Spring: What Divisions Will We Have?
A critical step at this time of year is to decide how the local Little League will be structured by ages. It is incumbent upon every local Little League to offer all divisions of play that are available. Without doing so, children who would play are prevented from doing so ONLY because the adults elected to serve them have decided not to allow them to.
Also, it’s not too late to add a division. If there are enough children in the league’s boundaries who wish to play in a particular division – even if the local league has never offered that division the past – it is incumbent upon the adult leadership to charter for that division. Doing less is doing a disservice to the children and families of the community.
Will the league allow some 7 and/or 8 year olds to play Tee Ball? Will other 7 and/or 8 year olds to move up to Minors? How many players will be on each team? Will the Minor Division be separated into “Coach Pitch,” “Player Pitch” and/or “Machine Pitch” divisions? These issues could change yearly. (Regulation III a).
Remember, a new division of play can be added at any time before June.
The number of players returning will be essential in deciding on the number of teams in each division. Since the Minor Division can include players who are league age 7-12, many local Little Leagues separate the Minors into two or more sub-divisions. Minor League Coach Pitch might be for players league age 7-10, with a few 6-year olds (who played Tee Ball as 5-year olds) also involved. Minor League Player Pitch might be for players league age 10-11. (Some 10 year olds could play in the older division, some in the younger, depending on ability).
Well-run local Little Leagues are always looking for ways to expand the Major Division, invariably resulting in a stronger league and a stronger Tournament Team (All-Stars). It is a fallacy to assume that having a smaller “Major Division” will result in better results at Tournament time. A Board of Directors that purposely contracts or restricts the Major Division for this purpose is doing a disservice to the community.
Options for expanding are in the Operating Manual, as well as information on team reduction. Remember to ensure each division has enough teams to play “in-house.” The less-desirable alternative is to work out an inter-league arrangement with another Little League program.
A database of all of these Operations Tips can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/Tips_Successful_League
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