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Sponsored By:   Anderson-Vanhorne Associates, Inc.
Victor, NY
 
 
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National League Rules (7 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
  • 4 innings, 5 runs maximum per inning but unlimited in the last inning. Any inning starting after the 1 hour and 15 minute mark will be the last inning as agreed upon by the coaches. If the game is under 1 hour and 15 minutes, the coaches can mutually agree to have a 5th inning.
  • Score will be kept. Traditionally there was no score at this age level. But the kids know the score, the parents know the score and the coaches know the score. Team records will determine playoff seeding. 
 
Game Balls and game equipment
  • Each team should supply 1 new RIM game ball for usage.  Use the newer balls whenever possible. 
  • Home team is responsible for supplying the pitching machine (when we go to machine pitch.)
  • 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 coach pitch.  By no later then 5 games into the season, all teams should have transitioned to pitching machines.  At the coach’s discretion he can start machine pitch earlier. 
  • T’s are allowed during the first 5 games– but a batter must start the at bat with a T.
 
Hitting rules
  • Coach pitch has a 5 strike limit. 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. A struggling player can hit off a T, but must start the at-bat off the T. If he strikes out, you can’t go to the T. He’s out.
  • A fair ball is a ball hit between the 1st and 3rd base line at least 15 feet from home plate.  A ball that does not travel 15 feet or more between the baselines is considered a foul ball, base runners return to their base, and the batter continues batting.  No bunting.
  • If the pitcher (coach) or machine interferes with a ground ball it will be a dead-ball base hit at the discretion of the pitcher or machine operator (coach).  The principle is to avoid infielders charging a ground ball near the pitcher (coach) and risking injury.  Runners advance one base only in this circumstance.
  • When a coach is pitching or operating the machine, he can adjust his batters in the box. But he cannot interact with the hitter during active 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.
  • Players can’t advance on overthrows.
  • There is no leading off or stealing bases in the National League.  Base runners must stay in contact with the base they occupy until a pitched ball is hit.
 
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
  • The hitting team’s coaches will act as umpires and 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, the coaches 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 pitcher/batting machine (coach) on either side.  True baseball positions – infielders cannot set-up on bases.
  • 4 outfielders. Outfielders cannot make a force out at a base. All other baseball plays can be made by outfielders. All outfielders must play at least 25’ 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 2 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.)
  • When a coach is pitching or operating the machine, he can adjust his batters in the box. But he cannot interact with the hitter or base runners during active play.
  • One coach is allowed in the field to help position the defense. He is allowed to position players between plays and to tell the kids where the play is. Once play has started, ALL coaches within the field of play must be silent. The kids should already know what to do with the ball. In the case of a multi-base hit, active play coaching must be done from coaches on the sideline.
 
 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.
  • 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.