To be a Little League® Manager requires organizational skills, some baseball or softball acumen, and most importantly, a genuine interest in being around, and mentoring, children. One of the primary responsibilities of the League President is to recommend such people for these crucial positions.
The Selection Process
Making the process successful begins with the League President diligently reviewing all of the volunteer applications, noting those wishing to volunteer as managers. It is imperative that all managerial candidates be screened by a method that is agreed upon by the Board. This does not mean just completing the required background checks.
This process is not a popularity contest and no extra credit is automatically granted for seniority in Little League. There are plenty of great people out there who would not make adequate managers. Selection as a manager is not to be used a reward for amassing wins in past years, longevity of service, or contributions (financial or otherwise) to your league.
One Season at a Time
Remember, ALL managerial positions are for one year only. No person is guaranteed to be a manager, or “grandfathered” to manage a specific team. Each year, if a person wishes to manage, then the same selection procedure must be equally applied to all candidates. Of course, all appointments are subject to the approval of the league’s Board of Directors.
Players Determine Team Count
Following registration and tryouts, the Player Agent tabulates the number of age-eligible players in each division and the league then decides how many teams it will field for that season in a given division. At that point, the number of managers is decided, and the Board will vote to set the number of teams and roster size based on Little League rules and regulations.
Prior to the league’s next Board meeting, it is recommended that the League President speak with the various candidates to gauge interest and then compile and list of managerial nominations to be presented to the Board. This may require some recruitment on behalf of the Board, if there are more teams than candidates.
A sound method for introducing the candidates includes an invitation to submit a letter of interest to the League President (to be read to the quorum), or for the person to attend the meeting as a guest of the League President and offer the Board a description of why he/she wishes to manage a team this season.
Following the League President’s reading of the letter, open the floor to discussion and debate. If the candidate(s) are in attendance, excuse them from the meeting with a “thank you” on behalf of the Board before inviting the voting members to offer additional information, comment, and conversation.
Review, Discuss, and Decide
Each candidate is to be reviewed fairly with the focus being on the ability of the person nominated to fulfill the responsibilities of the manager. Not everyone is going to know each candidate personally, so the diligence done by the League President to gather information and speak with each interested person is critical to that person becoming a viable nominee.
After all of the nominees have been introduced and discussed, then the Board casts its votes. If a manager is returning from a previous season, he is not guaranteed to manage the same team as the previous season. Team coaches are nominated by the League President and must be approved by the Board of Directors.
Typically, the manager is equal parts parent, teacher, and traffic cop, so being a good manager comes down to the ability to coordinate and communicate, while always wearing a smile.
When choosing team managers, take an objective approach, consider personalities, and keep the best interests of every player in mind. At the end of practice, the game, or the regular season, quality Little League managers are the ones who make the experience fun and enjoyable for the players, and the record doesn’t matter.