Frequently Asked Questions

For those of you that may be new to competitive softball, or want to know more about the IGFA, here are some things to help you understand how IGFA is structured. Of course each team is different and in the end the head coach makes decisions for his or her team, but the information to follow should give you a pretty good idea as to how it works… 

How old can you be to play in each age group? Age based play is determined by your age on January 1st of the year in question. If your daughter was born on December 30th and turns 11 this year, she must play 12u for 2013/14. If on the other hand her birthday is January 2nd  and turns 11 in 2014, she is eligible to play 10u. So, you will find teams in each age group that have players that are “old” for their age bracket and teams that are “young” for their age bracket. These rules are set nationally and no exceptions are allowed.

What is the difference between the multiple teams in each age group? Generally, the “best” 11* or so girls will be selected for the “Gold” team in each age group. The next 11* or so will be placed on the “Purple” team and if there are enough pitchers, players and coaches, the next 11* or so will be placed on the “Black” team. If the talent level is not significantly different between the Blue and White team, there is a potential for them to be divided evenly. *Sometimes special consideration is given to pitchers.

How do the games and tournaments work? For each age group the IGFA Board will help the coaches select tournaments that are appropriate for their level of talent. There are tournaments that cater to “A”, “B” and “C” Class teams. So, each weekend your daughter’s team should be able to play against competition that is of similar caliber.

All of the tournaments will have a 4-6 game guarantee, meaning that even if you lose every game, you will be assured at least 4, 5 or 6 games over the weekend. Most are 5 game guarantees. Most tournaments are played on Saturday and Sunday only, but some that are larger may have games on Friday night as well. You can expect to play 3 games on Saturday (or 1 on Friday and 2 on Saturday) to determine which bracket your team will play in on Sunday. If your team wins on Saturday, you can expect to be in the bracket with the best teams. If you lose on Saturday you can expect to be in the bracket with teams of similar records. Sunday is the real tournament day. Generally if you win you keep playing until the championship game. So, even though most tournaments guarantee 5 games, you could play 6 if you get to the championship game.

If you play in the championship game, your daughter will generally win a trophy for 1st or 2nd place. At the 10u level, the girls pitch from 35 feet and play virtually all the rules of real softball. Base stealing is certainly allowed. There can be a substantial difference between some teams in the 10u level. Picking the right tournaments is very important. There is no coach rescue in any division of 10u.  It is real softball. At the 12u and 14u level, the girls pitch from 40 feet and play all the rules of real softball.

Tournament selection will be important for all teams to match the right competition.

How is playing time determined? There is no guaranteed playing time for your daughter. We encourage our coaches to play all players during Saturday Pool Play, but there will be some girls on each team that will play considerably more than others. On Sunday, if your team loses, they are done, so most coaches will play their best players more on Sunday. Unless there is behavior or some physical issue with your daughter, she will play at least some in virtually every game. You can expect your daughter to sit on the bench some throughout the season even if she is the “best player” on the team, but playing time is not divided evenly and your daughter may not play as much or in a position that you would like.

How are Playing Positions determined? The head coach determines playing positions. His or her decision is final and each will have their own way of determining who should play where. Generally, each position is up for competition. If you want your daughter to play short stop and she is not getting a chance to play there… she should be able to play better than the girl that is currently in that spot. Keep in mind that most coaches will spend 40+ hours with your daughter in practice before play starts. They generally know who can play where.  Most coaches are open to talking about position requests if done in a civil manner.  Most coaches will allow your daughter to try a position if they have expressed an interest during a Saturday game. In the end, it is up to the coach, but if you communicate with the coach about your daughter’s interests, we are confident she will have an opportunity to earn a chance to play.

How often do you practice? Practice is set by each team and their respective head coach; that being said, you can expect to begin practice indoors sometime after the 1st of the year. Once it is warm enough to practice outside you can expect to practice twice per week. 

What if my daughter has a practice conflict? If your daughter has conflicts that keep her from practice, you can expect her to have her playing time diminished. In the end, it is up to the coach how missed practices are handled; but keep in mind that this is competitive softball and the only way to get better is to practice well as a team.

Can my daughter play soccer (insert any other sport) and ASA Softball? We would never ask you to choose one sport over another, especially at 8 or 9 years old. But, if you know your alternate sport is playing every weekend all Saturday and Sunday during the spring and summer; it will be tough for your daughter to do both. In addition, should your daughter miss softball practice due to other sports, it may diminish her playing time with softball. If the team has two players of similar skill and one is at every practice and one is not, generally the one who participates will play more in the games.