Q&A collected from our 2017 Survey

FEEDBACK:

Question: As many parents who have pulled their kids from program have cited overall top leadership is very poor and inept. Too self centered and not truly focused on ALL players rather than so called stars. Bullying of players is swept under rug and ignored.

Answer: Managers & coaches do their best to prevent/stop any bullying or clique culture on SLL teams. Bullying by anyone of any age is not tolerated by SLL.

Question: The quality of baseball has gone down hill in recent years because we are losing the athletes to lacross and we are losing the baseball takent to AAU.

Answer: The League is working to find a balance between multiple sport athletes and families.

Question: Having multiple children playing multiple sports I feel the fees are a little high.

Answer: SLL tries to keep field fees, uniform/equiptment costs, umpire costs, etc. within a reasonable amount. Unfortunatly the registration amount reflects most of those costs assumed by SLL. There are scholarships available if a family needs it. SLL always attempts to keep costs reasonable to families. The registration fee each season goes to pay for many different elements of the program, including uniforms, player equipment, field maintenance equipment, lime, speedy dry, umpire fees, Town of Shrewsbury field fees, insurance, etc. SLL is a volunteer-based, non-profit orgainzation.

FIELD DAY:

Question: It’s a very busy time of year, we had other commitments and we’re honestly happy to have a weekend without baseball by that time. Also my children really weren’t interested in attending.

Answer: Sorry to hear, there are fun activites for all ages, dunk the coach, face painting, food, games.

Question: It was ok, not great. So glad you included a moms vs daughters this year. Previous focus always has been on the boys’ teams, so it’s about time the girls were included too.

Answer: The moms vs daughters game was a lot of fun & well received by the participants. It will continue in future years.

Question: Felt like it was more of a baseball event.

Answer: We try to make Field Day a celebration of Little League families, for all baseball and softball families.

Question: Dunk tanks were great. More fun stuff to do would be great.

Answer: Please email the BOD with any fun suggestions for future events. We are always receptive to new ideas for Field Day activities.

IMPROVEMENTS:

Question: Some of the opposing coaches were very sarcastic & unsportsmanlike so their players acted the same toward others

Answer: There is a code of conduct coaches are supposed to follow. If you see unsportsmanlike conduct, please report it to the board or commisioner of your league so it can be addressed.

Question: Batting cage somewhere to practice on our own time.

Answer: There is ongoing discussion & planning about league improvements to fields, including batting cages. We agree that it would be a tremendous benefit to baseball & softball players to have batting cages at multiple locations in town for use.

Question: There was a lot of preferential treatment made to coaches children this year and there were many players who were not given a fair shot despite their abilities being greater than some coaches children. I saw this across teams and it was far more prevalent than when my older son came up through the little league system.

Answer: If you feel a coach is showing undue preferential treatment to players, please report it to the board or commissioner of your league so it can be addressed.

Question: I think the coaches need to take a class on correct behavior before getting to coach the girls. Some of the coaches were incredibly intense and obnoxious, pushing the girls to extreme plays or excessive runs, and at the rookie and minors levels, there are no scholarships. This is about teaching the girls skills and improvement and having fun.

Answer: There is a code of conduct coaches are supposed to follow. If you see unsportsmanlike conduct, please report it to the board or commissioner of your league so it can be addressed.

Question: We need to improve the field aesthetics by making capital improvements (dugouts, bleachers, lights, etc.) for the girls. The fields also need work to make them first rate like other surrounding communities.

Answer: There is ongoing discussion & planning about league improvements to softball fields and baseball fields. SLL does not own any of the fields, so any improvements have to be approved by the Parks & Rec commission. We have a number of initiatives that we are working on now for improvements to the softball field over the next year, and the goal is to make capital improvements on a yearly basis that will benefit both softball and baseball programs.

Question: The fields. The condition of the fields at Beal and UMass are horrible.

Answer: The infield material at Beal is one of the best draining materials at any of our fields. It’s up to all volunteers/parents to continue to rake and screen infields over the course of the season. The Beal field itself is not in horrible condition and serves the 6U and 8U program very well. There is a plan with the town to improve the dugouts there this year.

Question: Recognize basically zero players will go pro or even play top college or high school ball and stop focusing on the so called “star” players Give every one a chance to play any position they want. Get a President and Junior Commissioner that have a clue to life and that have ethical and moral values. The roles need people with more than a 50% IQ and a pulse. They are both the WORST ever in my 11 years with SLL and the best is yet to come. All a matter of timing.

Answer: I’m not sure what the definition of a “50% IQ” is. Pretty sure that’s not a recognized quantitative measurement …

Question: Promote a fair system at picking all star teams. What is the criteria to be an all star? Not a transparent process.

Answer: Please refer to commitment letter and online rules for each division which detail all star process.

Question: Girls teams should be kept together year to year like the boy’s teams are. That way you develop friendships. If you are not one of the girls most sought after you basically become an expendable part – somebody is forced to take you. If the girls stayed together they would get closer and it would have a better feel.

Answer: In the GSB program, we have a smaller number of teams in each division, and a good amount of turnover from season to season, with a high percentage moving up a division each season. In order to try to keep teams competitively balanced, we redraft teams each spring. We see a benefit in mixing players and coaches each year in that even more friendships are made and more exposure to different coaching concepts is given to the kids.

Question: Not having girls who play club softball play for Shrewsbury at the same time.

Answer: Players are allowed to play on more than team or for more than 1 sport at once. We encourage all parents to communicate to their coaches about schedule conflicts and to be honest and realistic about their commitment to their LL team. But we cannot deny a player who plays on a club team a spot on a LL team. We are an inclusive league and want to welcome all Shrewsbury girls to play softball, at all skill levels.

Question: Have the snack shack and field prep run with the sign up genius or have a team parent be in charge of in… it seems to always fall on the managers/coaches and they do a lot already, it is just that one more thing they end up organizing and worrying about

Answer: It is part of the manager’s responsibility, any team parent can step up and design a sign up genius, usually its just an email asking for volunteers, the manager is alreay sending emails.

Question: My daughter would like an opportunity to play on a comparable field as the 2 baseball fields at Dean. She would also like an opportunity to play in a summer softball tournament.

Answer: We are working on capital improvements to all fields over the coming years. LL GSB fields a tournament team for 12U Majors and 14U Juniors, but the vast majority of tournament/club teams that play in the summer are independent of LL are actually ASA/USA tournaments and teams. An online search for ASA/USA summer tournament teams will give you more information.

FIELDS:

Question: More trash barrels on Coolidge fields 2 & 3

Answer: SLL does not maintain dean park trash cans. This is maintained by the town.

Question: Upkeep of porta-potties

Answer: SLL pays for an outside company to provide and maintain the portapotties. If there are problems with them, please contact SLL and we will contact the servicer to come fix them.

Question: Covered dugout at Dean

Answer: The policy on no dugouts is a town policy.

Question: The fields need to allow sponsorship banners. It would help the league raise a lot of more money for other expenditures. It would look more like a real baseball park with signage. We could use the money to improve the fields along with the town.

Answer: The policy on no signage at Dean park is a town policy.

Question: Enforce no parking in dean park and make entrance and exit a one way traffic flow.

Answer: The town determines traffic flow in Dean Park.

Question: I’d really like them to get rid of that awful smell around the restroom at Dean Park.

Answer: The town maintains Dean Park. We can contact them to have them look at the bathrooms.

Question: As we play around the area in all-star tournaments it is striking how poor the Dean Park facilities are compared with nearly all of the fields in surrounding towns. The dugouts, with no roofs are a complete embarrassment. Other fields have neat and sometimes innovative features that not only make the baseball experience more enjoyable, but prove much more functional for the kids, such as batting cages, practice areas, etc. Most fields around the area are in similar condition to ours, but I would say our fields could definitely benefit from some work to level lips in the infields, add more dirt to infield and mound surfaces and fix holes in outfileds. But the bigges issue is the dugouts. Ours are a complete embarrassment and not a fun experience for the kids as we try to play through poor weather in the spring on rainy days/nights with no cover for them. The boys really enjoy the “cool” dugouts at various other towns fields. The cost to add a roof to our dugouts (just as a start) would be quite minimal. It is something we absolutely should do for next season. I’d also recommend adding advertising to the fences at a minimum. It is great for the advertisers, who will surely enjoy seeing their logos out on the fence every day/night of the season and beyond. Plus it provides an old-school fun feel to the park, while providing much needed revenue for the league. It is a real win-win for everyone and therefore makes no sense to prohibit.

Answer: The town policy has been no dugouts or signage at Dean Park. SLL will continue to work with the town to try and figure out a solution.

Question: I heard that girls have no chance to play under lights with snack shack- seems infant. Especially for playoff games!!!!

Answer: The boys and girls fields are not the same. The boys fields are not skinned to dirt. There is a cut out infield. If softball wants to play under the lights for play offs or other games on Dean 1 or 3, I am sure that could be arranged, but typically because the fields are different this is not desired. Snack shack is always available to be opened. Contact Katie Walker for keys and it can be opened and closed by any parents willing to run it that night.

Question: Cleaner bathrooms and having the snack shack opened at every game.

Answer: The snack shack is always available to be opened during any boys or girls game. If a team would like to open the snack shack and run it during any season game, please contact Katie Walker and she can the team keys to open, close and run the snack shack during their game.

Question: The fields and facilities are excellent! If I had to pick one thing it would be to have (or allow) a food truck (s) on site to help us feed our families dinner at the park on game nights. Options are so limited trying to get from work to fields and still get healthy options. Hot dogs and Swedish fish can only go so far 🙂

Answer:You can always pick up Dean Park pizza and have a picnic. The snack shack does have limitations being run by all volunteers.

Question: Town needs to allow sponsorship to improve overall quality of fields, stands and dugouts.

Answer: SLL and the town are always working on ways to improve.

Question: Fields are an eyesore and Dean Park fields are actual safety hazard! You will be sued in near future if not addressed as someone will be hurt

Answer: The town and SLL try to improve fields each year. If you have a specific safety concern, please email the town and SLL to get it corrected asap.

SCHEDULE:

Question: 7:30 pm games start too late if 5:30 game is long.

Answer: Due to scheduling constraints half the teams need to play at 5:30 and half at 7:30. Not enough fields for the amount of teams playing.

We are considering a few changes to the scheduling this year that should alleviate some of the later games for the kids in the upcoming season.  We are restricted by the number of fields that we have however we are making a concerted effort to reduce the number of 7:30 games across the leagues.

Question:

More instruction from the coaches. There were no drills done. Practices consisted of infield/outfield practice – with no correction of improper fundamentals, or situational instruction. Followed by batting practice – again, no instruction of improper swing mechanics. The final 30 minutes of practices usually consisted of some sort of “busy work/games” with the kids to pass the time. rather that utilize it to work on skill development. Not once did I see time taken to work with pitchers and catchers to develop their skills – or even see who could pitch and who could catch.

Answer:

Each season a coaches clinic is offered where coaches can learn new drills, increase their coaching knowledge and techniques.  These clinics also cover effective practice structure. Email links to online resources are also shared every season with coaches.  The more coaches the better at any given practice. This allows coaches to break up the kids into different stations to allow more one on one coaching.  Pairing up teams to practice together has been a way to ensure this happens.

Question:

A coach should only be allowed to be the manager of one team – not multiple teams. In our experience this year, the manager was running 3 teams in the program. As a result, he did not seem to fully grasp the nuances of skills required for the age groups. The manager did not put too much thought or preparation to the practices, and did not understand how to manage a game. there was no practice on game like situations (i.e. what to do with runners on first and third when the runners could steal.) Often times he was socializing with the other coaches and not paying attention when coaching third base. No time was taken to get to know the players’ strengths and weaknesses. No attempt appeared to be made to determine who could pitch and catch. Also, no information was sent out to the team as a whole for All Star consideration. It looks like the manager took it upon himself to select certain kids for All Stars instead of allowing the parents to fill out the commitment form. Overall, this season was very disappointing in that I did not see a lot of player or team development.

Answer:

Consider offering to coach or assist next season. We encourage anyone with constructive criticism to voice it but or even better put it to use next year on the field.  Coaches approach All Star selections differently. Any parent is welcome to approach their coach during the season about wanting their player to be considered for All Stars.

Question:

“I think there should be consideration to hire All Star head coaches that aren’t parents. There are many good baseball people in the area with ties to SLL that would probably love to coach the team(s). The level of coaching would be enhanced and there would be less politics in player selection. Parents of players that make the team could still act as AC’s.  It is also ludicrous that SLL has to field two 12 yr old All Star teams. There is barely enough talent to field one team let alone two.”

Answer:

We must field 2 12 year old all-star teams as dictated by the rules of our charter and the number of player in our league.  Just as a note, in 2016 both Shrewsbury 12 year old teams played against each other in the District Championship game which we felt represented our League very well.  If you have someone in mind that would be willing to volunteer their time as an All Star coach that does not have a player on the team, they would just need to petition the SLL board before team and coach selection occurs.

Question:

I would like to see improved skills development at the lower levels (Instructional and Farm). It was a noticeable difference in 7 and 8yr old players this year entering Minors. We had to teach basic fundamentals all season for these players (throwing a ball, catching a ball, etc.). Maybe mandatory clinics for the coaches?

Answer:

We will consider this for this upcoming season.   We do give the coaches a practice guide each season and it’s a matter of volunteers again.  3-4 coaches is the sweet spot with each coach handling a different skill at each practice so they have 3-4 kids each.

 

Question:

Would suggest clinics for the instructional and farm. Would be a good opportunity for the more experienced coaches to work we new coaches and players to help with what to practice with throwing, fielding and hitting. We need this for both softball and baseball. The young kids and coaches are the future of our program and we need to invest in them with some additional time.

Help social/emotional needs of athletes. Provide coaches with the tools to teach kids that baseball is a game of failure and that it is ok to make mistakes. Players to learn to deal with the emotional side

Answer:

Instructional & Farm – Coaches clinics will be discussed for this upcoming season and a series of drills and practice plans will be provided to coaches at this level.  We do our best to have 2-3 coaches on each team and stress energy level and excitement are the keys to success in the age group.

Question:

How can we better equalize the teams? It seemed some teams were “stacked” and other teams had kids who weren’t really into the game. This made it hard for the kids on my sibs team who really wanted to do well but had teammates who didn’t care.

 

Question:

“1) What are the policies and who makes the decisions on them? What changes require Board approval?

2) Are Board members required to attend a certain amount of meetings?

3) Are there any rules about having some Board members that are not coaches?

4) Does GSB fall under the AL or NL charter?

5) Can meeting minutes be made public?

6) Is there an annual meeting to update parents on policy changes?

7) Why are Board members allowed to talk about everything and anything? There should be some level of confidentiality.”

 

Answer:

Signing your son or daughter up during the registration period is how to get them started in Shrewsbury Little League.  Our registration period runs from October 1st through December 1st without a late registration fee but registration stays open through the following February in most cases for players who are new to town or maybe missed the registration period.

Board Meetings are open to the public and announcements are made when the meetings are well in advance if someone not on the Board would like to attend.

The Board does our best to have a certain level of confidentiality when issues are brought our attention.  In some cases there are situations that in order to address the concerns, names are given to those that are involved in addressing them but they are limited to those Board members only.

There are no rules concerning having Board Members who aren’t also Coaches.  It is our experience that most board members are also coaches as these are volunteers and the

From Minors on there is a draft held at each level in the interest of leveling off the talent.  We are considering re-drafting each year in Minors as we do for Prep already which should help with this issue.  We are not able to do this at the Majors level as this is dictated by the Little League National rules.

Each year we commit a certain amount of money towards capital improvements for the Little League as a whole.  All improvements are considered and voted on by the Board.

All of the rules for each level are posted on our website.  The Majors level is dictated by Little League International with an addendum that is also uploaded to our website each year with minor changes that are voted on by the Board.  Any such changes are discussed and edited if necessary and Board meetings are open to the public. If someone has a suggestion or an objection to any of the changes that are brought to the Board for approval they may express their concern at the meeting itself or via meeting to the entire Board or anonymously to a Board member they are familiar / comfortable with to bring to the meeting.

 

 

 

Question:

Why do we carry such a large balance? Couldn’t we fix fields, get new scoreboard, fix up shacks?

“1. What are the differences between Minors/Majors etc?

  1. How do I get my daughter/son started in the League?
  2. What equipment will my son/daughter need?
  3. How do I get the right size/type equipment?”

 

Answer:

Minors / Majors is strictly an age determination.  Minors is ages 8 & 9 and the first time the children will experience wins / loses and a playoff / championship.  We have a Prep level for children ages 9-11 who maybe aren’t quite ready for Majors and this is a higher level of play than Minors but not quite the level of Majors.  Majors is ages 10-12 and the highest skill level for these players still before they move on to the larger baseball diamond.

 

The only real piece of equipment for the Instructional and Farm level is a glove.  Cleats are highly recommended but not required.  You will also notice that the majority of children have their own bats and helmets, but again these are not required and some will be provided by the league if a child does not have them.  From Minors and up another required piece of equipment is a protective cup for the boys.

 

Regarding what size equipment, all instructional level coaches are given suggestions to forward to parents in terms of purchasing equipment.  If you have a question regarding equipment you can e-mail your child’s Coach or the Commissioner of the level that your son or daughter is playing and they would be happy to help.  Also, we suggest purchasing equipment at retail store where you can get assistance from an employee there or at least try the equipment on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

“How is Upper Dean utilized?

How much would it cost to add some kind of scoreboard to Upper Dean?

Can we utilize the existing structure for a snack shack as believe it was used for that before?

Could Upper Dean be used at night and rotate the softball teams so the girls can play under the lights?

I would like to understand the costs so we could begin discussions in regards to funding.”

 

Answer:

 

– This is a town field & lights that we use under permit from the town.

 

– It is a multi-use field that the town also uses for its recreational adult softball program on Thurs and Fri nights, meaning that SLL does not have access to that field 2 nights per week.

 

– Upper Dean softball is also used as a practice field for our Challenger baseball program as it has very good accessibility for that program.

 

– The Seniors girls softball division (ages 13-16) uses UD softball at least 4-5 days/nights per week for practices and games, depending on weather and makeup games.

 

– It is difficult to rotate different age groups onto different fields because each group needs a solid pitching rubber installed at the proper distance for each game. It’s not productive to continuously move pitching rubbers/distances. Minors pitch from 35′, Majors pitch from 40′ and Seniors pitch from 43′. In addition, each age group has different sized catching equipment that we provide for each team that is appropriate for that age group and stored at their primary field.

 

– Given the number of girls in each division, we generally field 6 teams each in Minors and Majors. With that number, we can easily schedule games on 1 dedicated field for each age group. With 6 teams, we like to schedule 1 weeknight game for each team, so that means we utilize a given field 3 weeknights out of 5, giving us some flexibility for rain and schedule conflicts. At the Minors and Majors ages, we find a 5:30 or 6:00 pm start works well, and we want to get the games in under 2 hours. So lights really aren’t necessary to accomplish this for the majority of the spring season. The Seniors division has high school aged girls. This age group is better suited to have later start times and utilize the lights for portions of their games each weeknight.

Question: How can there not be a league for 16 year old boys, my son was only on the senior league for one year and I am shocked he can not play this year. Very disappointed. I know several other families are as well.  Can this be addressed please. Please don’t mention the HS team, we all know how political that is and how many kids get cut every year. These kids want to play ball and the SSL is supposed to be for ages 5-18 and not everyone can afford AAU.
Answer:

Little League International determines the ages for each level of kids playing Baseball and Softball.  Shrewsbury Little League follows the rules set forth by LLI as we are a member of their organization.  (11/17/17) We will contact someone in our regional offices and see if there is anything that can or is  being done for the kids affected by their recent age changes.

 

 

 

 

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