Bethlehem Softball League, Inc.
P.O. Box 221, Delmar NY 12054
Travel Q&A - (tryout information applies to 2020 travel season)
1) WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
, VP of Travel or
2) HOW OLD MUST MY DAUGHTER BE TO PLAY?
Generally, your daughter must be entering grade 4 in the fall. Exceptions can be made for older third graders who have played 2+ years. (Technically, per the next question, she should have been born by 12/31/2012.)
3) WHAT ARE THE AGE GROUPS/DIVISIONS?
As with rec play, Travel Ball is driven by your daughter's age as of December 31, 2019 (for the 2019-2020 season). We will likely assemble teams in 5 age groups - 16U (girls born in 2003 or 2004), 14U (girls born in 2005 or 2006), 12U (girls born in 2007 or 2008), 10U (girls born in 2009 or 2010). 8U (girls born in 2011 or 2012).
For each age group, we seek to create teams attempting to match the overall skill level of the team with opportunities for play where they will be most suitably competitive. There may be more than one team created in an age group. This is driven by the number of girls who try out, and more importantly their skill level. We will not field teams simply because there were enough interested players.
4) HOW ARE TEAMS SELECTED?
Selected players will be notified by managers if they have made a team. Rosters for selected teams will then be posted on the Bethlehem softball league Website once selections have been confirmed by Managers. An invitation to play on a travel team will be extended based on each girls tryout, and other softball experience. Managers will receive guidance from the travel committee, but the ultimate decision of who to invite to play is up to the manager.
5) CAN MY DAUGHTER BE ON A TEAM WITH HER SISTER OR HER FRIENDS?
There is no consideration for being teamed with friends for any reason in travel ball. None. This is designed to be a more advanced competitive playing atmosphere. As such managers are attempting to form the most competitive teams possible, not a summer camp for friends. Sisters in the same age group may get special consideration as scheduling would be difficult if they were placed on separate teams, however the circumstances need to be extenuating and warranted.
6) HOW ARE MANAGERS/COACHES SELECTED?
Managers must apply for the job and go through an interview. To be qualified to manage OR coach, individuals must have managed/coached at least one season with the Bethlehem softball recreational league. Typically, interviews are held in late June or early July prior to try-outs.
7) WHAT IF WE DON'T LIVE IN BETHLEHEM?
The majority of girls are from the towns of Bethlehem and Ravena, but any girl residing in Albany County or the Greater Capital district is eligible.
8) WHEN IS THE TRAVEL SEASON?
Season is year round with games/tournaments in fall/spring/summer. However, if enough girls from a travel team are available to play Fall Ball this September/October, they will compete as a team. (Please note that Fall Ball participation is not a requirement for travel participation. We encourage participation in other activities and conflicts in the fall that prevent a girl from playing Fall Ball will not affect her standing in the travel program. However, it is a managers discretion as to what is a reasonable conflict and they may set their own individual team guidelines accordingly. Teams may also participate in in-door tourneys in the fall and winter.
9) WHERE, WHEN & WHAT DAYS ARE PRACTICES?
Practices may be held in the fall while the fields are still playable. Parents should also expect their daughters to participate in practices in school gyms throughout the winter months. These are typically held no more than one night per week, or on Saturday/Sunday. During the rec season in the spring, practices are usually held on Sunday mornings so as not to compete with rec games. Specifics will be communicated by the team manager.
10) WHERE & WHEN DO WE PLAY GAMES?
Teams typically travel no more than 45 minutes to play their away games (home games are played at Line Drive or Elm Avenue Park). There is a local organization called the Hudson-Mohawk league that puts together a travel season that consists of 12 games from late June through late July. Each team will play in weekend tournaments as well. This can involve traveling well beyond Albany County and may require overnight stays. Depending on age group, and level of commitment, and team manager will put together a schedule that includes between 1 and 5 tourneys that take place from late June through late July.
11) WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO PROVIDE?
The league supplies basic equipment including batting helmets, bats, balls and catcher’s gear. However, you may choose to purchase these on your own.
You will need to provide:
• Softball Glove
• Sliding Shorts (recommended for all age levels)
• Sliding Pads (sliders to protect below the knee)
• Fielder's Facemask
12) ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL TRAINING AND/OR CLINICS?
13) HOW CAN I HELP OUT?
There are many ways! Each team needs volunteers and your support is key to ensuring a successful league for the team. Your fees do not pay any salaries – we are all volunteers! Here are positions you may consider:
• Manager: Total administrative and operational responsibility for your team.
• Coach: Primary role is to teach the girls and assist the Manager
• Team Parent: Administrative right arm of the Manager ensuring that non-operational tasks required are supported and that the league communication loop is open to all parents.
• Scorekeeper: Maintain the game records for the team and ensure that the game publicity provides recognition to both individual girls as well as to the team (training available)
• Field Prep: Drawing baselines and equipment set-up/storage (training available)
14) HOW MUCH SHOULD WE EXPECT TO SPEND?
Again, the answer to this question will depend on the individual team. Managers are required to put together a budget that indicates how much money they intend to spend and where the money will come from. Typical expenses include uniforms, practice space rental, tourney fees (the league historically had paid for two tourneys on behalf of each team, this is not currently provided), registration fees, other clothing, etc. At the low end, a team may require $300 per family to cover minimum fees. At the upper end, the most competitive teams may require several hundred dollars or more to cover extra tourney fees, team pins, and some travel expenses. When you receive a call from your manager inviting your daughter to a team, please inquire as to the monetary commitment expected. He/she may not be able to give you an exact amount, but an estimate should be fairly accurate. Teams will likely participate in fundraising activities to help offset out-of-pocket expenses.
15) WHAT TYPE OF COMMITMENT AM I MAKING?
We cannot overemphasize how important it is to attend all practice and game functions to whatever extent possible. In travel ball, missing a couple of girls on a particular night may not be the end of the world, but being short players at a tournament is a severe drain on the team as a whole. We ask parents and players to honor the commitment to the team that is made when they accept an invitation to play. Basically, this means planning vacations not before August 1 - this includes summer sleep-away camps. Your daughter needs to be available to play with her team from the end of school through the end of July. Player families who do not honor this commitment, or who leave their teams will not be allowed to return to the travel program without board approval.
16) DOES MY DAUGHTER HAVE TO PLAY REC BALL IN ORDER TO PLAY TRAVEL?
Players who are in grades 8 and up can play travel without playing rec. Historically, the vast majority of girls have played both rec and travel as there is little overlap between the seasons. Girls in grades 4-7 must play rec ball in order to play travel as well. Travel players are required to register and pay the league recreational fee regardless of whether they chose to play at the grade 8 and up level. There are no exceptions. Manager, coaches and or players attempting to manipulate this will be dismissed from the team.