Batter Up! Along with spring in Iowa comes youth baseball and softball. Thousands of kids will participate in a local recreation or competitive baseball or softball league. Both sports give young kids an opportunity to play a fun game and learn the rules of competition. And there’s really nothing more nostalgic than playing “America’s Pastime” especially here in the Field of Dreams state.
Throwing and hitting a ball is a skill every kid should learn. I’m not saying you need to be Billy Butler, just good enough to play a pick-up game with the neighborhood kids. Baseball and softball are both popular sports with leagues available for all ages and skill levels. It should be easy to find a place to play close to home. Also, several Miracle Leagues have been built around town giving kids of all abilities a chance to experience the thrill of playing in a competitive sport.
Whether the team is batting or on the field, baseball and softball games tend to move slowly. If you have a kid who is a bit more active or has a short attention span, they may find it challenging to stay focused. Baseball and softball can also be singular sports, especially for the pitcher and batter. Some kids deal with the pressure better than others.
Most kids enjoy playing both baseball and softball. There are aspects of the game that appeal to quieter, more reserved personalities, while the team component appeals to more outgoing types.
Most leagues have multiple seasons, for example they may have a spring, summer and fall season. You will need to sign your child up for the one that fits your family’s schedule.
Recreation Leagues: Minimum one hour per week practice, plus one to two games per week. There may or may not be opportunities to participate in tournaments.
Competitive Leagues: Minimum one hour, three days a week, plus one to two games per week. There may also be several weekend tournaments.
As with any sport the level of participation can become an issue. Baseball and softball can be a big time commitment with multiple games a week and weekend tournaments. Especially if your child is on a travel team.
- Baseballs/Softballs (most leagues provide them for games and practices)
- Bat (most leagues provide them for games and practices)
- Batting Glove
- Batting Helmet (most leagues provide them for games and practices)
- Uniform (Cap, Jersey, Pants) (most leagues provide the caps and jersey)
- Practice Clothes
- Registration: Under 6 – less than $75; 7 & up – $100 -$200+
- Registration: Under 9 – less than $150; 10 & up – $150 -$250+
- Tournament Entrance Fees: $500+ per team
- Coach Tournament Fee and Travel Expenses: $100 – $500 average per event
- Travel Expenses: $100-$500 average per event
- Baseballs/Softballs: $4.00+
- Glove/Mitt: $20.00+
- Shoes: $20.00+
- Batting Glove: $10.00+
- Batting Helmet: $20.00+
- Uniform: $15.00+
All costs are approximate. As with any activity, as your child progresses, only your family can choose what you will spend in relation to your child’s specific goals within the sport whether competitively or recreationally.
There are countless baseball and softball leagues scattered across the metro. A handful are listed below. Schools and city parks and recreations departments also field teams and sponsor leagues.
- Ankeny Little League
- Dallas Center Grimes Softball Association
- Grandview Little League
- Highland Park Little League
- Indianola Girls Softball Association
- Johnston Girls Softball Association
- Raccoon Valley Little League
- South Des Moines Little League
- Urbandale Girls Recreation Softball
- WAC Softball
- Walnut Creek Little League
What do you think, is baseball or softball a fit for your kid?