My son is looking for a new baseball team so I have been talking to quite a few coaches from some of the top teams in this area. Most of these coaches went to Cooperstown Dreams Park this summer. One of the coaches asked me if I was StatsDad and we talked at length about the experience. He told me that my tips were very helpful to him and his parents. I asked him if he would add his tips and he did.
- Cooperstown has it down – trust the system – it really works.
- Check in early. Boring and a pain for parents and siblings, great for the team and the coaches. 80% of the teams checked in on Friday. 1st night of sleep (Friday) was not great as the kids and coaches got used to the place. Once the newness of the situation was behind the team, the 2nd night of sleep (Saturday) was much better. You want your team to be well rested for play on Sunday.
- Have kids get a red belt and a blue belt. Nothing in info about belts, they are not provided - we had to make a last minute run before we left town. Get two pairs of white pants.
- Laundry is a pain, have to separate and count each item. Have the kids help count, but don’t let them do the forms themselves.
- Clearly communicate playing time plan. We told parents a head of time that we were batting 9 with subs and would plan to play each player as evenly as possible for the pool play. All the players paid the same money and deserved the same shot. For the first six games each kid sat 6 innings, 3 innings at a time in different games. A few players sat an extra 1 or 2 and only one an additional 3, but it worked out due to pitching. Setting expectations with the parents and the kids before play worked for us, my phone was silent for PT issues.
- Lots of mandatory meetings – make sure head coach goes, better if two coaches go and two stay with the kids.
- Batting cages – whatever your warm-up plan, add 15 minutes. We headed for the cages 1 ½ hours ahead of game time, never had an issue. You don’t want to be waiting and then rush to your game. Cage time thins out over the course of the week.
- Make sleeping in the barracks mandatory for the players and keep sign-outs to a minimum until you are done with the baseball. We had a couple of “experienced” parents with older boys that “gamed” the system having us sign kids out then they returned in the am. Caused some issues with the kids and was a pain for the coaches to constantly have to check them back in and be responsible for kids not with the team. It's baseball camp for the team, period.
- Food is actually very good – no fried items – ate really good and lost a few pounds myself.
- Fans for the barracks a must.
- A case of water per kid a must.
- Lots of rules – follow them and all will be great. Trying to get around them causes more headaches than it’s worth.
- Kids need some money in the barracks – otherwise coach comes out of pocket - the concession stand is open until 11p and growing boys can never have enough food. Prices very reasonable and food is good.
- Rain gear necessary – you will get wet.
- Go to the Hall of Fame. Go to downtown Cooperstown. Car pool, don’t rely on the bus.
- Go to win, but don’t let losses spoil the fun. The 0 – 6 team next to us had as much fun as we did and we did very well.
I welcome all comments and tips and tricks.