The following are the rules for FBL Single A League. We want to stress that the instructional levels (Rookie and Single A) are here to start players off in the learning process of baseball. These are instructional leagues and thus, we want kids to learn and enjoy these levels of play.
You can field up to 10 players. If 10, have 4 in the outfield, 4 in the infield, a catcher and a player fielding at the pitcher’s spot. You can also field less if you have fewer players - just use common sense for placement.
Every player dressed for the game must play.
No player will sit for more than (1) full inning at a time
All players should be allowed to play each position during the course of the season; with safety superseding this rule. Be very cautious of players at catcher and pitcher and especially 1stbase – know your players and their capabilities and discuss this with your team’s parents so there is no confusion. If a player does not want to play a certain position – that is fine.
Players and coaches will pitch. Players will start each batter and throw 4 pitches, no more. Encourage your players to swing at good pitches whether the pitch comes from a player or a coach! If the ball is not put into play and the batter does not strike out, then the offensive team’s coach will complete the pitching to the batter. Coaches will pitch (overhand) from an appropriate distance and with appropriate velocity (again, know your players) and try to release the ball from the player’s eye level to mimic a peer pitching (pitching from the knees is recommended by the league). Be sure that the coach that is pitching can throw strikes and is informing the player of the # of strikes and # of “quality pitches” as the at-bat progresses (including those that occurred during the kid-pitch portion). Standard strike-out rules apply.
Quality pitch rule: Each player is allowed 6 “quality pitches” per at bat. This is 6 in total INCLUDING any that came during the player-pitch portion of the at bat. The coach is responsible for calling out each pitch by number (“that’s good pitch #3”….etc.) so the player knows. An at bat ends when the player puts the ball in play, strikes out or reaches 6 quality pitches (no walks). After the 6thquality pitch, the player’s at bat ends (no out is recorded) and play resumes with the next batter. This is crucial for keeping play moving and encouraging players to swing at good pitches. DO NOT stray from this rule and DO include the pitches from the opposing player. For example, as you get ready to pitch tell your batter “OK, you have one strike and 2 good pitches already” and build from there.
All players should be allowed to pitch if they want to (safety taking precedence - be sure they can defend themselves if a ball is hit back to them) – coaches use discretion a to the # of batters each pitcher faces. It may be one (if a player cannot reach the plate for instance) and then that becomes a working goal for that player that you help him with.
No pitcher should pitch more than 1 inning per outing and no more than 2 per week. No pitching on back to back days.
Be sure you are setting aside practice time for pitching drills/practice and are covering other pitcher responsibilities beyond throwing a pitch.
The coach that is pitching or whose team is batting is responsible for calling time out. When the ball is hit out of the infield and then returned to the infield (thrown or carried) and a player has control of the ball – the play is dead. If the ball is returned to the infield while runners are moving, the play is live until the runner reaches a base or the defense makes a play on the runner (by tagging or running the player back to a base, etc.).
Have a coach near the plate to encourage all the basics of hitting. Remind your players of this and help them with proper stance and bat and hand position. Be an active participant in their batting. Teach them to be discriminating hitters and to recognize the strike zone and to not swing at bad pitches.
Players must wear a helmet, with a cage/face-shield, while batting, running the bases and while on deck.
At most fields there is no on deck area so ONLY the batter should be handling a bat and ONLY when in the batter’s box. You may designate an on-deck area, but unless it is clearly defined, you run the risk of a safety issue. Take this seriously – too many kids get hit by others swinging bats – talk to your kids and parents about this and have STRICT rules. Talk to me about this if you need suggestions.
Once a batter swings and misses at strike 3 please call them out – do not continue the at bat. This will be the first time kids can strike out so please address this before the first game so there is no confusion and point out that even the greatest hitters strike out; encourage each player to be a good sport about this, learn from each at bat and not get down about a strike out. I have a mantra “good swings at good pitches” and if a player does this and strikes out, I say great job swinging at a good pitch and I encourage the players on the bench and the team parents to do this as well. It is amazing how different a player’s reaction can be to a strike-out when his teammates and parents are saying “hey, good job swinging at a good pitch” as opposed to negative words or nothing at all.
There is no bunting, but all balls put into play via a swing are live.
Bat through your order, regardless of whether a player is on the field that inning or not. Players on the bench due to a team having more than 10 players should simply be placed in the batting order and bat when their turn comes. That way you have a batting line-up that will never change throughout the game, no matter your defensive moves.
Teams will bat until 3 outs are made by the defense or the offense has scored 5 runs – whichever comes first. Final scores are not kept or posted and have no influence on the game or # of innings played. Play as many innings as darkness will allow or until 6 full innings are reached.
The catcher must use a catcher’s mitt (waived for left-handed catchers if proper mitt is not available).
If a player does not want to be catcher, that is fine. If you have a low number of players, have a coach be the catcher (use proper eqt, or stand back at the backstop) so as to have more players in the field.
Be sure your catcher is ready to go between innings prior to the inning ending so that things move along. Encourage your catcher to make good throws back to the pitcher to help keep the game moving as well. Have a coach behind the catcher to field passed balls and throw back to the pitcher.
Catchers (male), must wear a cup.
Players may not lead or steal – they must not leave their base until contact is made (PLEASE enforce this!).
No advancement on a passed ball.
Players must slide FEET FIRST or attempt to avoid contact with any fielder who has the ball and is in position to make a tag. Otherwise, the runner is called out, no matter what the result of the play.
Fielders must stay out of the path of base-runners (especially watch your first-basemen).
If a runner moves a base when sliding, the runner should remain where he/she is until time is called.
A runner is OUT if he/she slides headfirst into any base – except if returning to a previous base.
If a ball is thrown out of play, the play is dead and there is no advancement. Runners may advance on balls thrown awry if still in play (coaches should decide the boundaries at each field prior to the game).
No infield fly rule.
We have each field for 2 hours and you should try to focus on teaching the rules of the game and showing players (practically) what to do as the game evolves – especially during the first 2-3 games. I’d rather see less innings and more learning early on (within reason – please do not stop play too often or go over-board with on-field instruction). Once we get deeper into the season, please try to do all of your coaching from the sideline. Also, please be early to the field and be prepared with your line-up and all so that games start ON TIME and run smoothly.
Have your line-up and positions planned out ahead of time – you will do yourself a huge favor by doing this. You can always adjust it if you have absentee players, but trying to shuffle everyone on the fly will be difficult and slow the game down.
A half inning ends when you score 5 runs or record 3 outs. Scores are kept simply to track the 5-run rule and move play along. No scores will be posted, nor will we post any kind of standings. No extra innings need be played if tied.
If we start a game and poor weather comes in, it is the coach’s responsibility to determine whether to continue or not based on safety. If lightning is in the area the game is to be called immediately.
It is up to each coach to establish make up games if their game is rained out. It is easiest to simply use one of the team’s practice times. This does not have to be done through the league, but one coach should inform the commissioner after the game is scheduled and before it is played. Try to make up all games.
Have every parent on the team sign the Code of Conduct form (under “Documents” on the website) and return to you. You keep these filed for the season.