Girls Softball FAQ
What sports does MSA oversee?
MSA has Cal Ripken baseball (league age 4-12 year olds), Babe Ruth baseball (league age 13-18 year olds), Babe Ruth girls softball (league 5-16 year olds), and co-ed flag football (4-18 year olds).
Where are MSA practices and games held?
MSA girls softball practices and games are primarily held at Palmetto Leaves Park in Mandarin, off Greenland Road just west of I-95. The mailing address is 5720 Greenland Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257. Based on field availability, there may be practices or games scheduled at one of our other parks – Alberts Field or Flynn Park. The park phone number: (904) 268-5306. PLEASE NOTE: This phone is NOT monitored regularly. EMAILS are the preferred method of communication. Some age groups play within a coalition of nearby associations and may travel to other parks to play some games. Advanced Baseball and All Star teams will travel to other parks.
What will my player’s practice and game schedule be?
The first few weeks of each season are devoted solely to practice. Practices are generally held twice a week: once on a weeknight and once on Saturday. Your coach will announce practice days and times at your first team meeting. Once your team begins playing games, you’ll maintain a similar schedule of two games per week. Evening practices and games usually start around 6:00 to 6:30. Additional practices once the game schedule begins are at your coach’s discretion. Generally there are no games/practices on Wednesdays and Sundays.
When does registration take place?
Fall registration generally runs from mid-June through mid-September. Spring registration generally runs from mid-November through the end of January. The schedule for registration will be posted on our home page.
How do I register?
MSA offers easy online registration at www.mandarinsports.org. If you prefer to pay with check or cash, we will be available at the park to take registrations in person on a limited basis. The schedule for in-park registrations will be posted on our home page.
Why do I have to set up an account on the website to register my player online?
In an effort to streamline the registration process, the website is designed to hold your player’s data from season to season. This can only happen by attaching this data to your secure account.
I missed the registration deadline. Can I still register?
Please contact the VP of Softball if you have missed the normal registration deadline. We’ll make every effort to find a spot for your player, but please be aware there are no guarantees. Late registrations are subject to a late charge.
What is your refund policy?
Prior to team selection 100% of the amount paid minus an administrative fee of $5 will be refunded (please note multichild and other discounts may affect the amount refunded). Once teams have been selected, only 50% of your initial registration fee will be refunded. Late charges are not refundable. All refunds will be sent by check, and will require a couple weeks to process.
Where does my registration money go?
MSA provides your player with a softball uniform including pants (except 15u and 18u), belt (if necessary), jersey, hat, and socks. T-ball through 10U players receive participation trophies at the end of each season. Older leagues vary by season and league.
A portion of your fees go to cover the costs of running and maintaining the fields, dugouts, batting cages, and the concession stand. We must also purchase equipment (softballs, helmets, catcher’s gear, etc) and pay umpire fees. Administrative expenses include phone, internet, utilities, and website hosting. Finally, we provide liability and accident insurance coverage on all of our players. MSA is a non-profit organization. We do everything possible to contain costs while maintaining a safe, fun environment for all.
What equipment will I need to buy?
Each player should have her own glove. Players are not required to have her own helmet or bat. However, many parents prefer to do so.
- T-Ball – Parents will need to provide a glove and athletic shoes. Cleats are recommended. A protective cup is optional.
- 8U Rookie – Glove, cleats, and protective cup (required at all practices and games).
- 10U Minors – Glove, cleats, and protective cup (required at all practices and games).
- 12U Majors – Glove, cleats, and protective cup (required at all practices and games).
- 14U / 16U / 18U – Glove, cleats, (metal ok), and protective cup (required at all practices and games).
Are team pictures included in the registration fee?
No. Team and individual pictures are taken on picture day at the beginning of the season. You may choose to purchase pictures and merchandise directly from the photographer. Your coach or team parent will tell you when pictures are scheduled and provide an order form.
Is there a difference between the Fall and Spring seasons?
The Fall season is considered more of an “instructional” season, as there are many players moving up and changing leagues. This season is generally less competitive with fewer games. The Fall season, including practices, generally runs from the second week in September until the week before Thanksgiving.
The Spring season is longer and more competitive. Players are comfortable with their new leagues. The Spring season, including practices, generally runs from the first week of February until early May. Games are not scheduled during Duval County Spring Break and Easter.
How do I determine which league my child should play in?
SOFTBALL: MSA uses the Babe Ruth League cutoff date of December 31st. For example, if your player is signing up for the Fall season as a six year old, but will turn 7 on or before the upcoming December 31st, she will play in the T-Ball 6U league for the Fall and 8U in the following Spring season. If you register online, your player will automatically be assigned to the proper league when you enter her birth date.
I don’t think my player is ready to advance to the next league. Can I hold her back for a season?
In short, all players must register and evaluate with their proper age group. Please notify your league director of your concerns at evaluation. The director will pay particular attention to your player’s evaluation to ensure they are safe to play.
This is a common question, particularly in the Fall season when children with Spring birthdays seem too young to move up to the next league. However, MSA strongly encourages you to stick to the published date guidelines and keep your child with her own age group.
In general, we have found that children perform well when kept with their own age group. If you still have concerns or doubts about moving your child ahead, please contact your league director or park President to discuss. Your player will be required to register for their proper year group. Should the director/president determine it is not safe for your player to play in her age appropriate league, arrangements will be made to keep him/her down. The final decision to allow a player to stay back will be safety-based.
Holding a player back strictly for the purpose of scheduling or carpooling is strongly discouraged and could pose a safety threat to the players in the younger league.
My player is bored in her current league. Can she play up a league?
In short, all players must register and evaluate with their proper age group. Please contact your league director prior to evaluations to determine the best course of action.
Again, the safety of the players is our top priority. Advancement will be at the discretion of the league directors and coaches involved. In no case will a player be allowed to move up more than one league.
Does my player have to try out?
From T-ball onward, players are asked to participate in skills evaluation in front of the coaches. The evaluations aid the coaches in the draft process. All registered players will be placed on a team regardless of skill level or past baseball experience. Evaluation dates and times will be listed on the website. If your player is unable to make it to her posted evaluation time please contact your league director.
Can I request a certain coach? Can I request that my player and her friend play together?
We will make every effort to accommodate requests. Please note teams are formed based on a draft in an effort to create equitable teams. We will honor your request if possible, but can’t make any guarantees.
Will my 4 year old actually play baseball games in Instructional T-ball?
Yes! Your four or five year old will play two or three-inning games against other Instructional T-ball teams. During the innings your child will get the opportunity to bat and round the bases to home. Instructional T-ball is all about teaching basic skills, building confidence, and having fun.
Can I volunteer to be a coach / assistant coach / team parent?
Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering in one of these positions when you register your player, or contact your director via email. The City of Jacksonville and MSA require anyone who will work on the field or in the dugout with the kids have a COJ Volunteer Badge each year. If you plan on coaching, being assistant coach and/or anticipate helping on the field during practice, in the dugout or on the field during the season you must have a current year COJ Badge. Contact the COJ Parks and Recreation Department to schedule an appointment to apply for a badge. Once you receive your badge it must be worn at all times when interacting with players. PLEASE NOTE: You must be on a roster in order for the badge to be released to the park President, who in turn will deliver it to you.
If you have a badge from last year, fill out and return the Continuation Form located on the home page to the Athletic Director or Park President at least 3 weeks before the season begins.
How are coaches selected and is there training involved?
Head and assistant coaches must have a badge as indicated above and be approved by the Board prior to the start of each season. The Board uses in part anonymous survey results submitted by Parents and Guardians in selecting the best coaches available for our program.
I can’t commit to coaching. Are there other ways to help?
Yes! MSA is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization. Everyone is encouraged to help out in any way they are able. Opportunities include but are not limited to the following:
Board Members: Positions include but are not limited to: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Athletic Director, League and Advanced Baseball Directors, Website, Registration, Equipment, Fundraising, Communications, Physical Plant, Public Relations, Uniforms, Trophies, Concession Stand and At Large. Please contact the Park President for more information.
Fundraising: Fundraising is a critical part of our park’s success. Each season there is at least one major fundraising project for recreation ball participation. There are also separate fundraising for our and Allstar teams. Corporate and Individual sponsorships are always welcome!
Field Maintenance: Every summer our park hosts a number of tournaments. Help is always needed for field maintenance.
Team Parent: Support your team and assist your coaches and parents by becoming a team parent. Responsibilities include coordinating picture day and fundraising, assigning snacks and organizing the end of the season party. Depending on the league/coach, this position may include dugout duty.
Concession Duty: Every team will be required to work the concession stand once during the season. Help your coach out by volunteering your services. The COJ volunteer badge is not necessary for concession stand duty. There are additional opportunities to work the concession stand during Allstar tournaments each summer.
Are there community service hour opportunities for my High School child?
Yes! Our Concession Stand regularly uses teenagers (16 and up) to work for community service hours. Please contact us for additional information.
Additionally, coaches may allow teenagers to earn hours by participating in practices as “junior coaches”. Contact the league directors or athletic director for placement.
What is Advanced Baseball?
Please see the Advanced Baseball page for additional information. Advanced Baseball runs concurrently with recreation ball.
What is All Stars?
All stars is a summer baseball program for advanced players in every league. Open tryouts are held in the spring, with the head coaches from each league selecting the coach and players. The cost per player is approximately $250-$500 depending on the number and location of the tournaments played. Travel with the possibility of overnight stay is involved. Please note there may be restrictions to participation if your player has played at another park in the surrounding area. Please contact our President with any questions.