This Spring our family has ventured into the wonderful world of T-Ball! Yup, this is just the beginning. We’re giving up our weekend and devoting it to practices and games, and so far, so good.
One of the advantages of having two kids who are a mere 53 weeks apart, is that when it comes to youth sports, they can be on the same team. I don’t know if it will always be that way, or work out (to my advantage) that way, but for now they are on the same T-Ball team, so I’m not being pulled between two locations, times, games, practices, etc… and I think it’s great they can start this experience together.
We’re about to hit the halfway mark for the season, but I figured I might as well share some of my thoughts, tips and advice as a new T-Ball/baseball Mom…to date!
Plan Ahead and Research – Chances are, there are more than one (little league) for you to chose from in your area. And while many of youth leagues are similar, they are not the same. Plan ahead to find out when to register (early registration can save you money), check on the age requirements and find out when/where practices and games are held.
Talk to other Moms (and Dads) – I know I spoke to a friend of mine who has been pulling double duty with her boys, but she loves it. She gave me tips on what to look for and shared her experiences with me…she also passed on some hand me down gear that her boys had out grown! 😉 I also spoke to other parents who have already played in the league we were considering, so they gave me valuable insight that helped me decide to sign up, and I had a good idea of what to expect.
Don’t Go Overboard – It will be tempting to buy and spend on all the necessities for your ball player(s)…BUT it may be wise to wait – until you’re sure this will be a longer term investment. Sure there will be a few items you will need to purchase, however I suggest checking around for hand me down/gently used cleats and other equipment. A baseball glove is usually mandatory, but when they’re just starting out, it doesn’t need to be a top dollar, top of the line glove. It’s okay to be conservative with what you spend. On our team, we have team bats and helmets that we share, while the hats and team jerseys were covered in our registration fees, and coincidentally the Oakland A’s and Black Bear Diner sponsored the uniforms for all the T-Ball and Farm teams in our league! So then, I found inexpensive baseball pants, and purchased socks and belts to complete the uniform.
Pictures – Have your camera and/or phone ready to start snapping these memorable moments. In this day and age, we are so fortunate to be able to snap away and have all these images and videos instantly. Take advantage of it and enjoy! There will inevitably be the “professional” shots through the organization you join. You can buy their prints at your discretion, but again, no need to overdo it, as it gets expensive…but making sure to capture your own shots is free…you make sure you’re not shooting into the sun and that you frame it just right!
Be Social and Get Involved – I get it, sometimes you’re not trying to give up your free time or be extra social when you’re not on the (job) clock, and that’s fine, BUT be social enough to make sure it’s not only a good experience for the kids, but for the entire family. Parent involvement is key in youth sports, because many times they are just volunteer positions. You will see these families every weekend and we all want to make sure it’s a fun and fulfilling experience for everyone involved. So, be responsive and communicate about schedules for practices, games, snacks. etc… or volunteer to help out at practice. I’m sure the manager and other parents will appreciate it!
I’ll be sure to post again after our first T-Ball season ends..until then, “Let’s Play…T-Ball!!”