Every baseball-loving dad and mom look forward to the day their little one will step up to bat, thwack the ball out of the park, and run bases on their way to MLB glory. Before this dream can come to fruition, however, first come the days spent in the sun watching as the kiddies fumble their way around the diamond at their T-ball games. If you’re considering signing your child up for a T-ball team, here’s what you can expect from the experience.
An Every Position Type of Team
Your child will have experience with each and every position, and skill doesn’t factor into who gets to bat and who doesn’t. One thing that coaches try to emphasize within T-ball practices and games is participation. Don’t be shocked when the shortstop wanders out into the outfield—you’ll often see huddles of teammates running along after the same ball. What matters in T-ball is that they’re getting involved, not that they’re following the specific rules set out before their 5-year-old minds.
The Coach is a Volunteer
Remember that coaching for T-ball isn’t a highly sought after position, and more likely than not your child’s coach is just a parent who was willing enough to donate their time to helping the children learn the fundamentals of America’s favorite pastime. With that in mind, remember to keep your complaints and criticism to a minimum—this isn’t competitive high school sports, and it’s okay that your child only bat three times while another mini-pro on the team got to step up to the plate four times. Also don’t be surprised if the coach has no baseball experience; it may be that they were the only ones willing to step out every week and commit their time to your child’s practice. Knowing this, make sure you offer your assistance whenever and wherever you can to help your child’s T-ball coach make the season a success for the kids. When the end of the season comes, present them with something like a canvas photo of the team as a thank you for their efforts.
Don’t be surprised that there’s little boys and girls running around all willy-nilly when you head to the field. That’s right, for all you newbies, T-ball is made up of both girls and boys, meaning co-ed teams are the norm, not the exception. While boys definitely make up the majority of T-ball teams, some reports stated that nearly 35 percent of children who play each year are little girls. If you have a daughter who’s interested, don’t hesitate to sign her up.
Be Patient and Enjoy
Know before you head into the T-ball season that there will be moments of frustration, and moments of sheer hilarity. Four and five-year-olds won’t come out of the gate swinging like The Great Bambino, and you might see your cutie patootie more excited about playing with the dirt under his feet than paying attention to the ball coming his way. One of your roles as a T-ball parent is to laugh and not take things too seriously. Remember that this is simply preparation for baseball, and while your child will be exposed to all of the necessary fundamentals, it will also be a time spent teaching them how to focus and handle down time.
Getting the Right Gear
The great part about starting off with T-ball is it’s not too expensive, as your child won’t require the fanciest of gear. As your sweetie pie starts out, it’s important to find equipment they can grow with. That might mean a beginner’s glove borrowed from a family member or looking through the slow-pitch softball bats at Baseball Monkey for a bat they can use from the get-go and advance with as the years go on. One thing not to waste your money on? Super expensive cleats that your teeny jock will grow out of within a few months; more often than not, simple tennis shoes will do the trick. Also heads up for washing those pristine uniforms: buy as much stain removing Fels-Naptha as your shopping cart can handle.
If your all-star is ready to don that crisp team outfit and head out to become a big, bad T-ball player, take these facets into consideration before signing up and prepare for busy weekends.