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need ideas for coaching about 19-22 girls (12U)

Nov 1, 2008
224
0
Just to give some background on the situation, we live in a small community. Our youth sports association joins with several other small towns and communities within about a 25 mile radius in order to have enough teams to fill up the schedule. Each community usually fields one or two teams per age group.

In the 12U age group, our youth sports assn. has about 22 girls registered to play this year. Initially we had 17, but had a few more sign up before we started practicing.

We feel as though we need to divide them into 2 teams. Obviously, 2 teams of 11 each would be a bad idea since there are always gonna be about 2 or 3 who won't show up for a game, especially the games that are the farthest distance from us.

One suggestion is to take the 4 girls (maybe) who will pitch this year and ask them to attend every game and divide the remaining players. Of the 3 coaches, i am the only one whose DD pitches. Should we go ahead and have the other 2 coach's DDs attend in uniform as well? This would give us 15 girls for each game IF they all show up. If/when some of the girls don't show up, we'll still have 12-13 and won't have to worry about forfeiting any games. This will also ensure that each girl gets more playing time than she would on a team with 20 something girls.

This is basically the same problem we ran into last season when the school year ended. Several had quit altogether by then and many of the girls left for vacations so we ended up with 2 teams of about 8 girls.

So what we are left with is one team that is so large it is a logistical nightmare to ensure equality. Or we divide the girls evenly and risk forfeits. Or we divide them as suggested above and risk being accused of "playing favorites" by having the coaches' kids and pitchers play for both teams.

Does anybody have any ideas on how to manage this?
 
May 13, 2008
832
16
We also did it one year in our rec league that we could bring over a girls from the other team if we needed subs. Definitely split the teams up, there isn't enough innings to go around for a team with that many players on it.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,924
83
Dallas, Texas
You need to do some education of the parents. Get them all together and explain the situation clearly.

The rules should be:

(1) If we are short of players for Team A, then we will borrow players from Team B. The players from Team A will have priority.
(2) But, we *have* to play the kids from Team B, because otherwise we won't be able to get any kids from Team B to show up. We can't ask parents and kids to show up for games and not let them play.
(3) If your DD misses a couple of games, don't expect her to come back and play the entire game when she returns.
 
Nov 1, 2008
224
0
Thanks for the suggestions so far. Does anybody have an opinion regarding the coaches' kids since they'll already at every game anyway? And the pitchers, since pitching is always in short supply? or should we just split them all and ask for volunteers?
 
May 13, 2008
832
16
I would suggest splitting the players and asking for volunteers. I think you'll find that the ones who volunteer have a higher interest in getting better anyway.

Regarding the pitchers, I'll relate my experience. The rec league in my town had the two dad with pitchers (one had twins) to join up and coach together leaving the other team with no experienced pitchers. Guess which one my DD ended up on? Yes, the one with no pitchers. To make a long story short, my DD ended up pitching and we placed third in the end-of-season tourney that year. My DD still pitches today, and if I say so myself, does OK.
 
May 5, 2008
358
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If at all possible split them. You've already had some pretty good suggestions. Whatever you decide make sure your parents understand exactly what's going on from the beginning so they don't feel cheated in any way later.
 
Mar 14, 2009
22
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I headed the Rec program in our small town for several years and this was a common problem. We employed many solutions. You definitely need to split them up, you will never give each enough playing time if you don't. Unfortunately, numbers always seem to dictate what needs to be done, 4 more girls you could have 2 teams easily but 22 is a very tough number in softball.
You can bring up some advanced 10U players. A word of warning however, have a skills clinic with independent judges rating the girls. As coaches 1 year we brought up the best 5 from 10U, we knew they were the best choices but parents were outraged, all thinking their girls were the best to bring up and angry we didn't agree (some would have been in danger moving up at 10 they had so few skills). I still hear about that decision 5 years later.
One way that we have had good success with is divide the girls into 3 equal teams, then have a combination of 2 teams play each game on a rotating basis. that should give you either 14 or 15 girls to play each game. You have 3 coaches, have one take each "team" that way you have 2 coaches and coaches kids at each game. Divide the pitchers up evenly, make sure each team has a pitcher and a catcher as well as enough girls who can play some infield.
 
Nov 1, 2008
224
0
One way that we have had good success with is divide the girls into 3 equal teams, then have a combination of 2 teams play each game on a rotating basis. that should give you either 14 or 15 girls to play each game. You have 3 coaches, have one take each "team" that way you have 2 coaches and coaches kids at each game. Divide the pitchers up evenly, make sure each team has a pitcher and a catcher as well as enough girls who can play some infield.
This is almost exactly how we decided to do it except all 3 coaches will be at all of the games. All of the girls will continue to practice together. The head coach came up with it and we all agreed that it was the best solution at this time. As the season progresses i'm sure there will be more girls who decide they don't want to play and we may have to make adjustments. It might get confusing, but it will give all the girls more playing time. Most of them will also have the chance to play in a couple different positions.
 

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