FAQ

Athletes

Complete age charts for each level of baseball and softball in Alberta can be found here:

Baseball Age Chart (updated 2019)

Softball Age Chart (updated 2017)

Yes, all of the softball and baseball teams fielded by the Barrhead Minor Ball Association are co-ed. Both girls and boys can register for either baseball or softball based on their preference for pitching style, or to play with siblings, etc. Girls looking for a more competitive experience are encouraged to register for the ‘AA’ baseball team for their age level. If the number of registrations received for any ‘AA’ team warrants a competitive try-out process, then any players who are not successful in making the ‘AA’ team will be offered the opportunity to play on an ‘A’ level team (and the difference in registration fees will be refunded).

The objective of community “House” leagues for both baseball and softball is to provide a more easygoing recreational level of play with reduced travel and time commitments, and a shorter season during the summer. House league teams in Barrhead may participate in the Pembina House League, Lac Ste Anne County Softball League and/or Barrhead County League, where they may play against teams from other communities within a relatively close geographical area like Westlock, Busby, Rich Valley, Onoway, Clyde, Sangudo, etc. Practices and games are generally limited to two days per week, and weekends are kept free.

The objective of the Provincial ‘AA’ League is to provide a competitive yet developmental level of play for players/teams at the Mosquito, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget age categories in a province-wide format. Provincial ‘AA’ leagues will operate on a 3 round seeding basis with teams playing in a Regional format in May, a North/South Divisional format in June, and a Provincial Tiering format in July. Competitive teams in Barrhead have higher fees than the house league teams, but offer participants increased practice and game opportunities, a longer season, and a Provincial championship tournament. A greater emphasis is placed on skill development, and coaches at this level are required to possess additional training and certifications not required at the house league level. Practices generally occur twice per week on weeknights, with games on Saturdays and Sundays. Competitive teams may be required to travel to Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and/or other distant communities within the Province for league games, and the season normally extends into August.

{ modified from an anonymous post on https://www.kijiji.ca/kijijicentral/hobbies/sports/differences-softball-baseball/ }

Baseball, also known as hardball, is played with a smaller ball, typically on a larger field. The ball is pitched overhand from a pitcher’s mound, usually at a much higher velocity than softball.

Softball consists of two different variations: fastpitch and softpitch or slo-pitch. Both are played with a larger grapefruit-sized ball and the pitcher throws the ball underhand from the same level as the batter. In softpitch softball, the ball must be pitched in an arc before descending again on the way to the batter. This slows down the pitch, making it easier for the batter to connect with the ball. In fastpitch softball, the ball is pitched straight at the batter at a higher speed, making this version more challenging.

Baseball and fastpitch softball are typically played more competitively, while softpitch or slo-pitch softball is generally a more laid-back recreational sport. More information about both sports, their rules, and the various leagues and divisions available for each can be found on the Baseball Alberta and Softball Alberta websites.

Coaches

First of all, there is a reason AA does not start until Mosquito, and AAA does not start until PeeWee.  These are just little kids, and no matter how “advanced” some of them might appear or purport to be, the priority at this level of play is NOT competition and/or performance.  There is plenty of time for that later at the AA and AAA levels. Rookie baseball is about teaching the kids principles of discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, basic foundational technique, and most importantly, how to have fun playing ball so they come back next year, and the next, and so on.  Many of these objectives, like leadership, sportsmanship and even the foundational skills and techniques, are more easily and effectively taught when a team has players of varying skill levels, as the more experienced kids are forced to learn how to mentor and support their less skilled teammates, and those less skilled kids have the more experienced ones as models to learn from.  The very best team sport athletes are those who can raise the level of play of those around them… not just excel on an island.

Secondly, Rookie is a very flexible (indeed, the most flexible) level of baseball and the coaches have a great deal of control over the level of difficulty presented to each child.  From using tees for the beginners, to more difficult pitching for the advanced kids, all of that is directly under the control of the coaches.  Also, having more kids on a team will give those coaches much more flexibility in how they can move players around and make adjustments than would be possible with a smaller number of “experienced” or “elite” players.  Inevitably, ensuring multiple teams playing at the Rookie level all have fairly even or “reasonable” numbers means spreading younger inexperienced players throughout those rosters.

Finally, parents are more than welcome to assist.  If a parent thinks their child should get some extra attention, then they are free to assist in providing that attention.  If a parent or coach sees something they believe might be a safety issue, then do something about it. We’re all just parent volunteers at the end of the day doing what we can to give the kids opportunities.  Get involved, help out, and the overall experience for all of those involved will improve.

Case Study:  

Problem:   We have 15 inexperienced 7 year olds and 15 experienced 8 year olds registered for Rookie ball.  How should we divide this up? 15 kids is too many for a single team. 7 kids is too few for a single team.  There are two pairs of siblings (1 younger/inexperienced, 1 older/experienced) that each have to be kept together on a team for travel.  We also have only 2 parents who have volunteered to coach. Placing all the inexperienced kids together on one or two Jr. Rookie teams, and all the experienced kids together on one or two Sr. Rookie teams (which would be the ideal competitive solution, but perhaps not so ideal from a developmental standpoint) is clearly unreasonable.  The numbers dictate that 3 teams of 10 be created, but we will have to find another coach and, when/if we do that may place an additional hard restriction on the affected roster.  Restricting all of the “overflow” inexperienced players to only one of either two Jr. or two Sr. teams will create one of two conditions that may be undesirable: a) The experienced players forced to play on the Jr. Rookie team will not be sufficiently challenged by the level of competition, or b)  The inexperienced players forced to play on the Sr. Rookie team will have difficulty with the level of competition. These undesirable (but unavoidable) conditions will be exacerbated if the outliers are concentrated on a single roster.  Regardless of how the three Rookie teams are set up at the end of the day, two of them will be in the same group within their league and have to play games against each other.  Putting all of the strongest players in that group on one team (‘A’ Team), and the weakest on the other team (‘B’ Team), will obviously create a competitive imbalance that players, parents and coaches on the ‘B’ team are very likely to find unsatisfactory.  Finally, after registration has closed, 3 kids will cancel their registrations and 2 more will join late (all with varying ages and skill levels), resulting in unavoidable adjustment of whatever existing roster configuration has been set, within the confines of whatever pre-existing hard restrictions are present on those rosters.  

Solution:   There is no perfect solution.  The challenge is finding the ‘best’ solution under the circumstances and distributing the compromise (and there WILL be compromise) as evenly as possible among those affected.  This is just one group, at one level of play on the house league side of BMBA. In 2018 alone we had 209 athletes on 19 teams spread across 12 age categories in 3 different leagues.  If you think any of this sounds simple, then please attend our next AGM and volunteer for the position of Registrar. We will happily put your skills to good use.

BMBA has absolutely no control over who decides to register for and play ball each year.  We cannot force people to play ball, and conversely we are NOT in the business of forcing people out of ball either.  We will always attempt to find spots for all interested kids to play first and foremost. That said, the following caveats will apply:

For competitive and performance rosters (AA and AAA), if the number of registrations received for a group exceeds the maximum number permitted on a roster, but is insufficient for the fielding of multiple teams within the group, then the Head Coach is responsible for running tryouts and making final roster selections prior to the roster submission deadline for their league.  Athletes cut from a AA or AAA roster due to this process will be given an opportunity to play on a house league (A) team at the same age level, if they so choose, and any difference in fees paid will be refunded.

For house league rosters (A), the answer to this question is generally “No”.  There are many factors to consider when creating team rosters at the various levels and categories of play:

  • Total number of registrations received for each group
  • Minimum number of players required to field a team
  • Accommodation of practical considerations like multiple siblings playing within same group and resulting travel considerations
  • Availability of volunteer Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Team Managers for each team
  • Seeking competitive balance between multiple teams within the same group for House league play
  • Seeking an even distribution of experienced and less experienced players between different teams playing within the same group
  • League considerations

Accommodation of any requests for a roster adjustment from one Coach (or parent) will invariably have corresponding and unnecessary consequences for another Coach (and parents).  Such requests are nearly always selfish and not in the best interests of the majority of BMBA participants and volunteers, and as such, will be rejected unless there are unusual extenuating circumstances.  If such circumstances exist, they must be clearly articulated in writing by the requesting party to both the Registrar and President of the Association for consideration. Even then, IF a request is granted it may include conditions such as an additional volunteer commitment from the requesting party to offset work or address issues created by the request.

Parents

Complete age charts for each level of baseball and softball in Alberta can be found here:

Baseball Age Chart (updated 2019)

Softball Age Chart (updated 2017)

Yes and No. Baseball Alberta has residency rules in place that require players to register in their home Associations first, prior to making any transfer requests to outside Associations. It is up to the Associations to decide whether or not any transfer requests should be approved and, generally speaking, if an appropriate team exists in the player’s local Association on which they can play, the transfer will be denied. However, most transfer requests occur because no team exists in the local Association on which that player can participate. This could be due to a lack of participants in the local Association, or a lack of ‘AA’ or ‘AAA’ teams for those players wishing to play competitive or performance ball. In such cases it is more important that ALL players, regardless of location, be given an opportunity to participate, and therefore those transfer requests are generally approved. Because ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ teams are competitive, if the number of registrations exceeds the maximum allowable roster size for a team, then competitive tryouts will be held and Coaches will be free to make selections for their team based on their needs and the players’ performances. In some cases, this can lead to local players losing competitive roster spots to non-local players who out-perform them in tryouts, or fulfil other team needs such as Coaching/Management requirements.

In all cases, ALL players will be given an opportunity to play ball even if unsuccessful in a competitive tryout process. Players unsuccessful at the ‘AA’ level will be offered a roster spot at the ‘A’ level locally within Barrhead (and their competitive fees will be refunded), or they can attempt to tryout for another competitive ‘AA’ or ‘AAA’ team from another Association and, if successful, submit a transfer request to the BMBA (which will be approved).

Yes, all of the softball and baseball teams fielded by the Barrhead Minor Ball Association are co-ed. Both girls and boys can register for either baseball or softball based on their preference for pitching style, or to play with siblings, etc. Girls looking for a more competitive experience are encouraged to register for the ‘AA’ baseball team for their age level. If the number of registrations received for any ‘AA’ team warrants a competitive try-out process, then any players who are not successful in making the ‘AA’ team will be offered the opportunity to play on an ‘A’ level team (and the difference in registration fees will be refunded).

The BMBA is a non-profit society run entirely by volunteers. Registration fees are set based upon the relative average yearly costs associated to participation within each of the leagues and divisions offered through the BMBA.

Expenses include:

  • Registration and insurance fees for provincial governing bodies: Baseball Alberta and Softball Alberta.
  • Diamond fees paid to the Town of Barrhead Rec Department.
  • Diamond bases, base plugs, chalk, and maintenance equipment.
  • Gym, arena and/or other facility rentals for pre-season team tryout and practice space.
  • Uniform costs associated with maintaining, replacing and updating team uniforms.
  • Equipment costs associated with maintaining, replacing and updating team equipment bags.
  • Umpire fees and expenses for carded umpires (for ‘AA’ competitive teams).
  • Other miscellaneous expenses relating to facilities (ex: batting cage), insurance costs (ex: theft/loss of equipment), advertising (ex: Barrhead Leader ads), etc.

The objective of community “House” leagues for both baseball and softball is to provide a more easygoing recreational level of play with reduced travel and time commitments, and a shorter season during the summer. House league teams in Barrhead may participate in the Pembina House League, Lac Ste Anne County Softball League and/or Barrhead County League, where they may play against teams from other communities within a relatively close geographical area like Westlock, Busby, Rich Valley, Onoway, Clyde, Sangudo, etc. Practices and games are generally limited to two days per week, and weekends are kept free.

The objective of the Provincial ‘AA’ League is to provide a competitive yet developmental level of play for players/teams at the Mosquito, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget age categories in a province-wide format. Provincial ‘AA’ leagues will operate on a 3 round seeding basis with teams playing in a Regional format in May, a North/South Divisional format in June, and a Provincial Tiering format in July. Competitive teams in Barrhead have higher fees than the house league teams, but offer participants increased practice and game opportunities, a longer season, and a Provincial championship tournament. A greater emphasis is placed on skill development, and coaches at this level are required to possess additional training and certifications not required at the house league level. Practices generally occur twice per week on weeknights, with games on Saturdays and Sundays. Competitive teams may be required to travel to Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and/or other distant communities within the Province for league games, and the season normally extends into August.

{ modified from an anonymous post on https://www.kijiji.ca/kijijicentral/hobbies/sports/differences-softball-baseball/ }

Baseball, also known as hardball, is played with a smaller ball, typically on a larger field. The ball is pitched overhand from a pitcher’s mound, usually at a much higher velocity than softball.

Softball consists of two different variations: fastpitch and softpitch or slo-pitch. Both are played with a larger grapefruit-sized ball and the pitcher throws the ball underhand from the same level as the batter. In softpitch softball, the ball must be pitched in an arc before descending again on the way to the batter. This slows down the pitch, making it easier for the batter to connect with the ball. In fastpitch softball, the ball is pitched straight at the batter at a higher speed, making this version more challenging.

Baseball and fastpitch softball are typically played more competitively, while softpitch or slo-pitch softball is generally a more laid-back recreational sport. More information about both sports, their rules, and the various leagues and divisions available for each can be found on the Baseball Alberta and Softball Alberta websites.

Yes.  This is a valid practical reason to request a specific roster placement, and the Registrar will accommodate this type of request to ensure your children are able to participate.

No.

Let’s think about this logically for a second… your concern has been prompted by the presence of less experienced and/or less skilled players on your child’s team, and what you are proposing as a solution is to move your child to a higher level of competition where they are very likely to become the less experienced and/or less skilled player on that team.  What about the “safety issue” we just created by now placing an underage player on the new team?  How should we address the new complaints/requests we are likely to receive from parents and/or coaches on the new team (or other teams, now that precedent has been set) caused by the accommodation made for your child?

Now let’s consider the other more practical issues that arise, such as maintaining minimum roster numbers to field teams, maintaining competitive balance between teams in the same group for house league play, hard restrictions on roster adjustments such as coach and manager children or siblings, dealing with cancellations and late additions, etc., etc.  After only a small amount of analysis, it should quickly become clear why these types of requests, generally speaking, are unreasonable and difficult (if not impossible) to accommodate.

Visitors

Restaurants
  • B-Towns Grill     5030 50 St     Pizza, family dining
  • Prairie Chef     5307 49 St     Family dining
  • Barrhead Inn     6011 49 St     Family dining
  • Laura’s Steak House     5209 49 St     Family dining
  • Reids Kitchen (Open Friday Only)     5115 50 St     Soup & sandwiches
  • Hong Kong Restaurant     5027 50 St     Chinese
  • Spring Sun Restaurant     4816 53 Ave     Chinese
  • Subway     5307 49 St     Subs & soup
  • Ramzis Burgers & Pizza     5323 49 St     Burgers and pizza
  • DJ’s Dairy & Burger     5307 49 St     Ice cream and burgers
  • A & W     4902 50 Ave     Fast food
  • KFC     5702 49 St     Fast food
  • Freddies 2 for 1 Pizza     4920 50 Ave     Pizza
  • The Flower Shoppe     5032 50 St     Coffee
  • Tim Hortons (located in Apple Drugstore on main street)     5101 50 St     Coffee, fast food
  • Paddle River Golf Club Restaurant     4722 49 St     Family dining
  • Neerlandia Co-op Restaurant     3224 Twp Rd 615A NW     Family dining
  • Freson Bros Deli     5020 49 St     Soup & sandwiches
  • Co-op Grocery Deli     4907 49b St     Soup & sandwiches
Grocery
  • Freson Bros.   (Open 24 Hours)     5020 49 St
  • Co-op     4907 49b St
  • Red Apple     4912 50 Ave
  • Barrhead Bakery     5034 50 St

Additional information about recreation activities in Barrhead may be found here:  http://www.barrhead.ca/recreation-and-sports-venues

 

Welcome to Barrhead!  Although we are a small town, there are still plenty of options for accommodations should you be staying for a night or two:

Hotels
Camping

* Temporary RV parking available behind diamonds ($25/Night).  Only limited amount of space.  No services.  No personal fire pits allowed.  Event specific.  View Maps and Sportsground Event Camping Terms and Conditions for more info.

* Temporary RV parking at Barrhead Ag Grounds (across street from ball diamonds to the north).  FREE of charge.  No services.

Additional campsites and RV resorts may also be found here:  http://www.barrhead.ca/area-parks-campgrounds

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