Southeast Portland Little League

Rookie and Farm Coach's Manual

 

Welcome to SEPLL!  The SEPLL Board of Directors appreciates your support and involvement and thank you for your time.

Rookie and Farm Ball is a game for young boys and girls. It is a way to have fun while learning how to play. Coaching is an exciting and rewarding way to be involved with youth sports. It is not always easy though. Many of the coaches 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 and to provide them with a positive role model.

We hope this manual will guide you as a coach and that you will experience the many rewards of coaching.

Basic Rookie and Farm Baseball Rules:

  • Players do not pitch. Teams may coach pitch or use a pitching machine.
  • There are no walks.
  • Runners must stay on base until the ball is hit. Runners may not steal bases.
  • A team's turn at bat ends when 3 outs are made or 5 runs score.
  • You may play every player on defense every inning.
  • Games may last no more than one hour and 15 minutes (Rookie) or one hour and 30 minutes (Farm) from their scheduled start time. There is no limit to the number of innings that can be played.
  • No score is kept.

For more detailed rules, please see SEPLL's Rookie Baseball Playing Rules or Farm Baseball Playing Rules pages or Little League's Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies.

Ages:  

SEPLL offers Rookie Baseball for boys and girls who are League Age 6 and 7 and Farm Baseball for players league age 8. Please use the League Age Calculator to determine your child's League Age.

Team Parent and Other Volunteers: 

Encourage someone to volunteer as a team parent, who can help with administrative tasks such as team photos, outings (Mariners’ Day), and end of season parties. Note that all volunteers who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams must register as a volunteer by completing and submiting a Little League Volunteer Application and undergo a national criminal background check.

Team Formation: 

Teams have approximately 10 to 12 players. SEPLL creates teams by grouping children with others in their neighborhoods and schools, while also ensuring a relative balance of ages among the teams. SEPLL does it best to honor requests to play with specific friends or coaches, but does not make any guarantees.

Uniforms:

SEPLL provides every player with a team hat and shirt, which they may keep after the season. Players are encouraged to wear comfortable pants and shoes. Players may wear rubber cleats, but they are not necessary. Metal spikes are not allowed. Teams will likely have extra shirts and hats. SEPLL recommends that you keep them to give to players that lose their shirts or hats. Any shirts or hats remaining at the end of the season are yours to keep or give away.

Equipment:

The League provides each team with bats, tees, balls and helmets. Players are encouraged to bring their own glove to practice and games. Players may also bring their own bats and helmets. Please contact SEPLL's Equipment Manager or other board member if you have any questions or concerns regarding equipment. SEPLL will replace equipment that does not fit, is broken, or missing. 

Practices: 

Teams may begin practicing in about mid-March. A team's manager (head coach) determines when and where to practice. SEPLL will publish a practice schedule for coaches to reserve practice space. SEPLL recommends that teams practice twice per week until the season starts in early April. After the season starts, teams may or may not continue to hold regular practices. 

Games:  

SEPLL schedules teams to play approximately 14 games. Games begin at 6:00 p.m. during the week and between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends (usually Saturday). In late March, SEPLL will publish the scheduleThe online schedule is the official schedule and controls whenever there are discrepancies with any other schedule.

Fields:

Rookie teams play games behind Woodstock Elementary School, and Farm teams play at Woodstock Park, although they may take place at other parks within the boundaries of SEPLL. Here is a list of all field locations. Please contact SEPLL's Fields Manager or other board member if you have any questions or concerns regarding fields.

Field Care and Preparation:

Care of SEPLL's field is a group effort. Portland Parks and Recreation provides limited services, such as mowing grass. SEPLL is largely responsible for care and preparation of the fields. We ask that coaches, in coordination with the Board, maintain responsibility for the condition of the fields on which they play. Unless otherwise agreed by the coaches, the home team should prepare the field and equipment before the game; the visiting team should put equipment away after the game. Be sure to return equipment to the equipment shed, secure the locks, and scramble the numbers.

Safety:

Review review the following:

SEPLL's Safety Awareness Plan

First Aid Guidelines for Coaches

Information on Concussions

Observe the following rules:

  • At least one adult coach or team parent must remain in the dugout with the players at all times.
  • On-deck circles are not allowed.
  • Players must not touch a bat until it is their turn to bat. 
  • Players must wear a helmet any time they are involved in any activity (practice or game) involving a bat.
  • Players must remain in the dugout except when they are playing defense or batting.
  • Bat boys/girls are not allowed.
  • Brothers, sisters and others not on the team must stay off the field and out of the duguout.

Injuries:

Report injuries to players, coaches or other volunteers to SEPLL's Safety Officer within 48 hours of the incident. Forms are located in team safety kits. In no form is available, send an email.

What injuries to report? Any incident that causes any player, manager, coach, umpire, or volunteer to receive medical treatment and/or first aid.

Rainouts:

SEPLL plays most of its games on fields controlled by Portland Parks & Recreation and is subject to its rules.

  • Portland Parks typically determines whether a specific field is rained out by 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.
  • If you are unsure whether a field is playable, call the rainout line at 503-823-3020, ext. 4 (Listen carefully to the message to make sure it is up-to-date. It often is not. Also, sometimes the message list fields that are closed; sometimes it list fields that are playable.)
  • Tell your team you will contact them if game is rained out. This avoids being bombarded with emails/texts asking whether game is cancelled. While it is convenient for families to cancel games early, it is not always possible.
  • If games are played on fields closed by Portland Parks closes fields, SEPLL is at risk of fines and loss of permits. Even if Portland Parks does not cancel games, do not play if unsafe (e.g., baseball too slippery to control, field too slick to run safely).
  • Rescheduling games is up to coaches. Teams are not required to reschedule rained out games unless they play fewer than 12 games. All teams must play a minimum of 12 games.
  • It’s often convenient to reschedule during your regularly scheduled practice times.
  • You may reschedule games at any field.
  • Inform Vice President Heather Adams at heatheradamspdx@gmail.com or President Matt Duckworth at sep.littleleague@gmail.com with the dates and times of rescheduled games so we can update the official schedule at www.sepll.org.

Standing Water on the Field:

  • Do not sweep standing water.
  • Use a wet vac (your own) or large sponges (in equipment boxes) to soak up and remove water.
  • After removing standing water, work in turface.Do not use more than 2 bags of turface for a game. Do not use turface to make a field playable for practice.
  • If the field consists of soupy mud there is little that can be done except remove standing water and then wait for sun.
  • If your team plays the first game on a Saturday, please work the field even if it won’t be ready for your game. Then contact coaches for next game and let them know the status of the field. This helps out your fellow coaches by increasing odds field will be playable for later games.

Trophies, Medals and Other Awards:

SEPLL does not provide trophies, medals or other participation awards. Teams are free to recognize their own players and volunteers as they see appropriate. Please note that Little League Regulation XII (page 51 of the rule book) prohibits giving awards to players on the basis of comparable skills or accomplishments. Honor certificates, team pictures, inexpensive medals, or pins give adequate recognition and providing lasting mementos from Little League.  

 Little League Coach Pitch Training Program

The Little League Coach Pitch Program is a 12-week plan and resources that features structured learning. Over the course of the season, coaches and parents will engage in a series of lessons using up to 40 activities that include skills, drills, and plenty of physical activity. SEPLL encourages its managers and coaches to use the program. 

Skills' Checklist

Here is a checklist of skills to teach players throughout the season. 

General Knowledge

  • Names of the positions
  • Names of the bases
  • Infield and Outfield
  • Proper direction to run bases
  • Object on offense is to reach home plate
  • Object on defense is to touch a base or tag a runner while holding the ball

Sportsmanship

  • Have fun
  • Try hard - give best effort at every practice and every game
  • It's okay to make mistakes
  • Be a good sport - treat teammates, opponents, coaches, officials, and parents with respect
  • Cheer for your teammates

Throwing

  • Grip - 4 seam (2 or 3 fingers)
  • Thumb under the ball
  • Position entire body perpendicular to target (shoulders, hips, and feet)
  • Look at target throughout the throw
  • Point glove shoulder and elbow toward target
  • Step directly toward target
  • Arm moves in a circle
  • Elbow above shoulder/hand above head
  • Rotate and follow through with hips, legs, and arm

Catching

  • Square/facing the person throwing the ball
  • Both hands in front of the body, with arms relaxed and extended slightly toward the ball
  • Keep eyes on the ball
  • Step to/get in front of the ball
  • Catch with two hands
  • Bend the elbows to aborb the force of the throw
  • Watch the ball in the glove and squeeze it

Ground Balls

  • Get in front of the ball
  • Feet shoulder width or wider
  • Bend knees and drop behind to the ground (limit bending at the waist)
  • Extend glove in front of body
  • Keep throwing hand close to glove (alligator)
  • Watch ball in the glove
  • Grab the ball with throwing hand
  • Throw the ball to the target

 Fly Balls

  • Sprint to ball (do not coast or drift)
  • Get under the ball
  • Call it - "I got it!"
  • Catch with two hands

Batting

Hitting a baseball is the most difficult skill to master in baseball. Break it down as follows:

Grip

  • Grip the bat firmly (don’t squeeze or death grip)
  • Hold hands together above the knob
  • Hold bat with fingers (not deep in palms)
  • Middle knuckles generally lined up

Stance

  • Body perpendicular to pitcher
  • Feet comfortably wider than shoulders
  • Toes straight ahead toward the plate (or slightly pigeon-toed)
  • Knees slightly bent with weight centered on the balls of the feet
  • Upper body bent slightly at the waist
  • Hands (not elbows) up.
  • Elbows flexed, pointing toward the ground (Never tell a kid to put his elbow or elbows up.)
  • Eyes on the ball

Load

  • Eyes on the ball
  • Move hands up and back (in a backwards "C" motion)

Stride

  • Eyes on the ball
  • Take small step (or simply pick up and set down foot) with front foot directly toward the pitcher

Swing

  • Eyes on the ball
  • Head down
  • Swing slightly downward
  • Extend arms through the ball
  • Follow through

Exiting the Box

  • Do not watch the ball
  • Set the bat down safely
  • Run to first base
  • Listen to base coach

Base Running

  • Before the pitch, keep one foot on the base and lean forward toward the next base
  • When the batters hits the ball, use the base to push off
  • Look at the base you are running toward (not the ball)
  • Watch the runner in front
  • Touch every base
  • Know where ball is
  • Listen to the base coach

Infielders

  • Baseball ready every pitch
  • Catch ground balls and step on or throw to base
  • Tagging a runner with the ball
  • Receiving balls from the outfield at second base

Outfielders

  • Baseball ready every pitch
  • Outfielders should learn to throw the ball to second base every time

Catcher

  • Teams do not have to use a catcher
  • Putting on catcher's equipment is challeninging and often delays the start of new innings. If everyone is ready except the catcher, you may start the inning without the catcher.
  • To maintain a quick pace of play, do not have the catcher chase after passed balls. Instead, play with extra balls and have a coach retrieve them.

Tips For Coaches

1. As a coach, get organized; develop a plan before for your practices and game situations. Learn as much about tee ball and baseball/softball 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 tee 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 usually 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 young children is measured in minutes. 

8. During games, sit the players on the bench in the batting order. It is helpful to bat by uniform number order and use the same batting order all season so that kids know who they follow. If the fifth batter is the last batter of a game, have the sixth batter bat first in the next game.

9. Keep the parents informed as much as possible.