Stratham Youth Baseball (SYBB) selects a limited number of players to participate in summer travel/all-star tournaments. Teams play in either the 9-10 year old or 11-12 year old division. These guidelines have been established to communicate the Stratham Baseball travel team philosophy, player eligibility, selection process and coaching guidelines. Please contact the SYBB President or any member of the SYBB Board of Directors should you have any questions concerning these guidelines.
Stratham Youth Baseball travel team play affords skilled players from the spring league programs the opportunity to continue to develop skills against similarly skilled players from other towns. While travel team play is more competitive, the same philosophical framework and code of conduct expectations applicable to all SYBB programs remain the same. Specific rules are determined by the sponsoring tournament and teams are expected to demonstrate good sportsmanship, represent Stratham Baseball in a positive manner and to abide by all rules of the specific tournament. Emphasis is placed on effort, teaching, learning the elements of competitive baseball, and the process of improving both individual and team performance. There is a significant time commitment and participation also involves a commitment to travel to area towns for games. While winning is an objective of play, a “win at all cost” attitude on the part of players, coaches, or family members is inappropriate.
III. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible to play on a SYBB Travel Team, players (ages 9-12) must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Attend a minimum of two-thirds (2/3) of all in-town spring league games they are medically able to attend. Attendance is defined as being present for at least two-thirds (2/3) or 4 innings of a game. Injured players are expected to attend games and support teammates if medically able to do so.
Be generally available for practice/games from mid-June thru end of July.
Meet tournament and SYBB age eligibility requirements. Travel team age is determined by the player’s age as of April 30th.
These eligibility requirements are aimed at ensuring Stratham is represented by players who have demonstrated a commitment to attending scheduled SYBB spring league games and support of their teammates. It also ensures that Stratham is able to field a team during tournament play without forfeiting due to lack of players. This will ensure that future Stratham teams do not lose the opportunity to participate in these tournaments in the future.
IV. TEAM SELECTION PROCESS AND PROCEDURES The following process is utilized by SYBB in selecting players for all Travel Teams:
1. The number of travel teams will be determined by the number of applicants. SYBB will endeavor to field as many teams as possible. But there can be only one district team per age category.
2. Travel Team Head Coaches will be determined by the SYBB President. If there are more interested coaches than positions the SYBB President makes the selection after considering all candidates who have expressed interest. Coaches will be selected based on ability to coach baseball and represent the town. Coaches are also required to:
a. Be listed as a manager or coach on a current roster in the division in which they wish to coach (i.e., must be listed on a Majors roster in order to be eligible to coach an 11/12 year old team)
b. Be a certified Cal Ripken coach. This is achieved by completing the Cal Ripken Coaching Youth Baseball online certification course.
3. The roster size will be set by the SYBB Board of Directors and in compliance with tournament rules. The target size will be 12.
4. Head coaches for the travel teams created in a given year will choose players based upon the pool of applicants who meet all eligibility requirements and who, in his or her judgment:
a) Are among the most highly skilled players in the age group; and
b) Have demonstrated good sportsmanship and will represent SYBB in a positive manner.
5. The travel team head coaches will get feedback from the other head coaches in the Majors and Minors leagues to ensure that they have a full understanding of the players’ abilities.
6. The league coordinators will review the selections and make a recommendation to the SYBB Board of directors on whether the selections are consistent with the IV.4. The SYBB will be the final approval of the teams.
a) If the League coordinator is a travel team coach, an alternate coach from that league (Majors or Minors), designated by the SYBB Board of Directors, will fill this role.
VI. COACHING GUIDELINES
1. Coaches will be attentive to the physical and emotional safety and well-being of all players in practice and games.
2. Coaches will follow all tournament rules, including rules pertaining to playing time for players.
3. Coaches have the challenge of enhancing both team and individual performance.
4. With a 12 man roster, all players shall have two defensive innings and one at bat minimum in a normal six inning game
a. While coaches are encouraged to create as much playing time as possible for all players, what the coach believes is appropriate for the circumstances of each game should always be respected. It is not necessary, nor expected, that all players play exactly equal innings either in a given game or over the course of the season/tournament.
5. A higher level of positional specialization is expected in Travel Team play.
a. Specialization to a single position should be avoided. Specialization in 2-4 positions, including pitching and catching, is encouraged.
6. Position assignments are made at the coach’s discretion based on an assessment of overall team ability and skill. Coaches will consider, in order, safety, team needs and player’s interests in making defensive assignments.
7. Batting orders are set at the coach’s discretion, and within tournament rules, in a manner that will produce the most offense for the team. When available, use of continuous batting order or EH (if available) is encouraged as a way of keeping as many players involved in the game as possible.
8. Within this framework, coaches are encouraged to strive to win through being good teachers in practice and effectively coaching (e.g. use of game strategy and positive motivation) games.