SportsEvents Magazine

OCT 2016

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 10 of 59 2017 Baseball/Softball Sourcebook 11 more national qualifying events for its World Series. "This new offering provides an alterna- tive so that parents can plan ahead," said AABC president Richard Neely. "The game has changed and it's hard for parents to always get time off work for our traditional tourna- ments." While the organi- zation still offers its traditional events, it also offers national qualifying events for teams to participate in for a chance at qualifying for the World Series. "You are still earning your way to the World Series, it's just a different method where parents can plan in advance and cut down on the number of days off," Neeley said. Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Base- ball is always look- ing for ways to be a valuable resource for its members, and providing them with educational and safety resources needed to keep the game safe is one key way the organiza- tion can help. "We require all of our adult members to complete a thor- ough background check, we publish our concussion policy and recommendations on our website to assist parents and coaches, and we offer online courses produced by Positive Coaching Alliance at no charge to our members," said Debra Kimbrell, AAU senior sports manager. After evaluating its program in the last few years, Little League International launched a new T-ball program for younger age levels that highlights fun, fitness and fundamentals. To further the program, this year the organization provided T-ball coaches with a printed booklet of the 10-week program, giving step-by-step breakdowns of how to run the program. "It's a valuable resource for coaches, many of whom are coaching this year for the first time," said Brian McClintock, director of media relations for Little League International. "This was a big push for us this year as we've made a concerted effort in the younger age groups." Little League also has restructured its teenage divisions. While the organization previously had the participation age set up to age 18, it changed to cap at 16. "Sixteen- and seven- teen-year-olds make up less than one percent of our overall participation but we were using a lot of resources to grow in those ages. Instead, we are now going to use those resourc- es and energies with our younger levels of play." PONY Baseball also has increased its focused on younger players, specifically in the 4- to 10-year-old range. With an approximate six percent increase in those age groups, the orga- nization has made a concentrated effort to get even more of these younger players involved. "With these ages, we are de-emphasizing the competition aspect and really emphasizing the fun of the game," Key said. "It's important that once a child decides to participate, or his or her parents decide, that they see the fun to want to stay in the game." n OKC-ing is believing. From World Series softball at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium to world championship regattas just steps from downtown, OKC has a venue for sporting events of every shape and size. From little league dreamers to big league champions. If OKC isn't on your list, it's time to OKC what you've been missing.

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