Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Playing all players

Apr 13, 2015
73
8
12U team with 12-14 players....how would you try and get some quality at bats and /or outs defensively without compromising teams competitiveness....I'm sure nobody has ever had this issue..lol
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,848
83
When DH was coaching he'd hit everyone in pool and rotate defensive positions, to an extent. The extent depended on the importance of the pool game. In bracket he usually hit 9 and subbed in as he could. There were times the whole team slumped and he just let everyone hit since nobody really stood out.

It also depends on the team IMO. How far apart are the #1 and #2 for any given position? Is this team a super competitive national team or a local team that plays more for fun? If parents want to put their kids on the former, they need to recognize that the competition for playing time will be more fierce. On the latter, I'd expect a lot more rotation.
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,710
113
Florida
12U team with 12-14 players....how would you try and get some quality at bats and /or outs defensively without compromising teams competitiveness....I'm sure nobody has ever had this issue..lol
This is relatively easy unless you have players who just can't play or the skill gap is too large. Here is the latest:


How to keep a bigger roster happy:

- SUBSTITUTE ALL THE TIME.
This is the big one. Don't wait until the last inning - get them in and burn them as much as possible. Softball coaches (especially those who grew up with or coach baseball) always forget that they can reenter players and don't substitute anywhere near as much as they should. Pinch run slightly faster girls or even same speed girls who don't play as much for someone who gets on base. In some cases this tactic is better than batting everyone. In timed games you may only get 2 at bats and only so many innings - get your subs in early. Yep, I am out there in inning 1 bringing players in to play. 0-0 is a great, less stressful/important time to bring in a pinch runner!

- UNDERSTAND DP/FLEX: This is the second biggest one. You should ALWAYS have a DP/Flex on bracket games and often in pool games. Learn how the rule works. At its core it means you an extra fielder in the game who isn't batting. DP & Flex can field together but only the DP hits. On bracket day this is critical beause even if you bat 9 you have 10 players playing. The best use is to field for a hitter who is terrible in the field or for fielding for a resting pitcher who you still need their bat. More importantly when you have weaker talent at the bottom of the lineup you are not choosing one girl over another for the last spot - you can have one field and one hit! This doc is a good explanation: http://www.psal.org/PDF/Softball/2015_Clinic%20-%20Understanding%20the%20ASA-NFHS%20DP%20-%20Flex%20Rule.pdf

- SIT REGULAR STARTERS IN POOL GAMES: And then substitute them in. They still play, but you give players chances and opportunities. Don't sit them the whole game - use them as described above. Also don't sit the same starters - no one is exempt over time.

- CARE LESS ABOUT POOL GAMES: It is OK to lose pool games - even ones you 'should' win. Mix it up. A lot.

- UTILIZE COURTESY RUNNERS: Always courtesy run for your P & C - again even with slower girls. Especially on bracket days or games when you have a sub available you can use rather than last completed at bat. Get them on the field.

- PITCHERS SIT AN INNING (OR MORE) BEFORE AND AFTER THEY START: You don't have to 'pitch-and-sit' your pitchers - unless they want to. In younger age groups they should be fielding and hitting and so on because normally they are your best players and secondly because you don't know how they are going to develop over time. However, pitching is really draining - so after they pitch a game, sit them the first two innings of the next game especially in pool games. Or if you get the chance, sit them the last inning of the game before they are going to start.

- GAME NO LONGER IN DOUBT???: If you are winning or losing by a lot, SUBSTITUTE even more. Really move kids around. If you are up or down 10+ does it REALLY matter who is playing what position? Get them in there. You have re-entries - use them.

- PLAY GAMES OUTSIDE TOURNAMENTS: Run full games at practice with live pitching. Give them opportunities they may not get on the weekend. When the result is of lesser importance you can really take chances on players.Organize scrimmages or declare certain games scrimmages where you can go wild with positioning and play. It is OK to let a game go if it means you give game chances to players who deserve it.

- BENCH ROLES: There are bench roles - warming up the pitcher between innings, helping the catcher gear up, stats keepers, lineup tracking, sign-stealer, etc, etc. If they are on the bench, give them a role for the team. Whatever you want. If there are players just sitting on the bench with no role that is your failure - not theirs. Give them things to do.

- BE BRAVE: If you ARE going to bat everyone then you need to be willing to field everyone as well because the girls people sit are always batter 11 & 12 who probably don't field. 1 swing in a pool game is not playing. It is a reason why I DP/Flex sometimes in Pool Games or even have a sub. If I can courtesy run a girl because she is a sub, get her a pinch run and an at-bat that is better than a single at-bat. Don't justify not courtesy running because the P or C is a better base runner - get your sub out there so she learns.

I am never happy if I fail to get a player into the game. It happens but I am disappointed when it does. End of the game my lineup sheet looks like someone scribbled all over it.

Will everyone be happy. No. But they also wont be as unhappy as the parents who has a kid on the bench all game or all day. They can see you are genuinely doing everything you can.

Hope this helps. Happy to answer any questions.
 
Jun 4, 2019
80
18
It isn’t hard to keep 14- 12U girls happy, many of them don’t really mind being on the bench for a few innings here or a game or two there. Their parents are another story. So at some point you have to stop trying.
 
May 16, 2016
597
43
Illinois
Plain and simple. You will not be able to keep 14 families happy at 12u. If the team was older this would be very possible.

At 12u the best player's parents will be mad if the lower level players are losing the team games because the coach is trying to get everyone some innings. The lower level players parents are mad if only the best 10 girls are playing in bracket.

I would expect to lose at least 2 players from your team after fall ball.
 
Apr 13, 2015
73
8
Thanks for all the input....not worried about keeping the mamas and daddy's happy....care less, just trying to provide opportunities for girls to get into the game...coaching basketball is much easier to get kids in...lol
 
May 29, 2015
1,989
113
- BENCH ROLES: There are bench roles - warming up the pitcher between innings, helping the catcher gear up, stats keepers, lineup tracking, sign-stealer, etc, etc. If they are on the bench, give them a role for the team. Whatever you want. If there are players just sitting on the bench with no role that is your failure - not theirs. Give them things to do.
Can I just bring attention to this one piece? If you never do anything else to advance your players in the game, THAT is the most important thing you could ever do.

It will make all your players better team players and help them build their “game IQ”. There are tons of opportunities to learn more on the bench than you would in the game. Not that experience isn’t valuable, but players can’t take time out to observe and study the game while they are in it. It is up to you as a coach to make that work.
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
1,002
83
Plain and simple. You will not be able to keep 14 families happy at 12u. If the team was older this would be very possible.
This is very true at 12U. Even at older age groups, keeping a big roster happy will be a problem if they all show up. With the possible exception of the best team around that everyone wants to be on, if you're carrying a bigger roster and don't play people, you'll eventually lose them. Marriard's advice is very good and will work great with a HS team or competitive / tournament team where there are few other options. However, if there are other decent teams around, sitting your better players too often will send them looking for a situation where they'll play more. Sitting your weaker players too much will either encourage them to quit altogether or to start looking for a team where they'll play more.

Coaches want a bigger roster because it gives them more options and more leverage over everyone in terms of competition for playing time. It's great to know that you can be missing a few and still probably have enough to play. However, when everyone is there, it's also a pain in the ass to constantly think about rotations, and many youth coaches just don't prepare enough to execute well. DD's older team has always been at its best with 10 or even 9 players. Everyone knows what they're doing and what their team mates will do. The lineup cycles quickly, everyone gets more at-bats, and more looks generally means more success for everyone. All the talk about "rolls" is fine for college or even some HS team situations, but the point of playing youth softball is to be on the field, not in the dugout with a scoresheet or warming up a pitcher.
 
May 20, 2016
330
43
Rule on the team DD plays for is everyone plays at least 2 games during pool play. Bracket is best 9.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
36,930
Messages
559,062
Members
17,315
Latest member
Abeltran
Top