Little League Baseball - Everything You Need to Know from Bats, Drills, Rules, Field Dimensions, Uniforms, Bracket Sheets Down to the Pitch Count Scorebook

HomeBlogsJack Perconte's blogLittle League Baseball - Everything You Need to Know from Bats, Drills, Rules, Field Dimensions, Uniforms, Bracket Sheets Down to the Pitch Count Scorebook
HomeBlogsJack Perconte's blogLittle League Baseball - Everything You Need to Know from Bats, Drills, Rules, Field Dimensions, Uniforms, Bracket Sheets Down to the Pitch Count Scorebook
Little League Baseball - Everything You Need to Know from Bats, Drills, Rules, Field Dimensions, Uniforms, Bracket Sheets Down to the Pitch Count Scorebook
Jack Perconte

The Early History of Little League Baseball

Little League Baseball was founded by Carls Stotzin Williamsport City, Pennsylvania in 1939 by experimenting with his idea for a baseball game for kids 5-18 years of age. Stotzin association with his nephews Major and Jimmy Gehronand a few neighbors tried to play with different dimensions and created plans until they were ready to establish what we know today as Little League Baseball. The first game of the league happened in 1939 with Stotzand his friends Bert and George Bebble managing the first three teams; Jumbo Pretzel, Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber. Later, the men, joined by their wives along with another couple became the first Board of Directors operating Little league Baseball.

Today the League, also known as The Little League Baseball Incorporated, organizes local, regional, national youth, junior baseball and softball tournaments allover the world. After the '08 season, they have around 2.6 million players worldwide, composed of both boys and girls with around 400,000 registered under softball.

Every year it holds a World Series in August in South Williamsport, PA in the United States where their Stadium and Administration building, which was renovated back in 2008, is located. This is participated by places like Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania, McKinney, Austin and Pearland Texas, Wisconsin, Bristol Indiana, Naperville, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Easton Maryland, Richmond Kentucky, Islip, Cooperstown, Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York, West Wilson CT, Florida and as far as Hawaii and countries like Puerto Rico and China.

In the 2010 World Series, Japan became its most recent champion. There are also other competing tournaments like the Coon Rapids Baseball Rec League, Cal Ripken Youth Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball and Babe Ruth League. Each camp has their own training camps providing coaching and instructions to ensure that players are of top quality.

Added to that, you can even find the League on video game platforms like Nintendo's NES, DS and Wii and Microsoft's Xbox with considerable sale worldwide. You can find Little League Baseball online with the www.littleleague.org as their official website and all the teams under their umbrella has their own websites as well. 

There are also a lot of instructional book videos and software resources that you can set up on your computer if you need them for personal instruction. There are thousands of memorabilia, like cards and old trophies that you can find from collectors. Thus, from its humble beginnings, Little League Baseball has come a long way.

Different Types of Little League Baseball Bats

The bat is its primary equipment and there are many types of bats in Little League Baseball. Depending on the age group it will be used the construction will also vary. Here are the different types of Little League Baseball bats:

1. Tee Ball Bats Tee ball bats are for kids 5 to 7 years of age and they are used for coach pitch leagues and tee-ball which teaches the fundamentals of baseball and teamwork. The bat has a 2 1/4 diameter barrel and ranges from 25 to 27 inches in length. The weight of the bat is measured in weight drop and this can differ between various brands and models. In most cases the lighter ones are usually around minus 13 and the heavier ones are around minus 7.

2. Little League Bats For ages 7 to 12, you have the Little League bat. Again this can differ among various brands and models but the bat generally has the same diameter as the tee-ball bat with length ranges from 28 to 32 inches. The weight is also measured in weight drop with lighter ones around minus 13 and the heavier ones area round minus 7.

3. Senior League Bats Senior League bats for ages 10 to 13 are used for various tournaments and travel leagues. It has a barrel diameter of 2-5/8 for High School regulation 2-3/4inch for the Big Barrel. The bat length is around 30 to 32 inches with the weight measured in bat drop weight. In most cases the heavier ones are around minus 5 and the lighter ones around minus 11. 

4. High School and College Bats For ages 13 & up, there is the High School and College bat. As the name suggests, the bat is used for High School and College tournaments and usually have the BESR (Bat Exit Speed Rating) stamped on it. The diameter of this bat is 2-5/8 inches with the length ranging from 31 to 34 inches. The weight of the bat must be minus 3 as measured in weight drop.

These are the different kinds of bats in Little League Baseball. As already mentioned, the difference springs from the fact that they have different purposes and are designed in ways that they can meet the demands of these purposes. Easton and DeMarini are two of the most famous manufacturer of bats for Little League Baseball in particular and baseball in general. Back in 2009, all bats are required to be labelled with BPF (Bat Performance Factor) of 1.15 or lower.

Little League Baseball Drills - How to Learn the Fundamentals of the Game

Every game has its own fundamentals and so for the game of baseball. The best time to practice is when players are still young. To teach the basics, things have to start early through Little League Baseball training drills. In Little League Baseball, the player who displays good fundamentals is considered a good player. The best way to teach the fundamentals is through fielding drills.

How to Give Fielding Drills for Infielders

1. Lineup the kids in an infield position throughout the whole infield. Have a coach stand at home with a bat and a bucket full of soft baseballs, and another player at first base with a glove.

2. Instruct kids to take their gloves off and start hitting ground balls at them. The ground balls should not be too hard for the kids so that they don't hurt their bare hands. This will teach them to use both hands when catching the ball.

3. Next, instruct kids to put their gloves on and hit balls at them again. Teach them to face the ball with feet apart and knees bent, while catching with both hands.

4. Stress that they throw to first base when they are done fielding the ground balls. Tell them that a good throw is equally important as fielding the ball. Review the techniques as often as necessary in order to gain mastery.

How to Give Fielding Drills for Outfielders

1. Spread the kids in the outfield with one player staying at second base.

2. For warm up, give the players some flying balls and have them catch with both hands. After catching the ball, players throw it to the second base man. Inform kids that the throw is as important as the catch. 

3. Since outfielders have to field ground balls as well as fly balls, you have to hit them as well. Stress that they have to bend their knees as they stop the ground ball.

4. For outfielders, it is always difficult to judge fly balls. Having kids make a good step back, after the ball is hit, helps. Mix up ground balls and fly balls in order to train kids with both scenarios. Constant reviews are necessary to gain mastery of these techniques.

Little League Baseball Rules

Due to the age and size of the players, Little League Baseball has a different set of rules, regulations and field dimensions. Following are the most important points of the rules and how they differ with the official rules of baseball. Please take note that these rules apply to players ages12 and below and what is presented here is in no way a manual.

1. The players Every player in Little League Baseball must play at the very least, two innings in the field and be able to bat at least once. This is to ensure that every player will have a chance to bat and play the field.

2. The games While regular baseball has nine innings, Little League Baseball has six. If it rains, the official game is four innings instead of five and if the home team is ahead, it is reduced to 3-1/2. If one side holds a ten-run lead, the game will also end for an official game.

3. The batter In Little League Baseball, the batter is out automatically upon strike three even if the catcher does not catch the ball.

4. Designated hitters There is no designated hitter in Little League Baseball, all nine of the fielders will bat in their own turn. This rule is similar to the National League.

 5. Base runners Base runners should stay at their bases and wait until the pitched ball reaches the batter before leaving the base.

6. Double headers When there are two games involving the same teams, this is called a "double header" and it should be scheduled not more than once every calendar week. The exception is when one of the game is a completion of a tie game that has been suspended.

7. The Pitchers There are a dozen of limitations on how much a pitcher can pitch in Little League Baseball. A pitcher between age 11 to 12 cannot pitch more than 85 pitches in a day, ages 9 to10 cannot pitch more than 75 pitches and 8 year olds not more than 50 pitches in a day. 

8. The managers The head coach or the manager can visit the pitcher twice per inning. This is one more than regular baseball. The pitcher is removed if the manager visits a third or fourth time in the same inning. This is just a summary of the most important rules in Little League Baseball. This is in no way complete but is roughly what you need to know. 

The Little League Baseball Field Dimensions

Although fields vary a lot, the layout of the field dimension is more or less than 2/3 the size of the regular baseball diamond diagram field. Since the field is smaller, the distance between bases is 60 feet as opposed to 90 feet in regular baseball. The pitcher is located 46 feet away from the batter while in regular baseball, it is 60 feet 6 inches. The outfield fence varies between 165 feet and 200 feet from the plate. This allows adequate space for younger players.

Things You Need to Know When Designing Uniforms

Thousands of kids join Little League Baseball each year and one of the essential things that your child and team needs is a set of uniforms or jerseys. Although uniforms can vary from team to team, there are certain general principles to follow when choosing one for your child. If you are a team manager, you can also use these principles in deciding a uniform for your team.

1. Consider the material. The most common material for jerseys nowadays are polyester materials. This is so because they don't get soaked with sweat. As the kids continue playing, the sweat is not absorbed by the uniform and just dries out soon.

2. Consider the size. There are a lot of one-size-fits-all uniforms that you can buy but the problem with this approach is that kids do vary in sizes and that is why they really need a customized uniform. After you have considered the overall design of the uniform, take the measurements of each member of the team so that they will get a customized uniform.

3. Create a nice logo design. The logo is the pride of the team and will goon the uniforms, banners and caps. That's why it has to be well designed. This is especially true for the banner because it is so big that everybody can see it. If you are not talented enough to create nice graphics, make sure that a professional does it for the team. Make sure that the logos speak of what the team stands for.

4. Create a nice looking caps and hats design. The baseball cap has been part of regular Little League Baseball. It carries the team logo in front of it and it serves as the crowning glory of the team. Like the team logo, the cap should also be well designed.

5. Choose the right shoes. Determine the surface in which the game will be played and pick the shoes based on it. Turf shoes are excellent for turf surfaces but for other surfaces, regular baseball shoes with soft spikes is necessary. Little League Baseball has evolved through the years. In fact, some of the old school styles are beginning to see a come back. Use the tips presented here in choosing the uniform for your kid or team. Pictures of your team in their complete uniform are important because they will be looking at these photos with great nostalgia in years to come. For more on turf shoes, see our list of the best baseball turf shoes for 2024!

How to Make Your Own Bracket Sheet

To keep track of game schedules and results, you need a tournament bracket sheet. This resource will come in handy because you can actually make your own printable Little League Baseball bracket sheet, which will serve as your game scheduler; here's how:

1. To make your life easy, download those tournament bracket sheet templates found online. For ease of use, choose those that are created using MSExcel.

2. Next, enter the bracket information such as specific tournament location, team names, date played and the seating number into the template.

3. Make sure to distribute the teams before you put them in your tournament bracket. The method of distributing the teams is called seeding. When seeding, you distribute your teams in such a way that the higher seeded teams have a better chance of winning.

4. After you have the scores entered, you advance the teams in the next bracket. This will result in having just one winner in the end. Some good software will do the advancing for you so that all that you have to do is print the blank bracket and write the scores and the winners.

Keep a Pitch Count Score Book to Prevent Pitching Arm Injury

Many Little League Baseball pitchers can no longer play baseball when they reach High School because of an arm injury. This is a common among young pitchers and is primarily caused by the inability of the coach to keep track of the number of pitches that he allows his pitchers and not allowing adequate rest. Although most tournaments have limits with the number of innings, they don't set a limit on the maximum number of pitches that a pitcher can throw. This is the best recipe for arm injury.

According to the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), "the number of pitches is more important than the number of innings when determining rest requirement". If you are a coach and you care for the welfare of your pitchers, you don't have to overwork them until they are blue in the face but have to keep a Little League Baseball pitch count score book so that you can keep stats of all the pitches that your pitchers have thrown. This way you can determine whether the pitcher needs rest or a replacement.

These are things you need to know about Little League Baseball--from bats, drills, rules, field dimensions, uniforms, bracket sheets down to the pitch count score book.

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About Jack Perconte

After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.

All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.

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