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Victor, NY
 
 
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American League Rules (8-9 year olds)
 

Coaching Principles

The following are principles specific to coaches and assistants to make the league more successful.
Safety:  Safety rules come first.  Enforce the league safety rules strictly.
Fun:  Baseball is a game.  Make sure it stays fun!
Sportsmanship:  Encourage players to put their best effort into improving their game regardless of the situation or score.  Encourage players to recognize and respect the fact that this is a learning environment - everyone is working to improve some aspect of their skills.
 Development:  Review the basic skills and fundamentals of baseball.  Encourage children to practice them on their own.  Congratulate good performance to promote a sense of accomplishment.  Objectively correct mistakes by referencing back to and reinforcing fundamental skills.  Keep it simple.
Preparation:  Keep the games interesting and moving at a good pace by being prepared.  Examples:  Have a defensive plan ready for each game and each inning, make sure your players are ready to bat on offense, keep track of who your catcher will be and make sure they are dressed and ready for the following inning.
Motivation:  Motivate players through positive reinforcement.  Keep practices and games moving and active in order to maintain players’ attention.  Ask players what they are going to do in certain potential situations to keep their minds in the game.
Unique Talents:  Baseball is a unique sport.  It draws on a wide variety of physical and mental skills of the players.  Every player has unique talents that can be improved through instruction and individual attention.
Role Model:  Portray the behaviors you’re trying to develop at all times.

Games
  • 5 innings, 4 runs maximum per inning but unlimited in the last inning. Any inning starting after the 1 hour and 30 minute mark will be the last inning as agreed upon by the coaches. If the game is under 1 hour and 30 minutes, the coaches can mutually agree to have a 6th inning. If a 6th inning is played, the game is officially over after the 5th
    • For example, if the Phillies are up 2 runs after 5 innings and a 6th inning is played and at the end of the 6th, the Giants are up by 1 run, the Phillies are still the winners.
    • Note:  the 6th inning is treated like a scrimmage and played with a 4-run max.
  • Score will be kept.  Wins and losses impacts playoff positioning.
 
Game Balls and game equipment
  • Each team should supply 1 new game baseball for usage.  Use the newer balls whenever possible. 
  • Home team is responsible for supplying the pitching machine for that game.
  • Both teams are responsible for raking the field and returning equipment after the game.  Only leave equipment on the field if there is a game following you and the home team coach of the following game agrees to take care of the equipment.
 
Field
  • 60 foot base paths
 
Pitching
  • The league starts as machine pitch but transitions to kid pitch.  On the 6th game, all teams must have transitioned to kid pitch.  If a team is truly struggling getting the ball over the plate, they can use a pitching machine.  This option should be discussed prior to the game between the head coaches.
  • Pitchers can only field (machine-pitch) or pitch 2 innings per game with a maximum of 4 innings per week. 
  • Paid umpires will be provided.  Umps will be instructed by the coaches that the Benefit of the doubt goes to the pitcher.  Get the kids swinging at strikes! 
  • No T’s in a game.
 
Hitting rules
  • Machine pitch has a 5 pitch limit or three strikes. If a player fouls a 5th pitch or later, he gets more until he hits or strikes out. True baseball count rules with kid pitch.
  • A fair ball is a ball hit between the 1st and 3rd base line.  There is no bunting.  But any ball swung at with a full swing (not a bunt) that enters the field of play is considered a fair ball and in play.
  • If the pitching machine interferes with a ground ball it will be a dead-ball base hit at the discretion of the umpire.  The principle is to avoid infielders charging a ground ball near the pitching machine and risking injury.  Runners advance one base only in this circumstance.
  • In American, coaches operating the machine cannot interact with the hitters.  It must be done by coaches outside the field of play.
 
Base running
  • It is not station to station. If a player hits a double, he’s allowed to take a double.
  • Play ends when the outfield returns the ball to the infield and is in control of an infielder.  To stop normal play, the ball has to be returned to the infield and in control of a player in the infield. For example, a shortstop taking the cut-off in the outfield must return it to an infielder in the actual infield before play is stopped.
  • Running on overthrows (one base) is allowed at the base runner’s peril.
  • Players should be coached that a wild throw to first base is “live” – this may be easier to demonstrate on the enclosed Clover Fields.  On Open Fields, Coaches need to agree prior to the game whether to allow runners to advance, however, this rule will be enforced at the 6th Game in conjunction with kid pitch. 
  • There is no leading off or stealing bases in the American League.  Base runners must stay in contact with the base they occupy until a pitched ball is hit.
  • No advancing on past balls or wild pitches in American.  It is hard enough to learn to catch, much less having to deal with runners moving on a pitch that went to the backstop.
 
Fielding
  • Players must make a throw to record an out unless they are the closest player to the bag. For example, a shortstop fielding the ball with a force play at third must throw to the third baseman to record an out or directly tag the runner. He can’t field the ball and out-run the runner to third.  Failure to follow the principles of the correct baseball play will result in the runner being called safe.
  • For force plays at 2nd, if the shortstop or 2nd baseman fields the ball within 5 running steps of the base, they can run to the base. If they are further than that, they must throw the ball to their counterpart to get the force at 2nd.
     
Recording outs
  • Umpires declare runners out or safe.  When a runner is out he will be removed from the bases.  Multiple outs on a single play are allowed.  Players should be coached on recognizing double play opportunities, what base to throw to, and when there are force-outs vs. tag outs.  In general, on bang-bang plays, umpires should give the benefit of the doubt to the fielders to reward effort and good fielding plays. 
 
Defensive positions
  • The infield will consist of the 6 basic positions: Pitcher, Catcher, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS.  There will be only 1 pitcher and he will stand behind the batting machine (coach) on either side.  True baseball positions – infielders cannot set-up on bases.
  • 4 outfielders. Outfielders cannot make a force out at first base.  Outfielders can make force out at all other bases.  All other baseball plays can be made by outfielders. All outfielders must play at least 30’ behind the base paths. No rover.
  • Players should be coached to play the correct fielding positions (for example, no standing on or right next to the bases) and be taught to move to the bag to get outs once the ball is in play.
  • The goal is all kids playing the same number of innings.
  • No players are allowed to play more than 3 innings at a given position. 
  • Kids must play at least one inning in the infield. Catching does not count as infield.
 
General coaching rules
  • Head coaches should discuss ground rules prior to any games and mutually agree on how any special situations will be handled (e.g. standing water in the field, players arriving late, etc.)
  • Coaches in the field of play (pitching machine operator) cannot interact with the kids during or before a play.  He purely plays the role of machine operator.
  • All coaching must be done at the sideline or base coaches.
 
 Equipment & Safety
  • Equipment must be stored in an area out of play, preferably behind the fence, during the game. 
  • During games, bench players must stay in the designated bench area while waiting for their turn to bat.  No one should be practicing hitting, climbing the fence or leaving the field area.  Adult supervision is required in the bench area (a coach or team mom/dad).
  • An area for the on-deck batter should be designated away from the bench, with only the on-deck batter allowed.
  • The batter, on-deck batter, and pitcher must all wear helmets during the game.  The catcher must wear the Victor Little League issued protective gear including helmet, face-mask, chest protectors and shin pads.  Players catching must wear a cup.  But coaches should encourage all parents to have their kids wear cups at games and at practices.
  • Throwing equipment is not allowed.  A player throwing any piece of equipment should be informed that it is against Victor Little League rules.  If the action is repeated by the same player, he can be removed from the game.  At this age it’s common for batters to inadvertently throw a bat after swinging at a ball.  Regardless of intent, this rule needs to be reinforced for safety.
 
Dress
  • Players should wear Victor Little League-issued team jersey, caps, baseball pants and socks.  Caps must be worn forward and shirts must be tucked in during games.  Molded rubber cleats, sneakers or all-purpose shoes are required.