Our Life at High Park Little League
If you know my family at all, you’ll know that my boys are huge into Baseball. Both were introduced to the sport and taught how to swing a bat under the age of 2. We tried a number of programs around our area and quickly learned that High Park was the league for us.
The program has gone through some changes over the years. When my eldest son started with the league he was 5 years old, playing on a T-Ball team with children up to the age of 9! You can imagine the diversity of skill levels for kiddos that far apart.
So let me tell you how it works now…
Children are now able to join the league as early as the age of 6 for the Instructional League. This program divides the children into teams and offers 6-8 weeks of instruction. They learn the basics from how to hit the ball, field the ball and where the heck to run after you’ve hit the ball! It’s not as clear as one might think! After they’ve had the opportunity to learn these basic skills, a number of exhibition games are set up so the kids can actually practice their skills. It’s an amazing program that’s meant to introduce the sport to the little ones, but above all else ensure the kids are having fun! If they want to sign up for T-Ball the following year, we know it’s been a success!
Once the kids have gone through the Instructional Program, they’re then able to join the T-Ball League consisting of a mix of 7 and 8 year-old boys and girls. There is an evaluation of the kiddos at the beginning, so they’re able to be divided into teams. The league wants to ensure that there’s a fair divide of skills across all teams and one team isn’t stacked over another. The schedule typically includes a practice once per week, with a game or two on various days. Kids are shifted around to different positions so that they’re able to learn what’s required where; but also so no little ones are stuck out in the outfield the entire game! Chances are that if you see one of our team members picking at grass or doing cartwheels out there, they’re bored! We want the children to improve their skills and not everyone can do that if these poor kiddos get kept in outfield! The schedule is a bit heavier during the spring moving a little lighter over the summer, knowing that people like to go away during the summer break. Play-offs take place in September with a banquet at the end of the season to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments. It’s a great program! The main goal is for the kids to have fun (you may be sensing a theme here), but also in improve their skills.
For the real baseball lovers with big dreams, there’s the rep teams! Kids can try out for teams aged 7-12. Practices are held once per week with games taking place during tournaments over the summer. There’s typically 4 tournament weekends over the course of the summer. You’ll be heading to places like Ancaster, Innisfil or even Ottawa. Schedules can vary, but chances are you’re usually getting full days of baseball! Not only do the kids get to continue to develop their skills, but they get to hang out with their buddies for the weekends; playing in the pool on the off times, running the halls (no doubt driving the hotel staff nuts) and heading out for dinner as the team. It’s a pretty special experience for these kids and a great way for them to foster deeper relationships. Not to mention it’s a great way for parents to spend time with other parents in the same boat! We’ve made some great friends that have extended well outside of baseball.
No matter the team, each one is made up of a head coach and about 3 assistant coaches. On the rep teams there’s also a team manager who’s in charge of arranging the hotels, restaurant reservations and snack schedules. Along with the Banquets, some teams plan additional end of the year parties that have included mom vs. kids baseball games and BBQ’s. We’ve had an absolutely amazing experience with all the teams we’ve been on so far and are very much looking forward to the next season!
And you may think, why is this Blog coming out in November? We. Are. Always. Thinking. Baseball. So no better time then now.
Registration is in early February. Hope to see you at the park!