T-Ball FAQ

Welcome to Northshore Little League. We are very glad you found this page. It's here for you - the new T-ball parent. If you still have questions after reading it, please don't hesitate to call or email anyone on the board. We'd love to help any way we can!

When should I expect to hear from my child's coach?

Middle of March. T-ball gets going later that the rest of NSLL because we want the little ones to have better weather for their first baseball experiences. We put the teams together mid-march, so the Manager (head coach) should contact you shortly after that. Practices usually start at the beginning of April and games begin shortly after spring break. Your manager is probably a new T-ball parent like you, so please be patient and plan to help out!!

I missed the deadline for standard registration. Do I really have to pay a late fee?

Never. There are no late fees for T-ball. If there are enough Managers, you can register all the way up to the first game or until registration closes for T-Ball which is usually mid-February, but it really helps for planning if you sign up early.

My child has never played baseball and doesn't know any of the rules. Will he or she will be OK?

Yes! T-ball is for beginners. We don't expect anyone to know anything. T-ball is all about learning the basics in a fun environment. Our main Registration Information page has more detail on what we focus on at each level.

I don't mean to brag, but my kid is already really good. Can we skip T-ball?

It depends on your child's league age. (More about League Age below) The main registration page has more detail but basically it's about safety. The next level up is AA. It uses a regular hard ball instead of the softer "safety" ball we use for T-ball. And there are 8 year olds in that division who sometimes hit and throw the ball pretty hard. After careful consideration our rules are:

  • League Age 4 or 5: T-ball is the only option.
  • League Age 6: AA is an option if your child has played a year of T-ball and you are confident your child can protect himself / herself from a ball that is hit or thrown hard by a big 8 year old. We strongly recommend scheduling a mini-evaluation with an experienced coach if you are planning to register your 6yr old for AA. Email us to set that up!
  • League Age 7: Most 7 year olds play AA, but you are welcome to try T-ball first. Keep in mind however, that AA starts earlier than T-ball so it's pretty hard to move up once the season is started.

Ok, What about "League Age?"

At Little League, "age" always means "League Age." League Age is the age the player will be on a particular date. If your child is currently less than 8 years old, his or her league age will be determined by his or her age on December 31 of the current year. So a child who turns 6 on February 2nd and another who turns 6 on December 12th are both considered Age 6. The obvious question is "WHY?" Sorry, that question is above our pay grade but has something to do with the Little League World Series for 12 year olds.

What equipment does my T-baller need?

#1: A good baseball glove is by far the most important investment you will make in your child's baseball experience! The value of a good glove cannot be overstated - even if the price is fairly small. It should be leather and soft. Some nylon mesh in the fingers and back is fine. Please don't get make her use a vinyl toy from Walmart or your softball mitt from college!!

Size matters and smaller is usually better so it's manageable and encourages two-hand catching. For most 4-6 year olds, something around 8.5 - 9.5 inches is usually good. A big glove is heavy, hard to control and encourages bad habits. Plan to upgrade every couple years as your child's hand grows in strength and size. If you buy the glove you expect him to use as an 11 year old, he'll lose it before he ever grows into it. Used T-ball gloves are way better than new. There are a ton on Ebay and at Play it Again.

#2: A couple old tennis balls for bare-hand catching and a couple "safety balls" for work with the glove.

#3: Batting gloves. At this age, they have nothing to do with batting, and everything to do with keeping little hands warm in April. Cold fingers sting. When it's cold, they can wear them all practice and all game, whether at bat or in the field.

#4: Sturdy athletic shoes that will keep little feet dry. Cleats are fine, but not essential.

#5: Comfortable athletic or baseball pants. Your team may decide to have everyone buy a pair of game pants because they are so dang cute, so wait on baseball pants until your team is organized.

#6: Your team will have bats and helmets from the league. If you want to get a bat for working at home, keep it short, light and cheap. 24-25 inches is usually about right for T-ball. If you want your player to have her own helmet, you may want to get it a little big so she can grow into it. If your player is coming to practice with his own bat and helmet, he'll probably want a bat bag too.

NSLL provides matching MLB team t-shirts and hats. If your team has a sponsor, sometimes your team will also be issued a sweatshirt or pullover.

How long are practices and games?

Practices typically last an hour. Games are usually the same amount of time, though when the weather is nice in the summer games can last a little longer.

When are games and practices? What time do games and practices start?

Practices and games can be any day during the week and start as early as 4:30 PM and end as late as 6:30 PM. On Saturdays, practices and games can start as early as 8 AM and can go as late at 7:30 PM.

When does the T-ball season end?

It ends roughly the same time as school gets out for the summer - around the first week of June.

What is the format for the T-ball games?

T-ball games are 2 complete innings in the Spring (every players bats twice), and sometimes 3 complete innings in the Summer (every player bats three times).

Does my child have to try out for T-ball?

No. In T-ball, we place kids in teams mostly by schools or personal requests.

Do I need to volunteer to help my T-ball team?

Yes. Well, technically, we can't force you; but Little League is a volunteer organization at every level so we need help!

Your manager will be asking for help for many things: end of the year party planner, Base-a-thon/Jamboree parents, uniform parents, snack coordinator, and more. Please join in the fun of volunteering to help make your inaugural season(s) with Northshore Little League successful.

What if I have an idea to help make practices or games better?

You're hired. Please communicate with your coach and/or manager. We're sure they would love to have the help. Many times T-ball managers and coaches are new at this and could be drawing on experiences of their own childhood to plan practices. If you feel like you have something to offer, you probably do! The most important thing at this age is to keep them busy with drills that are fun!

We've still not heard from our manager, the Knock Off The Rust event is this weekend, and it looks like we've missed the deadline for Northshore Mariners day tickets.

We understand the question behind this statement! T-ballers are welcome to attend the Knock Off The Rust event, but there are not as many T-ball families that participate in it. It mostly caters to older players who could use practice from the long off-season. Keep in mind that the gear swap is usually at the same time as this event, though!

If Mariners day deadline is passed, don't worry; you will still have time to buy tickets.