Baseball & Softball Teams
Baseball league for five year old
Hello: I have a five year old who loves baseball and is pretty good at it. We were able to get into NOLL/SOLL, but when I tried to register, I realized he could not join because although he is 5, he has a fall birthday and is not yet in kindergarten. One thing I really liked about NOLL/SOLL was that the kids could either use a T or the coach would pitch to kids who were at that level; we did T-Ball last year and loved it, but he now hits the ball on his own. I'm trying to figure out other options. We need a league with practices after hours (5-6 pm), so cannot do the Berkeley program either, which has practices during the day. I've looked and looked, but can't seem to find anything that matches his age level/grade level, that kids can hit at their own level (T or pitch), and that has evening or w/e hours. ...any recs? Thanks
My older son played in Little League and now my younger son is playing in Babe Ruth, so my comparison is based on experiences which aren't league-wide.
You might want to look into Babe Ruth. It can be a little hard to make initial contact as it's not very obvious on their website. Kids' baseball in Oakland appears to be divided between privileged, predominantly white kids in NOLL/SOLL and working class and lower income black and latino kids in Babe Ruth.
Babe Ruth practices seem to be after work more than NOLL/SOLL and the same thing that's frustrating about Babe Ruth -- that it can be hard to get questions answered, figure out who to contact, etc. -- also makes it easier to deal with and more flexible. If they have age requirements, I bet that they would let a coach decide whether your kid is ready to play. I think they're currently registering for the 2014 season, but the website isn't updated.
Games are often out by the airport, but often in Little League we ended up going all over the place so it wasn't very different distance-wise.
If you were interested in Babe Ruth, I'd ask about a team based on where it practices, so the weekday practices are convenient.
It's a totally different vibe and in later years, more competitive (I've been told). Don't expect organic snacks -- more likely cheetos and bug juice. (And my son begged me to bring something comparable when it was our turn.)
I've really liked the Babe Ruth coaches I've seen. They seem experienced, committed, and smart at coaching the kids. Babe Ruth Fan
Fall baseball for a newbie 8 year old
Hi, I'm the parent of an enthusiastic, sports-geeky but sensitive and not very coordinated or experienced 3rd-grader who recently announced that he would like to join a baseball team or take a class. Summer is over and I'm looking for recommendations for a very low-pressure, relaxed and fun but still somewhat structured and instructional group for him to join this Fall. Positive coaching too. We live in North Berkeley and there or nearby would be most convenient as I already spend enough time driving. Okay, enough with the adjectives and qualifiers...does such a group exist? Many thanks! Love my sports geek
Hi, Please try Albany Little League Fall Ball. My son has done it for two years and it is great. It is non-competitive and skills-based. It is a wonderful introduction to the sport and it will prepare your son to play on a team in the spring, if he likes it. I believe the same coach who led the program last year is doing it this year too. He was very knowledgeable (former pro player), encouraging, and enthusiastic. Fall Ball is also a very manageable commitment - two hours on Sundays for several weeks. Have fun! Hannah
Baseball team for 11 year old close to Berkeley
My 11-year old son would like to play on a baseball team that meets regularly, but plays mostly for fun. What's the closest thing in Berkeley? Elisa
You have 2 choices: Albany/Berkeley Little League - very well run, but many kids at age 11 will have already played for 4 years! Don't let that put you off completely - it's understood that some kids start later, and a good coach will take that into account.
The other is the leagues run by Parks and Recreation, which are lower key, but from parents I've talked to, fun, and local - A-B LL plays a lot of games at Albany Village, whereas the rec leagues are at the Berkeley rec centers. I'll leave it to you to find the web addresses. LL sign-up is soon, if not NOW.
IMHO, whatever your child's friends are doing should guide your decision. It's better for kids that age taking on something new and challenging if they know somebody, preferably on the same team. Baseball Dad
I know most children start baseball early and by 14 they are usually pros. My son who was pretty skinny and small most of his life has suddenly sprouted, grown muscles and is now desperate to play ball. I don't even know where to begin with this or if there are even classes or teams that would take my son with few skills but a true passion for playing. I know he needs skills so was wondering if there was anything or anyone out there who taught baseball skills for teens and/or if there are such things as baseball classes that lead to participating in a more competitive team situations. This would be my dream scenario but I would take something close if it existed. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated. Liz
Most leagues have formed teams & are starting play RIGHT NOW (March 2012 ) And the ''U14'' (14 and under teams) are very competitive. The 10 year old chewing on his glove in the outfield is LARGELY gone by 14.
But not entirely. We just changed leagues (we started in El Cerrito Youth Baseball, moved to South Oakland Little League, & are now in Oakland Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth) & joined (as a group of 4 boys who wanted to stay together) a team that probably would not have been able to field a full squad. While the overall level of play (WAY East Oakland, heavily black & Hispanic) is very high, it's not uniform, & there are kids w/ 1-2 years in baseball & are in need of a skills upgrade. The good news is that MOST coaches, in ALL the leagues I've been in, are there for the kids, & all skill levels are addressed.
If you want to try and get on a team THIS SPRING, go right to the top & contact the league president - most leagues have contact information somewhere on their web site. At his age, the Mandatory Play rules are gone, so he'll ride a lot of pine, but he'll also learn a lot.
Other resources: ''Tips From The Coach''. His videos the Tips From The Coach ones; he has a more detailed series with a college coach that are extremely comprehensive, but dry as dust) are an excellent resource, & between you & your kid, a batting tee, a few balls, & a roof or a wall for solo fielding drills, your son could get competent pretty quickly if he puts in the reps. Private coaching is available; I like Frank Potestio for this, but it's $130+ per hour for private coaching. Fianlly there are camps - most are oriented around younger, low skill players. For insurance reasons, they may not be able to accept a 14 year old low-skill player, but call Mike Marshall Baseball academy in Concord. He has a week long, indoor camp this year. He also has private lessons, & there is another operator in the Oakland Hills nr Merritt College who's name I can't recall that does after school programs & private lessons. The best way to get value out of private lessons is to video them, edit the fluff out at home, and have your son watch it over, & over.
DO NOT get him a Hit-Away - he's strong enough to break it in a day or two. Avoid almost all training aids. There are only a few that are truly useful. Buy the best tee you can afford - kids hate them in general, but coaches use them all the way up to the pros because they are effective. Baseball Single Parent
I would like to get my stepson participating in a baseball league in Berkeley, Oakland or vicinity. He is just a novice but loves the game. I know of the existence of Little League but don't know if that is for kids of all abilities, or how to go about getting him signed up. Any suggestions or info? Cody
The North Oakland South Oakland Little League website is nollsoll.com I think it's too late for spring. They have a fall season (called ''fall ball'') that is less formal than spring season. Check out their website and see about next fall. I don't know about other leagues. I recommend summerballcamp.com -- go to the website & contact the owners and see if they think it would be a good fit. It's a summer camp. My son went there for 3 years and had a great time. Good luck. anon
You're probably too late for the regular 2012 Little League season, but there are summer leagues and summer camps. For info, take a look at the North Oakland/South Oakland LLeague website www.nollsoll.com. On the left side of the home page, click on ''More Ball.'' You'll be able to find a place for your 10 year old to start, I'm sure. Good luck. Ball Dude
My 10 yr old son has never played baseball before but is dying to play. Now I just need some recommendations for leagues/teams in Berkeley where he might play. All suggestions much appreciated.
I'm not sure about the Berkeley spring baseball date cut-offs, but I know it is getting late for the Oakland little leagues. In case spring doesn't work out for you, I want to recommend a summer camp for baseball, that emphasizes fun and skill development. It has really great high school age counselors, site director (Jared) and owners (the Bonzells). summerballcamp.com You could e-mail with Debbie Bonzell and see if it would be a good fit for your son. The camp is for ages 6-11 and is held at Caldecott Field near the intersection of Hwys 13 and 24. My son has gone the past 3 years when he was 7,8, and 9 years old and had a great time, and improved his skills. We found it to be a very inclusive camp. Good luck in having a fun time with baseball! anon
Not sure about good leagues for him in this area, but coming from someone who played lots of baseball, the best thing you can do for him to make sure he gets along well with a team is focus on fundamentals before signing up. If he doesn't know how to throw (relatively) properly, swing (relatively) properly and not be afraid of the ball, then getting him in a league with other, probably more experienced kids may not be as fun as he thinks it will be.
Lots of catch in the back yard, and play many games of pepper...focus on lots of fun with just the bare minmum of ''coaching''. At this age he needs just enough coaching to help him avoid developing poor mechanics habits. We're having such an amazing winter to prep him before the season starts. Good luck! Zack
North Oakland/South Oakland Little League territory includes about half of Berkeley. Their program is great. (Both my sons played up through the league over many years.) Single A ball probably would be right for a novice 10 year old. I know they put their teams together in January and February, so you're late. Still, at the lowest level, tryouts aren't necessary and they may have room on a team. Also, check their website. They offer web links to other baseball programs under ''More Ball.'' www.nollsoll.com Good luck.
Hello, check out Wheelhouse Academy of Baseball, they are a batting cage that has just opened on Jacuzzi St. right below 580 between Albany exit and Center St. exit. www.wheelhouseacademy.com Very friendly, no pressure, great fun! Your son can choose to take lessons from their batting instructor or he can just hang out and swing away. It's a non-profit org that wants to be a community resource. 510-525-2989 Love the founder, Shiva Gaskins (full disclosure, that's my husband) Robin
My ten year old son has never played sports and now wants to play baseball. I have checked out the little league, but it seems like he would have to end up playing with 7 year olds to get started. Is there an alternative to little league? Is little league welcoming to older kids without any experience? anon
If you live by El Cerrito, try ECYB. They are a Pony league who go by age, not skill, so he can play with other 10 year olds. Here is the website: http://www.eteamz.com/ecyb/index.cfm? Sarah
My 9 year old son has decided he'd like to play baseball this fall, but I'm having a problem finding a place for him! We saw the recommendation in the archives for NOLL-SOLL, but their website does not mention anything about a fall league and they did not respond to my email inquiring about fall ball. We live in Berkeley and don't want to travel very far. Thanks! Trying to plan for fall
HI - stick with NOLLSOLL. They do have fallball and their website (which I just checked) said registration will be coming soon. All three of my boys have played NOLLSOLL and it is a good organization. The entire thing is run by volunteers so sometimes things take a bit longer. Baseball mom
My older son played fall ball (baseball) at the University village years ago. My youngest would now like to play but we can't seem to find the program. Does anyone know where my 7 year old can play baseball this fall?
It may be too late to sign up at this point, but NOLL/SOLL offers Fall Ball if you live in Oakland - www.nollsoll.com. My 7yo is playing. Baseball Mom
We're moving from New York City to Montclair, and our 12 year-old is a fanatical baseball player. Are there any late summer/fall/winter little leagues or baseball programs for kids his age in the East Bay? Thanks. Larry
Hi Larry -- You've come to the right place! NOLL-SOLL (North Oakland-South Oakland Little League) runs a Fall Ball program in September and October for kids ages 8-14 that's a lot of fun. Registration is on now through August. There's more info and a registration link on their home page: www.noll-soll.com. Coach's wife
The local little league for Montclair is called NOLLSOLL (No Oakland/South Oakland little league.) All 3 of my boys play in it and they have fall ball which is registering now. Check it out at www.nollsoll.org. You will find lots of players from Montclair! Baseball mom
Questions about T-Ball
I would like to get my 5.5 year old son on a T Ball team this spring or summer. He had no experience on a team, but is very interested in the sport. We live in the Lake Merritt area, and would like something that is 1-2 times per week. The information on BPN seems to be outdated, does anyone have any recommendations? Thank you! Rachel
If your son turned 5 by 4/30/11 and is in kindergarten, he's eligible to play T-ball with North Oakland/South Oakland Little League (NOLL/SOLL - www.nollsoll.com). _However_, registration has ended and games started a couple weeks ago, so I don't think you'd be able to get him on a team for this year. Mark your calendar for next year's registration, which will start in November. Both my boys played NOLL/SOLL T-ball and loved it. Oakland Babe Ruth also runs T-ball teams; I'm not as familiar with them but I'd guess their season is underway already, too. Lastly, Oakland Park & Rec offers T-ball programs for kids ages 3-6 at various parks - it's more of a weekly practice than a team, but if he's really jonesing for T-ball it might be a starting place. Details at http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/programs/. Baseball Mom
We've been doing baseball/tee-ball at ''El Cerrito Sports Camp'' with our 4 year old boy for 2 sessions now [started going last Fall 2010]. It's run by Norm Freidman; great for kids not yet ready for Little League. It's on Sundays . . . kids are generally 4-6 years old. We live in Berkeley -- being a resident of El Cerrito not necessary. http://www.elcerritosportscamp.com/programs.html Antoinette
I'm looking for some summer activities for my son who will turn 4 in August. I see that many of the sports classes start at age 4 or older, and we'd like to take the classes in June or July. I'm thinking t-ball or soccer. Preferably in Berkely, Albany, or El Cerrito. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks. Anon
Oakland Park & Rec offers t-ball, soccer and other sports (just practicing and playing around, not official teams/games, which they're really not ready for at this age, anyway) for ages 3 or 3.5 and up. See www.oaklandnet.com/parks/programs/ or see if a city closer to you has something similar. We did both t-ball and soccer there when my son was 3 or 4 and had a lot of fun. Sports Mom
Hello, Does anyone know of a t-ball group for 3 year olds? Or any other organized sport for such young ones? Thanks! mom to a sporty toddler
I've recommended this before, but it bears repeating: If you live in/near Oakland, Oakland Park & Rec offers t-ball, soccer and multi-sport (they try t-ball, soccer, kickball, etc. over the course of several weeks) classes for kids ages 3.5 and up at parks around town. We've done several sessions with them with our just-turned 4yo and had a good time. See http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/programs/ for more info and schedule. You can even register online -- super easy. Also Mom of Sporty Kid
I'm interested in the instructional league (5-6 year-olds) baseball program put on by Berkeley City Dept of Recreation in San Pablo Park during the summer. Did you have good/bad experience? My son wants to do all sports, but he's, um, not the most coordinated guy. I can easily picture him getting clocked by a ball while daydreaming. My other fear is that he'll be a middling to poor player and lose self-confidence. I guess my question is: Do you think it is a supportive environment for kids to learn to play? -and- Would you leave your six-year-old alone there? (I may have to skip out during some practice time for his younger brother). reluctant sports mom
My son was in the 5-6 y.o. instructional league last summer at Cordonices Park (the other location to San Pablo park). The program is well run, safe, encouraging, and well supervised. The coaches are attentive about water and bathroom breaks (taken as a group). You can drop off your kid during practice time (as long as he/she conducts himself/herself well enough not to need your intervention) and pick up your child ON TIME at the end of practice. I think that the instructional league is a good fit if your child is interested, motivated and willing to try, regardless of skill level. The coaches work with the kids to teach them specific baseball skills through simple drills, but it's not all nonstop-action-fun-and-games time, if your child is expecting that--there's a lot of standing around waiting for the ball to come to you. With my son, he was more interested in the social aspects of practice time, and less with skill building. So he got bored quite a bit and was put in brief time outs quite often for not listening or goofing around with the other kids. Utimately, I decided that it was not a good fit and that that the coaches shouldn't have to ''babysit'' my child, so I took him out of the league. (Now we know that baseball is not his thing, and he's much happier riding his bike and running willy-nilly on the grass, which is how we spend our outside time these days.) Also, there were a few kids who came into the instructional league with more advanced baseball skills (and in my opinion, they should have let the kid with the most advanced skills ''play up'' in the next-older age group). So there can be a big skill gap between kids who have never connected ball to bat before, and kids who can knock the ball past second base. CC
Two of my sons did the instructional league years ago at San Pablo Park, from the ages of 5 till about 9. I have another child, 7, who is doing Little League now with Noll/Soll. I think the Berkeley program is a fine program for 5 and 6 year old kids at all skills levels, even kids who don;t know the first thing about baseball or who can't play a whit. It's very affordable, and it's a good way for little kids to be introduced to baseball. My experience was that Instructional League was very casual, maybe a little too casual? Mostly it was about just playing baseball (with little kid rules -- no outs, everybody gets a hit, etc. I think they all do that at this age).
Compared to Little League, it was much more of a social experience than a way for kids to learn baseball skills, though, and what the experience was like was almost completely dependent on the coach. Many of the coaches we had were just so-so, not really in to it that much, and sometimes not good at all in dealing well with kids that age. This could be true of other baseball leagues too, but my LL experience has been better - there is a lot of attention to age-appropriate direction and coaching. Our coaches were incredibly patient with the fidgeters and the out-of-focus kids playing in the dirt instead of watching the batter. This is what it's like with many 7-year-olds! LL also strikes me as having a more structured approach to teaching every kid specific skills, regardless of ability. For example, in LL, every kid cycles through the different positions and learns the basic tactics for that position. In Instructional League, my not-very-coordinated son ALWAYS played right or left field, way out where no balls ever came to him. The more talented kids honed their skills, always playing the more demanding positions. He still loved it anyway, loved being on a team, loved the idea of playing baseball, and he did get satisfaction from Instrucitonal League, remembers it fondly, and still has friends that he met playing baseball. However, now that we are in Little League, I can see that there really was not much attention paid in Instructional League to bringing him up to a higher skill level, and by the time he was 8 or so, only the talented kids were still in the program.
My son is only 11 but plays a lot of baseball. His experience so far has been with the Berkeley Bears, City of Berkeley Summer League and informal practice with Albany Little League. He is considering N. Oakland Little League. He has been approached by a coach from Oakland Babe Ruth. Does anyone have any experience with Babe Ruth vrs. NOSOL?
My son has played in both Babe Ruth and NOLL/SOLL. The main differences are that in NOll/Soll there is a draft for players but in Babe Ruth there are teams that are coach chosen so kids move up within a particular team. Babe Ruth has a lot of African American kids and some Hispanic and white kids, NOll Soll is mostly white. Babe Ruth is more competitive, more like real baseball at the younger levels. Noll Soll is more ''developmental''. Babe Ruth has a great facility for games near the Coliseum. There is a snack shack. The kids chant in the dugout. My son, who is white, really liked Babe Ruth but there were some communication problems on the team between some other parents. It didn't directly affect our family but the team fell apart at the end of the season. We didn't want to join an unknown team (some of the coaches are quite fierce) so he's going back to NOLL/SOLL. I'd say that if you find a coach whose style you like and get on his team Babe Ruth is great for a kid who loves baseball mom of a catcher
My 3rd grade son, who will be 9 in February, desperately wants to play baseball. Have we already missed the boat for the coming season? Are there any nearby baseball leagues/teams other than Albany Little League and El Cerrito Youth Baseball? (I'm looking into those but we may be too late -- and we're not E. Cerrito residents, so we won't have a high priority). I looked at previous recommendations on the site, but they're old. Orinda was mentioned but that's too far -- we're in Berkeley so I was hoping for something on this side of the tunnel. My son has some baseball skills but has never played on a team. He's also willing to consider touch football or basketball. For some reason he doesn't want to do soccer. --Dana
The Golden Gate Optimists have sponsored a little league in the Bay Area for over 40 years. There is a team based in Berkeley as well as the El Cerrito-Richmond area. Please contact me if you're interested in learning more. The league games start in March/April. s-yuesugi
I would strongly recommend Albany Little League if you are within the border. My son has had a very positive experience there, and I'm sure your son would be fine starting in 3rd grade as long as he's somewhat athletic and enthusiastic. Berkeley is actually divided into two parts--the southern half goes to N. Oakland LL and the northern to Albany LL. I checked the website and there's no mention of the deadline. I would suggest sending them an email. The website is albanylittleleague.org. Also, the University Village Recreation Center offers baseball clinics during the summer. The City of Berkeley offers a summer league but our experience with it has been mixed and I wouldn't personally recommend it (though it is the economical choice at only $35 for the season!). Maria
Hi! I was in a similar situation on the fall of 2002 regarding soccer. What I did was I went to the JLYSC league web site and sent a letter to the email or contact us section in the bottom of the page. I stated my situation and asked if there is still a way for my daughter to get in. Someone replied and then called me. My daughter got in and is very happy with her soccer team.
The main thing is to try and be put in the waiting list on the leagues that you are really interested in. Sometimes , people drop out and they need kids to replace them.
As for other baseball leagues, below is the web page for the NOLL_SOLL North Oakland and South Oakland Baseball league. I am not sure if you are in the boundaries but I would still try because they may have some possible solutions.
The other one I sent my son to was the BABE RUTH BASEBALL league in Oakland. Their signups usually end in end of JANUARY. You may still have a chance. Call them at 510-639-7792. The adminstration for this group has a very little budget so they have no web page. However, you will be surprised at how big the attendance is. They are more serious about baseball and have a beautiful parade for opening day. My son had no experience at all but was taken in by really nice coaches and were not requiring experienced kids (he was 6 and playing tball). The parents were more competitve during games and you had to put in some time helping the league. The games are held in south Oakland near the coliseum and near ST. Mary's college. Please feel free to call me if you have more questions. 510-450-7467. Annabelle
Babe Ruth in Oakland has looser deadlines, and a more relaxed attitude about the whole thing. My son participated last year as a brand new 4th grader and had an excellent experience with a truly kind coach and fun teammates. I think traditionally it is an African American League, and is very diverse, in all kinds of ways.They take their baseball seriously, but not the other stuff (i.e. uniforms and the like) The one downside is that the neighborhood that many of the games are played in isn't great (near Havenscourt Middle School in Oakland) Anon
There are several families who live in Pittsburg, El Cerrito, Berkely etc. that have signed up their kids in the Tara Hill baseball league (Pinole)Maybe a 15-20 minute drive from Berkeley. Tryouts was cancelled this past Saturday and have been rescheduled for next Saturday (1/17) Our son is also 9 and this is his second year, the coaches are great with the kids. If interested: Late sign ups on Saturday January 17th. >From 9-11am !!! Late sign ups during try-outs at Tara Hills Baseball fields. 2465 Dolan Way, San Pablo Ca 94806 http://www.tarahillsbaseball.com/ bring a glove and bat. Yolanda
Take a look at El Cerrito Youth Baseball, where our son has enjoyed playing for two years and is looking forward to the coming season. The Pinto League, for 7-8 year olds, really needs players and the evaluations will take place later this month. If your son is 9, the Mustang league just held evaluations this weekend, but he can probably still get in. You can find more information on the league web site at: www.ecyb.org. You can also call the league at (510) 215-2939 and leave a message. In short, the league is looking for players of all abilities and teams are just forming now, so you should contact the league promptly. Baseball Dad
I'm looking for all available options for baseball (formal Little League or whatever else is out there) for my son. I've looked at the recommendations on the website already, and would like more current (and hopefully moe detailed) information. We live in South Berkeley, and in addition to knowing what's available, I'd like to know what kind of ''parent input'' from the stands my kid is likely to run into, and whether there are any ''positive coaching'' groups that he'd be eligible to play in. Thanks. Julie
My child had a very positive experience in the City of Berkeley's summer league. The practices are beginning next week, but it may not be too late to get on a team. The parents were all very supportive, and I never heard any negative comments from any parents or coaches. My son started last year without any real baseball skills and at the end of the season he was able to bat, catch and throw. Also, parents were encouraged to participate in practices, snacks, etc. I now have experience with this league and NOLL/SOLL, and I find Berkeley league to be more mellow. It is also one of the cheaper leagues around. I think that it was $34 this year. mizzbee
Looking for league play for 5yr. old in Oakland or Berkeley. League can be either on-going or for summer. Thanks! aaron
I highly recommend the City of Berkeley's Summer Baseball program. The instructional league is for 5-6 year olds. They learn all the basics and the coaches emphasize FUN. Sign ups are happening now, but the season doesn't start until may or June. Contact the rec office at (510) 981-5153. More information is available on the City of Berkeley website under Recreation, City Wide Sports Program. Bennett
I know the Redwood Heights Rec Center has a t-ball class for that age group. I've seen them practicing on the lawn there. They look like they are having a very good time, and the coach seems gentle and kind. You can call the rec center for more information:482-7827 Redwood Heights Resident.
My son, currently 4 yrs old has just joined an under six little league in Rodeo. He loves the practice sessions and the Saturday games. It's a bit of a trek twice a week from Berkeley, but worth every minute to see how involved and excited he is by it all. If you want more info contact Blue Sky Sports Store in Pinole and they will be able to give you details for the Rodeo Baseball Little League. They may have closed the league for this season, I'm not sure? steph
Does anyone know of a Little League that still has openings for the Spring or Summer of 2003? Our 8 year old son is crazy about baseball and this would be his first year not playing if we can't find a team for him. Somehow, Noll Soll deleted him and others from his last team off of their list and they refuse to let them play since their registration date has passed. bz
The City of Berkeley Rec Department runs a wonderful, affordable summer league. The games for the younger children are very mellow - no scores, everybody gets to bat - and the older youth games are played with traditional Little League rules. The tryouts are generally in March but we had some kids on the team that did not try out at all. Check out the city of Berkeley website or call the department for more information. My son really learned the fundamentals of the game and he made some wonderful friends. They also do not ask parents to participate in fundraisers, such as Noll Soll. The program, including jersey, runs around $40.00. Bennett
Does anyone know of a Little-League like organization, or maybe Little League itself, that takes kids in the 5 1/2 - 6 year old range, not wildly competetive, that teaches good skills without too much emphasis on competition. Someone recommended Albany Little League but a) kids must be 7 to begin and 2) must live in Albany, Kensington, North Berkeley. We'd be looking in the Rockridge/Piedmont/South Berkeley Area, as we live in North Oakland. Thanks for any tips and/or recommendations
There are two leagues in the area you are looking for, North Oakland Little League and Piedmont Little League. I think that North Oakland is a little less competitive. Check with either to find out about the age requirements. Sorry, but I don't have updated contact information for either group.
Are there any baseball and/or softball leagues or groups in the Berkeley area (in addition to the Albany Little League) that may be suitable for an athletic nine year old boy with no previous league experience?
My son has spent the last four years in El Cerrito Youth Baseball. Unlike Albany, the leagues are assigned strictly by age and last for two years. It sounds as if your son would be the age for the second league, which is called Mustang, but you'll have to check with the league administrators to make sure about birthday cut-offs. The teams have already been assigned (everyone who signs up gets put on a team after a group evaluation session, usually in early January), but there is often room for latecomers. At the Mustang level, every child who shows up for a game plays at least 3 innings in the field and bats every time his turn comes up. With a good coach, your child will receive a lot of instruction since teams tend to run 12-13 players, and there are usually at least 2-3 coaches for practices. There is the occasional over-the-top type, but the league makes a serious effort to police and prevent egregious parental acting out. The league president is David Jung 527-6111. You should also consider University Village's baseball clinics in summer and fall, run by Brad, who is great with kids, emphasizes good spirit and basic skills. Phyllis
We haven't tried them, but both Berkeley and El Cerrito have little league or youth baseball. Unfortunately, I don't know the contact people, but probably you can find out by calling the recreation programs at each city hall. Charles
Does anyone know of any possibilities for a nine year old to enjoy the game of baseball outside of Little league? My son loves baseball, but it seems to be competitive in a major way and extremely serious. We just want him to be able to enjoy the game and have a good time. Seems a lot of parents get overly involved with the score! Jody
This option is more expensive, but still a bargain: Brad Gooding's summer camps at University Village. Very low-key, high emphasis on sportsmanship and the counselors are skilled ball players. I wouldn't rule out Little League entirely. Especially if you get lucky with the coach. If you'd like more info, email me directly. Phyllis
Questions about Softball
Any recommendations on where I can sign my 8 year old daughter for softball or any sport? We are especially interested in playing with teams around the Maxwell Park area in Oakland, if possible. Kellie
Try the Oakland Girls Softball League (http://www.ogsl.org/) for starters. If you're looking for soccer, Jack London Youth Soccer League (www.jlysl.org) has leagues all over Oakland/Alameda. JP
If your daughter wants to see what's up with softball, women coaches from the Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League are leading free softball clinics for beginning and experienced players in grades 1-9 (special introductory clinics just for first graders). The clinics are Sunday Nov. 5 and 19, 9 AM-1 PM at Grove/Russell field (Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Russell Street in Berkeley). RSVP required to clinics [at] abgsl.org For more information, see http:// www.abgsl.org/ or call 510-869-4277. It's fun! Bring a friend and make new ones!
Hi. My six year old girl really wants to play softball. We just moved to Albany, and I'd like recommendations for any organizations in the East Bay we could check out. Thanks!
I don't know if this is too far afield for you or what their residency requirements are, but both Alameda (www.alamedagsa.com) and Piedmont (www.piedmontsoftball.com) have girls' softball leagues. J
Check out the Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League at 510-869-4277 or www.abgsl.org/
Both my daughters play, and they love it. It's open to girls in grades 1-9. No experience is needed. Even if your daughter's never picked up a bat before, she'll learn how to play! I can't say enough good things about the league. It's fun and supportive. All the girls get to play, rotating through the different positions -- so no one spends the whole season on the bench or way, way out there in extreme outfield. There's plenty of action for everyone.
These days, you hear (or see) a lot of negative things about sports parents and competition, how parents sometimes carry things too far. This isn't the case in ABGSL. One of the greatest things is how encouraging the parents, coaches and players are. I'll never forget the game when a young player hit the ball. She stood there, half in shock, and then finally dropped the bat. In her excitement, she started running towards third base (!). Instead of yelling at her, her coach congratulated her on hitting the ball and showing good hustle. Afterwards, she walked away, grinning from ear to ear.
Last spring, my first grader started playing tee-ball (it's called Micro). It's very low- key and oodles of fun. Play time and snacks -- What more can you ask for? softball madre
I would highly recommend the Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League. My Izzy has been playing since she was in first grade and is now in sixth grade. She just loves it and has developed excellent softball skills and has made many, many friends. ABGSL takes girls at all age and skill levels and the play is in a non-competitive atmosphere. ABGSL can be reached at the www.abgsl.org. Howard