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Over the years, we've heard lots of distortions, myths, and inaccuracies about our baseball program. The below content offers some information that may help you make a decision about whether or not Ken Caryl Little League will provide the right baseball experience for your youth ball player.


We hear this a lot - and it really comes down to one key rule difference between Little League rules and the rules of most other youth leagues.  Little League rules do not permit a runner to lead off until they are 13 years old (part of the Intermediate Division baseball program).

If a runner doesn't lead off, then there are no balks and no pick-off moves for pitchers.

While leading off is fun for the runner, the increase in complexity in pitcher instruction combined with the more merry-go-round impact on the bases (i.e., a walk can turn into a triple two pitches later) is more of a distraction than it is an advantage.

Runners can (and do) steal bases. Catchers can (and do) throw out base runners. Pitchers must still be aware of game conditions when runners are on base. However, the runner does not get a huge advantage with a lead-off AND the pitcher can focus more on the quality of the pitch without having to develop a pick-off move. These more advanced skills are more appropriately developed once pitchers have good mound mechanics that permit good delivery to the batter.

As for the most concrete evidence, however, we like to point to the 12 year old ball players that each year play in the Little League World Series, televised on ESPN.  If you watch those games and conclude that they aren't playing "real baseball," then KCLL is definitely not the place for your ball player.


Little League alumni are common in Major League Baseball (e.g., Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell). For a reasonably comprehensive list of MLB players that played Little League baseball, you can check out this list.

Closer to home, you can check out any high school roster and you will find alumni of area Little League programs.

Ken Caryl Little League alumni are currently playing on teenage travel team rosters as well as high school varsity and junior varsity rosters.  A recent (March 2018) high school junior varsity team in our area included 8 former KCLL ball players.

When we've talked to high school coaches, they've certainly admitted that if they know a player because they've seen them participate in programs that they're involved with, then they are more likely to try to find room for that player on their team.  However, every one of them has said that they select players based on two primary criteria: 1) Coach-ability of the player - do they listen, do they try to employ the instruction provided, do they work hard, are they respectful; 2) Do they demonstrate some basic talent.

A player with poor mechanics but is coachable and has demonstrated some basic talent can be "fixed."  A player with great talent that is also uncoachable is as likely to be a liability as they are to be an asset to a team.


This one is a mix of truth under certain constraints.

Specifically, if you want to play in a high competitive atmosphere where winning is at the front of baseball experience, then this description is completely accurate. KCLL is not a travel-ball program that practices or plays 5+ days a week, travels the state (or country), and plays each game with a primary focus of winning each game.

On the other hand, if you are comparing KCLL to the 90% of programs that provide youth baseball, KCLL is not only very competitive, but often provides a superior baseball experience. KCLL players that have participated in tournaments against teams from other programs have always fared well.

Here are some of the differentiators between KCLL and other programs:

*  Our primary objective is to provide a baseball experience that leaves the ball player wanting to play baseball again next year. If a young ball player decides not to play baseball because of their experience in our League, we have failed that ball player.

*  We use an approved Little League draft process that not only ensures that every interested registrant is assigned to a team, but also promotes team parity. We do not permit multi-year legacy teams that evolve to dominate a season leaving pool player assigned teams to take on countless losses. While each year some teams win more games and other lose more games, we strive to ensure that teams have competitive balance.

*  This competitive balance in between the teams means that we have a strong, competitive program. Teams have opportunity to rise to the challenge or learn from their defeats.

*  Winning is important, but it is not the top priority. Little League has strict minimum playing time requirements and pitch count limits for pitchers. They have regulations on the equipment that can / must be used. These rules promote safe play without undermining the integrity of the game. KCLL emphasizes playing time and promotes diverse position opportunity to ensure that we don't have anyone that sits on the bench or only plays left field all season.

*  Winning is fun, but you learn more from your setbacks and losses.  Our Spring season includes a tournament that leads to divisional champions. We know that it's fun to win and it's great to be crowned the best team in a division. But, we are teaching life skills as much as we are baseball skills. Our coaches attend training to help ensure they are focused on the big picture of the game.

*  Every division above entry level kid pitch uses a pitching mound. While our base runners don't lead-off, our pitchers do learn how to pitch from a mound. This is a major advantage for ball players that plan to play into their high school years. Jason Hirsch, a former Rockies pitcher and special advisor to the Board of KCLL, suggested that pitching from a mound as early as possible will significantly help a player's development.

We recognize that that you have choices for you baseball experience. And we also acknowledge that OUR baseball program is not the best choice for every ball player.  We would be delighted to talk with you about how our program works so that we can be sure we are on the same page for what you want out of your participation.  Feel free to visit the "About Us" section of the website for contact information should you want additional insight into Ken Caryl Little League programs.

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