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Thread: what questions should be asked when looking for new team

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    Softball Junkie bmakj's Avatar
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    Default what questions should be asked when looking for new team

    going through this process yet AGAIN, making myself a list of questions I want to ask (or work into conversation, do not want to do this like an interrogation), here is what I have so far. Reccomendations, thoughts?

    Are girls moved around in batting order from game to game or weekend to weekend?
    What is expected roster size? What is philosophy regarding playing time?
    Are players encouraged to attempt difficult plays and applauded for effort regardless of result?
    How are games scored and stats kept, who keeps them, are they made available?
    What are expectations for players to work outside of OTAs?
    What is expectation regarding players playing other sports? In season, out of season?
    How many tournaments is team planning on for next season? How many will involve significant travel (ie hotels)?
    What is expected financially?
    Last edited by bmakj; 10-31-2018 at 02:24 PM.

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    Always learning... Eric F's Avatar
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    What age group?

    Some of the info I look for with a new team...
    What is the typical practice schedule and locations? (I assume every practice is mandatory, unless specifically told otherwise).
    Are private hitting/pitching lessons with the team coach required?
    What positions do the coaches' DDs play?
    What are the start-up fees and dues?
    What is provided (gear, uniforms, etc.) with the start-up fee?
    What is the anticipated tournament/friendly schedule?
    How many players are currently on the roster?
    How many players do the coaches want on the roster?
    What positions are you still looking to fill?
    How are conflicts with other sports or school activities resolved?

    A lot of other stuff can be answered by observing the team in action on the field with the coaches. My DD's feeling about the team (players and coaches) is a critical factor.
    Last edited by Eric F; 10-31-2018 at 05:02 PM.
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    Softball Junkie bmakj's Avatar
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    I am looking at 12u (first year), but also though a thread on this generically would help all involved.

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    Always learning... Eric F's Avatar
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    Also...

    Are all the players the same year (07, in your case)? If so, there's a greater chance that the team will be moving up together next year. If not, they will be needing to bring in more players to fill the team next year. Each of these can be a good thing or a bad thing.

    Is this a new team, or has the team been together for a while? If it's a new team, how much experience do the coaches have with running a TB team? I've seen more than a few rec ball coaches move to TB and not have a clue on how things work - insurance, how to get friendly games, what tournaments they should be doing, etc.
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    Softball Junkie Elk Grove Hurricane's Avatar
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    Will the team add players during the season? If yes, how big will the roster get?
    For National tournaments, will the team add players If so, will they pay a pro-rated share of team dues?
    How do you motivate players? (Ask around on this, beware of the negative reinforcement types).
    Will there be fundraising? If so, what does the fundraising pay for? If multiple teams in an organization, will the money DD's team raises be used just for DD's team?
    How many tournaments will we play in? Policy on cancelled tournaments?
    A couple of others that I thought of:
    Do you have a policy re: Guest Playing?
    If they use guest players (as opposed to allowing your DD to Guest play): Do you use Guest Players from outside of your organization? If they do use Guest Players: How do you use them? Do they play more than the fee paying players?
    For organizations who have multiple teams: Do players from other teams in the same age bracket play for multiple teams? How much do these players play in any given tournament where the "extra" team they are playing already has enough players to form a team?
    Last edited by Elk Grove Hurricane; 11-01-2018 at 02:05 AM.

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    Definitely agree with the above regarding guest/pickup players. Will "big gun" players be brought in for bracket games and replace rostered players? Trust me, I've been there for that, and you might wind up with a plastic trophy for the tournament, but an unhappy kid. And don't even bother trying out for a team where your DD plays the same position as the HC's daughter. Trust me on this one too.

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    I can talk softball all day uncdrew's Avatar
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    You have me curious. Here are the answers if someone asked me about our '09 (10U) team. What answers are you looking for?

    Are girls moved around in batting order from game to game or weekend to weekend? YES in pool play, sometimes in bracket play. Depends on the competition.
    What is expected roster size? What is philosophy regarding playing time? 10 to 11, with playing 10 in field whenever we're allowed. All girls bat every game.
    Are players encouraged to attempt difficult plays and applauded for effort regardless of result? Heck Yes. Effort, heart, agressiveness and teamwork are main things we want.
    How are games scored and stats kept, who keeps them, are they made available? Gamechanger, by experienced and unbiased parent.
    What are expectations for players to work outside of OTAs? We should have pushed harder, but we do want girls to have hitting lessons. We also expect them to practice at home with friends and family, and we're seeing strong evidence they aren't. We'll have to get firmer on that and tell them some girls won't make the team next year at this (lack of) progression
    What is expectation regarding players playing other sports? In season, out of season? We're pretty loose on this for now. We'd love them to do a winter sport, less enthusiastic about fall, spring and summer sports.
    How many tournaments is team planning on for next season? How many will involve significant travel (ie hotels)? No on hotels. 6-8 tournaments per season.
    What is expected financially?

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    I can talk softball all day uncdrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMMom1740 View Post
    Definitely agree with the above regarding guest/pickup players. Will "big gun" players be brought in for bracket games and replace rostered players? Trust me, I've been there for that, and you might wind up with a plastic trophy for the tournament, but an unhappy kid. And don't even bother trying out for a team where your DD plays the same position as the HC's daughter. Trust me on this one too.
    Yeah, I'd certainly ask about what positions the coach and AC's daughters play.

    I'm an AC. My daughter is our P2 and our 3B1. She and I know she'll get bumped if someone better comes along. That'll be a tough day for both of us, but we try to be honest and fair about it.

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    I'm a fan Rick M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmakj View Post
    going through this process yet AGAIN, making myself a list of questions I want to ask (or work into conversation, do not want to do this like an interrogation), here is what I have so far. Reccomendations, thoughts?
    This is a great set of questions, and the answers will tell you a lot about the goals of the team. The Development Team (DT) will have one set of answers and the Competitive Team (CT) will have another. Below, a handy guide to tell them apart (YMMV):

    Are girls moved around in batting order from game to game or weekend to weekend?
    DT: Yes, everyone is moved around from game to game to ensure every player has a chance to work on different positions and everyone has roughly the same number of at bats.
    CT: No, batting order is earned and may be adjusted based on performance or team needs (i.e. speed or slappers at the top). Players are encouraged to specialize defensively and will rarely play out of position.

    What is expected roster size? What is philosophy regarding playing time?
    DT: We will carry up to 14 players and playing time will be distributed as equally as possible. Extra players are a necessity as development-level players will often miss games for family or social reasons.
    CT: 11 players is the ideal size, to maximize playing time. Teams above 14U will typically have a greater roster size even at the competitive level as there are more school and social commitments to contend with.

    Are players encouraged to attempt difficult plays and applauded for effort regardless of result?
    DT: Yes! We want the girls to push their boundaries and comfort level and the words "good try" are tattooed on the coach's forehead.
    CT: We always encourage aggressive play, but we expect our players to know the difference between trying for the circus catch and holding the opponent to one run. You will rarely hear the words, "Okay, good try."


    How are games scored and stats kept, who keeps them, are they made available?
    DT: We don't worry about stats. I think one of the dads does GameChanger.
    CT: We don't let stats dictate managerial decisions, but we know they're important and there's usually a team-designated admin on GameChanger, and that person is often in the dugout.

    What are expectations for players to work outside of OTAs?
    DT: We love players who make time to work on their own. We also offer a range of group instruction on batting, pitching, and fielding outside of regular team practices. Or, you can take private lessons with Suzie's dad!
    CT: You are expected to have a regular batting coach, and nobody gets in the circle unless they have a dedicated pitching program outside of normal team practices. If you are not working on your skills independently, you will lose your spot to someone who is putting in the time.

    What is expectation regarding players playing other sports? In season, out of season?
    DT: Other sports make a well-rounded athlete, we think specialization at one sport is a bad idea at a young age.
    CT: There are other sports?

    How many tournaments is team planning on for next season? How many will involve significant travel (ie hotels)?
    DT: 7-10 tournaments, one away tourney so the girls can bond and have some fun off the field.
    CT: 7-10 tournaments, two or three with travel to mix up the competition and play the best teams around.

    What is expected financially?
    DT: More mandated costs as different coaching is provided on a team level. Development teams are also known for their impressive array of uniforms.
    CT: Upfront costs for the team are lower, but you are expected to have private coaching, the best equipment available, and to cover travel expenses, so the overall financial expectation will be higher.

    Not every Competitive Team or Development Team will have the same answers as those above, but they're some good guideposts to look out for when considering your next move. Good luck!

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    Rick M - Nicely done. Matches my observations and experiences pretty well, too.
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