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4S Ranch Girls Softball FAQ's

4S Ranch Girls Softball FAQ's

Q: Who can play Spring Recreational Softball?
A: 4S Softball is open to girls from ages 5-14.

Q: Can I join even if I have never played softball?
A: Absolutely! We encourage all skill levels to join. Our league is built around girls playing with friends and having fun as well as learning the game and improving skills. All girls, regardless of ability or experience, will be able to play.

Q: What is the cancellation policy?
A: There will be NO refund issued after assessment day.  If a players moves or gets injured during the season, you will be issued a prorated refund.  All other circumstances must be discussed and approved by our Board.

Q: How long is the season?
A: Our recreational teams are formed in mid-January, and practices start the end of January. Games run from mid February through late April-May.

Q: How are the teams and age groups organized?
A: Teams are organized by age divisions, determined by players' year of birth. Each division spans two years. When you hear someone say "8U," they are referring to the 8-and-younger division, and so on.

Age Divisions for 2019 Season:

Division Year of Birth
6U (T-Ball) 2012-2013
8U 2010-2011
10U 2008-2009
12U 2006-2007
14U 2004-2005


Q: What time commitment is necessary to play softball and when/where do practices take place?
A: The chart gives specifics about the time commitment and scheduling for each division:

WEEKLY PRACTICE AND GAME GUIDELINES:

Division Events/wk Practice Length Games/wk Game Length
6U (T-Ball) 2 1 hr 1-2* 1 hr
8U 3 1.5 hrs 1-2 1.5 hrs
10U 3 2 hrs 2 1.5 hrs
12U 3 2 hrs 2 1.5 hrs
14U 3-4 2 hrs 2 1.5 hrs

  * For 6U, note that if a team has 2 games scheduled during a week, there will be no practice that week.  The max events for 6U is twice per week.  Our games are instructional by nature for 6U.

Game Times

Midweek games generally start at 5:30 p.m. Saturday games generally start between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Coaches will require their players to arrive 45-60 minutes before game time to warm-up properly and be ready to start the game on time.

Game Locations

4S Ranch Sports Park is our home field complex and has multiple softball diamonds for 8U+ games as well as multiple locations for 6U games. We also have games at Stagecoach (formerly Wells Fargo) Field. Additionally, the 10u and 12U and above divisions also play Interleague games throughout the local area.

Practice Times/Locations

Practices take place at various local fields. Practice fields are typically divided into an early and late slot to fit two teams per field on weekdays with practice times for a given team typically dependent upon the coaches' availability and the game schedule. Practices are coordinated by the League’s Scheduler for the 8U and above divisions.

Q: How can I get ready for softball or start to practice? Will there be clinics?
A: 4S Softball hosts clinics both before and during the season.   When clinics are scheduled, information will be on the website calendar

Q: What is expected of the parents?
A: 4S Softball is a 100% volunteer run organization and each player’s family is asked to help out in some volunteer capacity. This helps keep our costs reasonable but also contributes to the community feel of the league. The girls really like having their parents involved and most parents find that it is a fun experience and enjoy getting to know other families from the area. The specific positions available can be found on this website.  You will have the opportunity to specify your preferred role(s) during the registration process. In addition, most Coaches and Managers appreciate any extra help they can get, so please volunteer to help at practices, games or in team support positions. Don’t worry if you know nothing about softball-- every parent has something to offer.

We encourage you to attend your daughter’s games.  In addition to lots of cheering and your wild enthusiastic support, your daughter will appreciate and benefit enormously from your presence. Please note, for safety reasons you MAY NOT DROP YOUR PLAYER OFF FOR A PRACTICE/GAME UNLESS YOU EXPLICITLY WORK THIS OUT WITH THE CHAPERONE/MANAGER.  FURTHER, YOUR PLAYER MUST BE PICKED UP AFTER PRACTICE/GAMES.

In addition, 4S Softball has a code of conduct and good neighbor policy by which all families are expected to abide. This information will be provided to you as you register, and will be reviewed with you by your Team’s Manager.

Q: Can I get information on the new 4S Ranch turf?
A: Yes.  Here is a site that you can visit to give you information regarding the new turf at the 4S Ranch Community Park.  Please visit http://www.syntheticturfcouncil.org/?page=CRI

SPRING REC TEAM FORMATION FAQs 

Q: How are teams formed?
A: Teams are organized in age divisions, determined by players' year of birth and aligned with the policies of the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the national organization which governs our league. Each age division spans two years. Players register for the division that corresponds to their birth year and must provide proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or passport copy if registering for the first time. Each division spans two years and is consistent with national ASA standards and most leagues in neighboring communities.

The 2019 age divisions are as follows:

Division Year of Birth
6U (T-Ball) 2012-2013
8U 2010-2011
10U 2008-2009
12U 2006-2007
14U 2004-2005

This two year divisional structure allows girls to learn new skills and stretch themselves in their first year in a new division and then gain confidence and leadership skill during their second year in a division. This is at the heart of the League’s philosophy to develop the ‘whole girl’ as well as good softball players.

In the 6U divisions, teams are “school based”, which means that to the extent possible, teams are formed with girls from the same school. In the event that a particular school doesn’t have enough players or coaches to form a complete team, nearby schools are sometimes combined to form a team. We encourage you to invite all your classmates to come out and play softball with you this Spring!  In 6U, you may also request one buddy using the 2018 Spring Rec Season Buddy Form located on the Forms tab of our website under 2018 Spring Forms.

In our Upper Divisions (8U, 10U, 12U & 14U), teams are not school-based as they are in 6U. Instead, 4S Softball makes every effort to create teams balanced by skill and experience to create an equal playing field for fun and fair competition. It is still possible to request a particular playing buddy in 8U, although there are a few types of buddies that are not allowed (2 pitchers, 2 catchers or 2 All-Star players). The 4S Softball Buddy Policy has these limitations to ensure that the most skilled pitchers, catchers and their parents (who are frequently among the most experienced team staff members) can be spread-out fairly amongst all the teams in the division. You can find the 2018 Spring Rec Season Buddy Form located on the "Forms" page of this website. Teams are composed of girls from various schools and everyone makes new friends. There are no tryouts and every girl (ages 5 to 14) is welcome to play. In order to create teams balanced by experience and skill level, all players in the 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U divisions take part in a Skills Assessment session in early January. 

Q: Does my player have to try out?
A: In our Spring recreational league, everyone plays. There are no tryouts to determine who makes or does not make the league. In the lower age divisions, teams are formed based on the schools the players attend. For the upper divisions (8U and above), we hold player skills assessments in early January in order to help create balanced teams. Again, this is not a try-out. Once these players are evaluated, we use a draw system to balance skill level and age (see Age Divisions above). Pitchers and catchers are also balanced across these teams. 4S Softball Player Agents make the final determination of placement for any individual player according to the guidelines outlined above.

Q: My player is ready for the next level of softball. Can she "play up" despite her age?
A: 4S Softball requires all players to play in their correct age division by birth year. The one exception to this policy is outlined in the 2018 Playing Up/Down Policy form found on our "Forms" page of the website.

Q: Can my daughter play down a division?
A: 4S Softball requires all players to play in their correct age division by birth year. Please see the 2017 Playing Up/Down Policy form found on our "Forms" page of the website.

Q: Can sisters play on the same team?
A: Sisters in the same age division will automatically be put on the same team UNLESS the parent requests otherwise or if the player submits a buddy form naming a same age-division buddy instead. Note: having sisters of the same or similar age placed on different teams can be challenging on a parent's schedule and is therefore not recommended.

Q: Can my 6U/8U daughter play with her friends?
A: In the 6U division (see ages in the table above), teams are school-based: to the extent possible, each team is formed with girls from the same school. Nearby schools may be combined if individual schools don’t have enough girls or coaches to form a complete team. If your daughter would like to be placed with one specific friend, you need to download, fill in, and postmark an official 2018 Spring Rec Season Buddy Form no later than January 4, 2018. Every effort will be made to accommodate 6U Buddy Pairs from the same school wanting to play together.  Buddy players from different schools will be placed together IF POSSIBLE. We will not bump anyone from a school team in order to accommodate a buddy from a different school, so keep in mind that if you choose a buddy from a different school, one or both of you will most likely not be playing with your own school classmates.  To request that your daughter play on another school’s team, please indicate that during the registration process.  It is also possible to request a particular playing buddy in 8U, although there are a few types of buddies that are not allowed (2 pitchers, 2 catchers or 2 All-Star players). The 4S Softball Buddy Policy has these limitations to ensure that the most skilled pitchers, catchers and their parents (who are frequently among the most experienced team staff members) can be spread-out fairly amongst all the teams in the division. Such requests will be honored IF POSSIBLE, but are NOT GUARANTEED. 

Q: Can my 10U and older daughter play with her friends?
A: In the 10U (and above) divisions, there are no buddy requests.  Priority is given to balancing the skills across the teams. Teams are composed of girls from various schools and everyone makes new friends.

Q: Can my daughter play with her sister and a buddy?
A: A 6U or 8U player can request to be placed on a team with a Buddy OR a Sister, but NOT BOTH.

Q: How and when will I know what team my player is on?
A: Teams are formed just prior to the start of the season by the League Player Agents. You will get a call or email from your team manager just ahead of our Team Meeting Nights in mid-January, to invite you to that event and let you know that you are on his/her team. Check the Calendar tab for the date / location of your divisional Team Meeting Night.

Q: What position will my daughter play?
A: Many factors such as skill, attitude, and participation in practices determine playing positions. While Team Staff make the final decisions, many teams rotate players through a variety of positions throughout the season to achieve this goal.

Q: What are the pitching policies at various age levels?
A: 6U: Coach pitch or players hit from a batting tee. There are no strike-outs. All players hit every inning.
8U: Player/Coach pitch. Pitching is introduced at this age level but is limited to keep up the pace of play. We encourage players interested in pitching to try it in game situations.
10U: Player pitch only. Pitchers are allowed to pitch a maximum of 3 innings per game.
12U: Player pitch only. Pitchers are allowed to pitch a maximum of 4 innings per game. Pitchers are encouraged to develop their pitching skills through focused practice and clinics.
14U: Player pitch only. Pitchers are allowed to pitch a maximum of 4 innings per game. Pitchers are encouraged to develop their pitching skills through focused practice and clinics.

EQUIPMENT FAQs 

Q: What equipment does 4S Softball provide and what do I provide?
A: 4S Softball provides uniforms, fields, bases, batting helmets, bats, balls and catcher's gear. Uniforms include jerseys, headbands and socks.  Players must provide a softball glove (please put her name on it!). Softball cleats (plastic bottomed) are recommended. 

Players in the 8U/10U/12U/14U divisions must provide black athletic pants. Sliding shorts (or pants) and knee pads are recommended for girls at the 10U level and required for any player that slides.

If you choose to purchase additional softball equipment:

  • Helmets must have a face mask and be NOCSAE-approved. We suggest an adjustable helmet rather than a one-size-fits-all model.
  • Bats must be marked "ASA Softball approved" with a date of 2004 or later.  Do check with a coach first if you are uncomfortable making a selection (correct bat size is critical). Note that high-performance bats (i.e. composite, titanium, or multi-walled) are NOT ALLOWED.

Q: What size glove should I buy my daughter?
A: Suggested sizes:

6U: 10-10.5 inches
8U and 10U: 11-11.5 inches
12U and 16U: 12-12.5 inches

Q: What do I need to know before buying a glove?
A: Buy all-leather. The glove is worn on the left hand for players who throw with their right hand (known as a right-hand throw glove), and vice-versa for left-handers. Look for a hinged design, without extra padding in the palm, to make it easier for your daughter to close the glove. Don't buy a glove that feels too stiff. When buying a youth glove, remember softballs are bigger than baseballs; test how well the ball fits in the glove.

Q: How do I break in a new glove?  
A: Apply a small amount of mink oil or lanolin shaving cream in the pocket and spread it outward around the glove. Put a ball in the pocket, close the glove evenly on the ball, and tie it closed with a strip of cloth. Then, slide it under a mattress for a day or two. Use the glove to play catch; gloves break in naturally as they are used.

Q: What are sliding shorts?
A: Sliding shorts are tight-fitting compression shorts similar to bike shorts worn under uniform shorts for extra sliding protection. They have a non-slip grip on the hem of each leg to keep them in place while the player is sliding. Some versions come with padding these are recommended, particularly for players new to sliding

Q: What are knee guards?
A: Knee guards are long knee pads that protect a player's knee and calf sliding. Most players choose to wear knee guards on both legs. Buy the extended length model that protects both the knee and lower leg.

Q: Does my player really need to wear cleats?
A: Cleats will greatly improve your daughter's traction on the dirt infields and grass outfields. In the interest of safety, players in the upper divisions (10U-14U) are required to wear cleats. Some players wear soccer shoes with success, but softball cleats perform better. Metal baseball cleats are not permitted.

Q: Should my player have her own batting helmet?
A: Although team helmets are provided, personal batting helmets are highly recommended to ensure personalized fit and cleanliness. Helmet must be NOCSAE-approved and have both facemask and a chin strap.

Q: What purposes do the chin strap and face guard serve?
A: The chin strap keeps the helmet from bouncing off the player's head when running or sliding and is required equipment. The face mask protects the batter's face from foul tips and is required for players.

Q: What size bat should I buy?
A: For fast pitch softball, choose a light bat with at least a 9 oz drop marked "official softball ASA Approved" (2-1/4-inch diameter or less) and a 2004-or-later certification. "Drop" refers to the difference between the bat length in inches and its weight in ounces. Popular sizes are 25"/16 oz. for 6U, 26/17 for 8U, 28/19 for 10U, 30/20 for 12U, and 32/22 for 14U. Note: The Batter's Box website has a bat sizing chart for youths by player height and weight (http://www.aluminumbats.com/bat_chart.htm). As a rule of thumb, the knob of the bat should come to the player's wrist when bat is stood upright on the floor and player's arms are hanging loosely at her sides. As for bat weight, the player should be able to hold the bat with one arm outstretched for 10 seconds. Drops higher than 10 are becoming increasingly available at affordable prices, and it is generally better to error on the side of getting a bat that is too light than one that is too heavy. Buying a bat that a player can grow into is a common mistake, as they generally perform poorly while the bat is too heavy and the player doesn’t have fun as a result. Note that certain bats, though ASA-certified, are prohibited for play in 4SRGSBL interleague games (played in Division 12U and above). Composite, titanium, or multi-walled bats are not allowed.

Q: What size ball should I buy?
A: 6U - Worth 10" RIF 1 Sof-Dot Optic Yellow.
8U - Worth 10" RIF 1 Sof-Dot.
10U - Worth 11" RIF 1 Sof-Dot.
12U - Wilson 9106BASA-Low 12" Optic Yellow
14U - Wilson A9016 BSST NFHS 12" Optic Yellow with a Super Sea