“All Hands On Deck!” is the call for January at La Jolla Youth Baseball. Behind the scenes, the board and League presidents have been working for a couple of months getting registration set up, facilities organized, uniforms ordered and sponsors engaged.
When registration closed on Jan. 14, nearly 400 players, ages 5-14, were committed to play on 40 teams in five divisions.
A clean-up day was organized and 20 volunteers painted bleachers, cleared out sheds, fixed and organized equipment, and overhauled an old batting cage with new turf and a pitching machine.
By early February, assessments will be completed for the Pinto, Mustang, Bronco and Pony divisions, which involve every player and about 30 coaches, who carefully assess players on the elements of throwing, hitting, fielding and running. It takes a couple of days to complete and everyone compares notes for the sole purpose of organizing teams using a draft format that is fair and balanced.
Parity is of utmost importance in this recreational league so players can develop new skills, learn important teamwork abilities, and most important — have fun playing baseball.
The 10 Shetland teams are organized more by schools, friends and neighbors, because at ages 5 and 6, the kids are just learning the ropes and care more about what’s the post-game snack than how to turn a double play. Shetland coaches are paid in memorable stories they will reminisce about with their children when they grow up.
LJYB will again participate in the Youth Baseball Initiative with the San Diego Padres. Last year, the Padres donated about 12,000 authentic MLB Padres jerseys and caps to youth leagues throughout the San Diego region.
Player development is a high priority for LJYB with the introduction of multiple clinics, batting practices and workouts with professional and volunteer instructors in an ongoing program.
LJYB organizes a series of “Sunday Sandlot Sessions” that are free to players and full of age-appropriate instruction in each division.
In addition to player development, volunteer managers and coaches are expected to attend an educational workshop hosted by LJYB and the Positive Coaching Alliance. This two-hour certification program affords every volunteer the opportunity to learn philosophies, tools and techniques that certifies them as a “Double-Goal Coach/Parent.”
This season, the Positive Coaching Alliance workshop is open to any parent with a player in the league. The workshop is hosted by a LJYB family and is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6 in Parker Auditorium at La Jolla High School. Registration is required at
Managers and coaches are also expected to complete a criminal background check that is organized and paid for by LJYB. The league is taking advantage of every opportunity to improve the quality of the youth baseball experience in La Jolla.
LJYB is looking for former players who completed 10 years of baseball in our league. This is typically the kid who progressed from Shetland through Pony in 10 consecutive years. There will be a ceremony on Opening Day for players from the past 10 years. Please let us know if you enjoyed a Decade of LJYB!