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Tournament Team Overview

Table of Contents

  1. COVID-19 Statement
  2. Overview
  3. General Tryout Information
  4. Tryout Schedule
  5. Eligibility
  6. Team Expectations, Commitment Level, and Make-up
  7. Parent Volunteer Requirement
  8. Tryout Format
  9. Tryout Data Collection and Use
  10. Criteria for Team Selection
  11. Tournament Team Coach Selection and Player Placement
  12. Parent Dispute over Player Placement
  13. FAQ

COVID-19 Statement
Over the past 5 months, our world has been faced with significant disruption due to COVID-19. Our tryout process has been altered slightly to ensure we are meeting health guidelines mandated by Madison Dane County Public Health. For example, last year we had a second tryout date for each age level. This year, we will not hold that second tryout. Additionally, individual players may not be able to participate in tryouts due to concerns about health for self or family members. Players who do not tryout due to COVID concerns may still register and will be eligible to be placed on a black level team. 2020 tournament team tryout data or VLL tryout data may be considered to determine Black level team placement. While we understand that this may seem unfair to a player, we cannot predict the duration of COVID health concerns and restrictions.

Overview
Verona Baseball Tournament Teams (VBTT) are an extension of Verona Little League and governed by the Verona Little League Board. All VBTT players must play in VLL. A tryout sub-committee will make final decisions on the tournament team coaches based on a number of criteria. We strongly believe in player development. In addition to offering more competitive game opportunities, development of the player through additional training opportunities is essential both for individual players and the teams they play on. Our coaches are involved in a variety of training opportunities, players participate in winter shed and other indoor winter/early spring training, and in-season practices.

Cost will vary based on the number of tournaments played and uniform expenses but generally ranges from $100- $500 per player depending upon age-level, commitment-level, and agreed upon number of tournaments entered.

General Tryout Information
A sub-committee of coaches met following last year’s tryouts to continue to make improvements to the tryout process. No tryout system is perfect. Overall, historical tryout data supports that players with more advanced skills are able to demonstrate those skills and do assess well. As with any tryout system, the most difficult decisions occur for players on the “bubble” for making a team or level.

New for 2021 Tryouts, a $25 tryout registration fee will be required to tryout. This fee will be applied toward tournament team expenses. Players who are not offered a spot on a team will be able to receive a refund. Players who decline a spot on a team will forfeit the $25.

Tryout Schedule
August 3
9U: 5:30-7:30
10U: 6:30-8:30
11U: 7:30-9:30

August 4
12U: 5:30-7:30
13U: 6:30-8:30
14U: 7:00-9:00

August 13
**8U: 5:30-7:30
9U-14U Make-up Tryout: 7:00-9:00

**Players signing up to tryout for the 2021 8U tournament team must meet the following birthdate consideration: 5/1/2012-4/30/2013. Our organization's general rule of thumb is that travel teams are organized into grade-level cohorts. Therefore, entry level participation at 8U would be made up of players entering 2nd grade for the 2020-2021 school year.

Players are required to attend the primary tryout date or a make-up.  Players MUST tryout with the age level group in which they intend to play. Players cannot tryout with younger age levels due to family schedules (i.e. 11u player evaluates with 9u players but intends to play 11u). We have found that this data is significantly skewed. Players should not wear a jersey/shirt with name to either tryout.

If a player is not able to attend either of the tryout dates, the player/family must petition the tryout sub-committee in writing. Petitions may be submitted to Mike Murphy via email: murphymj27@gmail.com. The tryout sub-committee will determine an alternative assessment format that may include an alternative tryout/assessment as needed, tournament team coaches data, and/or VLL assessment data. Players who attend tryout dates will receive first consideration for team placement.

Eligibility
VLL believes in keeping kids together by grade level. Players are to try out with their grade-level cohort. However, most tournaments utilize an April 30th birthdate deadline (i.e 12u player cannot turn 13 prior to 4/30). In some cases, a player may be ineligible to play with his grade level and must play up per their birthdate. In other cases, a player who has a summer birthdate is eligible to play at two age levels.

Players may choose to “play up” (one year above their grade level cohort). Players who wish to tryout to “play up” will indicate so on their registration form.

Players who choose to “play up” or have a summer birthdate making them eligible for two age level teams will select one grade/age level in which they qualify to tryout. If a player does not make the age level or team level (orange vs. black team) in which they chose to tryout, they will not have the opportunity to play at the other age level in which they are eligible unless there is a shortage of players at that age level that prevents a team from forming. The tryout sub-committee will make these decisions.

It is the belief of VLL to find a “home” for as many kids who are interested in tournament team baseball as possible. If a player chooses to “play up” and it eliminates another “eligible player”** from playing tournament baseball, considerations may be made to ensure the eligible player is placed on a team.

** ”Eligible Player”: Player’s skill level is rated highly enough to have made team. **

Team Expectations, Commitment Level, and Make-up
Sportsmanship, commitment, and communication are expected from players and parents of VBTT. With an increased level of competition, an increased level of commitment is also expected. Each team will have designated team practices and tournaments throughout the season; the number of each is subject to the coaches of each team. Attendance of practices and games is vital and may play a factor in playing time and positions played. Communication to coaches is imperative if practices or games are to be missed. Please let your coach know of any planned vacations or other conflicts that will prevent attendance of practices and games. Ability to commit may play a role in VBTT selection.

It is not the intention for a VBTT practice to conflict with a regular season Verona Little League (VLL) game, and VLL will work with VBTT coaches to minimize potential conflicts. It is understood that players may have vacations, illness, injuries, family obligations, or other emergencies that will prevent attendance. Up-front communication about pre-planned absences to the coach is imperative. We understand the value of playing multiple sports and respect the time commitments that players have made to other sports that are not during the baseball season. VBTT coaches will work with their players to try and minimize off-season conflicts.

It is for this reason we have implemented Orange and Black teams. “Orange” team players must be able to commit to 80%+ of all tournaments and practices (This will be your primary travel baseball team).

“Black” team players should commit to 50% of all tournaments and practices.

8U Teams will be divided equally based upon skill level. This is an entry level experience for those interested in tournament baseball. There will not be an orange and black-level designation at this level.

9U-14U Teams will first be determined based upon a player’s choice of commitment level. Teams will then be divided by skill level. The “Orange” team will consist of the highest ranking players that are willing to meet the commitment level required (80%+).

Parent Volunteer Requirement
There are required volunteer hours for all non-coaching parents of players on tournament teams. These volunteer hours are required during tournaments hosted at the VLL complex in which your player is participating. The standard requirement is 2 hours per tournament hosted. VLL provides a monetary credit to teams that host tournaments to off-set cost.

Tryout Format

  • 8u-11u will try out on 46-60 fields.
  • 8u and 9u will not try out for pitching/catching.
  • 12u and 13u will try out on 50-70 fields.
  • 14u will try out on a 60-90 field.

Tryouts will be done in an "assembly line" format as in past years. Players will rotate from station to station to be assessed in a specific skill/positional areas. Coaches from all age levels will be present. Coaches will remain at a single station for the duration of the tryout to assess all age levels. It is our intent that age-level coaches will not assess players from the age level they coach.

This tryout will consist of the following stations:

  • Pitching/Catching**
  • Hitting Cage**
  • Hitting “Live”**
  • Infield**
  • Outfield**
  • Running (Home to 2nd)

**Players will have a short warm-up at each station prior to evaluation beginning at that station. Based upon the warm-up, players may be re-ordered to ensure accuracy of scoring. Perceived “high skill” players will go first.

 

Tryout Data & Collection Use
Scores are based upon rubrics developed to aid in providing consistency in scoring at each skill level station. The scores are entered into a comprehensive database and mathematical composite scores are generated.

An Overall Composite Score is used to determine player ranking:

  • Tryout Overall Composite Score: Throwing/Receiving, IF, OF, Hitting
    • Pitching is not factored into the overall composite but can be individually considered for team placement**
    • Catching is not factored into the overall composite but can be individually considered for team placement**
    • Running can be considered but not factored into the composite

**See below for clarification.

Criteria for Team Selection (considered in the following order):

  • Primary Considerations
    • Desired Player Commitment Level (Orange or Black)
    • Overall Composite Tryout Rankings
  • Secondary Considerations**
    • Tournament Team Coaches Rankings
    • Positional Needs/Balance/Player Positional Preference Only considered for Pitchers/Catchers
      • Example: A player interested in catching and assessing outside of the top 12 in composite tryout score. The player must have scored in the top 25% of catchers who tryout at that age level.
      • Example: In tournament play, pitching is a key determining factor for team success. If a player is interested in pitching and assesses outside of the top 12 in composite tryout score. The player must have scored in the top 50% of pitchers who tryout at that age level.

**Secondary data points are used to support or refute “bubble players” individually. They are not given a ranking or score used in the composite tryout data.   A “bubble player” is defined as a player whose tryout ranking places them within a range of similarly ranked players.  "Bubble players" may rank toward the end of those eligible to make the orange team or black team.  For example, when determining the orange team, “bubble players” may be defined as players ranking 9-14. Each tournament team has a maximum of 11-12 players. Players in this example, who are ranked 9-14, are grouped based upon having similar tryout data.

Tournament Team Coach Selection and Player Placement
A parent volunteering to coach does not guarantee their player automatic team placement or level placement. The VLL board or committee determines the orange head coach prior to release of data. This determination is made only if the coach’s player is determined as being an “orange” level caliber player based upon the criteria for team selection. The black team head coach is also selected at this time based upon the same criteria (if possible).

The head coach will be the primary decision maker. Assistant coaches may be included if their player safely falls into the criteria for team selection. In some extreme cases, a coach may be designated for a team and that coach’s player may be placed on that team without corresponding tryout data due to not having qualified coaches or a lack of volunteer coaches. Everything possible will be done to avoid making this decision. The tryout subcommittee will make this decision. Coaches will submit all team selections for review by the tryout committee. The committee will certify all selections prior to player notification.

Parent Dispute over Player Placement
A tryout subcommittee will certify all final roster decisions and those decisions will be final without explanation or debate.

Parents may request a copy of their players assessment results and rankings. They will not receive any additional information on other players.

A Note to Parents:

  • Help your child deal constructively with the evaluation and placement process. Your encouragement to play hard, and have fun, will do more to promote a long-lived “baseball career” than anything else.
  • Understand that the tryout process is inherently imperfect and that there is a subjective element to the process. Evaluators must make difficult decisions. The board has created what it believes to be a fair process that relies on good, thoughtful, and fair people doing the best they can.
  • Understand that the board has considered using outside or hired evaluators but has decided not to do so at this time.
  • Please do not attempt to contact evaluators or coaches during the tryout process, as that type of communication undermines the integrity of the process.
  • As is the case in most youth sports, what particular team level a player plays at as a 7 to 13 year old rarely affects their later years. In fact, in most cases the relative ability ranking of players in a sport changes greatly over these years, so no single placement for a given season should be, nor is, creating a “destiny” for a kid. The high school and college rosters of all sports are filled with players who ranged from A to C players in their early “careers”. The most critical factor for later years is – to still be playing! Kids will keep playing as long as the adults don’t make it no longer fun.

Frequently Asked Questions
My player is eligible for two age levels? How do I choose?
In cases in which players have late spring or summer birthdates, players are eligible for two teams. Players/parents must choose which level they feel is most appropriate for their player. Our recommendation is that players play with their age level cohort. However, for these kids, playing against kids who are 10 or 11 months older may be a significant disadvantage in regards to physical growth and general skill development. Again this is kid specific, as there is no hard and fast rules that younger players cannot be successful.

Why are machines used during the tryout process? Isn’t this a disadvantage since kids don’t regularly hit off of a machine?
We design our tryouts to attempt to give every kid a fair and unbiased tryout. Machines will throw a pitch or flyball at the same speed to every player in a similar location. With coaches (or players) pitching live, assessing hitting in a consistent manner is significantly impacted. The same thought process can be said for flyballs. Hitting every player the same speed and trajectory of flyball is difficult and makes getting a true assessment of our players outfield skill level difficult.

Isn’t the tryout process biased? Don’t coaches just pick who they like or know?
We have built our tryout process acknowledging that any process may be impacted by human bias. Therefore, we have put a number of protections in place to limit an individual coach(es) bias. First, we aim to have more than 20 coaches on hand to be part of the tryout process. Each coach is assigned a tryout station. Coach evaluators do not move from station to station with the kids. Coaches do not evaluate their like-age level players. Players are given identifying numbers rather than being identified by name. Players do not wear any team or name identifying clothing/uniforms. Evaluators at each station give a player a score based upon specific evaluation criteria at each station. The evaluators will give each player a score that is immediately recorded into a comprehensive spreadsheet that calculates a composite score for each player.

What are evaluators looking for during the tryout?
My player fielded every ground ball. While many of our players trying out may be able to accomplish a desired outcome (catching a flyball, fielding a ground ball, hitting the ball, etc.), we are assessing players on their ability to demonstrate fundamental skills that go beyond just catching or hitting the ball.

 

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