Hey Softball people, How do you like this cheesy video? That is what my husband called it. I had this done by a talented artist called Dean from DadoonStudio. He was one of the students in my online business class.
Every weekend is like this in our house. Loads of laundry, trying to find the right sock with no holes at the toes, visors, cleats, jerseys (specially if you have more than one kid playing) suitcases full of stuff for those out-of-town tournaments..you name it, the whole nine yards. This video is dedicated to the countless parents who go through this every weekend. Enjoy and share it with fellow softball people!! Our softball season is definitely starting slowly but surely and before you know it we parents will be kicking and screaming all the way to the field.
We have tournament this weekend in the Fremont sports complex. Not that far so we wouldn’t be trading our car for a wagon! I noticed that many of you land on my site looking for healthy food options for sporty kids. I am working on gathering more information on sports nutrition and good recipes. Will post soon when I have enough material. Have a great weekend folks. Enjoy the sunshine!!
I am republishing a post from 3 years ago. This is a page on my site that is by far the most visited page. I know some of your kids are busy playing spring softball, but spring will end soon and then you will be wondering what to do this summer. So I thought this post could help you find a summer team close to you. I have also added more teams to the list. Most of the summer teams might have already formed by now but there is always exceptions. If your daughter is a great player then there might be a team that would want her to play for them. So it never hurts to call the team and check to see if they have a spot for her. So here you go…
TRAVEL SOFTBALL IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
So now that your daughter has finished or nearing the end of the recreation season, what are you going to do? Do your kids switch sports? Or do they play summer ball? or may be even step up to a travel ball?
If you live in the bay area, you hit the jackpot with travel ball teams. There are SO many teams in this area. My husband and I gave our girls the option to play different sports in different seasons. We played Rec softball in spring, and a “C” ball team in the summer, soccer in the fall, and basketball in the winter. We found out that by about 10 years of age the kids actually picked the sport they like and wanted to stick with it.
So my oldest one joined competitive team a.k.a “A” ball team to play on, around 10 yrs because most of her rec team kind of split up into different sports. My younger one just joined the same “A” ball team. So no more soccer for us.
I kinda wish my kids went into golf. I like golf, but I am out numbered in my family. So, lets stick with softball. I didn’t know what are the different levels of softball when we started. What is A, B and C softball?
Well, the classification actually differs depending on where you live and what type of tournaments your coach decides to enter. In a nut shell the following is a very simple definition.
Class “A”: Team consists of high level players. Team has more than one Ace level pitcher. Team competes and consistently beats teams that are better. Team is put together by holding a try out and travels quite far to compete with the best teams in the region. Enters into showcase tournaments as kids get older to get players college scholarships. Competes in national level championship games. Very competitive.
Class “B”: Most teams at some point will fall in this category. Majority of players are above average level players. Team has strong pitching and is competitive and win some tournaments. Travels within short distance. Medium level competitiveness.
Class “C”: Team mostly consists of an all-star kids from a recreation league. Travel short distance to compete with other “C” level teams. A step above rec ball.
Again these are general guidelines and differ depending on ASA/USA or USSSA rules. In Northern California, if your player plays or has her name in the roster of an “A” ball team on April 1st then they cannot play recreation ball. Check out the NorcalASA handbook linked here.
Now comes the choices. The great weather and plenty of interest in softball has contributed to a great many travel ball teams here in Northern California. Some of the teams listed here are a little outside Nor Cal that travel to Nor Cal area to play. Are you ready for this? In no particular order..here we go, a list of travel softball teams in Northern California!
If you are looking for a more convenient way to search for teams in your area please click searchableTable of Travel softball teams in Northern California. Enter your location in the search area and a list of teams will show up. You can also browse through the locations alphabetically.
Note: If I have missed your team or if any link is broken, please post a comment or email me through the contact page and I will correct it and add the team.
So there you go, you have a list of teams near you that you can check out and try out if your daughter is interested in the next level of softball. Good luck and hope to see you out in the field in one of the tournaments! Happy playing!!
Howz it going? As travel softball family I am sure you have had your share of visiting various fields in and around the Bay Area. Sometimes the fields are nice and sometimes they are awful. Over the years I have been taking pics of the parks we play in and their snack shacks. Some of the park reviews are listed below. I still have many to list here and will keep adding more as soon as I have time. So please continue to check here on a regular basis. I also have the same listed under the Softball Field Review page so you don’t have to scroll to find the field reviews in the blog section of this site. I hope this will benefit other parents and help them find out in advance if there is a snack shack or entry fee or if the park is kid friendly or pet-friendly.
Today Humphrey came home from high school with my daughter. Here is Humphrey looking cool with his shades on 😉
This is their equivalent to game ball. Each kid gets to decorate him when they take him home after a game played well. We had an awesome game today against a team from Santa Clara that was equally good.
Last game was very painful to watch when our JV team got creamed by another team from the Peninsula. You know some days you are just wishing “Isn’t there a run rule to end the game quick and stop the bleeding?” That was our previous game. Today however we had a really good one. We were leading 7 to 1 for a long time and then we gave up a lot of runs quickly due to errors and were 7 to 8 at the 6th inning. But the last inning we shut them down with good pitching and also good hitting and ended up winning the game 10-8.
Today was my daughter’s debut pitching for high school JV team. She had been catching the last few games as our official catcher got hurt. Today she gave up 3 runs the first inning and then shut them down the last inning. We had good team work with the entire team playing well at the end. Since she had a great hit which brought 2 runs in and good pitching, she got to take home Humphrey.
I am a proud Mom. You know, I never thought I would say this, but I do miss seeing her play at a high level in the “A ball” tournaments.
Oh well, I still have my 11-year-old playing in the “A ball” team, so we will get plenty of games this summer starting this weekend at Pleasanton, CA. I need to get back into the swing of things and get this site going again. Watch out for more updates soon. Wishing you all a great spring season of softball!!
Hey there softball people! What have you been up to during this rainy winter? Are you sick of the rain yet? Spring softball season is around the corner but there seems to be no respite from the rain.
How many of your kids are high school age? How did the tryouts go and did they make the high school teams? If your kids have played any kind of travel softball, I bet they made it on their high school softball team.
After a week of tryouts, our high school has finally picked its players and settled in their teams. My daughter is a freshman this year. She and several of her teammates from her previous travel team made it on to their high school softball teams. Congratulations to all of you girls. My daughter and one of her friends at the same school were told by their coach that even though they are good enough to play on the varsity team, that he would rather see them play JV initially instead of being bench warming freshman. She was told she would move up to varsity team as needed during the season.
We are very thankful for the coach being so honest with the kids and letting them know what he was thinking. My daughter was initially very conflicted about whether she should be playing varsity or JV if she had to choose. The coach just made it less stressful for her by telling her that she would start JV and move up during the season.
Now she seems excited about playing for JV. Also, the JV team needs pitchers and so she will be pitching some is what she was told. Well, we just want her to enjoy playing for the school.
I have read conflicting accounts of kids getting on Varsity team as a freshman and not enjoying sitting on the bench. Since the coach has priority to play the seniors and juniors first. Understandably.
Have your kids faced a situation where they had to choose between Varsity or JV softball team? What did they do? Which one did they pick? Were they happy with their choice? Please share your thoughts so other kids and parents can get learn from your experience.
If you would like to check out your high school teams go to Maxpreps and search for your state and your high school. They have all the tournaments listed and the results and much more.
This is our first year of high school, so I had to search a lot to find out information on high school softball and its rules and regulations. It seems like the high school governing body in California is CIF (California Interscholastic Federation). You can get the latest rules books online at Amazon.
You can also get the Softball Case Book at Amazon. Both books are $5.99 and available in e-book format. You do have to keep the umpire in line, don’t you 😉 What is a softball casebook? According to the description on Amazon, it “Contains the official case plays for softball and are designed to explain all aspects of the sport.”
So, how many times can kids move up and down between varsity and JV team? I have heard from parents on softball forums that once the kids play in conference games then they can’t move down. Some parents say it depends on the state and the kids can move up and down up to 26 or 28 times or something similar to that based on league and non-league games. I still have not figured out if this is true in California since I have not read the Rules book yet. If there are high school softball coaches or experts reading this post, please chime in and keep us straight on this issue.
Okay, have you had enough of High School softball rules and regulations? Is there more that we need to know? If your kids have played HS softball and you have any interesting experience of it please do share for the benefit of newbie HS parents like me here. We appreciate your comments on this topic.
Good luck to your kids playing High School Softball this spring! Now we just need the rain to stop!!
Happy New year 2017 to all my readers! I hope 2016 was good for you and I hope 2017 is Great to everyone.
I am for sure looking forward to a great 2017. As for 2016, I am glad it is OVER and gone. I would not want to revisit 2016 ever. Was just a terrible year for us until the very very end! I can’t believe we had such a rough 2016. I can see the wheels turning in your head. How bad could it have been? Well for starters, our home remodel was supposed to have been finished by January of 2016 but due to a series of unfortunate events…it never did. To top it all, my brother-in-law who was our remodel contractor (a very talented one at that) ended up getting cancer and passed away within 7 months of diagnosis. It was very devastating to the entire family. Since he was remodeling our house, he stayed with us for 3 to 4 months before heading back to east coast where he was from. Just watching a human being get wasted by cancer just sucked! My entire family was extremely stressed out and ended up having our own stress related health problems.
Then we acted as our own general contractor and had individual contractors come in to finish up our house. Specially in the bay area, it was extremely difficult to find good contractors. It was like pulling teeth. Should I add without any pain medication!! You know sometimes it feels like you are constantly swimming upstream and it is very exhausting!
If you follow my blog, here is a pic of my house I posted in November of 2015. The bottom right corner pic was my demolished kitchen in a rubble.
Well, even towards the end of the year, Christmas break, we all got sick with terrible cold and fever during our travel to east coast and we are just now recovering from it. We also got buried by 18″ of snow but we were too sick to get out of the house anyway. You see what I mean, until the 31st of 2016 we were struggling. So as you can tell, we are excited about 2017.
Now turning a new leaf in this new year, just yesterday, we got our final inspection approved by the city. I can’t believe it!! This morning when I woke up, I thought it was a dream. I was the structural engineer on my house and I am so glad to say that I do not have to deal with the city again for my house. They were not easy to work with. Well, are you ready to see my new kitchen? Ta..da…..
Do you like it? I love it. Every aspect of my house, I researched and designed it. Houzz was my best friend during the process. The nightmare of home remodel of 2016 is finally over!!
I hope your Christmas break was great and you got many goodies you asked for. Now relating to softball, my daughter asked for a special bat she liked. Here is a pic.
She got what she wanted. We shall see how it works out for her this spring. She is moving up to 12U and spring season practice starts tomorrow actually. My older daughter plans on trying out for high school softball. But for her softball has definitely taken a back seat to academics.
Okay..now that the divisive elections are over, can we come back to reality and our daily lives? Softball lives?
You know where I am going with the title 😉
There are plenty of A-ball teams in the area. A sample list is here.
But this list is compiled based on what the teams call themselves. Truly not all teams that call themselves “A” ball teams deserve to be called that. So how DO you find the needle in the haystack?
Well, I wish I had an easy answer like..they have earned the right to wear a certain color jersey or what ever, you know like the different colored belts in martial arts. Unfortunately there is no distinction that is obvious in the softball world. It is just trial and error folks.
There are however a few things you can do to narrow it down. If you are interested in a team, go watch them play in a tournament. See how they act when kids mess up and when kids have an outstanding play. Watch how the coaches interact with the players. The true “A” ball teams actually have a head of the organization who oversees all the teams of different age groups. The head coach assigns individual coaches for each age group that really care about the kids and is dedicated in improving their skills. In this day and age of volunteer softball coaches, that is always not possible to find a good coach. So every once in a while you end up in a team where the coach actually doesn’t have your kids best interest.
You know it is human nature to watch out for your own kids’ well being but that shouldn’t have to come at the expense of playing time for other kids or negative comments and feed back to other kids. Usually most teams tell upfront that on Saturday everyone gets equal play time since Saturday games actually don’t count in a tournament.
But on Sundays usually most teams play to win. There are however some “A” ball teams which care more about improving the kids. Improving each individual kids skill is their main goal. Winning championships is not their goal. But for every team like that there are a hand full of teams on the opposite end of the spectrum which accept your kids but then sit them out most of the time since all they care about is winning every single game they play. Your kids are just back up just in case.
There are also teams where the coach is so negative that it is border line verbal abuse. It is after all a game of softball and at some point the games end (mostly after college) but the kids take the lessons learned with them for the rest of their lives. Being strict and yelling at the kids to improve them are great but there is a line that can’t be crossed and balance that needs to be reached. Girls don’t react to yelling and screaming like boys do. Actually there are many books that have been written about the differences in coaching boys vs girls. A few interesting reads are here and here.
A good “A” ball team will have a dugout coach who will actually invest time in correcting the kids when they make mistakes in the field as soon as they walk in the dugout. “Why did you leave your base early?” or “you have to turn your hips the right way before hitting?” or “You have to extend when you swing ” , ” You have to keep your eyes on the ball and don’t pull your head”, ” You didn’t turn the right direction while catching” etc. , When your kids play on a team that is constantly correcting them, they will eventually end up being a great player after a few years of repetitive lessons. I kid you not, it takes a few years for the kids to keep hearing the coaching over and over again to actually get it. Another way kids learn is when they are actually in the field playing and making mistakes. They learn from the mistakes and hopefully do better the next time.
True “A” ball team also doesn’t dismantle after every season and redo the tryout again the next season. They have their kids come to the tryouts but not in order to cut them. Kids will never be able to master the techniques if there is no continuity from season to season. The only time they cut kids are if they are uncoachable and disrespectful and a distraction to the other athletes or if the parents are so obnoxious that they are not setting a good example for the other kids in the team. The true “A” ball team cares about winning but not at the expense of the kids learning and using wrong techniques. They actually don’t mind losing games by keeping the kids in the game if they are struggling as long as there is a lesson involved to perform under pressure. Wrong techniques actually can hurt the kids physically. Their ultimate goal is to actually train the kids in the correct techniques and get them to be the best they can be in order to play in college if that is what the kids goals are.
Well the above is what a good “A” ball team does. Now there are other teams that call themselves the same but essentially hold tryouts and pick the best players for each position or multiple positions. In this area where softball is so prevalent, there are some tremendous athletes with raw natural talent. So these teams will essentially have no dugout or base coaching. Kids are just thrown in the game and have to figure out a way to play well. Don’t be fooled, some teams that form like this actually do compete in many top tournaments and also win. If your kid happens to get on one of these teams be very proud that they made an “A” ball team but don’t expect too much after that. If no one is actually telling them what they are doing wrong, they will never know that they are doing something wrong. These teams also tend to sit kids out more since their core group is doing well in winning games, they have no reason to bring new kids in and mess it all up. These teams are more like the “All stars of the All star teams”.
Many a times you see frustrated kids and parents going from team to team to just be able to find the right fit for their kids. So good luck to you and your kids. May the softball gods help you find the right team. If you know of teams you have been with that are truly an “A” ball team with the kids best interest then please share your team name and information so it can help others who are in search of a good team.
Here is a friendly challenge for the “A” ball teams : How about adding a mission statement for your team and explain to the new parents searching for that perfect team what your coaching philosophy is and explain how you take a young kid from a beginner and turn her into a good athlete ready for college!!
Well..I thought fall will be an easy-going month but NO!
Fall season is as hectic as summer this year as my 10U/12U daughter has had tournaments almost every weekend. She plays some 12U tournaments and some 10U and their team is all over the place, San Jose, Stockton, Manteca, Fremont, Salinas. My older 14U daughter missed softball so much during summer that she decided to play Fall ball but her team is a little easy-going than my younger one’s.
Well, this weekend was a little somber. My 14U played in theAlexis Briski Tournamentin Los Gatos, Campbell area. It is organized by the Briski family who lost one of their daughters Alexis to childhood cancer. You can read about it in the link above. It is very heartbreaking to read about her brave fight against cancer and her love for the game of softball. During the game the Briski family came with their other daughters to watch our game. I was going to talk to them but decided not to so they can just enjoy a game of softball without being interrupted.
Ironically during the same game I heard from my family that my brother-in-law has succumbed to Bile duct cancer. He was diagnosed in Feb and passed away this weekend. Definitely made me ponder what is really important in life. Life is too short. Cherish your kids and loved ones.
Anyway…moving on to lighter side of things…during one of the games before our game a player from one team had such an awesome throw from the outfield to home to get the kid out that was stealing home. Everyone thought she was going to be out when the catcher tossed her helmet to catch the ball and it bounced off the ground and hit her in the face. Ouch…that was very painful to watch. Just that split second when she took her helmet off to see the ball and lost her tooth. The entire team was searching at home plate for that missing tooth. Some of the kids from the opposing team came out to search for the tooth and they started bawling one after another as they saw the catcher hurt. Some of the kids crying uncontrollably…it was interesting to watch how the girls were so emotionally connected to the game and other players.
This weekend was eye-opening for us as parents of a couple of softball players. I had signed up my daughter who will be a freshman this year into this Stanford Advance/Elite softball camp. As usual, I had no idea what this camp was about as we have never done this before. I mainly signed her up because she took a break from playing travel ball this summer and she wanted to keep her skills up so she can play high school ball in the spring.
Little did we know how many kids come to these camps. 76 + another parent next to me was counting as the kids walked in. It may be more for all I know. Kids came all the way from Los Angeles, Texas, Washington State, Colorado, New York or some other state from the east coast. A lot of them were talking about just having played at the PGF tournament in Southern CA and then doing this camp right after. Many kids had their team jerseys.
This was a 2 day action packed camp. Day one was from 9am to 6pm and Day 2 was 8am to 1pm. On the first day, the kids all stood around in a circle and were supposed to learn something memorable about the girl standing next to her and introduce her to everyone. The parents were a little further away from the group and so I couldn’t hear much of what they were saying but I know that my 14-year-old daughter was the next one to be introduced and all of a sudden the entire group of girls and coaches just burst out in laughter. I was wondering what did she say that made the entire team laugh! My daughter is the “poodle girl” since she said that she had poodles that were brothers who had 2 different moms but same dad and born on the same day. Yes that is very true and one coach thought that was scandalous 😉
Well I was glad they got a kick out of that. Jokes aside, we as parents were impressed with the amount of information the coaches provided for both kids and parents. Everyday the coaches split the girls up into 3 to 4 groups and went through hitting, fielding, sliding and game scenarios. My daughter was really impressed with how nice the coaches and the Stanford players were. The coaches included Head coach Rachel Hanson, Assistant coaches Megan Langenfeld and Dorian Shaw and volunteer assistant coach Jo Koons. I noticed the coaches stop and correct the players if they noticed they were not doing something correctly.
My daughter was proud when Coach Dorian commented that she has an “amazing swing”. I think that made her day. The kids also made friends and the entire atmosphere was very nice and fun. The best part of the camp was the Q&A session. I am going to list some of the things that I learnt from these sessions.
Surprising one was that verbal commitments are being made to players for the class of 2018 and 2019. They already have identified who these players are and the head coach said that the top 25 schools were giving verbal commitments to players as young as 8th grade. She mentioned the system is broken but they have to make the best of it and they are competing for the same pool of players that the other top 25 schools are competing. That is a little insane but I was glad they were very honest about the process.
That doesn’t mean there is no hope for the older girls she said since verbal commitments are not set in stone and change if the kids don’t get good grades or not of good character or if they don’t continue to develop into the high-caliber player.
Once they have identified the players they are interested in the coaches get to watch these players at the big tournaments in So. Cal like the PGF and the one in Colorado where all the coaches from near and far come to recruit. They also have relations with a few travel ball coaches that send their best players with top grades their way.
They also said they like the players making the effort to get in touch with the coaches instead of the parents. But they are not allowed to usually talk to the players off campus. They can’t email back or call back if you leave a message. They also mentioned not to waste money on services that do a package for your daughter and email to the coaches. That these services usually spam the coaches emails and the emails just get deleted.
The kids asked questions about ACT and SAT scores and Coach Hanson mentioned that the score of at least 28 on ACT and 650 or above on SAT are the minimum but that doesn’t mean that is enough score to get into Stanford. Essays are essential. The encouraged the girls to push themselves at school and take as many AP classes as they can and play other sports in addition to softball at their high schools. This makes for a well-rounded player who is not burnt out from just playing softball.
Among the thousands of girls playing softball every year in the US, the number of kids that these elite schools actually recruit are usually 4 or 5 in each of the top 25 school, so folks be realistic about getting into these schools. And have a talk with your kids that there are plenty of other great schools in the US with some great softball programs if they have their hearts set on playing at college level.
As for us, we were appreciative of all the information we got but honestly my daughter went to camp to get warmed up after a summer off and what better way to do it than go to Stanford University which is just 15 to 20 mins from our home. She was glad to go to camp and very happy to know that she was still good enough to play with all these amazing players who had come to camp and she is very proud of what Coach Dorian said about her “amazing swing”. Thanks Coach, you made the camp worth it for her.
I would really encourage interested softball players to sign up for these camps if you are in the area. It will be an awesome experience. Coach Hanson and all the assistant coaches were very approachable and very straight forward in their answers.
Good luck to all the girls who want to play at college level. If there is a will there is a way! Go for it if it is YOUR dream and not that of your parents 😉
Well folks summer is done! and Nationals are done!
I’d say we had the tiniest team at the Nationals(except a couple of girls). How about shoe size Y5 playing against adult size 10? That’s how wild the range of the kids were in the teams we played against. Needless to say, our team struggled. But you know what, they played the best they could, considering the natural limits they had. So as parents we are very proud of them trying their very best and look forward to all the things they will learn as they grow older.
After watching older girls games, watching 10U games almost always looks like we are watching the games in slow motion. It is kind of cute how small they are and how little they know and how they transform into great athletes by 16U-18U.
I think the team of people who organized the Nationals worked really hard to make Stockton look appealing and welcoming to everyone playing, the only sad part was when you hear in the news that the Mayor of Stockton got arrested for providing drinks to underage and playing strip poker! It is very sad how one person ruins the hard work of so many others. Specially if that person is in a position of charge!
Thanks to the organizers for trying hard to make your city welcoming and Congratulations to Universal FastPitch for winning the well deserved 10U Championship! School is starting, school softball is starting for middle school and fall ball is starting. Good luck to your kids at school and in the fall season. My daughter is moving up to 12U.
PS: My husband overheard some coaches talking about my blog. Thanks for reading. ! I appreciate it!!