Good news for baseball fans! In the younger age groups there has been a  slight uptick in baseball participation. Hopefully this will continue! Baseball  is fortunate now to have two rookies 

Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger who may become the face of Major League  baseball. Everything adds up. Baseball has also been pushing their “Play  Ball” program to try and increase participation. We’ve seen baseball lose  players to lacrosse and soccer over the last decade. Until we see lacrosse  players switch to baseball, it is still a big challenge to retain young players. 

  Retaining players all starts in t-ball. Leagues have got to give their t-ball  coaches the best instruction possible. Remember that t-ball will be the first  involvement on an organized team for many. I’d like t-ball to consider four  small changes. 

1.Softer balls and no gloves. Yes, you saw it right! How about the first  quarter of the season have the players play the game with their bare hands.  Combine that with a softer and maybe bigger ball. Remember that catching  balls bare-handed is the best way to learn fundamentals. After say four or five  games, players then play with their gloves. 

  1. Make bases 20% bigger. I’ve been a huge proponent of this for a long time. Bigger bases means less collisions. Also let’s color or label each base. My idea is to make them red, white and blue. Some t-ballers will know the  color of the flag before they understand baserunning. First base is red, second  is white and third is blue. Home can also be white. Also write right on the  base in huge letters 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Home. 
  2. An alternate bigger ball. Players even at 5 and 6 will vary in ability. Let’s use a bigger ball for some or even everyone for a few games.

4.Bat 1-12, them 12-1. I started this in our t-ball league which played 3  innings. My theory was the number 11 and 12 hitters don’t experience the  baserunning. After they get to bat, it’s time to take the field. 

  T-Ball is one of the most fun organized games around.  There are tons of  what people of my generation would call “Kodak Moments.” I’ve seen  people who never even smile have a small change in their personality and  look like they are having fun!  Fun can be contagious. Parents who are  competitive will have plenty of time for that in a couple of years. Let’s tweak  t-ball to keep players playing the great game of baseball.