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Welcome to the Scotch Plains Fanwood Youth Baseball Association
November Newsletter


November 2010 (PDF)
Greetings “Baseball Lovers”, wherever you are! The holidays and the winter season are just in front of us. However to your SPFYBA Executive Board, that means we are mobilizing in force to prepare for the 2011 Baseball Season! 
I am pleased to announce several additions to our volunteer leadership:
·         Newly elected division Vice Presidents Jack Kennedy and Jim Killeen join the Executve Board as VP of Junior Tee Ball and VP of the Senior Division respectively. 
·         Doug Ackerman joins the Executive Board as our new Secretary. 
·         Danielle Ricci will be heading up our Parents Auxiliary. In its 3rd year of existence, the Parents Auxiliary has become an integral part of our organization in helping us to plan many events and organize our parent volunteer forces. If you are interested in participating in the Parents Auxiliary, WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! Please contact us at spfyba@gmail.com
·         For a full listing of the association leadership, visit us at www.spfyba.org and click on General InformationàFront Office.
We thank all of our volunteers, including those about to show up on Saturday, November 6th for the Booth Field Day cleanup.
We’ve got an exciting year planned for you in 2011. We’ve included a fair amount of information in this November newsletter. So hang on tight, as we get ready for 2011!
Our next General Association Meeting is Tuesday, November 9th at 7:30pm @SPFHS. All 2010 teams are expected to be represented. Managers who cannot attend should have one of their coaches attend.
ONLINE REGISTRATION IS OPEN! If you haven’t registered, we encourage you to do so immediately. We start registration early on purpose, so that we can get a feel for registration levels and start planning the number of teams per division, number of managers we’re going to need, etc. So the earlier you can register, the easier it is for us to start our planning process for the upcoming season.  If online registration is a problem for you, please email us at spfyba@gmail.com and we will horse-and-buggy a paper form over to as soon as possible J.
PLEASE NOTE: Once we close registration, anyone else will necessarily go onto a waiting list. We will assess the number teams needed in the division, conduct player evaluations and player draft, and then finalize the teams. The waiting list is typically used only to supplement the established teams as necessary and sensible. We need to keep the number of players on a team realistic, as it would be unfair to all the players on the team to setup teams with too many or too few players. Once the process of setting up the teams is completed, it gets very difficult to add new players. We are not obligated to place waiting list players on teams, and will only do so when it is in the best interest of the teams in the divisions and the league.
In summary à To avoid being place on the waiting list and ensure your place in the league, REGISTER NOW AT WWW.SPFYBA.ORG!
SPFHS Head Baseball Coach Tom Baylock and his team will be conducting instructional clinics at The BallPark in Springfield again this winter. December will start the first month of classes. The classes will run every Wednesday from December 1st thru December 22nd. They will be covering throwing, fielding, hitting, base running, pitching, and every night will end with a fun instructional game. These clinics stress the continued development of young baseball players, with a focus on repetition of doing things the right way as the means to become a better player. For more information and registration information, please go to our website at www.spfyba.org or email us at spfyba@gmail.com
I would like to congratulate the Fall House League Managers, Coaches, Players and Parents on completing a very successful season on 10/30. The weather cooperated for the most part, and the kids got to have fun playing each week – which is the important part. We will be emailing out online surveys to participants in the league so that we can gauge how things went from your perspective, and also get some of your feedback to further improve the program. When you receive the email survey, we encourage you to participate. 
On a side note, we have been experimenting with this online survey capability as a means to get timely feedback on the programs and services we are providing to you all. So far it has been an excellent tool for us. Of course that relies on your participation. Our plan would be to assemble feedback received, organize it, and then feed the information back to you so you understand the what we heard in terms of common themes and suggestions.
The 2010 Awards Dinner was held on Friday evening, October 15, 2010 at the Italian American Club in Scotch Plains. The event was a great success. We were able to honor the Champion and Runner-up teams from the Juniors, Majors and Seniors divisions. The format was slightly different this year. As you may be aware, we did not have a banquet in 2009. In 2010, we chose to focus on the House League champion and runner-up teams, since the travel teams typically do their own post-season events. 
We did get some feedback from folks via our online survey. Here are some of the highlights:
·         The overwhelming responses of respondees ranked the Italian-American Club venue, food served, presentations and length of the event as APPROPRIATE or better.
·         People overwhelmingly preferred this smaller, more focused event. Comments indicated that the banquet was a worthwhile event, but that focus on the house league for this event was better - and separating out the travel programs.
·         The majority of people indicated they would attend this event again next year.
We appreciate the constructive criticisms that were offered. Some were around the price of the event ($24), the food served and nature of "manager speeches". One thing that is important to note that the cost of the event also included the price of the venue, not just the food. The comments on the food served were made regarding food allergies. And interestingly, there were mixed comments on the nature of manager speeches. While some expressed that short speeches are better, others thought it was excellent that managers took the time to see a few brief words about each player - because it gives everyone a flavor for the kids’ participation on the team, and the kids love it!
We will take all of this under advisement for next year, and we thank all who participated in the event and the survey.
We are continuing with our policy of alignment of the divisions by grade. 
·         Grades 7 through 9 will comprise the Senior Division.
·         6th Grade will be the Majors 50/70 Division.
·         5th Grade will be the Majors 46/60 Division and play all their games at Booth Field.
·         3rd and 4th Grade will comprise the Junior Division.
·         2nd Grade is Pee Wee Division.
·         1st Grade is Tee Ball Division.
·         Kindergarten is Junior Tee Ball Division.
In the Junior Tee Ball, Tee Ball, and Pee Wee division – We are continuing to refine and improve on the scheduling of practices and games. Prior to last year, we had a policy of games on Saturdays and practices during the week. Unfortunately we had a couple of years where weekends were washed out by rain, and many of the game days were rained out. Last year we made an adjustment – game days scheduled on both Saturdays and once during the week, with the early part of that game day time earmarked for practice, followed by as many innings of game time that the remaining time would allow. I think there was general agreement that this format worked better than the rain-limited schedules of the prior years. However there were a couple issues that occurred that we are reacting to:
·         In 2010, the rain stayed away in large part – leading to a record number of games played. While some folks gave us feedback that this was very good, others felt that it was too much. For 2011, we are working on more detailed game/practice policy – a hybrid between the approach of 2010 and past years – to provide an optimal number of games and an appropriate number of practices for this age group. We have yet to devise a solution to control the weather. However our scientists are hard at work, and we hope to have a solution for this shortly!
·         We also received feedback that there was not enough practice time, managers opting to just let the kids play rather than spending time on a solid team practice. This is certainly understandable as it can be a challenge to keep the collective attention of kids at this young age in a practice setting, as well as in a game setting. However we feel that practice time is critical, especially at this young age, to help the kids develop their skills. In 2011, we plan to publish more detailed guidelines for managers and coaches at these levels, as well as support them with documented practice plans specifically designed to teach, to keep their attention and most importantly to make it fun!
As for the older divisions:
·         Junior division continues to be a “full participation league” with kids doing all the pitching (continuation from the last part of Pee Wee where coaches pitch the 1st half of the season).
·         Major-5th grade division is the next level still on the 46/60 fields (mostly Booth Field)
·         Major-6th grade division makes the jump to the 50/70 fields – which is designed to be a stepping stone to moving to the ‘big field’ in 7th grade.
·         Senior division makes the big jump to the 60/90 major league field. 
The spring travel tryouts will be planned for the January/February timeframe. Travel opportunities in the spring will be available for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders. More information will be distributed once available. You can always get the latest information at www.spfyba.org.
We are planning a special program for 7th and 8th graders to fill the gap left by the discontinuation of the middle school sports programs by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education.   The plan is for entering 2 SPFYBA teams into a competitive inter-district league sanctioned by Babe Ruth. There will be tryouts for these teams, which will be announced. The league is expected to consist of 10-12 teams, and will play in the spring. We continue to work with SPFHS Head Baseball Coach Tom Baylock to make this program a solid, competitive program for this group of players. More information will be coming out shortly. More information is available at www.spfyba.org, or write us at spfyba@gmail.com with any specific questions.
As you can see, we will be moving very quickly on 2011 preparations. More information will follow in subsequent announcements. And of course the latest and greatest information is always available on our website at www.spfyba.org. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the field soon!
With Warm Regards,
The SPFYBA Executive Board - Neil Kaufman, President

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