View Full Version : Softball practice

10-25-2016, 07:51 AM
Hello all! I am moving to The Villages on Nov 1 and am looking forward to playing softball again (among about 100 other things!). I have played at a high level in the past but have not played in YEARS. I will be looking to be able to throw and take some batting practice to get into playing shape before I try out for any teams. Any suggestions?

10-25-2016, 10:11 AM
You don't really try out for any teams. Before anyone can play on a team you must be evaluated. They have that every Tuesday morning at 7:30 at Buffalo Glen Fields except for the last two weeks of August when fields are closed for maintenance. You'll need to go to 3 evaluations, they don't have to be 3 weeks in a row, but that is usually better for you than spreading it out over a longer period.

Once you've been evaluation, you'll need to decide when and what kind of playing you want to do. There are five levels of leagues. Level 1 is the most advanced and level 5 are for those with lesser abilities. The majority of the players end up in either level 3 or 4, I do know one fellow at the gym who came in a level 1 right away. You can go up or down levels once you get into the game and feel your abilities have improved or have gone down.

Saturdays is for neighborhood league play. About 80% of the Villages have a team, they might have more than one team since there are 5 levels. You also might not play for your village. For example you might be a level 3 player and your village only has a level 4 or 5 team. I played the last 3 years for another village, it doesn't really matter. The neighborhood leagues use aluminum bats, players are coed, play is a little more relaxed and there are no playoffs. You play one game a week on Saturdays.

During weekdays play is dominated by the Rec Leagues. Once again five levels of leagues, bats used are Miken bats which you must buy yourself and the ball travels about twice as fast when hit. Ladies play in their own leagues, no coed. You play on two days a week, for example a Monday and Thursday. There are playoffs at the end of the seasons. Games are usually over by noon.

There are variations, such as the RBL (restricted bat league) where games are on one day a week, Tuesday. Games are played at 2:00 and 3:30 in the afternoon and bats are aluminum. Players are distributed on the teams level 1 thru 5 all together.

We have 12 softball fields. Saddlebrook (next to polo fields) and Buffalo Glen (next to high school) are 4 fields each and most games will be played at either of these complexes. Soaring Eagle is newest, only two fields and mostly used by 68 year old league and ladies leagues. Knudson Field in the historic section is a single field used only by level 5 league.

Practice is held by most teams when fields are available and the coach can get their players together. Otherwise non team practice can be hit or miss, usually Sunday mornings early at the two major complexes and Wednesday afternoon about 1:30 at Buffalo Glen.

The Villages has the largest softball league in America, over 200 teams and over 2500 players and everyone is a volunteer, whether an umpire, scorekeeper, etc. Myself, when I moved here in 2011 I hadn't played since the 1970's. I was rated a level 4 and played two years, that's 6 seasons in my Village Neighborhood League, we play 3 seasons of 14 games a year in Neighborhood, Rec Leagues play twice a week so they play more games in a season. Then my village regrouped it's leagues to a level 3 team and a level 5 team, since I was a level 4 I was sent to another village's team. I played the last 3 years, 12 seasons for Ameila Village. I played 15 seasons, basically most Saturdays, of neighborhood league in a row. Due to some health problems I had to quit softball this past summer. I hope this gives you an idea of what lays ahead. I enjoyed my 5 years of playing, but now I enjoy my Saturdays off just as much.

10-25-2016, 10:55 AM
Thank you very much for the information John. I cant wait to get down there and get started. If I threw a softball hard right now, I wouldn't be able to scratch my head for a week but I plan to get into playing shape pretty quick.