not run with ball)
Tagging runners on the base path.
Relaying a ball from an outfielder to a base; to the catcher at home plate.
Practice catching fly balls in a crowd. "I've got it"
Practice catching ground balls and throwing to infield.
Have one outfielder receive relay from another and throwing to an infielder.
Give basic hitting instructions.
Practice hitting ball, then dropping bat properly and running to first. Don't watch the ball when running to first base.
Instruct runners to look for 1B Coach signals to run past base or to turn and go on to 2B Instruct that forced runner on base must advance. non-forced runner can hold position on base. Player on base watch what next batter does; where the ball goes. Instruct sliding.
Team sits in batting order, encouraging the batter.
Coach talks to team: Listen for instructions. Play fair; follow the rules. Have fun.
Talking to team, after the game:
Summarize team's activity. Be specific and recognize progress. Note any humorous thing that happened.
No public criticism; as necessary, take player aside.
What's next: i.e., practice at home, next team practice and game schedule; tell parents.
T-Ball Skills Checklist
Throwing is one of the most important skills in baseball. Stress to your players that accuracy is more important than speed. Teach them to throw over the top and not side arm. This creates bad habits that are hard to change later. Thumb under the ball.
Bring the throwing arm back and up, turn your front shoulder so it is pointing at the target. The glove hand points toward the target. The arm extends behind the body with wrist cocked and elbow bent:
As you start your delivery you pick up the lead foot and stride toward the target. As the lead foot touches the ground, the hips rotate toward the target. Release the ball in front of the body and follow-through. Always look at the target thought out the throw.
The follow-through ends with the throwing arm down in the front of the body and the feet almost parallel, in a balance ready position.
A major defensive skill is catching. Initially, some players will be afraid of
catching a baseball. That fear will make them flinch right before the ball reaches their glove. This will cause them to drop the ball instead of catching it, or worse, the ball may hit them. This can create a fear that can eventually cause players to quit. Teaching players the correct catching technique is not easy. You must first overcome their fear of getting hit with the ball. Demonstrate that the ball is softer that a standard hard ball. You might want to work with some of your players with a tennis ball for the first couple weeks.
Catching the baseball
• Keep your eyes on the ball
• Have both hands ready, with arms relaxed and extended toward the ball
• Bend the elbows to absorb the force of the throw
• Watch the ball into the glove and squeeze it
Hitting a baseball is probably the most difficult skill to master in baseball.
Five separate hitting components should be taught to young players: grip, stance, stride, swing and finish.
Grip the bat firmly (don't squeeze) hands together above the knob with the middle knuckles lined up. The player at this level should be encouraged to hold onto the bat until contact is made and then to drop the bat vs. throwing it.
Players should be comfortable in the batters box. Don't try to make every batter assume the same stance, but do stress these basics:
• Feet comfortably wider than shoulders, set in a square stance
• Toes pointing towards the tee/plate
• Knees slightly bent with weight centered on the balls of the feet
• Upper body bent slightly at the waist, eyes focused on the ball
• Bat at a 45 deg angle to the hands
• Elbows out from the body and flexed, point towards the ground
The stride is a trigging motion to begin the motion of the shoulders hips and, knees as the pitcher releases the ball. This will become a more useful tool as the players develop but for now a small stride of the front foot toward the mound will be a good start to force some weight distributions and begin their swing sequence.
Adjust the tee with the ball set even to the hitter's waist. The legs and hips initiate the swing. Eyes on the ball, shoulders level, bat and head steady. The swing should be level to slightly downward bring the bat through the center of the ball. Watch the bat hit the ball; keep your head down. Extend arms and follow through. Focus on making contact and not swing too hard.
Balanced position when the swing is over. Do not watch the ball. Drop the bat and run hard to first base.
Run on the balls of the feet. Look at the base you are running to, not where the ball went. Run out side the foul line. Teach the players to run straight through 1st base ; don't jump on it or slow down. Watch and listen for coaches instructions. Keep one foot on base leaning forward until the batter hits the ball and use the base to push off. Know where the ball is. When running the bases touch the inside corner. Make sure you touch every base.
Batting: Practice, Practice, Practice. Work with small groups using a tee and go over the five components of hitting.
Bounce to the bucket: Use a large basket or bucket and place it on the base. Outfielders try to throw it into the container. Can be done as a game with 10 points for in the bucket and 5 for hitting the bucket and 1 point for two feet either side of bucket
Catch: Two or more players catch. Keep track of the number of
successful catches. See how many you can catch in a row.
Catching Flies: Hit or throw fly balls to fielders. Throw ball right to the player to develop confidence and then toss ball to right or left. During this drill you can introduce someone coming over to backup the play. Make sure to instruct the use of two hands.
Coach in the Middle: Circle the kids with the coach centered rolling the ball or tossing to each player. For practice have the kids field the grounders without a glove, to reinforce the use of two hands.
Crab Drill: Player is in basic fielding set position stance, crouched forward with glove open and down. Player takes three or four steps as the coach rolls the ball.
Track meet: Player stands at home plate with bat in hand. Coach claps hands and player drops bat and runs hard to first base. Time how long it takes to get to first and record it. Run drill later in season and see if there is any improvement.
You should be satisfied if the kids have fun, learn the basics of baseball and are enthused to play again next year.
- Six innings will constitute a complete game. The 90 minute time limit will be enforced on all games. The ten run mercy rule after five innings will be in effect. In the event of a tie and time is remaining, one inning will be played to determine the winner. If the game is still tied, it will end in a tie. The umpire will declare the game in the last inning if there are ten minutes or less to play when the inning begins.
- Each team must have at least eight players to begin a game. If a team does not have at least eight players at game time, that team will be given a ten-minute extension before a forfeit will be declared.
- The home team will be stationed in the first base dugout and the visiting team will be in the third base dugout.
- The teams may field a maximum of nine defensive players at any one time. Catchers are required to wear protective cups and dangling throat guard protectors.
- No player is to sit out more than two innings, and no player is to sit out two consecutive innings. It is the responsibility of the scorekeeper of the opposing team to verify that this rule is followed. A player may re-enter the game during an inning if a defensive player exits the game for any reason (injury, illness, etc.). Any team found not complying with this rule forfeits the game.
- There is a 5 (five) run limit per inning. No scoring limit applies in the last inning or extra innings. The umpire and coaches need to declare that the time rule is in effect and that the current inning will be the last inning. Once the last inning is declared then no new innings will be started even if time is left unless the declared last inning ends in a tie.
- The player-pitcher must stand within six feet of the machine; he may not play in front of the machine.
- All outfielders must play on the grass. All infielders must maintain a minimum distance from the batter until the ball is hit or until the batter squares to bunt. Once the batter squares to bunt the infielder may charge the batter to play the bunt.
- Each batter will receive a maximum of seven pitches. After the seventh pitch, if the batter has not successfully hit the ball, he will be declared out unless the seventh or last pitch is a foul ball. The batter will then receive another pitch. If the final pitch is declared "un-hittable" by the umpire, the batter will be out.
- If a batter hits a foul tip with two strikes and is caught by the catcher, an out will be recorded.
- If the batted ball hits the machine, it is a live ball. If the ball is caught before hitting the ground, an out will be recorded. If the ball goes into foul territory and is stopped it will be recorded as a foul ball.
- In order for "time" to be called for the defensive team, the players must control the ball in the infield.
- Plays at the plate are to be made by the catcher rather than another position player, unless the other player is backing up the play.
- The on-deck batter may not be out of the dugout at any time.
- A courtesy runner will be used for the catcher when there are two outs in order to speed up the game. This runner will be the runner who made the last out of the inning.
- One successful bunt per inning will be allowed. If a batter fakes a bunt attempt and swings away, his team will receive a warning. If this action occurs again by the same team, an out will be called and no runners may advance.
- The "must slide" rule at home plate will be strictly enforced; the runner must slide if there is a potential play at home. If an attempt is not made to slide on the play, the runner will automatically be called out. This is an umpire's decision and cannot be disputed.
- Slinging the bat can be very dangerous. The team will be warned the first time this occurs. If the same team slings the bat a second time during the game, an "out" will be recorded and no runners may advance. If the same player slings the bat twice in one game he must be removed for the remainder of that game.
- The coach pitcher is not allowed to talk to batters or base runners after he delivers the pitch to the batter if the ball is put in play. After "time" is called by the umpire, the coach pitcher may speak to the batters and runners. One warning will be given to the coach; thereafter the batter will be declared out and the coach pitcher will be removed from the game.
- The coach catcher will stand behind his own defensive catcher behind the backstop. He may not instruct players during play, but may speak to them after "time" is called. One warning will be given to the coach; thereafter the coach catcher will be removed from the game.
- Two defensive coaches are allowed on the field while their team is on defense. These coaches must stand in foul territory along the left field and right field lines. These coaches may speak to their players at any time.
- Only the manager will be allowed out of the dugout when the team is in the field. (This is in addition to the defensive coaches in the outfield). When the team is batting, only the base coaches are allowed out of the dugout. No other coaches or scorekeepers will be allowed out of the dugout.
- When a player is injured during a game, time should be called immediately. The base runners will be allowed the base that they are going to.
- If a player is injured or sick during the game, his batting spot will be skipped and no out will be recorded. The umpire must agree with the coach that the player is injured or sick. If a player leaves for any other reason, he is called out the first missed at bat. If a player leaves the game due to a school or church function, an out will not be recorded. A late player will be added at the end of the batting order and may be put in the game upon arrival.
- Tee ball bats are permissible assuming it states 'Little League approved' on it.
- When a manager, coach or player is ejected from a game, they shall leave the field immediately and take no further part in that game. They may not sit in the stands and may not be recalled. Any manager, coach or player ejected from a game is suspended for his teams' next physically played game and may not be in attendance at the game site from which they are suspended. After a manager, coach or player has been disqualified; the league president shall require such manager, coach or player to appear before at least three members of the Board of Directors to explain their conduct. The members of the Board present at the meeting shall impose such penalty as they feel is justified, but not lessen the one game mandatory suspension.
- All games will be played as scheduled unless cancelled by league president Abe Amoros.
- Tee-ball players age six and older are allowed to be called up to play in the machine pitch division if a team has nine or fewer players.
- All players must play a minimum of 2 innings in the infield and 2 innings in the outfield per game. A signed rotation sheet will be collected at the end of each game. Failure to comply will result in a forfeit. Defensive positions may be made at any time, but only for safety and/or injury reasons.
- Base runners may only advance to the base they would have made once the ball has been thrown into the infield. Managers should instruct their players to still hustle to get the ball back into the infield. The umpire has the right to send them back if they left after the ball was thrown in.
Umpiring is one of the most critical roles within Little League. These individuals are as important as the manager, coaches, concession workers and administrative personnel.
Who is responsible for the conduct of umpires? First and foremost, it is the umpire himself/herself. Each of us in Little League must take responsibility for our own actions. However, umpires are appointed by the local league president and approved by the local league board of directors. Only the local league board of directors has the authority to dismiss or suspend any local league umpire from regular season games.
A select group of volunteer umpires whose knowledge, experience and demeanor have received recognition at top levels of Tournament Play are invited each year to officiate at one of the World Series tournaments. In keeping with the volunteer aspect of the local league, travel expenses for World Series umpires are borne by the umpires themselves.
The District Administrator is responsible for nominating umpires (those who volunteer their time to local Little Leagues within the district) for upper level tournaments. Most umpires who reach the pinnacle of youth sports officiating (one of the World Series of Little League Baseball or Softball) have been volunteering their time to local Little Leagues for a decade or more.