Frequently Asked Questions (General: Spring 2017)

This FAQ is intended for all parents. If you are new to T-Ball, you might find a few more specific answers in our T-Ball FAQ.

If my question is not answered here, where can I get more information?

What ages can play?

Can girls play?

When is registration?

How do I sign up?

Where can I get information on registration?

This is my child's first year and I need to show proof of age or proof of residence. What do I do?

Why do we need to provide so much proof of age and residency?

My child has never played before. What skill level is required? At what level should I register?

What does it mean "American" and "National"?

How long is the season?

Once I'm registered, what's next?

When, how long and how often are practices?

When and how often are games?

What equipment does my child need?

Do we need a bat?

What equipment does the League provide?

What kind of glove should I buy?

If I choose to buy cleats, what kind of cleats should I buy?

What experience is required for coaches and managers?

How are teams formed?

Could you provide more detail about the team volunteer positions?

Do I need to submit a Volunteer Application?

For religious reasons, my child cannot play on certain days. Can we still sign up?

My child goes to school in Palo Alto, but we live in a different city. Can my child play in Palo Alto?

Q: If my question is not answered here, where can I get more information?

A: We try to put as much as we can on our web site at www.pabaseball.org.  You might want to start with the Parent's Handbook here: http://pabaseball.org/parents/handbook.html

Local rules can be found here: http://pabaseball.org/info/rulebook.php

We have found these links useful: http://pabaseball.org/info/links.php

Q: What ages can play?

A: Players with a “Little League” age of 5-16 can play. A player's Little League age is determined by his or her age on April 30, 2017. A Little League age calculator can be found on our site here. Any child (boy or girl) born between May 1, 2000 and April 30, 2012 is eligible to play Little League in Palo Alto this year.

Q: Can girls play?

A: Yes. Little League is for boys and girls. For those who think girls can't throw, check out this article on Katie Brownell's perfect game. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Brownell

Q: When is registration?

A: Registration begins in early December and ends in early March. After January, late registration is followed by a waitlist. For specific dates of registration see http://pabaseball.org/registration/index.php

Q: How do I sign up?

A: Registration is online. Please go to www.pabaseball.org for information. Actual registration is done at http://registration.pabaseball.org

Q: Where can I get information on registration?

A: Most of the information you need is here: http://pabaseball.org/registration/index.php A section to read carefully is here: http://pabaseball.org/registration/eligibility.php

Q: This is my child's first year and I need to show proof of age or proof of residence. What do I do?

A: Please come to an in-person registration listed here: http://pabaseball.org/registration/index.php

If you miss in-person registration, please contact registration@pabaseball.org

Q: Why do we need to provide so much proof of age and residency?

A: Sadly, many people have cheated in Little League. A team even made it to World Series by fielding a 14 year old, 2 years older than allowed. Consequently, Little League International has established strict rules on the subject that we must follow.

Q: My child has never played before. What skill level is required? At what level should I register?

A: No baseball experience required. For a new player, you should consider the following guidelines:

  • 5-6 T-Ball
  • 6-8 Coach Pitch
  • 8-9 AA
  • 9-10 AAA
  • 11 PCL
  • 12 Majors
  • 13 50/70 (players starting baseball at this level or above is rare)

Skill evaluations help to place players "playing up" from their default level. The player agents decide placement for all levels except Majors, where players are drafted by team managers.

Although we like to encourage kids to pick up baseball at any age, players at the higher levels have more strength and experience. If you have any questions, you should discuss your child's prospects with the player agent of the appropriate level prior to tryouts.

Q: What does it mean "American" and "National"?

A: Palo Alto Little League has two divisions in the Majors league. Divisions may not have more than ten Majors teams and divisions within the same community may not vary by more than one team. "Palo Alto American" and "Palo Alto National" are the names of the Palo Alto Little League divisions. Both leagues draft eligible players living within the Palo Alto and Stanford boundaries (common-pool draft). Palo Alto has All Star teams representing each of these divisions. Players are only eligible for the All Star teams in their divisions.

Q: How long is the season?

A: The practices will start around mid-March, with games starting in early April. The season usually ends around the first Saturday in June. Once the season has been scheduled, it will appear at http://www.pabaseball.org/calendar/

Q: Once I'm registered, what's next?

There is a Parent's meeting in mid March (except Majors and 50/70). You should receive an email with the exact date, but just in case, check the web site at http://www.pabaseball.org/calendar/ At the parent's meeting, you will find out more information about the season, which team your child has been placed and practices times. At this point, your manager takes over team-related communication.

Q: When, how long and how often are practices?

A: It depends on the division.

Tball, Coach Pitch, AA and AAA:

  • Practice days and locations are fixed and are set prior to the Parents meeting.
  • Practices begin after the Parent's Meeting in mid March. 
  • Teams generally practice two times per week before the season starts. Once the season starts, teams have a practice on a weeknight.
  • Games start in early April.
  • Practice length depends on the division and the manager's preference, ranging from about one hour in T-Ball and up to 1 ½ hours in AA/AAA.
  • AA and AAA teams often add a batting practice.

PCL, Majors and 50/70

  • Practice days and locations are fixed and are set prior to the Parents meeting.
  • PCL will expect players to attend clinics which will be held in late part of February.
  • Practices begin after the Parent's Meeting in mid March (after the draft for Majors)
  • Teams generally practice 2-3 times per week before the season starts. Once the season starts, teams have two practices per week and possibly batting practice.
  • Practice length depends on the division and the manager's preference, ranging from about 1 ½-2 hours

The Seniors season is somewhat compressed with possibly more than two games per week, so there is often only one practice.

Q: When and how often are games?

A: Once the season begins, there are games twice per week. One game will be on a weeknight. The day of week will change from week to week, but the start times will be around 5:00 (although the schedule is not yet set). The other game will be on Saturday, starting at different times each week. Games last 1 ½ hours in lower divisions and 2 hours in PCL and Majors. 50/70 games may run longer.

Q: What equipment does my child need?

A: Here are the rules and guidelines

  • A glove is required.
  • Boys must wear protective cups if they are catching, although we recommend it for all players above T-Ball.
  • Some kids like knee pads and, when they are old enough to slide, sliding pants.
  • Most kids also wear cleats, though they are not strictly required. Cleats do help prevent kids slipping on the grass. Soccer cleats are fine. Note that you can use soccer cleats for baseball, but not baseball cleats in soccer.

Q: Do we need a bat?

A: No. The league provides bats at all levels. If choose to buy a bat, that you want to use in regular season games or practices, it must be the exact same model and make that the league has supplied for the current year. The League will supply an aluminum bat. The only exception to this rule is that wood bats that meet LL standards are allowed. Bats must be in good working condition.

Q: What equipment does the League provide?

A: We provide uniforms (jersey and pants), and all playing equipment (bats, bases, Tees, catcher's equipment, batting helmets, etc.).

Q: What kind of glove should I buy?

A: Most importantly, buy a glove that fits properly (big is not necessarily better). It should be small enough so that they can easily raise it and move it around. There's no need to buy an expensive, fancy glove. Often, the most expensive gloves take a long time to break in.

Q: If I choose to buy cleats, what kind of cleats should I buy?

A: Cleats are not required, but can help prevent a child from slipping on the grass. Baseball cleats are slightly different from soccer cleats. Cleats made especially for baseball are not allowed in soccer, and soccer cleats work just fine for baseball at lower levels.

Q: What experience is required for coaches and managers?

A: This depends on level of play.

At the lowest levels, no coaching experience is required. Anyone interested has the opportunity to attend a Coaches Clinic to learn how to teach baseball skills, a Positive Coaching class to learn how to work positively with young children, and a First Aid Training course. If you are good with children, know the basics of the game and have even minimal playing experience, you should consider coaching.

Many managers and coaches start with T-ball and grow with their children. Managing or coaching T-ball is more about children than it is about baseball. If you're interested or are still not sure, contact the T-Ball player agent at agent_tball@pabaseball.org

As you advance through the divisions, more knowledge and experience is required.

Q: How are teams formed?

Teams at all levels are created through processes that are intended to balance teams and create the best environment for the players. The specific process differs depending on the level.

Majors and PCL is described here: http://pabaseball.org/calendar/PALL_tryouts_facts_2017.pdf (follow the link for the fact sheet).

In T-Ball, Coach Pitch, AA and AAA, the Player Agent build teams while considering the following:

  1. Each team must have a manager and a coach
  2. Teammate requests
  3. Grouping players by school

Constructing teams is very difficult and time consuming. There are many competing goals that must be balanced. We do our best to accommodate all requests, but that is not always possible.

50/70 has skills evaluations and team(s) are drafted by the managers.

Q: Could you provide more detail about the team volunteer positions?

A: The league is run by volunteers, starting with the Board. It takes roughly 30,000 volunteer hours to conduct a season. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Q: Do I need to submit a Volunteer Application?

A: If you have a position that will require interacting with the players (manager, coach, umpire, etc.), you must submit a volunteer application prior to commencing your duties. This is a Little League International rule designed to protect the safety of the kids. The form can be found here: http://registration.pabaseball.org/attachments/VolunteerApp2017.pdf   It must be submitted with a copy of government issued picture ID (e.g., driver's license).

Q: For religious reasons, my child cannot play on certain days. Can we still sign up?

A: Definitely. The most common conflict is play on Saturday. Children that can't play on Saturdays can still have a great season practicing and playing on other days of the week. We try not to schedule multiple kids on the same team with the same conflict as it makes it difficult to field a team. If you have specific needs, please let us know at registration@pabaseball.org. We do our best to avoid religious holidays.  If we've missed something, please let us know at secretary@pabaseball.org.

Q: My child goes to school in Palo Alto, but we live in a different city. Can my child play in Palo Alto?

A: Generally, the answer is no. Little League has strict rules on this topic. However, if your city does not offer a Little League program for your child, it might be possible. If you think you have an extenuating circumstance, please contact president@pabaseball.org