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Discussion: merging stronger players with weaker players at local level

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May 19
Larry S

56 posts
Would like to hear ideas on how your local senior rec games handle setting up teams with the strong big hitter travel guys & the weaker guys who love playing the game.
Point being what happens when the big hitter lines it into the infield & the infielder is one of the weaker players? We have some big hitters not wanting to play because they don't want to injure a weaker infielder. Thanks for input..
May 19

153 posts
This is an issue in our league.First off SSSUA has all players sign a waiver form stating that softball is a game of risk. Weaker players have choices in mixed leagues with stronger players, most weaker players catch and are hidden from injury that way. Unfortunately there are too many 70 plus year olds playing in the 50's division, but the league our does not discriminate against that because it is deemed a "recreational league.
If stronger players do not want to co-mingle with weaker players that is their choice, just as weaker players choose to play fully knowing that they may be at risk with players that are younger, faster stronger, etc.
Restricting either or both based upon safety is what got metal tipped lawn darts banned.
May 19

1112 posts
we don't mix them our rec leagues here in the villages we have 5 mens and 3 ladies divisions... every new player goes thru a process of 3 evaluations.. then they are assigned to a div. which does a draft of all the players in that div. they then must play there for 1 season which lasts about 14 weeks then they can choose to move up or down 1 div or ask for a re-evaluation
May 19
Men's 70
204 posts
Same in Wilmington, NC - approx two weeks of tryouts or spring training, talent is evaluated and the directors of the three divisions along with the managers evaluate the talent and determine which of the divisions the players should play in and for ease of identification, good, better, best.

then the managers of those divisions further evaluate and make teams based on infielders, outfielders, pitchers, etc and at the end of this process the managers are asked, "do you feel these teams are as evenly placed as possible, and would you coach any of the teams" answers typically yes, then they draw their team out of a hat. They have zero knowledge of their team until after the draw, no way to stack a team in the evaluation process. Seems to work extremely well.
May 19
Omar Khayyam

1357 posts
We have a similar disparity in our league, but even more radical. Our oldest player is 97!! Our youngest is 50. A lot of players (50% since it is a day league) are over 70. We solve this by not allowing any player under 70 to use any bat but the old standard single wall. 70-74 can use a double wall. 75 and older and women can use a composite. With the exception of the dangerous Steele bat, we have had very few accidents over the years (not that the Steele caused an accident, but it is obviously hotter than most single walls).

We also use a restricted flight ball. Good hitters can still reach the fence (about 265) but pipsqueaks like me have no hope. To compensate for the older players, outfielders must start from behind a 150 foot arc until the ball is hit. As a California team, we occasionally have 90-100 games a year.

Most injuries are self-inflicted (e.g. misplaying a ball) or age-related (e.g. hamstring pull). We play on turf so bad bounces are very, very rare. In short, it isn't the hot bats that cause the injuries since only oldsters use them, nor the hot ball but just old-fashioned misplays of the batted ball.
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