Posted by Steve Poore on Nov 08 2011 at 04:00PM PST
How do I get my child into the MI Select program or onto a MI Select team?

Teams are selected every November based on tryouts.  Tryouts are open to all players eligible to compete in Mercer Island Little League.  It is required, because all MI Select players are required to Mercer Island Little League.

What about 8U tryouts?

8U teams are assembled in June of every year after the MI Little League season.  Players are invited based on MI Little League manager recommendations.  Typically there will be 24 players selected and placed onto two teams of 12.  These teams then play a small group of tournaments each summer.  The goal is not to overwhelm these kids, but simply give these young players and their families a fun introduction to the MI Select experience.

How are teams chosen?

For 9U-12U teams, each team has 12 players (and sometimes 13 at coach's option.)  Tryouts evaluate a wide variety of skills including hitting, pitching, catching, infield, outfield and baserunning.  Based on these evaluations, 22-24 kids are selected at each level and divided into Thunder/Lighting teams.  Independent evaluators as well as coaching pool candidates will run the tryouts and evaluate the players.  The team's head coach will make the final roster decisions.

How are coaches chosen?

All interested coaches must complete the MI Select Coaching Application.  By signing up for the Coaches Pool, you commit yourself to the following:

1)     Attend Friday night Player Development Program (PDP) sessions for your child's age group to help the professional coaches run the sessions.

2)    Attend monthly Coaches Roundtable sessions during the season, where the veteran coaches share experience with the younger coaches about tournaments, game management, drills etc.

3)  Attend at least one local coach's clinic.

4)   Before tryouts the MI Select Coach Selection Committee chooses the head Thunder coach for each team, once teams are formed the head coach selects his assistants and the Lightning coaches are selected.  If your child is not selected for either team, you are not expected to coach.

Do kids change teams? 

During the season, no (unless injury creates an opening on one of the teams.)  However, teams are re-formed via the tryout process each year.

What is the difference between Thunder and Lightning? 

Typically, each age group has 2 teams, Thunder and Lightning.  The Thunder team's roster consists of the top 12 players of that age group.  The Lightning team roster is made up of the next 11-13 players.  Of course kids develop baseball skills at different rates so their placement is determined by the MI Select tryout sessions each year.  For example, they may play for Lightning one year and Thunder the next, or vice versa. 

My child is league age 10, but is a 5th grader…which team should they play on?

We understand that it can be important for a kid to play with their friends.  So kids that are “tweeners” (such as a league age 10 fifth grader) are allowed to choose what age group they would like to try out for.  In other words, they can tryout for the 11U team (and play for either the Thunder or Lightning 11U teams based on where they are placed) or tryout for the 10U team (and play for either the Thunder or Lightning 10U teams.)  This is true at every age level in the program.  Players must state their team preference prior to the start of tryouts.

I think my child has the talent to play up...can they do that?

MI Select Tryouts are open...meaning he/she can try out for any team (above your age level) you want.  In other words, theoretically, a league age 9 player can tryout and play for the 12U team.  You simply need to show up at the tryout for the age group you want to play.  Please note:  a roster spot on the younger team will not be held for you if you don't make the older team.

Do I have to participate in MI Select Player Development Program (PDP) in order to qualify for a team?

No.  MI Select tryouts and team selection are conducted separately from PDP.  PDP is simply a chance to the MI Select community the gather and prepare for the upcoming season.

Are there any other requirements for participating in MI Select Baseball? 

Yes.  You must be eligible for and enroll in Mercer Island Little League.  Only Mercer Island Little League participants are eligible to try out for the MI Select program.  While there is no formal connection between our two organizations, MI Select strongly supports Little League in general, and the Mercer Island Little League program specifically.

When are practices, games and tournaments?

Practice: MI Select practices start in March and are typically 1.5-2 hours on Friday nights.  Coaches may request additional batting/pitching practice sessions at local cages at their discretion.

Games: Home games are on Sunday's at either South Mercer Fields or Lid Park with an occasional double header.  Each team will play some away games within the greater Seattle area as well.

Tournaments: Each team will play 2-4 tournaments per year typically from April until June.  In the past our teams have played in Spanaway, Pasco, Wenatchee, Lynden, Issaquah, Yakima and others.  The older teams may travel to Arizona, California and Cooperstown, New York.

My child is a pitcher for his Little League Team and I am concerned about overuse of his arm.
The MI Select program is very aware of arm injury issues and take the following precautions:

Use "dynamic" pre-practice warm up routine

Use "long toss" training to develop arm strength

During PDP, we use professional pitching coaches to train athletes how to use the proper pitching techniques.

Each week the team's MI Select coach communicates with each pitcher's LL coach to determine availability based on LL pitch count limits.

MI Select season does not schedule games/tournaments toward the end of the LL season to allow kids full participation in any Little League tournaments.  We then restart our program following these tournaments for those MI Select teams that wish to continue playing into the summer.

The MI Select Board has added an Advisory Board-Sports Medicine position so that orthopedic specialists can have direct input into the health and injury prevention strategies of our program.

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