As players progress into higher leagues, the level of competitiveness increases. Throughout all the levels of WMLL, participation is insured by local rules, which require minimum playing times. In the Atlantic and Pacific baseball leagues and in the Minor, Major and Junior softball leagues, there are stated philosophies which guide the actions of coaches.
Baseball – Atlantic League (7-8’s) and Pacific League (9-10’s)
The Atlantic and Pacific leagues, although competitive in nature, are instructional leagues intended to develop each player’s understanding of baseball strategy and her/his offensive and defensive skills. The primary emphasis is on each individual’s participation, the exposure to a range of defensive positions and the enjoyment of the game of baseball.
The following are guidelines for coaches to use in implementing the WMLL philosophy of participation. In creating these guidelines, it is recognized that coaches require and deserve latitude and flexibility to create an environment that achieves the WMLL philosophy. It is further recognized that player factors affecting teamwork and skill development, such as attendance, sportsmanship and effort may affect the implementation of these guidelines.
- Defensive playing time rules are recognized as absolute minimums, not guidelines or suggestions. No player or groups of players should be singled out, either positively or negatively, by consistently receiving either the maximum or minimum amount of playing time, and…
- Generally, when 10 or fewer players are present and six defensive innings are played, every player should play more than the minimum number of defensive innings
- Generally, when 11 or more players are present, no player should be in the defensive lineup for six innings.
- Positions in the batting order should rotate. No player or groups of players should be singled out, either positively or negatively, by constant placement in the most desirable or least desirable positions in the batting order.
- The instructional goals of these leagues are achieved by beginning to focus on a number of positions at which each player receives instruction and playing time in both practices and games. Instruction in the skills of all positions should be available to all players. Effort should be made to give game playing time at all positions which a player has the skills to handle safely and at which he/she, through their effort in practice, expresses a desire to play. As a minimum, over the course of the season, all players should receive significant playing time at both infield and outfield positions. Coaches should look for opportunities, such as in one-sided games, to rotate players to positions less familiar to them.