Ahwatukee Foothills Pony Baseball Association

Ahwatukee Foothills Baseball Association

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Fall 2019 Q & A

We have been receiving some questions about Fall 2019 Registration.  Below are some that we have collected and the answers to them to make sure that your have all the information you need to decide where to register your player!

Q. When are practices and games?

A: 
For teams in all divisions, the general rule is that players will have two practices each week prior to opening day.  After opening day, players will have one practice per week along with one game day per week.  For the older divisions, there may be double headers scheduled throughout the season based on field availability or reschedules due to weather.

We are still awaiting our final field assignments from the City of Phoenix so we unfortunately can not publicize exact dates and times at this time but our plan is to have Shetland 6U practices be one hour in length and run from 5pm to 6pm.  Pinto 8u will be 1 1/2 hours in length and will start between 5 or 6pm whenever possbile based on field availability.  Mustang 10U will be 1 1/2 hour practices and those practices could start between 6 or 7pm.  Bronco 12u will be 1 1/2hr practices with start times between 6 and 7pm whenever possible. The days and locations will likely vary week to week based on our final field assignments, but we plan on having final practice schedules to coaches by the week of August 24th after registration is finalized.

The plan is to have games primarily on Fridays and Saturdays whenever possible. 

If your player is on a BYOT team, the coach of that team determines practice schedules based on the practice fields that they have obtained.

Q. What is different with PONY registration this year and why is it changing?

A: The main change this season is that PONY is moving to a skills evaluation/draft based model to set up individual teams for teams at Pinto 8u and above.  This change is being made in response to feedback received over the past two seasons. Previously, coach and friend requests during registration became the primary method for forming teams.  New players coming into the league were then randomly assigned to new coaches. This increasingly led to inequity in the level of play between teams.  Moving to a model where all players coming into the league participate in a skills evaluation and draft will allow teams to be formed in a more equitable fashion.  This change also brings us in line with most other competitive youth baseball organizations in the area and throughout the Nation.

There is no skills evaluation for Shetland players and teams will be created via coach/friend request and  assignment to teams as it has always been done.

Q. What PONY age division does my child qualify for?

A. Please refer to the PONY Baseball League Age Key to determine what division your child qualifies for.

2019 PONY Baseball League Age Key

Additionally, when you create your account on the website and enter your player's information, the registration system will only present you with the division options that your player(s) qualify for based on the birth date you entered.


Q: Will my player be cut if they don’t do well in the skills evaluation?

A: Absolutely not!  If we have accepted your player’s  registration they will play baseball.  The skills evaluation is not a try-out. It is simply a way for us to rate the skill levels of players and communicate that to our coaches to ensure parity among the teams in the league.  Our goal is to have players play as much baseball as we can! Teams getting continually run ruled in three innings isn’t fun for parents to watch, coaches to coach and most importantly it isn’t that fun for the players.

Q: Is friend/coach request still possible?

A: Absolutely!  Friend and Coach request has always been an important part of PONY baseball in Ahwatukee and will remain so!  The goal of our program is to bring players and families together to play together as long as they want.  Coach request also gives  coaches of our older players the ability to build highly competitive teams that can go on to PONY or other tournament play if that is their goal.

When registering your player, there is a field where you can enter the name of a friend or coach you would prefer for your player.  If your coach coached in PONY during the previous season (Spring 2019) that coach has the ability to move that player directly to their roster if they choose to (because we know their skill level).  For coaches that are new or who are returning to PONY for the Fall season, we will provide a report of all the coach/friend requests to the coaches prior to the draft so that they can attempt to draft those players to their team.

Q: What is Individual Registration?

A: Individual registration is the primary way to register a player to the league.  It is intended for players who are not part of an established competitive or club team. Players registered in the Individual program will typically practice twice weekly until games start. After opening day, they will typically have one game and one practice per week. The league provides players a uniform and practice jersey.  Additionally, coaches receive two cases of game balls, access to league equipment, practice and game field times.

Teams are formed by player assignment at the Shetland 6u level and via  evaluation and draft at Pinto 8u and above.

Q: What is Competitive registration?

A: Competitive baseball registration is our old Bring Your Own Team (BYOT) based registration. This option is available to competitive (AA, AAA, Majors) level  teams that are looking to play games in the league. As a general guideline, Competitive teams typically practice 2-3 times a week in addition to games and/or  tournaments . These may include club teams, however, this season Chandler and Scottsdale PONY organizations are planning on having competitive teams play inter-league games with us based on their registration numbers.

Due to very limited field availability in our area, the league does not have the ability to provide the large number of practice field times that Competitive teams typically require and we rely on those coaches to secure their own practice field times.  This is reflected in the reduced cost for Competitive teams to participate.

The league provides Competitive teams with game balls, field time for games, umpires,  field set up for those games and coverage through the league insurance during those games.  Teams provide their own uniforms, equipment and practice fields.  This is available to competitive teams at Pinto and above.

Also, during the season,  if we find that an individually drafted team is far and away more competitive than the other teams they are playing, we will match that team with the more Competitive or  BYOT teams.  Again, our goal is to challenge and develop players with high quality competitive games at all levels of play.

Q: Will there be travel?

We think so! 
Chandler PONY Baseball and Old Scottsdale PONY baseball have agreed to participate inter-league play with us in the Fall. We piloted this in the Spring and it was a lot of fun for the kids to travel to a couple away games and defend their home fields during home games at Akimel and Estrella, However, all this is dependent on the enrollment at the various organizations and the divisions,

Q: I’ve never heard of PONY baseball? Is it different than other baseball?

A: PONY Baseball is an international youth baseball organization that strives to challenge and develop children into great athletes, but more importantly, great people.  PONY stresses getting players to play by Major League Baseball rules at the earliest parts of a player’s development.  By the time they reach the Mustang 10U level, they are largely playing by MLB rules with free leading, stealing, balks, dropped third strikes, you name it!  We also start players off immediately on pitching machines in our 6u program to develop pitch recognition right from the start – Shetland players do hit off a tee each at bat if they don’t hit one of the machine pitches though!

Nationally and Internationally, PONY baseball consistently turns out high quality players.  This year, 15 players named to the Major League Baseball All Star teams were PONY baseball alumini from all over the World. (including Cody Bellinger!)

Q: I am on a wait list. What happens?

A: If you are on a wait list, that means that we are either waiting for enough players to round out another team or we are waiting for a coach to volunteer to coach a team at that level.  Once both of those things happen, you will be contacted that you can complete your registration. 

Q: What is the non-volunteer fee at registration?

A: We recognize that not everyone is able to volunteer their time to the league.  However, like any small non-profit, there is much to be done and typically very few hands to do it all.  The league is increasingly having to purchase services that volunteers performed in the past so that we can ensure that everyone has a great experience at the fields. This fee helps to offset those costs. We strive to keep costs as low as possible to keep registration down and will continue to do that!

That said, we need volunteers!  Especially Opening Day volunteers to help with a couple booths and set-up. If you are willing to help the league in a small or large way, sign up or email us and let us know. We will refund that fee to you! 

We are excited about these changes and really believe that it will result in some fun competitive baseball this season! If there are other questions, please reach out to us!  We hope to see everyone on Opening Day September 21st!

 

 

 

 

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Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Baseball Association

PO Box 93565 
Phoenix, Arizona 85070

Email Us: [email protected]
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