Welcome 612 Fastpitch's 8U program information page. Many of you may be new to our program or even new to fastpitch. The intent is to give you an overview of what the program is about and what to expect.
COMMUNITY-BASED TRAVEL SOFTBALL
612 Fastpitch is a community-based travel softball program. Community-based travel softball is the next step up on the ladder from parks and rec style softball. The 8U program is an on-ramp for younger players and families into more competitive traveling fastpitch softball. In these leagues the girls will travel (not too much and not too far), they will have regular organized practices with solid softball instruction based on proven training methods, and they will play in at least one tournament.
WHY START AT 8U?
The intent of 8U fastpitch is to have fun, teach good fundamental skills and if the girls and families like it, move on within the program.
SOME FACTS ABOUT 612's 8U Program
There are no tryouts for 8U— the program is open to all players and families in MInneapolis.
For the 2018 season the 8U program is for girls: Girls born on or after January 1, 2009. It is recommended to have already turned six.
The objectives of the program does not including winning. At this age, fun and good fundamentals are the goals.
Our 8U program is an introduction to traveling sports program appropriate to age.
Teammates will be from multiple schools from Minneapolis.
Coaches may be parent coaches, but they are fully-vetted and must prove they have the skills appropriate for the age level and too teach proper technique and fundamentals.
Parents are welcome to help out and there are many volunteer tasks on the field and behind the scenes needed to make the experience the best it can be.
Practices will be held one evening/week.
The regular season is around 10 games. Game nights are double-headers and take place one night per week.
Travel for games is to surrounding communities - Edina, Minnetonka, Richfield, St. Louis Park. Usually no more than 45 minutes away.
Home games and practices are in Minneapolis. Softball fields used are at Pearl Park, Creekview. Todd Park, Armatage & Lynnhurst.
The season will run from May and end in late June or July.
Roster size will be 12-14 girls. Everyone will play in the field and bat and will play multiple positions.
Additional developmental opportunities are available through the Club 612 program as the child progresses. Some examples are group hitting clinics, winter skills training and specialized clinics for pitchers and catchers.
What are tournaments like? Local tournaments can be extremely fun for players and families. Normally tournaments are 1-2 days and the girls will play 2-3 games. They are social events and team bonding opportunities for the girls and families
What about cost? Normally 8U programs are less expensive for the season (less than $200 and in most cases less than $150). More expensive than a park program, but still affordable. Limited scholarships will be made available on a case-by-case basis. Fees include a team uniform top ( a t-shirt and team socks). Families will be responsible for pants, belt, glove, cleats and optional equipment like protective facemasks, batting gloves, etc. More on that later.
What is the difference between the fastpitch and slow-pitch programs?
Fastpitch softball is the sport played at the high school and collegiate levels. Girls who wish to play for a high school softball team should choose to play fastpitch as the game of slowpitch softball is not a high school sanctioned sport. At the 10U level and up, fastpitch closely resembles baseball and uses fun skills such as base stealing, sliding, bunting and advancing to first base on a dropped third strike. Girls who participate in the fastpitch program tend to develop softball skills more quickly than in slowpitch and become better prepared to play at higher levels, including high school. The game is fast moving, and our girls are trained in both the physical and situational aspects of the game. It is best to learn the mechanics and fundamentals of fastpitch early as it can become more difficult to transition from slowpitch at later ages.
What are the Rules of Play?
The 8U Rules of League Play can be found on the Minnesota Softball website. Most tournaments follow these same rules. The most distinct difference between fastpitch and slowpitch at the 8U level is the pitching. We use a “Louisville Blue Flame” pitching machine (spring-loaded), which pitches at approximately 30 mph from 30-35 feet away.
Is it hard for the players to hit a “fast” pitch?
The pitching machine might seem intimidating the first time a player sees it. The coaches are very good at helping the girls feel comfortable about how it works and instilling confidence. Compared to a “human” pitched ball, the machine pitch has a consistent speed and placement making it easier for the girls to time and follow.
What are the Goals of the 8U program?
The ultimate goal is the development of all the players as great young sportswomen and as athletes. The focus of the 8U program is to introduce the fastpitch game with an emphasis on fun. We aim to give the girls age appropriate instruction on the fundamentals of the game, including proper mechanics of fielding, throwing and hitting as well as the basics of game “strategy” (i.e., learning to go for the lead runner and not always throwing to 1st base). Ultimately, we want to prepare the girls to enter the 10U program with a solid understanding of the basics of the game. Winning is NOT the goal of the 8U program.
What equipment is needed?
At a minimum, every player must have a glove and a batting helmet (with a face cage and chin strip). A fielding mask is recommended but not required. Players are encouraged to wear a fielding mask when playing the infield positions of P, 1B , 2B, SS or 3B. While not a requirement, many players choose to wear cleats. The infield dirt can make a mess of tennis shoes, especially when wet, and the outfield grass can be slippery. You do not need to buy specific softball cleats for an 8U player. Many girls wear soccer cleats which can be found at any secondhand sporting goods store. We will begin to teach the players sliding skills, so wearing pants is a good idea. A pair of leggings works well at this age.
What equipment does Club 612F provide?
The coaches’ bag stocked by Club 612 Fastpitch includes balls, catcher's equipment, and a variety of bats. Many girls prefer their own bat, but it is not a requirement. If you would like assistance in choosing a bat for your child, please talk to the coaches or equipment manager practice.
What does my child need to wear?
For practice, dress for comfort and ease of movement. For games, players need to wear the Cub 612 Fastpitch issued uniform jersey and your own softball pants or leggings.
What is the Schedule?
The teams practice once per week and play 1 game on Sunday nights for the Fall League. Typical locations for 8U games include Burnsville, Shakopee, Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie, and Bloomington.
Can I help?
Absolutely! Talk to your team’s head coach. Let the coach know you would like to help and the time commitment that you can make. All parents who wish to assist with practices and/or games are welcome to do so at any time. Bring your glove and jump into the action.
Where do we play our games?
The 8U program is a “traveling program” which means that our league games on Monday or Wednesday nights during the summer season and Sunday evenings in the Fall Season. The league does their best to ensure that teams do not have an unreasonable travel schedule. Game schedules as well as field locations (with directions) will be uploaded to the team pages when the schedule is finalized for 8U.
Where do we practice?
Coaches will select and make reservations at fields in the city of Minneapolis.
What can I do to help my daughter become a better player?
Practice outside of practice. Just playing catch is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to help your daughter. Good throws and good catches are central to playing the game well. Talk to your daughter’s coach about what your daughter needs to work on to improve and how you can help her.