16U and we are keeping 12. We play 2 double header leagues through the week and a tournament every weekend. With injuries, players attending camps, ... 12 is about perfect. We broke this down into having a need for a minimum of 3 pitchers and 2 catchers. We settled on a 3rd catcher when we found one that was a 3b/c who was very good at 3b. I think that one can get themselves into trouble if they have only one player for any specific position. Also, if you have an over abundance of OFs, that can cause trouble.
Here's a thought..... IF you can find one or two FAST girls that are either interested in developing or being a ROLE player:
1) Teach them baserunning, Courtesy Runners and/or pinch runners... we all have had situations late in the game when we look at the bench and see we don't have any speed available in situations we need it.
2) Teach them to bunt, as learning to bunt is much easier then swinging away, THEN Bunt-Slap
** If you can find 1 or 2 girls to agree to be ROLE players, you can add them to your numbers, (Maybe charge them less to be part of the team...... HS coaches can get these players for speed and helping as managers/shagging balls, setting up & breaking down drills, and earn a varsity letter!
I would go with 14. Twelve is perfect, as long as no one gets hurt and there are no family emergencies. One of my teams experienced a perfect storm of two injuries, a death in the family, and a Dad getting religion so that he enforced the "no activity on Sunday" rule. We were scrambling for three tournaments to get enough players.
You go through that once, and suddenly solving the playing time problem appears more manageable.
If you have a good team, getting playing time for 15 girls in weekend tournaments is not an issue because you always play 7 to 10 games. Schedule two double-headers during the week, and everyone has more than enough PT.
At the younger ages fewer are needed IME than at gold. Probably 18A too. With college visits, proms, SAT and ACT tests and retests there were always some missing. Then there's the numbers needed to come back through the loser's bracket in the heat of the summer along with the committed kids who don't need to play in the showcases. Add in the kids you thought were committed who disappeared after they signed in the fall and it's an entirely different story at the oldest level.
I helped with an 18U a couple years agao and and we had 19 girls at one time, where we were STILL short one tourny. College Visits, work, boyfriends, beach and friends, etc.... we actually didn't have any of our three catchers show one day and needed to scramble.........
- yes each age group and committment of girls will determine how many, though I still prefer a coupe extra (baseruners, jobs in the dugout, enough to help drills ruj smoothly, its always easier with more then not enough and its really not that hard to manage to get them enough playing time. Get an EXTRA Catcher, a 3rd catcher will ALWAYS come in handy, especially on a weekend when ONE CATCHER misses a day or two! and for warming up pitchers!