Southeast Portland Little League

Coach's Manual

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

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

Little League's Mission

Little League Baseball and Softball is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist children in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork, and physical well-being. By espousing the virtures of character, courage, and loyalty, Little League is designed to develop superior citizens rather than superior athletes.

SEPLL operates under a charter granted annually by Little League. SEPLL operates autonomously in that it has the freedom to elect its own officers, finance its program, and carry on various other related functions, but it must adhere scrupulously to all rules and regulations established by Little League.

Code of Conduct

SEPLL requires managers and coaches to consistently present a professional image during all league activities. Managers and coaches must display enthusiasm, respect, honesty, and fair play. Managers and coaches must follow all league game rules, encourage appropriate behavior by players and fans, maintain a safe game environment, and consider the physical and emotional well-being of players above all else. 

Disagreements with Umpires

Always think about the example you are setting for your players. Be a positive role model. Our umpires are volunteers just like you. They will make mistakes. So will you and your players. In fact, your players will make many more mistakes than the umpires. Do not complain about the umpires to your players. It teaches them that they can blame their failures on someone or something else. 

Do not object to any decision that involves judgment. These decisions include fair/foul, strike/ball, safe/out. Arguing balls and strikes is especially problematic. An experienced umpire will not tolerate it. 

If a manager has reasonable doubt that an umpire's decision is in conflict with the rules, the manager may appeal the decision and ask that a correct ruling be made. To question an umpire, do the following:

  1) Ask for time: "Time, please?"

  2) After the umpire grants time, jog out to the proper umpire. Do not leave the dugout until the umpire has granted time. 

3) Ask the umpire about the call: "Why did you call Johnny out?"

4) Listen, without interupting, until the umpire is finished.

5) Tell the umpire what you think/why you disagree.

  6) The umpire should have a reason why you're wrong.

  7) Listen and think. If it makes sense, say "Thanks" and return to the dugout.  

  8) If the umpire's explanation does not make sense, say so in a professional manner and make your argument. 

  9) If you're certain the umpire is wrong and you're correct, consider the game situation. Is it worthy of a protest?

  10) If the situation is worthy of a protest, do so.

  11) Finally, control your parents and players. Tell your players it's their job to play and your job to deal with the umpires. 

Protests (Rule 4.19):

If a manager disagrees with an umpire's application or interpretation of a playing rule, the manager must immediately, and before any succeeding play begins, notify the umpire that the game is being played under protest. 

After such notice, the umpire must consult with the other umpire(s). If the umpire is convinced that the decision is in conflict with the rules, the umpire must reverse that decision. If, however, after consultation, the umpire is convinced that the decision is not in conflict with the rules, the umpire shall announce that the game is being played under protest. 

All protests first must be submited by the manager to the umpire on the field. Then the manager must submit the protest by email to SEPLL's president at sep.littleleague@gmail.com within 24 hours. The umpire-in-chief must also submit a report to the president immediately. SEPLL's protest committee is comprised of SEPLL's president, player agent, umpire-in-chief, and one or more other officers who are not managers or umpires. If the protest committee allows the protest, the game will resume from the exact point where the infraction occurred. 

 Volunteers

Volunteers fill all positions in SEPLL. No one receives any pay.

Background Checks:

Managers, coaches, scorekeepers, team parents, and all other 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.

Selection and Appointment of Managers and Coaches: 

 As SEPLL's chief administrator, the President selects and appoints all managers and coaches. As such, no person may become a manager or coach without the approval of the President. All appointments are subject to final approval by SEPLL’s Board of Directors.

All managers and coaches are selected annually. No manager or coach has any tenure whatsoever, regardless of the years of service.

Managers: 

Every team is led by a manger, known as the head coach in most other sports. The manager's responsibilities include:

  • Responsible for the conduct of themselves, their coaches, and their players during league and team activities.
  •  Responsible for picking up, accounting for, and returning team equipment to the Equipment Manager.
  •  Responsible for picking up, accounting for, and returning uniforms that remain league property to the Uniform Coordinator.
  •  Responsible for scheduling and conducting team practices.
  •  Responsible for obtaining practice schedules and game schedules from the League Representative for their division.
  •  Responsible for coordinating with the sponsorship coordinator for the delivery of hats, roster books, and plaques as appropriate to their sponsor.
  •  Attends at least one coaching training annually.
  •  Maintains completed paper or electronic copies of all players’ medical releases at all practices and games.
  •  At the Minor Division and above, keep an accurate written or electronic scorebook during each game. At a minimum, score books must record all players present, the number of at bats for each player, the number of defensive innings played by each player, the number of defensive innings played by each catcher, and the number of pitches thrown by each pitcher. Score books remain SEPLL's property. SEPLL may inspect them at any time to ensure players meet mandatory play requirements and pitchers do not exceed maximum pitch counts.
  •  Maintains a pitch count record for all pitchers in the written or electronic scorebook.
  •  Affirm receipt of concussion awareness certification pursuant to Jenna’s Law, 2013 SB 721, as administered by the league Safety Officer.

Coaches: 

Mangers may select two coaches to assist them, subject to the approval of SEPLL's president and board. The responsibilities of coaches include:

  •  Performs coaching duties as directed by the Manager.
  •  In the Manger's temporary absence, fulfills the Manager’s duties.
  •  If a Manager resigns or is removed, replaces the Manager with approval of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall select another Manager for the team if a Coach is not willing or available to assume the Manager’s duties.
  •  Affirms receipt of concussion awareness certification pursuant to Jenna’s Law, 2013 SB 721, as administered by the league Safety Officer.

Scorekeepers:

Teams must keep and maintain an official scorebook in the Minor Division and above. Responsbilities include:

  •  At the Minor Division and above, assist the team manager keep an accurate written or electronic scorebook during each game.
  •  At the Minor Division and above, assist the team manager keep an accurate written or electronic scorebook during each game.At a minimum, score books must record all players present, the number of at bats for each player, the number of defensive innings played by each player, the number of defensive innings played by each catcher, and the number of pitches thrown by every pitcher.
  •  Score books remain SEPLL's property. SEPLL may inspect them at any time to ensure players meet mandatory play requirements and pitchers do not exceed maximum pitch counts.

SEPLL provides every team with a traditional scorebook. We also encourage teams to use electronic apps such as GameChanger (https:gc.com/).

Team Parents and Other Volunteers:

SEPLL encourages to seek the help of team parents and other volunteers. Responsibilities may include the following:

  •  Supports team manager as needed.
  •  Assists with activities such as distributing team uniforms; team pictures; coordinating water/snacks before, during or after practices and games; team participation in league events; team parties; and team awards.

Team Formation 

Little League is a program of service to youth. It is geared to provide an outlet of healthful activity and training under good leadership in an atmosphere of wholesome community participation. The movement is dedicated to helping children become good and decent citizens.  It inspires them with a goal and enriches their lives towards the day when they must take their places in the world. It estabishes the values of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play.

Every Little League program has a Player Agent. The Player Agent's objective is to protect the interests of every player and to make sure the teams in every division are as equal in strength as possible. The ideal season, from the Player Agent's perspective is when every team wins and loses the same number of games. To accomplish this ideal, Little League has approved specific player selection systems. If the teams are equal in strength, everyone will have a better and more enjoyable season. It will give everyone the opportunity to learn to be gracious winners and losers. More competitive games will also encourage players to give it their all every time they play. 

Tee Ball, Rookie, and Farm Divisions:

In these divisions, SEPLL groups children by schools and neighborhoods, while ensuring a relative balance of ages among the teams. We do our best to honor requests to play with specific friends or coaches, but cannot make any guarantees.

Minor, Major, Intermediate (50/70) and Junior Divisions:

In these divisions, SEPLL initially runs player assessments where league representatives evaluate each player using a standard grading system. Player assessments are not intended to be exhaustive. Instead they provide a general picture of player abilities so that competitvely-balanced teams can be created. 

Shortly after assessments are complete, the Player Agent and division managers will conduct a blind, serpentine draft. Every player will be ranked in order from the highest to lowest overall assessment score. The draft will then takes place in serpentine order. For instance, if there are 4 teams, the order will be: Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, Team 4, Team 4, Team 3, Team 2, Team 1, Team 1, Team 2, etc.

After all the teams are filled, the team managers will be assigned the team on which their son or daughter appears. If two managers have players on the same team, the Player Agent will direct a trade of the lower ranked player in exchange for the player with the closest assessment ranking. Similarly, if the draft results in siblings on different teams, the Player Agent will direct trades to put siblings together in exchange for the player with the closest assessment ranking. Finally, a team manager may choose one assistant coach before the draft. The Player Agent will direct trades involving the children of assistant coaches in exchange for the player with the closest assessment ranking.

Please understand that SEPLL does not accept requests for particular teams, managers or teammates in these divisions. We believe that creating competitively-balanced ways to the best way to create a positive experience for everyone involved.

Safety & Injury Reporting

Player safety is paramount. All managers and coaches must review the following:

SEPLL's Safety Awareness Plan

First Aid Guidelines for Coaches

Information on Concussions

All teams must 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 in the Major Division and below.
  • 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.
  • Adults may not warm up pitchers in the

Safety Kits:

SEPLL provides safety kits with basic supplies to all teams. SEPLL also keeps a supply of instant ice packs in equipment sheds. Please contact SEPLL's Safety Officer if the supplies in your safety kit run low.

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.

Playing Rules

SEPLL plays according to Little League's Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies. Little League provides rule books to every team. Please also see division specific rules under the Coaches' Corner tab at www.sepll.org.

Uniforms

In the the Tee Ball, Rookie, and Farm Divisions, SEPLL provides every player with a team hat and tee shirt, which they may keep after the season ends. Players are encouraged to wear comfortable pants and shoes. Players may wear rubber cleats, but they are not necessary. Metal spikes are not allowed. Managers will likely receive 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.

In the Minor Division and above, SEPLL provides every player with a team hat and jersey, which they may keep after the season ends. Players usually wear baseball pants, although they are not required. Players usually wear rubber cleats, but they are not required. Metal spikes are allowed only in the Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division. They are not allowed at every field in the district, however, so players with metal spikes will need a second pair of shoes. 

 Equipment

SEPLL provides each team with bats, tees, balls, and helmets. Players suppliy their own gloves. Players may also use their own bats and helmets.

Baseball Bats:

In the Major Division and below, baseball bats must be no more than 33 inches in length and no more than 2 5/8" in diameter. In the Intermediate (50/70) Division, baseball bats must be no more than 34 inches in length and no more than 2 5/8" in diameter. 

In addition, all non-wood baseball bats used in practices and games must comply with the USA Baseball Bat Standard, which Little League and numerous other youth baseball organizations adopted beginning January 1, 2018.  

Game Balls:

In the Farm Division and above, teams should generally use two new game balls per game. In the Tee Ball and Rookie Divisions, one new ball is usually sufficient. In addition to the new balls, it is often helpful to add one or two used balls in good shape.

Used game balls should be added to your supply of balls for practice.

Please do not regularly give away game balls, unless you plan to replace them. You may make an exception for home run balls, which may be given to the player as a memento. 

Equipment that is Broken, Missing, or Doesn't Fit:

Please contact SEPLL's Equipment Manager or other board member if you have any questions or concerns regarding equipment. SEPLL will replace equipment that is broken, missing, or doesn't fit. 

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 managers to reserve practice space.

In the Tee Ball, Rookie and Farm Divisions, 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. 

In the Minor Division and above, SEPLL recommends that teams practice two to three times per week until the season starts in early April. After the season starts, SEPLL recommends that teams continue to practice at least once or twice per week.

Training Resources

Little League offers a variety of resources for managers, including Little League University and the Coach's Box newsletter.

The Little League Tee Ball Program is a 10-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 Tee Ball managers and coaches to use the Tee Ball 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. 

Games

In the Tee Ball, Rookie, and Farm divisions, SEPLL schedules teams to play approximately 14 games. In the Minor, Major, Intermediate (50/70), and Junior Divisions, teams play approximately 16-20 games.

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

Teams in the Major Division and above may play double headers. 

Mandatory Play

Mandatory Play Rule:

Little League's mandatory play rule requires that every player present at the start of a game must participate in the game for a minimum of six defensive outs and bat at least one time. This is mandatory and serious penalties apply for the failure to comply. Review Regulation IV(i) in Little League's Official Rulebook for information on the rule and penalties.

 SEPLL expects its managers to exceed this minimum play requirement through the use of the continuous batting order (CBO) and the concept of equal playing time.

Continuous Batting Order:

 

During the regular season in all divisions, SEPLL requires that all teams use a continuous batting order (CBO). A CBO means that the entire roster of players present at a game must be in the batting order. 

 

If a player arrives late, insert them into the last spot in the batting order. If a player leaves early or cannot play due to injury, skip over the position in the batting order without penalty. If the absent or injured player returns, insert them back into the same spot in the lineup. 

 

Defensive Play:

In the Tee, Rookie, and Farm Ball Divisions, the concept of equal playing time means that every player present must play a defensive position every inning. Managers must ensure that all players are given the opportunity to play a variety of positions over the course of the season, including significant time in both the infield and the outfield. The goal is not to win (scores are not kept), but to give all players, regardless of their ability, equal opportunities to play and develop. 

 

In the Minor, Major, and Intermediate (50/70) Divisions, the concept of equal playing time means that every player should play approximately the same number of defensive innings every game. Managers must ensure that all players are given the opportunity to play a variety of positions in both the infield and the outfield over the course of the season. The concept of equal play does not require that every player play every position equally. In these divisions, equal playing time means that no player will sit two defensive innings in a game unless every other player will sit at least one defensive inning. Thus, in a six inning game with 12 players, six players will play five defensive innings and six players will play four defensive innings. As an example, review the sample lineup under the Game Management section below.

 

Exceptions to the Concept of Equal Playing Time: Exceptions may apply for disciplinary reasons, including missed practices and games. This should be clearly communicated to parents and players. In addition, managers must be prepared to explain to the SEPLL Board of Directors the reasons why a player is not given equal playing time. Under no circumstances do disciplinary reasons justify failing to follow the mandatory play rule. 

 

Game Management

Pace of Play:

Ideally, players will actually play two hours of baseball during a two hour game. To maximize the time spent playing, coaches must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the pace of play moving.

To help limit downtime, Little League rules place a one minute limit between innings. This means that the first pitch of an inning should be thrown one minute after the third out of the prior inning. This can be difficult to accomplish but must remain the target throughout the season. In a six-inning game, two to three minutes between innings results in 22 to 33 minutes of lost time to play. To minimize the time between innings, SEPLL recommends the following: 

  • Make sure players know the defensive positions they will be playing before an inning starts.
  • Make sure players know the batting order. Especially in the lower divisions, consider using the same batting order in every game so that it is easy to remember. Consider batting in order of uniform numbers. 
  • Post positions and the batting order on a clipboard in the dugout for everyone to see.
  • Players should hustle (that means run!) on and off the field between every inning.
  • During pitcher warmups, a coach or umpire should stand near the catcher with a second ball. If there is a passed ball, tell the catcher to remain in position, throw the second ball to the pitcher, and retrieve the passed ball.
  • Little League allows a pitcher to take eight warm up pitches between innings. Three or four are usually enough. 
  • Putting on catcher's equipment is challeninging and often delays the start of new innings.
    • Have a coach assist the catcher get ready.
    • Unless getting ready to bat, catchers should keep their shin guards and chest protectors on when in the dugout.
    • Designate a player ready to warm up the pitcher if the third out is made with the catcher batting or on base. (Coaches cannot warm up pitchers!)
    • In the Tee Ball, Rookie, and Farm Divisions, if everyone is ready except the catcher, you may start the inning without the catcher.
    • In the Rookie and Farm Divisions, do not have the catcher chase after passed balls. Instead, play with extra balls and have a coach retrieve them.
  • Little League requires that players keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches (with numerous exceptions). Consistently remind players of this rule. 
  •  Keep the dugout organized. When batting, have players keep their gloves and hats together. Write names and numbers in hats.
  • Prepare lineups before every game. This includes identifying the positions that every player will play every inning. Of course a variety of things can and will happen that will require adjustments, but it is much easier to make adjustments than to make it up as you go. Here is an example of a six inning lineup with 12 players:
Player   1st   2nd    3rd   4th    5th    6th 
1 - Gilliam   2B   2B   --    --    P    P 
2 - Reece   SS   SS    CF   CF   2B    -- 
3 - Snyder   CF   CF   --    --    SS   SS 
4 - Campanella             C   C    C   C   1B   -- 
5 - Furillo   RF   RF    --    --    C    C
6 - Hodges   1B   1B    3B    3B    --    CF 
7 - Robinson   3B   3B    LF    LF    --   1B
8 - Amoros   LF   LF    P    P   --    2B
9 - Podres   P   P    SS    SS    CF    --
10 - Zimmer   --   --    RF    RF    3B    3B 
11 - Hoak   --   --   2B    2B    RF    RF 
12 - Shuba   --   --   1B    1B    LF    LF


Behavior of Players:

At least one adult coach must be in the dugout when one or more players are in the dugout.

All players must remain in the dugout or on the playing field during game. Keep players out of the stands.

Keep players focused on the game. Consider having them stand up against the dugout fence rather than sitting on the bench.

Assign players responsibilities, such as organizing the dugout, announcing upcoming batters, calling out the nubmer of outs, base coaching, warming up outfielders between innings,  

Keep parents, siblings, and other fans out of the dugout and off the field.

Parents should cheer for the players, but should not coach. Little League rules actually prohibit coaches and players from communicating with anyone outside the playing field during games. While we have no desire to strictly enforce that rule, please discourage parents and other fans from coaching. Please contact SEPLL's Board if unruly parents become a problem.   

Field Locations, Maintenance, Prep for Games, and Rain

Fields:

Here is a list of all field locations within the boundaries of SEPLL and District #2, in which SEPLL plays. Please contact SEPLL's Fields Manager or other board member if you have any questions or concerns regarding fields.

Field Maintenance:

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 Fields Manager and Board, maintain responsibility for the condition of the fields on which they play.

 Game Preparation:

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.

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.

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 SEPLL at sep.littleleague@gmail.com with the dates and times of rescheduled games so we can update the official schedule at www.sepll.org.

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 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.

Players appreciate small rewards after practices or games. You can recognize players by handing out gum, baseball cards, or other small items to recognize players for their performance, hustle, spirit, teamwork, etc. 

 

Coaching Tips

 1. As a coach, get organized; develop a plan before for your practices and game situations. Learn as much about 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 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.