ROOKIE BALL DIVISIONS
The Downtown Little League has two Rookie Ball Divisions – one for five year olds (Rookie 5s) and another for six year olds (Rookie 6s). Downtown Little League introduced our Rookie Ball Division five years ago for six year olds. The league added the 5 year old division in 2012.
In this division, five and six year olds are introduced to baseball and develop valuable tools essential to playing with others in a team atmosphere. For many children this will be their first experience playing baseball or any sport on an organized team. DLL believes that in order to achieve any level of success, either individually or for your team, kids must first learn the value of friendship and being on a team. Proudly wearing the team uniform, cheering for their teammates, and leaving each experience as a “winner” is a strong foundation for playing sports for a lifetime. It also reinforces the community that we live in and appreciate in Downtown Manhattan.
Rookie 5s - Five year olds will use a tee, oversized plastic bats and plastic “cheese” balls. They will NOT use mitts in the field, in order to learn to catch with two hands.
The focus of the first year is to introduce organized baseball and to develop the basic skills and eye/hand coordination necessary to progress to the next level of play and to experience the joy and camaraderie of teamwork. All children bat each inning, all children play in the field, and outs and runs are not tallied.
Rookie 6s – The six year olds will see the introduction of balls pitched to them (by the coaches) and the use of gloves in the field. Six year olds will use light weight aluminum bats and soft baseballs. While all players will bat each inning, only ten fielders will be used in order for them to start learning different positions in the field (an adult volunteer serves as catcher for safety purposes and to keep the games moving.)
Games are played on Saturday mornings at Rockefeller Park (in Battery Park City) for the 6s and on Pier 25 for the 5s – on modified shortened fields. Parents have the opportunity to get up close to the action and are encouraged to help out as much as possible at practices and games in order to keep the younger children in order and focused on the coach’s directions.
JUNIOR MINORS DIVISIONS
Downtown Little League will continue to divide the Juniors Minors Division into two separate divisions. The Junior Minors divisions are made up of seven, eight and some nine year old players. The kids will now have the new and exciting opportunity to play on the brand new Battery Park City baseball diamonds which will be completed and ready to go for the 2012 season.
Juniors Minors Lower (JML) is an exciting move for our children from the Rookie ball Divisions, as they are now playing on our Battery Park City ball fields. The kids continue using aluminum bats and soft baseballs. Players, who are seven-eight years old, will learn introductory skills in field positioning, batting and fielding. They will now become familiar with the strike zone as pitching machines are used. Umpires will not use “called strikes”, only swinging strikes to encourage kids to swing, while not being afraid to strike out without trying. Catchers will wear full catching gear and all players will use regular baseball gloves. Games, which are six innings long, are played on Sundays at the Battery Park City ball fields with some exceptions. There will be one practice per week, usually on Fridays. Players are encouraged to attend their regular weekly practice, as they will be introduced to the concept that in order to succeed in baseball or in life, you must make an effort. That effort will not only mean trying hard during games, but also in attending, paying attention and participating in practices. Teams are selected through social rostering, where parents are invited to indicate their player and coach preferences. DLL makes every effort to accommodate these requests as long as space allows.
Juniors Minors Upper (JMU) is made up of mostly eight and some nine year old children. Players have spent at least one year in the Junior Minors Lower Division and will now be introduced to a more formal game structure. While still stressing the instructional aspects of the game, JMU does allow the children to flex more of their athletic and competitive muscles. This is the first time players will face live pitching. The games are a mix of three innings of kid pitching and three innings of coach or umpire pitching. This is an exciting and challenging experience for both the pitchers and the batters. Games are played on Saturdays and Sundays at the Battery Park City ball fields, Baruch baseball field and Central Park. There will also be one practice per week. Teams are formed by the division coordinator based on age, evaluations provided by 2011 managers, as well as information provided from the skills evaluation. DLL will now include 8 year olds (age as of 4/30/12) in the annual January skills evaluation program. We believe this will assist us in balancing our teams in this division.
Managers and coaches in both Junior Minors divisions are also required to complete the Positive Coaches Alliance (PCA) double-goal coach workshop prior to the beginning of the season. PCA stresses teaching the kids the important goals of proper team behavior and sportsmanship, and also encouraging the desire to win. Parents are always encouraged to volunteer for a coaching assignment and Downtown Little League will continue to provide the tools necessary to contribute to a positive, challenging, instructional and FUN experience for the kids.
Downtown Little League’s Minors Division has expanded over the last several years. In order to accommodate all of our children at this level, DLL continue to use a format we unveiled last year in our Minors Division. We will continue to have a Minors Double A division made up of primarily nine-ten year old players, and a Minors Triple A division comprised of mostly ten-eleven year olds.
Minors AA is designed for first year Minors players who are ready to start receiving more advanced baseball skills and development training. AA coaches will focus on introducing skills and techniques to be applied in a less competitive game atmosphere, however team sportsmanship, preparation and commitment to their teammates to work hard will be expected of every player. Coaches will stress the importance of practice and game attendance as one does not achieve any level of success without trying hard and showing a commitment to their team.
Minors AAA will be comprised of mostly returning Minors players and will be a more competitive division. Coaches will focus on teaching more advanced skills and techniques to be used in more complex game situations, in preparation for possibly competing in the Majors Division the following year. Players will be expected to exhibit sportsmanship, preparation and hard work and coaches will stress the importance of regular attendance to practices and games to show their commitment to competing in a more competitive league. All managers and coaches are required to attend the Positive Coaches Alliance (PCA) double-goal coach workshop, so coaches learn to teach the important life lessons that youth sports can provide. Teams will be formed from a draft, based on an evaluation/skills assessment conducted in January, 2012 in addition to evaluations already provided by managers from the 2011 season. There will be playoff rounds at the conclusion of the regular season leading to a league Champion.
Most games in both divisions will be played at the new Battery Park City ball fields beginning in April. Practices will begin in March, but this year we will have our Battery Park City ball fields available for March practices. There will be one weeknight practice, most likely held at Pier 40.
The Majors Division is the highest division that our players will compete in at the Battery Park City ball fields. After coming up through the ranks from Rookie Ball, Junior Minors and Minors, the players get to show their skills in this exciting division. This division is made up of all registered twelve year olds, many eleven year olds who are ready to move up from the Minors and a few ten year olds who are ready for this level of competition. Teams are formed by their managers in a formal draft after conducting a skills evaluation conducted in January. The managers are also given a complete evaluation from their 2011 manager to help in the draft process. Games will be played on some Wednesday nights and on Sunday afternoons all at the Battery Park City fields. Managers and coaches are made up of some former high school, college and even former professional players, as well as our well qualified parent coaches. Every manager and coach is required to attend a Positive Coaches Alliance (PCA) double-goal coaches workshop, where coaches are provided with the tools to not only give our kids a positive little league experience, but to help them learn many of the life lessons that competitive sports can provide. We ask our Majors Division players to commit to playing in only our league. Playing in any other league that schedules games on the weekends and on weekday nights is prohibited. The Majors division is a competitive league, where win-loss standings are reported each week and a year end playoff determines a league champion. Coaches, however, will still teach their players that success is not only measured by who wins, but more importantly by stressing that players try to be the very best player they can be, rather than being better than the others. All players will play in a substantial portion of the games and will be encouraged to prepare, work hard, commit to teamwork and be positive role models for each other.
JUNIORS AND SENIORS DIVISIONS
Juniors Division is our 13-14 year old league. The “Juniors” play on full sized 90’ fields at Pier 40 and Central Park, and this step up from the Majors Division represents a challenging and exciting time for our baseball players. Downtown Little League is committed to encouraging all players who played in the Majors Division to move up to the Juniors Division regardless of their skill level. The increased field size, while challenging, is extremely exciting for the kids as they are now playing on the same size field as high school, college and professional players. DLL had three teams represented in the Juniors Division last year, which is also made up of teams from the Greenwich Village Little League and the Peter Stuyvesant Little League. There are two divisions with a season ending playoff and championship round. DLL teams have been represented in the championship game many times since the league’s inception. Teams are in some instances managed and coached by former college and high school players and managers and all games are played on the weekends only. There are no weekday games. We encourage all age appropriate players male and female to register. It’s exciting and FUN!
Seniors Division is our 15-16 year old league. The “Seniors” play most games at the beautiful Murry Bergtraum fields (a/k/a the Verizon fields) near the Manhattan Bridge and in Central Park. Like the Juniors, all games are played on regulation 90’ fields. Many of our players also play baseball for their high school teams and on travel teams. Others play in our league only. Games are competitive and very exciting and after playing two years in the Juniors, our players are always up for the task. The Downtown Little League Seniors team won the league championship two years ago and played in the championship game last year. All games are played on weekends only, to accommodate those that play on their high school or travel teams.
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