We are blessed in the Ken-Caryl Little League (KCLL) district with an abundance of youth sports programs that serve a wide range of expectations and objectives of parents, players and coaches. So which program is best for your future Hall-of-Famer? Will KCLL meet your family's needs? Consider the following when choosing a youth baseball program.
What Does Your Child Want?
First place you want to start is with your child. Ask your child what they want out of their baseball experience. You may be surprised at the answer. Responses range from "I want to win" to "I want to have fun and play with my friends." Understanding your child's wants is a first critical step in selecting the right program.
Next ask yourself what YOU want from a sports program. Are you looking for a program that will teach the fundamentals of the game? Maybe you know your child will never be that Cy Young award winner and you want to instill a love of the game or simply use sports as medium for teaching life lessons. Perhaps, your child does have exceptional athletic promise and you want him/her to be challenged at the highest level of competition. Most importantly, be honest with yourself. Make sure you are in this for the benefit of your child and not to relive the glory days!
Aligning your goals with your child's goals and selecting the right program will lay the foundation for a long, enjoyable and successful baseball career.
Finally, contact one of our Board Members
and discuss what KCLL has to offer and how we might meet your needs. KCLL is designed to offer baseball to meet a variety of needs. From first time rookies to advance competition, we probably have a team for you.
Little League Rules for a Reason
"Little League Rules for a Reason" is not just a marketing tag line for Little League, it succinctly
captures both the prominence of the organization as well as years of experience that resulted in a set of rules that are uniquely designed to protect player health, ensure a progressive skill development, create the appropriate level of competitiveness and most importantly to just have FUN.
Little League rules are slightly different from other leagues, the most notable differences are:
- No Lead-offs - Base runners cannot lead off until the pitched ball crosses the plate. Without this rule, a youth baseball game can quickly turn in to a track meet - a walk is as good as a triple or double as runners/coaches take advantage of a pitcher's slow delivery and the catcher's inexperience. With the no-lead off constraint, young pitchers can concentrate on the batter and their delivery mechanics, not the runner, complicated pick-off move or balks (there will be plenty of time to master the pick-off later). The no-lead off rule also delays the runner attempting to steal and gives the defense a decent chance of picking off the runner at second or third. This in-turn forces the offense to duly consider their chances of stealing a base and are more likely to try and earn their runs through hitting and not through defensive errors.
- No Stealing Home Plate - Except in the Majors, there is no stealing home plate on a passed ball. Learning to block a wild pitch, and there are lots of wild pitches in youth baseball, is an advanced skill. The defense is not penalized because a young catcher has yet to master the art of the block. In addition, this rule allows Coaches to put different players at catcher (what kid does not want to put on the gear and pretend to be the next Johnny Bench?) without putting his team at a significant disadvantage. The offense is also forced to earn their runs through hitting.
- No Dropped Third Strike - For similar reasons for not allowing teams to steal home plate, there is no advancing to first on a dropped third strike (the Major league being an exception).
- Wider Strike Zone - Our umpires are instructed to loosen the strike zone to encourage batters to swing. Young players quickly learn that a tight strike zone can be an easy pass to first base. We want kids swinging and hitting the ball and avoid those painful games where most runs come from walks.
Baseball is What We Do
- Stricter Pitch Counts - Little League was the first youth sports program to research the impact of over pitching on a young athlete's arm. The research resulted in strict rules that limit the number of pitches a pitcher can throw and mandates a rest period based on the number of pitches thrown. Little League pitch count rules are stricter than most other leagues, ensuring the health and wellbeing of young pitchers. The strict pitch counts also forces coaches to develop more pitchers for depth on the mound. Coaches cannot rely on just one or two pitchers to power their team to a championship. Coaches must develop a cadre of pitchers who can consistently get the ball across the plate. This in turn offers more opportunities for young athletes to try their hand at the mound - and what kid does not harbor dreams of being the next Tim Lincecum?
Ken-Caryl Little League is about baseball. That's all we do. It's all we think about. We love the game and want every child to have this quintessential American experience.
Ken-Caryl Little League is part of Little League International - the same organization that brings you the Little League World Series on ESPN and ABC. Little League is the world's largest volunteer youth sports program with over 4 million volunteers worldwide. The program has been in existence for over 70 years and brings a wealth of experience and resources to our local chapter. See www.littleleague.org
for more information.
KCLL is not a "feeder" program for other sports programs such as local schools or private clubs. We operate independently within the broader umbrella of the Little League International program. While we do often times partner with other programs to offer camps, clinics or leagues we do not subordinate our activities to other programs.
By remaining neutral and avoiding exclusivity to other programs, KCLL can offer flexibility as players transition out of our league into other programs that we do not offer.
If you think a "feeder" program is right for your young athlete, consider the following:
- Are you sure which school/program your child will attend in the future?
- Are you sure your child will play the same position his/her entire career?
- Do you know how your child will physically and mentally develop over the next few years?
- Are you sure the coach and/or management of the program will remain with the program in the future?
- Do the values and objectives of the program align that of yours and your child?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then a "feeder" program might be the right answer for your family. Otherwise, think about Little League as an alternative.
Keep it in Perspective
We are a values driven organization. We recognize that very few of our youths will grow up to make a living from baseball. Our youths are better served if we instill virtues that transcend the playing field and are necessary for success in life. Our mission statement declares:
"The mission of Ken-Caryl Little League is to develop the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being in our youths by espousing the virtues of CHARACTER, COURAGE and LOYALTY. KCLL is designed to develop superior citizens through athletics and the life lessons presented in the game of baseball."
Winning baseball games is not our product. We believe that winning is the by-product of a program that produces young athletes of CHARACTER, COURAGE and LOYALTY.
So when the score is tied in the championship game, it is the bottom of the last inning with two outs and it is your child's turn to step to the plate to determine the fate of his/her team; it does not matter if he/she hits a homerun or strikes out. What is important is that your child has the CHARACTER to accept the challenge, the COURAGE to step into the batters box and the LOYALTY to take his/her mightiest swing for the team.
At the end of each season, we conduct a post season survey asking our members what they like and do not like about our program. Each year we consistently hear from parents that they like the "community" feel of our program. We are proud of that aspect of our program. We believe youth baseball is a unique American experience that can build lifelong friendships between families - creating a stronger, safer, fun community. To paraphrase the old adage: "It takes a (KCLL) village to raise a child."
We believe community involvement is such an important aspect of our program that we have a voting position on our Board of Directors titled "Community Liaison" with duties that include working with outside organizations such as Boys and Girls Club and local law enforcement for Drug Awareness and Prevention programs.
Ken-Caryl Little League is not a recreation league. We expect our young players to be committed, work hard and always give their best effort. To inspire our players, we offer special recognition for both Character and Athletic excellence.
- Character Excellence - Our primary objective is to develop young people of good Character, Courage and Loyalty. At the beginning of the season, we instruct our Coaches to explain to their team the meaning of these virtues and to positively reinforce those values during the season. At the end of the season each team will elect players who demonstrated the qualities espoused by Little League. Two players are elected by their teammates and one player is appointed by their Coach. Each player then becomes a member of the "All Ken-Caryl" team, is awarded a medal at the end of season ceremonies and enshrined in the Ken-Caryl Little League Hall of Fame.
- Athletic Excellence - For those young athletes who demonstrated exceptional baseball prowess, their reward is nomination to the All-Star teams. At the end of regular season play, our Board of Directors and all Coaches will assemble teams from across the league to represent KCLL in the Little League World Series qualifying tournaments. These are our best players who will compete against the best players from across the state and depending on how far the team goes in the tournament, they will compete against the best youth baseball players in the world at the annual international LLWS tournament in Williamsport, PA.