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Which division is best for my son/daughter?

Players are placed within the divisions that best suit their age and skill level noted during the tryouts in January 2018, and from previous manager evaluations. The AA Division is a kid-pitch beginner league and the rules allow for coaches to pitch, as necessary, as part of the learning environment for players.

The following is the 2018 Little League division structure:

  • AA Division: Ages 8-9

  • AAA Division: Ages 9-10

  • Minors Division: Ages 10-11 

  • Majors Division: Ages 11-12

  • Intermediate Division: Age 13

  • Juniors Division: Ages 14-15

  • Seniors Division: Ages 14-16

 

This framework will limit each division to the ages above, with the exception being the extraordinary player who should “play up.”

 

Division Age Caveat:

Ages for each division are established to maintain competitive balance among divisions based on the common size and maturity of players. Under Alexandria Little League rules, it will only be in limited instances – demonstrated superior baseball acumen, maturity and sportsmanship – that a player will be permitted to “play up” in another division.

Decisions for such players to “play up” will be made only after consultation with parents and based on performance at the player evaluation program, recommendation of program evaluators and previous managers, and with the written approval of the Player Agent(s) and League President. 

 

How do tryouts work?

Tryouts are only held for the Spring League. Every registered player is strongly encouraged to attend the tryout to establish a skill assessment. This helps create a fair and competitive season for all teams and players. The managers in each division will draft players based on assessment ratings in order to build competitive teams. There is no draft for AA but players are still encouraged to try out to help ALL management form teams. Players are assessed by professional coaches, not parents, and scores are kept confidential. If you have concerns, please contact the division commissioner. They will be happy to speak with you about the expectations managers have for each particular division. 

 

What if my son/daughter misses the tryout?

If you are unable to attend the tryout, your son/daughter will be placed on a team based upon their league age as follows:

  • All 8-year-old players will be placed on a AA team. 

  • All 9-year-old players will be placed on a AAA team through the draft.

  • All 10-year-old players will be placed on a Minors team through the draft.

  • All 11-year-old players not drafted in Majors will be placed on a Minors team through the draft.

  • All 12-year-old players will be placed on a Majors team through the draft.

 

My child played for the same manager for the past few seasons, and s/he really wants to stay on the same team with all her/his friends.  Can we request a manager?

Little League’s policy is that you can “opt-out” but not “opt-in”.  In other words, you can inform the Player Agent and/or Commissioner that you do not want your child placed with a particular manager or a particular peer -- we understand that personality conflicts happen, and we want everyone to have as positive an experience as possible.   However, we do not honor requests to be with a particular manager or group of players, nor do we honor “opt-out” requests that are so broad as to result in a de facto placement with one manager.  Little League is a great opportunity in which to develop new friendships and learn from different managers.

Please note that “opt-out” requests must be submitted when you register your child.  Requests that are submitted after teams have been drafted (in the spring) or assigned (in the fall) are unlikely to be honored.

 

My child really wants to play, but I’m not sure my family can afford the registration fee and the baseball gear.  Does the League offer assistance?

Yes, you can either submit your request through our “Financial Assistance” tab on our website or send an email directly to the League Treasurer.  Please specify the fee assistance you need, including equipment needs, and the circumstances surrounding your request.  If you are able to contribute a partial amount, or volunteer your time, please mention that as well.  You will be notified by the Treasurer of the League’s decision on your request.

 

What is the League’s refund policy?

The League will refund your registration fee during the registration period for any reason - please send your request via email to the League Treasurer.  Once teams have been assigned, refunds can only be issued if the spot can be filled with another player.

 

My child wants to play baseball, along with other sports.  What time commitment is involved?

All divisions hold two practices a week and have two games a week. Practices are scheduled for two-hour blocks, and games may run up to 2 ½ hours.  Depending on the number of teams in each division, practices can start as early as 4 pm on a weeknight, and go until 10 pm.  Games typically start at 5:30 pm (for AA,AAA) and 6 pm (Minors, Majors, & above).  Weekend practices and games can start anywhere from 8 am until 8 pm.  While most weekend games are held on Saturdays, make-up games may be scheduled on Sundays, especially in the spring season.

The spring season starts in March with practices, and has seven weeks of games, typically starting in April. The fall season starts in September and runs through the end of October.

 

My child won’t be able to play baseball if it conflicts with other scheduled activities (such as another sport, music lessons, etc.).  I need my child placed on a team that practices on a certain day of the week.  Should I register my child for baseball?

The team managers select practices that work best for their schedule, and the practice times are not known in advance of teams being formed.  Because teams are formed prior to determining practice schedules, movement of players to accommodate scheduling conflicts is extremely disruptive and is rarely possible, especially at the higher levels.

 

I’m unhappy with my child’s manager (or team).  What can I do?

Please talk to the manager of the team first, relaying your concerns and what you would like the manager to do.  If your concern is about sportsmanship or a perception that the manager is playing favorites, you might also want to talk to fellow team parents to see if anyone else shares your concern(s).  If other parents share these concerns, we recommend you ask to meet with the manager to discuss these concerns as a group.

If you have talked to the manager, but don’t feel your concerns were addressed, then please contact the Commissioner for your division or the Player Agent.

 

Does the League have a feedback mechanism where I can provide comments?

The Board members value any constructive comments, both positive and negative, from parents. Parents are encouraged to share their observations about any aspect of the game (managers, coaches, teammates, umpires, etc.) by contacting their division Commissioner, the Player Agent, and/or the President.  Phone numbers and emails are found under the “League Contacts” tab on the website.  You may also send an email to  .

 

What if I have negative comments about my child’s manager and I report these to the Board?  Will the manager be told about my comments?  Will my child be negatively impacted by my comments?

Parents are the “eyes and ears” of the League, as Board members cannot be everywhere.  If the Board is not informed about issues with specific managers, players or umpires, we cannot take steps to deal with these issues.  The Board is sensitive to parental concerns about possible “blow back” on children, and takes great pains to address issues without “naming names”.

Additionally, managers have to be appointed each season -- there is no tenure for a manager.  Positive and negative feedback from parents is crucial for the League’s Manager Selection Committee to make informed decisions regarding manager appointments.

The Board also recognizes that different personality styles can result in conflicts and hurt feelings.  Traits that one family finds difficult to deal with may be wholeheartedly endorsed by another family.  As such, the more specific the information provided, and the more families providing information to Board members about a specific manager or umpire, generates a better frame of reference for the Board in making decisions to appoint a manager or hire an umpire.

 

My child’s manager allows lesser skilled players time at positions that should be given to better skilled players.  Why is s/he doing this when it causes our team to lose?

The goal of the League as stated in our Constitution is to develop “sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect for authority”, and that “the attainment of exceptional athletic skill or the winning of games is secondary”.  Players develop skills during practices, and games provide an opportunity to use developed skills.  Games also provide an opportunity to demonstrate sportsmanship and respect for authority.  Rotating players among various positions is consistent with the League’s stated goals, and Little League International’s player pledge that win or lose, a player will try their best.

 

My child’s talent level is above average for his/her peer group, but I cannot register him/her to participate in next division level because s/he is too young.  How does the League determine exceptions to “play up”?

In line with other sports programs and leagues in Alexandria, Little League works hard to determine the best placement of all players.  Having more talented peers stretches lesser talented players to perform better, and allows the talented players an opportunity to serve as mentors to their teammates. Players are evaluated during tryouts and at the end of each season by managers. In limited circumstances, these factors are considered by the Division Commissioner and the Player Agent before any “play up” recommendations are made.  We hope that your child will enjoy being “the big fish in the pond”; however, if you as a parent feel your child’s talents are not being utilized appropriately, there are other baseball leagues in the area, separate from Little League, that may provide the challenge for your child that you are seeking.

 

What is Travel Baseball?  Is it part of Little League?

Travel Baseball is not part of nor associated with Little League International or Alexandria Little League.

 

Why does ALL not support travel teams? Why won’t ALL give my son’s travel team fields for practices or games?
 
ALL recognizes that there is much confusion and misinformation about the role that ALL can and does play in regard to travel or “club” baseball. Travel baseball teams may be created by any interested adult and are totally separate from Little League International, our charter organization. Little League International Rules require ALL to take any player who signs up to play baseball.  Travel baseball teams serve only a select number of players, who are chosen for their perceived skill set or through tryouts. Therefore, travel baseball operates completely independent of ALL, ie. they are not governed by ALL rules or by the ALL Board of Directors. They are a totally separate league.
 
One way to more easily explain the relationship between Little League and travel is to use the analogy of public versus private schools. Little League is the public school of baseball; ALL must take all who sign up and provide equal opportunities to all who participate. Conversely, travel is the private school of baseball; travel teams can limit participation and can accept players by whatever criteria they wish. Just as public school systems have no jurisdiction over, nor provide resources for private schools, Little League provides no oversight, nor resources to travel teams.
 
Public and private schools pull from the same community of participants as does ALL and travel teams and they co-exist peacefully. Parents and students have the choice of enrolling in public schools, private schools and/or both. ALL strives to co-exist peacefully with travel teams. Much like the school system, parents and players can choose to play ALL, travel or both. The ALL Board recognizes that some parents are interested in providing a more elite baseball experience for their child(ren), and has never required ALL players to choose between participating in travel baseball and Little League.  However, parents and travel team managers need to recognize that ALL’s resources are used to promote only ALL teams.  Travel team participants must provide their own resources for their club teams, including, but not limited to, field space, equipment, uniforms, umpires, etc.

 

Can I expect the manager to be able to teach my child to be a better pitcher/batter/etc.?

Our managers are all volunteers, and the amount of one-on-one instruction they are able to provide to their players depends on the amount of assistance they receive from other parents on the team.  The League expects managers to promote sportsmanship and a basic understanding of the game.

The League has offered player clinics in the past, and intends to continue this service.  Players looking to improve individual pitching or batting skills should consider participating in League clinics, as well as various other resources outside of Little League (i.e. camps, clinics, or one-on-one lessons).
 

 

Why is it that some teams have better managers/coaches and other teams don’t?  Can we get professional managers to manager our teams?
 
Little League International Rules state that any person who manages or coaches a Little League team must be a volunteer and not a paid professional. Therefore, ALL must pick managers and coaches from a pool of volunteers who are willing to commit the time and energy needed to manage groups of kids at all different ability levels. Our managers and coaches can only be as capable as the people who volunteer.

 

Why does ALL have practices starting at 4pm on weekdays (or going until 10 pm on weekdays)?  Why are games scheduled so early/late on school nights?  Why are make-ups on Sundays when my children have games for other sports scheduled?
 
ALL does not own any of the diamond fields used for practices and games.  Each season, as does every other sports league operating in Alexandria, ALL submits a request for practice/game slots to the city.  The city then allocates field space among the various requesters.  In the case of diamond fields, ALL's request is considered alongside the requests from travel baseball teams, girls’ softball, adult softball, adult baseball, and T-ball/coach pitch programs.  ALL is fortunate to have four playing fields with lights (two 90' fields and two 60' fields), which allow multiple practices & games to be played in the evening.  The other fields allocated for ALL use do not have lights, and therefore all evening practices & games must be finished by dusk for safety reasons.
 
As ALL participation numbers have increased, so has the demand for practice slots and games.  Unfortunately, there have been no additional diamond fields made available to ALL.  When weekday or Saturday games are cancelled due to bad weather, the only day available for make-ups becomes Sunday. 
 
Please note that the ALL Board has representation on the Youth Sports Advisory Board, and are working with YSAB and the City to increase playing field resources for all users. Additionally, if you have been adversely impacted by our practice & game times (too early/too late/Sunday conflicts), please also express this to your City Council members and ask them to include more diamond fields in the City's budget.
 

 

How does ALL pick and train umpires?


ALL solicits umpires each season and continually adds new umpires to its roster.  Many ALL umpires have been with Little League for 5, 10 or 15 years.  For umpires that are newer, ALL provides introductory training (all uncompensated) that includes compulsory classroom and on-field sessions.  Four hours are dedicated to rules, two hours are spent on home plate mechanics, and another two hours are devoted to umpiring the bases. 

Training clearly requires a strong commitment, but the number of hours in the training regimen does not begin to approach what is required to become a truly mature and confident umpire – this takes years of working games, not merely a few hours.  All umpires make mistakes (even the MLB professionals that have the luxury of four umpires per game!), and any umpire working a game by himself or with a single partner is not immune from the stresses of having to deal with a multitude of judgment calls, rule complexities, and challenging interactions with coaches and players. 

Managers, coaches, players, parents, and spectators at ALL games need to keep in mind how difficult it is to be an umpire, young or old.  There is no justifiable excuse to make negative or derogatory remarks or gestures towards an umpire, or otherwise behave irresponsibly.  These are, after all, only games at the pre-teen and early teen levels.