A common mistake made by youth teams is mishandling the ball while getting it back to the middle of the infield after a play has ended.
The definition for 'end of the play' is when the base runner(s) have stopped running hard and attempting to advance to another base. Making a wide turn and/or dancing around baiting a throw are not examples of attempting to advance.
After the play has ended there is no reason to risk making an overhand throw. We train our players to 'run the ball in'. When moving the ball to a teammate, the options are to hand the ball off or make a short underhand toss.
Mishandling the ball while getting it back to the middle of the infield and in the the pitchers hands not only costs the defense by allowing runners to advance further than they had planned to; it also delays the game and extends the length of the game. A big part of making youth baseball more fun for everyone involved is to keep the game moving along at a quick pace.
Hey Umpires and Board Members - let's take baiting out of the youth game
Let's eliminate baiting from the youth game. We've seen it happen over and over. A play ends, the ball is back in the pitcher's hands, but a base runner is dancing around 10 feet of a base, daring the pitcher to try to get them out by making a throw.
The temptation for the young pitcher is often too great to resist. They make the throw, the ball gets past the base and the runner takes off.
All the while, the other two dozen kids are standing around waiting, doing nothing. The parents, coaches and umpires are waiting. This game of 'I dare you' slows the game for everyone and is not baseball.
As leaders in youth baseball, we are constantly working to make the game a better experience for everyone. A big issue with the game is the pace being too slow. Eliminating baiting speeds up the pace of the game.
How is This Implemented?
The board agrees to empower the umpires to use their judgement in determining when the defense has successfully gotten the ball in to the pitcher, effectively ending the play. At that point the umpire hollers, "TIME!". ...then calls for the next batter to get in the box and hit.
Let's keep the game moving.