Transition games are Monday nights. Diamonds are set up by 6:00 PM so teams can warm up and have games underway by 6:30 PM.
Transition (SK) players are a little older than T-Ball players so they are ready to begin the transition to traditional softball. That transition requires a steep learning curve.
Each team has at least three coaches. All coaches are in the field for both halves of the every inning. Coaches are expected to help whatever player is closest to them regardless of the team they are on.
The main focus points of this division:
- Good sportsmanship and having fun
- Safe play
- Listening to instructions from the coach who may not be their parent
- Playing as part of a team
- Skill development -batting, running, catching and throwing the ball.
The league’s ball diamond locations and rainout policy is described here.
TRANSITION COACHES AND PARENTS – SAFETY COMES FIRST
The league strives to make this as safe an environment as possible. This requires help from all the adults present since young players may get caught up in the excitement and forget about safety. Softball is very safe but five potential safety issues still exist:
1. FOOD ALLERGIES Please be extraordinarily careful that snacks do not contain possible items that could cause an allergic reaction. Please read the label of all foods used as snacks. CHAPMAN is the only brand of frozen snacks that guarantees no nuts have cross contaminated. Continually remind everyone about this!
2. CARS – Please caution all parents and players to be careful of cars before and after the games.
3. COLLISIONS BETWEEN PLAYERS must be avoided at all costs. Three things help in this regard:
- Stress the importance of not “swarming the ball” while fielding – ONE PLAYER has the job of fielding – the rest “back them up”.
- The fielder is supposed to give the runner reasonable access to the base. This is hard to convey at first. In the upper divisions contact results in a “safe” call with a bonus base.
- When running home the runner runs behind home plate without touching it. A fielder attempting to make the out at home touches the plate NOT the runner coming home.
4. HIT BY THE BALL We use a padded ball to minimize this but two simple rules will really reduce the chances:
- No fielders are allowed inside the line drawn from 1st to 3rd base.
- Players should be encouraged to NEVER throw to a person who is not looking at them and ready to catch the ball. As we focus on plays on the bases this will be critical.
5. HIT BY THE BAT Only one bat is supplied – this eliminates practice swings away from the Tee or the plate. Some players will bring their own bats so this is potentially a problem. (Confiscate all extra bats until they are needed). All batters must wear a helmet. (only 4 are supplied to eliminate the “on deck batter”)
- Maintain a safe zone around the tee or home plate and do not allow any spectator or player to enter this safe zone. There is no child catcher for safety reasons so the adult catcher’s responsibility is to monitor the plate area. Players will often swing while the coach is still in front of the tee! This gets a little better when the coach pitches.
- Remind players constantly that they cannot “throw their bat” but must carefully place it along the first base path.
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT YOUNG PLAYERS SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT PRESENT AT THE DIAMOND AT ALL TIMES. Parents are not permitted to drop off their children and come back to get them after the game.
TRANSITION 101 – Key focus areas for parents and coaches to review with players.
Transition is exactly that – a transition between T-ball and traditional softball. There are several things that our young players need to learn. One important aspect of learning any skill is to hear a consistent message that uses the same terms and key phrases. Try to use the same vocabulary with the players. We will focus on the following key skills and use this vocabulary.
1.“Get ready to hit”
“Feet shoulder width apart and not too close to the plate
“Back elbow up and bat off the shoulder”
“Hold on to the bat with both hands tightly.”
“Lean back on the back foot”
“Eye on the pitch” … “Don’t close your eyes”
2. “Swing hard and through the ball” and try to hit every pitch. “Don’t wait for the perfect pitch”. Waiting for the perfect pitch that never comes causes far too many batters to be called “out” in higher divisions. The strike zone is fairly large and seldom is the perfect pitch delivered to the batter. I’d rather see players wing at bad pitches than not swing at pitches that they could have hit. In Transition batters get five pitches and then are “walked” to first if they do not hit.
3. Players need to find their own way to locate the ball. Trying to “make contact” is the wrong message. Batters must swing through the ball. Making contact seems like a good idea but it will set the players up to be easily put out in higher divisions where a strong hit is required.
4. When the batter hits they “can’t throw their bat”. They must put it down along the first base path.
1. The key to success in softball is to “make it safely to base”. Players should try to “not get put out”. One way to do this is to “watch the play”. Runners should ask themselves two questions: “When do I run?” and “How far can I run?”. Running to a base is always a race so: “Run fast and keep your eyes on the finish line”.
2. One of the hardest lessons to teach and to learn is “when NOT to run”. There are two obvious times not running is the best option:
a. “Runners cannot run on a fly ball that is caught”. This is rare in Transition and one of the last skills to learn.
b.” Runners only need to run on a hit if they are “forced” to run” by the fact a runner is coming behind them. This is difficult to grasp.
3. When running to first base “ runners touch the right side of the safety base (orange )” which is outside the base path.” Fielders will touch the white side” of that base to avoid collisions.
4. Runners should “avoid running into fielders”. In higher divisions a runner hitting a fielder will be called out. Fielders cannot block the base path unless they are actively fielding the ball. In Transition outfielders will need to be constantly told to “not block the base path”.
5. Runners must stop at the base- “Keep a toe on it!”. They cannot overrun it or they could be tagged out.
6. Players running home players do not touch home plate – they run behind it – it is the finish line. In higher divisions catchers will make the play at home by touching the plate NOT the runner coming home. Touching a runner coming home will result in them being called “safe”.
1. All players should begin each play in the “ready position” – feet apart and ready to catch the ball.
2. Before each play every player should ask themselves: “ What they will do if the ball is hit to them.”
3. All fielders (both infield and outfield) have two jobs:
a.” Fielding the ball” and
b.“Backing up players who might need help making the play”.
In Transition this is very difficult to teach. Players tend to want to swarm the ball. “For every ball hit there is only one person who should try to get it…the rest of the team backs them up”.
4. Infielders try to get runners out in three ways:
a. Getting the ball and stepping on the base before the runner gets there.
b. Throwing the ball to a team member who is standing on the base. “Never throw to someone who is not looking at you and ready to catch the ball”. This is a problem with younger players who sometimes lose their focus and consequently are not ready to catch the ball. One solution is to encourage every player who is responsible for a base to ask themselves every batter “Do I have a chance and what do I have to do to put someone out on this base”
c. Touching the runner with their glove (with the ball in it) below the runner’s shoulders as they run down the base path. This is not a game of tag where the runner avoids the tag. Runners must stay on the base path.
1. “All catches are made with two hands” – one to catch and the other to make sure the ball does not roll out. This applies to grounders “Be an alligator” and balls in the air.
2013 Transition Schedule
There are 15 teams of 9 players in Transition. Three teams will be assigned to each diamond with the last team listed being expected to bring the equipment bag to the diamond. Diamonds are set up by 6:00 PM so teams can warm up and have games start at 6:30 PM. During the time the first two teams listed have a full way through the team roster mini game, while the other team practices in the field. When the one inning game is finished the teams rotate until each of the teams has had a practice and played two mini games.[table “12” not found /]