AA Coach Philosophy – To provide a safe environment for the players to have fun and learn the game of baseball. Instruction should be emphasized over competition.
Practices – practicing baseball skills is the main focus at this level. Holding a baseball correctly, batting stance, grip, and swing, fielding ground balls and flyballs, throwing and catching safely, and base running – these are the fundamentals of the game and therefore are our main focus
Games – There are typically ten-twelve regular games scheduled for each team in the season. Practices are held prior to the start of the season and during the season. Games take place at the Lincoln School fields. Week night games will begin at 6pm Lincoln and play concludes at 7:15pm regardless of score or inning. No new inning should begin after 7:15pm. Saturday games will have staggered two hour time slots starting at 9am and should conclude at the 90 minute mark so that the next set of teams can have the field prior to their game. Up to 10-11 players can play defense by using 4-5 outfielders. Coaches should work together and always avoid having one child on the bench. To avoid such situations, coaches are encouraged to balance the number of players between teams, up to a maximum of 10 players on each team, or to hold a practice side session for those players who are on the bench during a given inning. No player can be on the bench for more than one inning. There are no forfeits. If a team does not have enough players, then simply split up the teams such that you can enjoy a game. There are no playoffs and no standings.
Innings – Each half inning will be no longer than 3 outs. With less than 3 outs, the team batting can only go one full time through the order, regardless of the number of players in their lineup. or five runs scored. Players should change position every inning and all players must play in the infield for at least two innings. If a game becomes lop-sided the coaches MUST rebalance the players in order to balance the game – the philosophy is instructional.
Score – No scoring is kept. Scores do not need to be reported or posted online.
Pitching – The goal by the end of the season is such that half the game is coach pitch and half the game is kid pitch. Kid pitching should begin in the first game. The 2nd and 4th innings are good innings to have kids pitch. As the season moves along, kid pitch in the 2nd, 4th and 5th innings will be standard for each game. This way coaches can plan their fielding lineups ahead of time.
Coach Pitch – Each batter will get only 5 hittable pitches and not more than 3 swinging strikes to keep games moving. Umpires will monitor the number of strikes and hittable pitches. If a coach throws an exceptionally horrific pitch it can be ignored for purposes of the 5 pitch rule. If after 5 hittable pitches the player fails to hit the ball, then he/she simply returns to the bench, no out is recorded and the next player bats. There are no called balls and strikes during coach pitch. Strikes are only called on swings or foul balls (a foul tip is never a third strike).
The selection of pitchers is completely up to the discretion of the coach, however each coaches should try to give every player capable of consistently reaching the plate with some semblance of accuracy a chance to pitch during the season.
Players can pitch from as much as seven feet in front of the rubber.
A Pitch Count of 35 pitches per player must be enforced.
A player can only start as the pitcher during one inning with one exception as follows. – NO EXCEPTIONS.
If a pitcher hits two batters with a pitch then the pitcher MUST be replaced.
For player pitch, balls and strikes are called using a very liberal strike zone (refer to Umpires section). Players should know that they may or will strike out and coaches need to reinforce proper player conduct.
Pitching Suggestion – Once a pitcher throws 4 walks in an inning, the inning will be completed by coach pitch. No relief pitchers unless a player is hurt while pitching.
After a pitcher throws four balls, the coach will come in to finish the batter. The batter will get three new strikes and will either hit the ball or strike out on three swings.
Base Running – There are no leads and no stolen bases at this level. Once a hit ball is returned to the infield a player may not proceed to the next base, unless they have already progressed more than half way to that next base. The purpose of this rule is to avoid having aggressive players taking additional bases and throwing the ball around and away. Example: Player hits a ball to right field and the player advances to second base because the right fielder mishandled the ball – once the player reaches second base the ball is thrown into the infield and hits the infield dirt, the play is dead. The player cannot try to advance to the next base. Once a ball hits the infield dirt no further advancement is permitted. If a player is more than half way in between bases he can proceed to the next base but can go no further –
Catching – All catchers MUST wear a protective cup, and appropriate catcher’s gear. No cup. No Catching. It is strongly encouraged that coaches request ALL players to wear a cup.
Umpires – The NBSA will schedule “junior” umpires to AA games. For the coach pitch, the umpires will position themselves in the field. No arguing with an umpire will be tolerated and may result in a dismissal from NBSA coaching. Due to the junior umpires there may be times when coaches will need to help out or correct an umpire but it should be done in a proper manner and only after the conclusion of the inning. The umpire will position himself behind the catcher pitcher during the player pitch innings. The strike zone in AA is liberally called as the area from where the ball crosses the plate on level with the player’s chin and down to the player’s shins, over the plate and including 4-5 inches outside/inside the plate. If an umpire does not show, then a coach from each team will umpire. Coaches should umpire when their team is hitting. They should have a very large strike zone (shoulders to shin and 8-10 inches outside/inside – this is AA ball). Umpires are paid by the home team’s coach. Funds will be provided to each coach prior to the first game of the season.
Rain Outs – Game cancellation is at the discretion of the two scheduled coaches unless thunder or lightning is present in the sky. If there is thunder or lightning you MUST cancel your game. Notification should be sent to parents of cancellations as soon as possible. You can establish a Twitter account and text them via the NBSA web site. I recommend making an e-mail list for your team and sending an e-mail as well. The home team coach has the responsibility of notifying the umpire via the online system in the event of rainout, postponement, cancellation or rescheduling. The coaches and the coordinator will make reasonable attempts to reschedule any rain outs.