Playing LevelsUpdated Tuesday March 21, 2017 by John Hand.
Niskayuna Baseball Recreation and Travel League Playing Levels
Niskayuna Baseball Levels of Play
Recreation Baseball - Anyone who wants to play will. This is a social activity for most kids. It is also an opportunity for kids to move around and play a lot of different positions. Winning is not the goal. Coaches need to strive for equal playing time. The goal here is simple, teach some basic fundamentals and let the kids have fun learning the great game of baseball.
Selection Criteria: Every child registered will be placed on a team. Teams at the younger levels are put together by schools for the most part. The Major and AAA division requires kids to try out and be selected through a draft. All kids in the draft are selected. The Babe Ruth level will have school and non-school players evenly distributed to the maximum extent practical to minimize scheduling conflicts and ensure competitive balance.
The NBL has the following levels:
Cal Ripken Levels:
4 to 5 year olds. Hit from tee. Emphysis on safety, skill development and fun. Played on the Lower Field 1, and sometimes the GE Tee Ball Field. Season starts normally end of April or first weekend in May. Games played on Saturday. 1 game per week. Typically in the am. Teams created by age, school and parent self assessment at Registration. Coaches will work with team parents to schedule a practice during the week. Players bat around each inning. The ball used is a soft-tee ball. The league is non-competitive; no scores are kept. All games are played on Saturdays, although make-up games may be scheduled on weeknights. Each game is kept to a one-hour time limit or three innings (whichever comes first) to match game span with attention span of the age group. Trophies are included in registration.
6 to 7 years old. Utilizes parent pitching. 60' diamond. Played on the Lower Fields, primarily Field 2, and sometimes the GE Field 1. Teams created by age, school and prior season assessments. Season starts end of April and ends last week of school. Trophies are included in registration.
8 to 9 years old. Kids pitch with parent take over after a set amount of pitches. Older kids from Niskayuna Modified, Freshman, JV or Varisity will umpire - schedule permited. Standings are kept. Each inning a runner starts on first base. It is the last out from the prior inning. Rules on walks allowed before having to change pitchers are also in place. Teams are created by age, school and prior season assessments. Played on the Lower Fields, primarily Field 3, and sometimes GE Field 1. Prior summer 8U All Stars that are A ball eligible may elect to play AA. Season starts end of April and ends last week of school. Trophies are award to the Champions and Runner ups.
10 to 11 year olds, with prior summer 8U All Stars that are 9 years old. Teams created by the League selected managers, than having all players attend a Workout and then there is a Draft a few days later. The draft is completed in a serpentine fashion, after assigning draft positions to the Managers kids. Kids pitch. Stealing after the ball crosses the plate. Umpires. Standings kept. Playoffs. 60' diamond. 46' Pitching Distance. Played on the Lower Field 4 and sometimes GE Field 1. Season starts end of April and ends last week of school.
11 to 12 years olds. Same as AAA but 70' diamond. 50' Pitching Distance. Played on the Upper Majors Field, and many times played into the night under the lights.
Babe Ruth Levels:
13 to 15 year olds. 90' diamond. 60' 6" Pitching Distance. Season starts end of April and plays through the last week of school. Teams stay the same each season, but replenished from new players coming from Majors. Those players teams determined by the League working with the Babe Ruth Managers. Games played on the Babe Ruth field at the Upper field complex, and many times played into the night under the lights to accommodate players playing Modified, Freshman, or JV schedules.
Senior Babe Ruth
16 to 18 year olds. Same as Babe Ruth however play other teams from the Capital Region.
Connie Mack/Mickey Mantle Level:
90' Diamond. Similar to Senior Babe Ruth but older players beyond 18 years old.
Cal Ripken Travel Program
The Niskayuna Cal Ripken travel program participates in the Empire State Baseball league which is sanctioned by a different governing body than Cal Ripken. This division of baseball offers tournaments that teams can qualify for based on record that have nothing to do with the Cal Ripken tournaments that Niskayuna has participated in and hosted yearly. This division of play runs parallel to the Niskayuna Baseball recreation division and teams selected at this level are not guaranteed to be the All-Star teams that are selected at the end of the recreation season. There are two divisions of play.
National Division - This is the area that will be new to our league in 2015. The goal is to create a higher level of play for kids interested but not quite as intense as American division. These are the kids that want to play baseball for more than social reasons but are still developing their skills to compete at the highest level. These are the teams that begin to introduce the importance of competition with a focus on skill development while maintaining relatively equal playing time. You will see kids playing different positions but the concept of focusing on one or two positions is introduced. Winning is important to strive for but not at the cost of injury or development. We will also seek invitational tournaments to get these kids experience. The goal of this division is to keep kids playing baseball and work on developing for future growth.
American Division - These are players that have moved through the instruction phase of baseball much quicker. Not only are their skills higher but their baseball IQ may be more advanced. The goal here is to prep these kids to be at their best come All-Star tournament play. Kids may move around positions a bit but will also start to see time at specific positions based on ability. Playing time for all players will be available however is not necessarily divided equally. Winning is more important at this division as your record qualifies your for non-Cal-Ripken sanctioned tournament however the ultimate goal is to develop areas of your team to be competitive for Cal Ripken based tournaments. One major difference between American and National from a development standpoint is instruction. American division teams will work on very specific skills in the physical form while National teams will be at a slower pace and may work on some things at a more conceptual level.
All-Star Baseball - This level is about winning and moving to the next level of tournament play offered by Cal Ripken. These teams are selected to compromise of kids that give the TEAM the greatest opportunity to succeed. Playing time is not guaranteed nor is it divided equally.
Selection Criterial for Travel and All-Star Teams: A committee will be established at each level to evaluate players based on multiple skills and attitude. As the President of the league I will attend all evaluations. All rosters will require final approval from the President.
Babe Ruth Travel Program
The Babe Ruth travel program is structured a little different than the Cal Ripken. The travel teams at the Babe Ruth division start in the late Spring early Summer timeframe and begin at the end of the Babe Ruth recreation season. Unlike the Cal Ripken travel teams these teams are selected to represent Niskayuna Baseball in the Babe Ruth All-Star tournament.
13U Travel/All Stars – This team will participate in the 13U All-Star Tournaments. During the course of the travel schedule managers are encourage to use games as ways to develop players at various positions and strive for as much equal playing time as possible while realizing that at this level some kids are going to play more than others. Expectations and roles of players will be discussed with kids throughout the season. Once the team enters All-Star tournaments playing time will not be guaranteed. Players will be put in positions by the manager that gives the team the best chance to advance. There is an expectation of a large investment in time for practice and games. Schedules will be communicated prior to the start of travel play.
14-15U Travel/All Stars - This team will participate in the 15U All-Star Tournaments. During the course of the travel schedule managers are encourage to use games as ways to develop players at various positions and strive for as much equal playing time as possible while realizing that at this level some kids are going to play more than others. Expectations and roles of players will be discussed with kids throughout the season. Once the team enters All-Star tournaments playing time will not be guaranteed. Players will be put in positions by the manager that gives the team the best chance to advance. There is an expectation of a large investment in time for practice and games. Schedules will be communicated prior to the start of travel play.
These teams are not predetermined, it is a selection and grouping of players based on talent and how the skills match for the various levels of play offered by Niskayuna Baseball. There is no doubt every year a debate will be had on one player or another, however Niskayuna Baseball is committed to creating an organization that allows all kids the opportunity to play baseball while maintaining a high level of competitiveness with the leagues we participate in.