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OBA Skill Levels

OBA Minimum Skills & Selection Criteria

Age and skill requirements for each Division are listed below. By registering your son/daughter, please recognize the commitment you and your child are making to OBA. In all Divisions, players are requir ed to attend two practices a week and two games on the weekends; sometimes there might be a game during the weekday. At the Bronco and Pony levels, the time requirements are even greater. If there is a conflict with other activities, you need to adjust your schedule to work around the OBA practices and games. Once teams are selected, roster changes are not allowed.

Many parents wonder whether their child is ready for the next Division in OBA.  To help you better understand where your child stands, or where they need more development, below are the minimum skills requirement for each Division of OBA.

OBA uses an April 30th cutoff to determine each player's effective age, rather than a calendar year or the player's grade in school. Players will be placed in a division based on their age on April 30th of that season.

Age on April 30 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14
Basepath 60 ft 60 ft 70 ft 80 ft
Pitching Mound 38 ft 44 ft 48 ft 54 ft
Pitchers Coach Pitch Player Pitch Player Pitch Player Pitch
Teams Formed By Draft Draft Draft Draft
Base Stealing No Yes Yes Yes
Leadoffs No  No  Yes Yes
Balk No No Yes Yes
Dropped 3rd Strike No No Yes Yes
Breaking Pitches No No Yes Yes
Season Begins March March March March

Pinto Division

Birthdates: For the 2020 season, children born between 5/1/2011 - 4/30/2013

Minimum Skills

  • Player should display reasonable proficiency in playing catch with a hard ball (incrediball or tennis ball OK) from at least 30 feet.   This would include:
    • Throwing the ball with a relatively normal (but still developing) throwing motion (i.e., turning the body so their front shoulder points toward the target; keeping their elbow above the shoulder; stepping with the non-throwing foot and releasing the ball)
    • Tracking the ball with their eyes into the glove whether on the ground or in the air; using two hands to catch and field.
  • Player should be able to display an understanding of how to hold the bat correctly and know whether they hit right or left-handed and know where to stand at the plate. Player should be able to hit a ball off a tee on 7 out of 10 swings. Player should display an interest in (vs. fear of) hitting pitches thrown with a baseball by an adult coach. Player must understand key aspects of batting safety.
  • Player should know basic baseball rules at this level – e.g., which direction to run when the ball is hit; runners must touch the bases; how to record outs (catch the ball in the air; throw to first or tag the runner); scoring a run; balls, strikes and outs, what basic equipment you need to participate, and be able to follow key safety guideline.
  • Player should know where each position is on the field and be able to run there at the instruction of a coach.
  • Player should have a developing knowledge of what it means to be on an athletic team.

 

Goals in Pinto

From a baseball development standpoint, the primary goal of the Pinto program is to prepare players to enter the Mustang Division.  As such, the OBA Pinto program is designed to help players develop the following skills:

  • Reasonable proficiency in playing catch from at least 40 feet with a baseball; catching the ball 8 out of 10 times, and making an accurate throw 8 out of 10 times.
  • Ability to field a ground ball in front of them with proper form (i.e., glove on the ground, between the player’s feet and with ‘alligator mouth' or ‘garbage can lid’ fielding style) and show developing ability to complete the transition to a throw and know where to throw it.
  • Developing interest and ability to judge the flight of a fly ball off the bat. Player should be able to catch 5 out of 10 pop flies thrown to them from about 60 feet and display very little fear of the ball hitting them.
  • Confidence in their ability to hold the bat correctly, where to stand in the batter’s box, and swingat overhand pitched baseball from 35 feet. Player should be able to make solid contact with 5 out of 10 pitches delivered to the general strike zone by an adult pitcher throwing at ‘batting practice’ speed.
  • Basic knowledge of the baserunning stance employed at a base when starting each play, and should understand and be able to demonstrate consistently the notions of “running through first base” and “rounding the base”; developing interest in knowing when and how to slide, a developing knowledge of the concept of stealing.
  • Knowledge of how to participate on a team, and be able to respect their coach, understand and interpret their instruction and to follow and utilize key instructions regarding safety and team organization. Player should have a developing interest in how to interpret and understand on-field signs from a coach.
  • Should know basic baseball rules at this level – i.e. knowing the difference between when a force out or tag out is required, knowing when a baserunner should tag up on a fly ball, what basic equipment you need to participate, and be able to describe key safety guidelines.

Mustang Division

 

Birthdates: For the 2020 season, children born between 5/1/2009 - 4/30/2011

Minimum skills

  • Display reasonable proficiency in playing catch from at least 40 feet with a baseball. Player should be able to catch the ball 8 out of 10 times (thrown by an adult or other Mustang-age player) from this distance. Player should be able to throw the ball back to their partner from 40 feet. Player should be able to throw the ball at least 60 feet (distance between the bases) with reasonable accuracy.
  • Basic Participation Guidelines: Player should know basic baseball rules at this level – i.e. knowing the difference between when a force out or tag out is required, be able to describe what the term ‘the count’ is, knowing when a baserunner should tag up on a fly ball, what basic equipment you need to participate, and be able to describe key safety guidelines.
  • Infield skills: Display ability to field a ground ball with proper form (i.e. glove on the ground, between the player’s feet and with ‘alligator mouth or ‘garbage can lid’ fielding style…) Player should display general confidence to field ball in front of them. Player should display ability to catch the ground ball and show developing ability to complete the transition to a throw and know where to throw it during a practice or Evaluation drill.
  • Outfield skills:  Display developing ability and interest in catching fly balls. Player should show some developing ability to judge the flight of the ball off the bat. A beginning Mustang player should be able to catch 5 out of 10 pop flies thrown to them from about 60 feet and display very little fear of the ball hitting them.
  • Batting: player should display confidence that they know how to hold the bat correctly, display confidence that they know where to stand in the batter’s box, display an interest and confidence in swinging the bat to hit an overhand pitched baseball from 35 feet. Player should be able to make solid contact with 5 out of 10 pitches delivered to the general strike zone by an adult pitcher throwing at ‘batting practice’ speed.
  • Baserunning: a beginning Mustang player should possess a developing knowledge of the baserunning stance employed at a base when starting each play, a developing interest in knowing when and how to slide, a developing knowledge of the concept of stealing.
  • Ability to follow Coach instructions and signs: Player should have a developing knowledge of how to participate on a team, be able to respect their coach, understand and interpret their instruction and to follow and utilize key instructions regarding safety and team organization. Player should have a developing interest in how to interpret and understand on-field signs from a coach. 
     

Goals in Mustang

  •     To develop ability to properly square up for a bunt
  •     To begin to think about and work on footwork
  •     To learn to slide and understand basic baserunning philosophy and strategy
  •     Begin to read pitches

Bronco Division

 

Birthdates: For the 2020 season, children born between 5/1/2007 - 4/30/2009

Minimum skills:

  • Good understanding of basic baseball rules
  • Very good to excellent ability to throw and catch a baseball (i.e., rarely drops or misses the ball)
  • Able to throw a baseball with a normal throwing motion with still increasing pace and accuracy. Target distance 70 feet (base distance).
  • Able to field ground balls proficiently and demonstrate proper form (including balls requiring backhanded fielding)
  • Able to catch fly balls proficiently in the outfield, including those that require judging velocity and flight path and moving to the ball
  • Able to properly hold and swing a bat at any speed pitches (minimum 45-50 mph batting cage speed) and consistently make contact
  • Able to properly square up and execute a bunt
  • Solid baserunning skills and increasing speed (i.e., able to slide and has a good understanding of baserunning rules)
  • Begin to read pitching
  • Able to remember and follow coaching signs with high proficiency


Goals in Bronco

  • To increase proficiency at reading pitches
  • Good and developing footwork
  • Beginning to develop "expertise" at one (and hopefully more) positions, including ability to cover/backup bases, etc., when ball does not go to the subject player
     

 

Pony Division

Birthdates: For the 2020 season, children born between 5/1/2006 - 4/30/2007 (and player must have entered 7th or 8th Grade in September 2019)

Minimum skills:

Players should have all the skills listed at the Bronco level and be able to do the following:

  • Play catch from 100 feet+ on a straight line.
  • Run Bases that are a minimum 80 Feet apart, know how to take proper leads from first and second bases.
  • Be able to hit and make contact against pitchers who can throw 55 MPH+.
  • Understand situational concepts at each position on the diamond and play multiple positions if the coach asks them to.
  • Be able to interpret signs and signals during the course of the game.
  • Commit to two practices/week and multiple games during the weekend.