Frequently Asked Questions

Developmental Program  (K-3) Questions

My daughter is young, should she really be playing Fastpitch softball?
Our developmental program is specifically designed for girls in grades K-3.  Girls in our program begin playing at age appropriate levels. Kindergarten girls and 1st grade girls play tball/coach pitch.  2nd and 3rd grade girls play machine pitch.  These levels of play are offered at a number of different baseball and slow pitch associations. However, playing within a fastptich association, your daughter will begin the learn the fundamentals and building blocks that will allow her to progress in the game of fastptich softball as they get older.  

How are teams formed?
In the developmental program (K-3) every effort is made to keep friends, neighbors, and girls from the same school together on the same team.

How long is the season? 
The developmental (K-3) season will begin practicing at the end of April, and games will begin in May.  The season concludes at the end of June for K-1.  Grades 2-3 will have a local year-end tournament in mid-July. 

How many nights will it be?
The developmental (K-3) program typically have 1-2 games per week.  A coach may schedule a practice (sometimes 2) during the week.  It typically is a commitment of 2-3 nights per week.  There are no weekend games except for the end of year tournament for machine pitch.

Where are the games played?
The developmental (K-3) program schedules games with adjacent communities, notably Wayzata, Orono, and St. Louis Park.  Home games are typically played at Hopkins North Junior High, and away games are played at fields in these neighboring communities.


 

Big West/Travel League  (grade 3-12) Questions

How long is the season?
10U and 12U travel teams will typically begin practicing in mid-April, weather permitting. Games begin early to mid-May.  The season will conclude with the state tournament in early July. Teams that earn a berth in a national tournament will extend their season through the 2nd or third week of July.

The 14U, 16U and 18U season start in early June, as most players will be participating on school teams in the earlier spring season. The season will conclude with the state tournament in the third week of July. Teams that earn a berth in a national tournament will extend their season beyond that.

How are teams formed?
All travel team players participate in an evaluation day in March when skills are measured in the following categories: ground balls, hitting, throwing and fly balls.  Players interested in pitching and catching will also be evaluated in those areas.  Evaluation day is NOT a try out, all girls will be placed on a team.

Coaches at each level will determine the rosters at that level. Girls will be assigned to teams and coaches based on the scores and comments from the evaluations. In addition, other data may be introduced which may affect team placement. These may include, but are not limited to, past performance in game situations, playing in the Fall League, attendance at clinics, as well as age/maturity appropriateness. The willingness to participate in all games and tournaments through the end of post season as indicated on the registration form may also impact team placement. It is the responsibility of the coaches and the board to ensure that each team has players in key areas such as pitching and catching. 

The Board must approve the team recommendations made by the coaches before they become final. It is the responsibility of the Board is to communicate the final team selection to the organization and its members.

How often to travel teams play and practice? How long do they last?
Travel teams normally have two practices per week at the 10U and 12U level and 3 practices per week at the 14U and 16U level. Practices normally last 1 to 2 hours. 10U travel teams will play games one night per week on Tuesdays.  12U, 14U, and 16U will play two nights per week.

How much "traveling" is there? Are there any "out of town" games?
At 10U, all tournaments are in the metro area. At 12U and higher, however, teams may sometimes participate in one out-of-town tournament. Regular "league" games are generally in the west metro, closer to home. 

What if my daughter wants to “play up” an age level?

It has been our experience and remains our fervent belief that players develop and prosper when they play on an age appropriate team.  This allows the player to develop their skills at a natural pace. Occasionally the organization has asked (and may well have to in the future) players to play for a season at an older level.  This only occurs when team formation is in jeopardy due to inadequate numbers and is an action of last resort. Though we clearly do not encourage players to seek to play “up”, we recognize that on occasion, there may be a player who believes it is in her best personal interest to do so. For this situation we have established a process that will evaluate the veracity of the player’s request, and reach a decision accordingly. View our policy.

What is the difference between travel and recreation league fastpitch?
Travel ball is best for girls who want to play more games and get more opportunities to learn the game and become better players. A travel player can expect to play 35-40 games and take part in 20 or more practices during the course of a season. Usually around 5 weekends will be taken up with tournaments.

Recreation league is best for girls wanting a lighter schedule with open weekends. Our recreation league athletes play about 12-16 games with perhaps half that many practices. There is normally only one tournament weekend at the end of the season. 

My daughter is in 3rd grade. Should I register her for the developmental program (machine pitch) or for 10U in the travel league?
Most 3rd grade girls will opt to play machine pitch in the developmental program. The emphasis at this level is on player development through a gradual advancement of fastpitch softball skills. Machine pitch in the developmental program also gives girls a chance to get more quality pitches to hit. The machine will throw strikes. The game is simpler. There is no stealing and it is pretty much limited to one extra base. The girls will also get more defensive action in the game because of the higher number of strikes thrown by the machine vs. a young, inexperienced pitcher.

10U (in travel) is the first level of kid pitch fastpitch softball. The speed of the game is much quicker for the players, so they need to have well rounded softball skills (hitting, fielding, throwing, and catching) and remain focused at all times.The most important thing is to find the level that is right for both their ball skill set and overall maturity (paying attention, listening, dealing with adversity, etc.). If they are having fun at the right level for them, they will work harder, learn more, and develop further than if they are at the wrong level and not having fun. You might consider travel/kid-pitch if your daughter has an early birthday (before 12/31) for her grade level, has played fastpitch since Kindergarten, or has exceptional skills for her age.
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