2018 focus on player development
For seven decades, Sachem Youth Baseball/Softball has been an integral part of sports and social life in Winchester. Countless girls and boys have enjoyed learning the games of softball and baseball, made long lasting friendships and competed at a high level in the safe, wholesome environment provided by our leagues.
Despite the unquestionable success of SYBS, it is important periodically to review our program and seek ways to enhance our young players' experience by improving their softball and baseball skills, making leagues and teams more competitive and improving the enjoyment of games by kids, coaches and parents alike.
For these reasons, the Board of Directors has considered - and affirmatively voted - a major initiative to put player development at the center of our focus. This applies to both softball and baseball and will be rolled out in the upcoming spring 2018 season as discussed below.
Formalized practice schedules
The board recognizes, through its experience and direct input from coaches and parents, that emphasis had been placed on game time, sometimes at the detriment of practice time. So it decided to introduce pre-scheduled practice slots for both softball and baseball and to seek an appropriate balance in the number of practices versus games played. This will not only benefit families by providing a more structured schedule during the spring season, but it will also ensure that our young players receive significant instruction throughout their SYBS progression.
SYBS benefits by having dozens of parent and other volunteers coaching and serving our leagues in various capacities. The board recognizes that good player instruction requires proficient coaches. Although many coaches have significant experience playing and coaching softball and baseball, their effectiveness would be enhanced by exposure to a structured series of clinics designed to help teach the proper mechanics of throwing, catching and batting as well as other fundamentals and strategies of the game. To this end, for 2018, SYBS will introduce a series of short programs for coaches with these objectives in mind including an emphasis on the needs of the specific age groups they will work with.
Reorganization of 10-12 year old baseball
The SYBS board has decided to change our program for the 10- to 12-year-old age group by offering two Major leagues: Major 60 and Major 70. Historically, baseball players ages 10 to 12 have played in either the Majors or the preparatory AAA league, based on tryouts.
The new Major 70 league will include players 11 and 12 years of age, and it will be played on a larger diamond measuring 70 feet between adjacent bases, and 50 feet from the pitcher's mound to home plate. The Major 60 league will continue to be played in the traditional 60-foot diamond.
Players who were on Majors teams last season will return to the same teams, which together will comprise Major 70 in 2018. All other players 10-12 are asked to participate in the fall tryouts to exhibit their skills to team managers for both leagues who will be drafting their teams based on the abilities the players demonstrate. Those deemed ready for Major 70 will be selected to supplement the returning players in that league. All of our 10 year-olds, as well as those 11s and 12s who would benefit from additional time in the smaller diamond, will be drafted into the Major 60 league. (Timely registrants who do not try out will be placed on a Major 60 team.)
The C field at the Nutile complex has been renovated to serve as both a 60 foot and a 70 foot diamond and we have plans to do the same for the A field prior to the spring 2018 season. This will allow both Major leagues to play a large portion of their games at the Nutile complex.
The board of SYBS, with the valued input from others, believe that these initiatives will ensure our softball and baseball programs will best serve the players and the community. As mentioned, the main driver of these initiatives is to increase the enjoyment and fulfillment of the game for each participant, as well as the stakeholders in their success. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or questions regarding these initiatives.