Coaches’ Corner | Your Guide to Starting the 2021 Season
Spring season is off to a great start! Kids are enjoying baseball and softball and they are such a pleasure and privilege to coach! I know the weather hasn’t been the most cooperative, and many of your practices have been rained out, but hopefully beautiful weather is on the horizon!
There are several points to cover in this Coaches Corner. Please read this message in its entirety, and do let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
1. Uniforms: Uniforms are getting the final touches and should be arriving at the ballpark by Wednesday-ish. As soon as they are in hand, we will let you all know the best time to come and grab them for your team. If you have not had your practice by that point, you can give them out at practice. If you practice early in the week, no worries! You can grab them and pass them out when/how you see fit ahead of Saturday’s opening day. Even if you give your team their uniforms Saturday morning, before or after the parade, that is great, also!
2. Field Maintenance: Coaches, please be in the habit of raking your field after every usage and following basic field care guidelines. Even if another team is ready to take the field, it is still appreciated. The expectation is you, or someone designated from your team, will grab a rake from the shed and smooth out the dirt, fill in holes in the batter’s box and by the pitcher’s mound, and overall, leave the field better than you found it. Please make sure dugouts are free of all trash. All chalkers need to be returned to the shed after usage, as many teams share the chalkers. In addition, if it rains, and the chalk gets wet, it will become clumpy and rendered useless. We know the enormous responsibilities you already have as coaches. It is greatly helpful to have a designated parent or assistant coach to oversee field tasks.
3. Opening Day: Spring 2021 Opening Day is finally upon us! We have all waited an extraordinarily long time to play spring ball again! Covid threw a wrench in our plans last year, but nothing is stopping us from getting out there on Saturday, April 17, for our parade and lineup of games. We are so excited! Everything you need to know about the parade can be found in our TWIO post. Starting with arrival at 8:15 a.m. at Oaklandon Elementary School, plan to join us for a fun, memorable, and of course, socially responsible, parade and festivities. Invite your friends and family to sit along the parade route and cheer on our ball players. It will be a blast!
4. Schedule: Your schedule of games is finalized and posted on League Apps. You can access the schedule through our website under the tab, “Manage Parent Account” or through our app, OYO Baseball and Softball. Take note of field assignments, game times, and home/away designation.
5. Treat Tickets: Now that you have your game schedule, you can have your designated team parent begin organizing a treat ticket schedule. Treat tickets can be purchased at the concession stands for $1 each. They can be used to buy treats like popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and candy. You can have your team parent collect up to $12, depending on how many players you have on your team, from each parent. The team parent can purchase treat tickets for the season. You can also have the team parent assign treat tickets to a different parent weekly. Either way is acceptable. In pre-Covid times, the kids would head to the concession to pick out the treats. For the 2021 Spring Season, we are asking just a team parent or representative come to the stand on behalf of the team to minimize large numbers of kids at the concession stands at once. Treats are a highlight for the kids, for sure!
6. Covid: That pesky Covid virus is still lingering, unfortunately. Since it is still lingering, we will continue to do what it takes to keep our program going and keep us all safe. Here are some of our expectations to keep us in compliance by operating a safe and responsible program for all players and adults. Below are several practical, yet not difficult, things we can do as coaches to minimize the spread of germs, ease the minds of our parents and families, and make it the most safe way to coach in these Covid times. As simply put as I can make it, parents are trusting us to do what we say we will do. Some are still a little leary about participating in team sports, but because of the measures we have put in place as a league, they feel safe and comfortable enough to give spring ball at OYO a go. Again, we have to do what we say we will do. My hope is Covid will be a thing of the past here really soon!
- As coaches, if you are close to your players and unable to keep a six-foot distance from them, please wear your mask or gaiter.
- Please keep dugouts and bleachers for players only. Have the players hang bat bags outside of the dugout so that they may spread out.
- During the offensive parts of the game, 2-3 waiting batters may be in the dugout while the rest of the team spreads out on the bleachers.
- Please keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your wagon or bat bag, set it out at the beginning of the game or practice, and have everyone sanitize often.
- Keep a bottle of sanitizer to spray down catcher’s gear, if it is shared.
- Ask families to spread out.
7. Rules: Here’s a biggie…I strongly urge you to know your division’s rules. Download the softball rules. And, download the baseball rules. Having a very solid knowledge of your division’s specific rules really puts you at an advantage as a coach. The more we know the rules as coaches, the better equipped we are to teach our players the rules, abide by the rules as a team, and understand the calls made by our umpires.
8. Cage reservation: Did you know that we have two batting cages (and another on the way) available to reserve? With wet, rainy days and soaked fields, having some good batting practice at one of the cages can serve as a great alternative for practice, or it can simply be used to enrich batting skills. Please email Cherisse Anderson, OYO Scheduling Chairperson, at least 24 hours in advance if you wish to reserve a batting cage. They are first come, first served, and have to be scheduled with her.
9. Equipment: If you are missing any equipment for your team, or you need something more or different for the season, please touch base with Dennis Lewton, OYO Equipment Chairperson. We are happy to get you whatever you need in the way of equipment for your team. Also, if you did not receive a scorebook, let us know, as we have more that just came.
10. Indianapolis Indians Knot Hole Kids Club: OYO has partnered with the Indianapolis Indians this year. We are selling Knot Hole Kids Club memberships on our website in exchange for a very generous donation from the Indians organization. We have set a goal of 100 or more, and we are very close to meeting the goal. Encourage your players to sign up for the KHKC. It’s a nominal fee for all they get! They will have a ticket to every home game at Victory Field, as well as opportunities to run the bases after select games, fun giveaways, and of course, a KHKC t-shirt. Remind your team to sign up for the Knot Hole Kids Club. Also, save the date for a really fun, festive time at the park on Saturday, May 8, from 9:30-11.30am, when “Rowdie,” the Indianapolis Indians mascot, comes to OYO! There will be lots of fun in store on this day!
11. A sincere, giant THANK YOU: Coaches, thank you for taking the time to read this important communication. Thank you for implementing the skills framework so that our league is developing players at the right time, in the right ways. Thank you for taking care of Veterans Memorial Park, where OYO calls home. Your care and concern for everything from the batting cages to the fields and all points in between is greatly appreciated. Thank you for helping us recruit players to the league. Having you invite players to your team and spreading the word to register has been infinitely helpful! Thank you, most of all, and from the bottom of my heart, for coaching, teaching, having fun with, developing, laughing with, showing care and concern for, and spreading the love of baseball and softball to these awesome kids in our league! You are doing it with excellence!
If you need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out! You are appreciated!