To the editor:
It’s hard to believe that spring is a little over a week away. With spring just around the corner, that can only mean baseball is not too far behind. The Newton Little League Board has been meeting since the first week of February laying out plans for the season. As president of the Newton Little League, I’m excited about this season and want to share with you some changes we are making. We are in the process of putting together plans and forming new partnerships that will help us to develop players and coaches. I believe that 2013 will be the turning point for Newton Little League and baseball in Newton.
This year we have two new co-coaches for high school baseball, they are Darin Tisdale and Pat Riley. Coach Tisdale and Coach Riley asked to be a part of our planning process this year because they understand for their teams to excel, it begin at the lower levels. With their help we are completely restructuring our leagues so that we better utilize our players practice and game times. The coaches’ philosophy is pretty straight forward. We need to teach our players the game of baseball, but keep it fun, simple and exciting so that they want to play. In addition we need to teach our volunteer coaches how to keep it fun, simple and exciting so that their players are excited about playing. We are purchasing new training aids and practice information that will help all our coaches teach this philosophy. Every coach in each of our leagues will have the same information and drills that they will use, this way every player is being taught the same thing. The idea is that players will be moving from drill to drill with little time to stand around. It will be fun and interesting to see both players and coaches develop together.
How many of you knew that Little League has a pledge? The pledge is, “I trust in God, I love my country, I will respect its laws, I will play fair, And strive to win, But win or lose, I will always do my best.” Now let’s look at the Newton YMCA mission, “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.” I please to announce that the Newton Little League has formed a partnership with the YMCA. While our league is a citywide league, most people just assumed we were already associated with the Y. So really this is a partnership we should have done a long time ago. The Y will handle our day to day operations, like player registration, player evaluations, drafts, field preparations and concessions to name a few. Parent can now go to the Y during normal business hours and register at the front desk. With this partnership, we will now have a greater opportunity to expand our instruction and training of baseball fundamentals that we were just unable to do before.
I would also like to announce that we are forming in new Junior League this year. This league will be for 13 and 14 year old players. This league will have a slightly smaller infield than has been used in the past. The pitcher’s mound will be at fifty-four feet versus the normal sixty feet and the base paths will be eighty feet rather than ninety feet. This smaller infield is being endorsed by our high school coaches. Coach Tisdale and Coach Riley will be heavily involved in a lot of aspects of this league since these players are just a few years away from moving into high school baseball. We are also looking to limit the traveling these teams will be doing. We are working with Grinnell to schedule games and looking at possibly other teams that are fairly close. At this time we are hoping to get three Newton teams, but there has been interest express that could possible push this to five teams.
With any change come challenges and to meeting these challenges we are going to need the cooperation of parents, players and volunteer coaches. Sign-up for 2013 are underway, so stop in at the front desk at the Y and get signed up.
Newton Little League