Machine Pitch Tournaments - The ULTIMATE in FUN
Machine pitch tournaments
Now this is FUN
League sponsored machine pitch tournaments provide the ULTIMATE in fun for youth fastpitch softball players. If you are looking for a way to really kickoff your season in spectacular fashion, then this is it. It provides a great opportunity to play games with lots of action and boost enthusiasm about the upcoming season. It’s also a great time for team picnics or a league wide picnic, which will go a long way towards building League unity.
But Don’t Stop There
Try to organize machine pitch tournaments for all age groups throughout the season. Certainly have a tournament prior to the official start of league play, then organize another at the mid-season break, and then have another one on trophy day at the end of the season. Your league could consider having a machine pitch tournament once a month and keep separate standings for those games and award a trophy for the best machine pitch team at the end of the year.
Typically in the 12U and 14U age divisions a machine pitch game will go 5 to 7 innings in the 1:15 time allotment. That’s pretty fast playing at any age. These games are action packed. Balls get smashed all over the field and all over the outfield. Your players will build tremendous confidence in their hitting ability and as for defensive skills there’s just nothing like having tons of balls hit to you in live situations. Teams that might not normally win games or even be close because of their pitching situation are now competitive with all the other teams. Every time our league puts on one of these tournaments, we always hear from the players and coaches that they wish we would do it more often. So…DO IT MORE OFTEN.
Our league loosens up the player rules for the machine pitch tournaments. For instance, if your team is short players it’s okay to add players from another team to play the game. I strongly suggest letting teams combine players to form a team just for the machine pitch tournaments. After all, the purpose of these games is to have fun, and FUN THEY HAVE!
A Dollar per Game
Don’t let cost be a reason for not putting on a machine pitch tournament. First, you can easily get by with just one umpire per game since there isn’t a need for an umpire behind the plate. The rules are batters get three pitches, if they foul the third pitch they get one more pitch. All pitches are strikes unless there is an obvious bad pitch and the umpire can all a No Pitch. To cover the cost of one umpire per game amounts to about $1.00 per softball player per game.
Eat Some Burgers
Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of where softball should fit into our lives. We’ve all seen too many coaches go overboard and WAY TOO MANY parents put too much emphasis on the game. These machine pitch tournaments seem to have a way of putting things back into perspective. The motto we employ for these games is "hit, run, have fun, then let’s eat some burgers".
Now, Go get ‘em coach, but this time keep it fun.
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