“Tryouts” refer to the yearly evaluation of players’ abilities in order to ensure balanced teams at each division. Balanced teams are necessary to provide children and their families with the best possible Little League experience.
Each year, as a player develops their skills, it may be necessary to place them at different levels in order to give them the opportunity to grow, learn, and succeed. Divisions are built using the tryout data, placing children with similar playing experience and abilities together. Minor Division (P1 and P2) and Major Division age ranges overlap, which allows players to be placed in the division that best serves their needs. This also prevents teams from “stacking” or “dominating” a Division.
Here are some frequently asked questions. If you have individual questions or concerns, please email the Player Agent.
- Why “try out?” Aren’t all players placed on a team automatically?
Williamsport Little League recommends requiring all players to be evaluated yearly. T-Ball players (ages 4-6) who are first year players are exempt, as well as any returning Major Division players who are already assigned to a Major team. During tryouts, each child’s abilities are assessed in order to place them in the Draft for a Minor or Major Division team.
- What is “proper placement?”
According to the article, “Tips for Running a Successful League” children should be placed on teams according to their ability, not just their age. One goal of Little League is to give children the opportunity for continuous improvement, and since all children develop differently, proper placement is the best way to ensure kids are challenged and are having fun. It’s also needed to guarantee teams in each Division are competitive, fair, and balanced.
- Won’t “moving up” kids to higher divisions weaken the lower division teams?
No, if done correctly it will make all divisions stronger. Teams are better when they are balanced and provide the best atmosphere for learning. Children learn best when paired with others at the same skill level. Players who are more advanced should enjoy a more challenging level of play, while less experienced players benefit from more instructional focus. Little League has operated for 75 years successfuly using these best practices.
- If my child is moved up, will they still be eligible for All-Stars?
Absolutely! There are 9-10, 10-11, 11-12, and 13 year old All-Star teams. As long as the player meets the eligibility requirements, they are able to play on their age appropriate All-Star team. As an example, a 10 year old Major player is eligible for the Minor 9-10 or 10-11 All Stars.
- My child is in the Minors. If he improves can he move to a Major team?
Any player age 9-12 is automatically eligible to be “called up” to a Major team, if needed, at any point during the season. Once they move up, however, they are assigned to that team. Players may also be used by the Player Agent as an on-call, or “player pool” candidate.
- Who does the Draft?
The Player Agent, Vice President, and / or President, along with the Division Commissioners, and the Managers for that Division. Managers select players for their teams using Williamsport Little League approved methods. With the exception of Majors Division, all teams are re-drafted each year. Since players develop differently, and may learn best from Managers with different teaching styles, this helps keep teams balanced and allows children the best opportunity to succeed over their playing careers.