Things to do when joining An adult baseball league
You’ve decided that you’ve been off the field for long enough. You “retired” after high school or college baseball ended. You took a hiatus to build your career and family, or moved and have the itch to compete again. Whatever the reason, you’re determined to get back in the game and want to make a statement when you join an adult baseball league.
Congratulations. That choice is the first step in making adult baseball a part of your life. You’ve missed the challenge. You want to feel the energy of being on the field. The game has been whispering in the back of your mind. The urge to strap on the cleats, grab a bat and glove, and return to the diamond has finally won out.
Now you’re trying to figure out what to do first. You want a place to play, and a dugout to be a part of. So what do you do to get on a team and start living out those childhood dreams again?
Find an adult baseball league near you
You know you want to play some baseball. Now, you need to figure out where you can get the chance. There are different ways to discover a league nearby.
Some cities have multiple leagues. In more rural areas, you might need to be prepared to drive an hour or two.
You can talk to friends who may already play. This might be hit or miss. If you know someone that plays, you probably already know about a local league. If you don’t know there’s a league, you probably don’t know if any friends play. Kind of a circular exercise, right? It might be worth a shot to ask around though.
Another option is to look up leagues online. You can search for adult baseball leagues in your area. That will usually give you a list, but depending on the area, you are in, you might have to search through the results to find a truly local league.
MSBL and NABA have “find a league” sections on their websites. They are linked to maps to help you search. The maps make it easy to find the locations of leagues, and may or may not include a contact for that league’s president. Unfortunately, neither site’s page links directly to the webpage for the listed league.
We have an easy to use “find a league” page. There, you can search for a league based on region and state. We scoured the internet to create a directory of adult baseball leagues, including affiliated MSBL, NABA, Roy Hobbs, US Adult Baseball and city run leagues. Each listing also links to the website or social media page of each of those leagues. That way you can find more info on the one you are interested in.
sign up for a league
Once you’ve found a league that’s close enough for you to join, you need to get your foot in the door.
If you learned about the league through a friend, they might be able to get you directly on a team. If you found it through the internet or social media, you’ll need to contact the league to get the ball rolling. Most league sites will have a contact page, phone number or email address for you to get in touch.
Start there. Be detailed in your message, giving your name, your desire to play and a way for them to return your call or message. If you haven’t heard back within a week or two, follow up. Most leagues are run by people that have day jobs. Your message or call might have gotten lost in the shuffle of their day to day lives.
Some leagues have different requirements for joining. In some, you might be able to just join a team and the manager will collect fees and register you. In others, you may need to register and pay fees online. Some leagues allow you to directly join a team. Some might appoint you to a team needing players. Others may require you to join a tryout and be subject to a draft.
While most leagues have an affiliation with a national organization, they are still independent entities that are allowed to make their own rules for player eligibility, team assignment, divisional restrictions and local playing rules. Try to find out as much as you can about the league and how it runs before committing to one. Don’t forget to find out the costs, the days games are played and fields used.
get outfitted to play
uniform and cleats
Once you’re on a team, talk to your manager about uniforms. The team might have jerseys or they might require you to buy one. Either way, most leagues prefer that teams have matching uniforms.
For pants, ask the manager which color the team wears and get yourself a few pairs. Get ones that will be comfortable for you and in the style you like. If you wear the legs high, make sure you get socks in the team colors to go with them.
As about which cleats are allowed. If your fields are turf, they might prohibit metal spikes. It might be a good idea to get a pair of molded cleats or two pairs, one molded/turf and the other metal. Whichever way you go, make sure to get ball shoes that are going to be comfortable during the course of the game.
Invest in some sliding shorts. Your thighs will thank you after a few slides into second. Some players like to get knee sleeves to wear as well, to keep their knees from getting torn up.
It should go without saying, get a protective cup. It’s been a while since you’ve played. Do you trust your glove that much yet?
adult baseball gloves
You may have a glove from your old playing days. It’s possible that one is still good enough to get you started.
But if you are in need of a new glove, you might want to start looking around for one before your first practice. There are a lot of great glove companies out there. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to search from website to website to find one that is right for you, but some sites make it easy to find what you need.
A good place to start looking for a new glove is the Just Gloves website. Just Gloves has all the best brands for adult baseball gloves. You can browse across multiple brands, models and sizes. You can find some fantastic deals on gloves there as well. They carry Rawlings, Wilson, Nokona, Easton, Akadema and a bunch more. Just Gloves is basically a one stop shop for baseball gloves.
If shopping online doesn’t suit you, you can always take a ride down to your nearest sporting goods store.
However you find a glove, just make sure it’s going to hold up to all the ball you plan on playing.
wood baseball bats
While some adult baseball leagues still allow metal bats, most require the use of wood or wood composite bats now.
Wood bats can break, especially cheap ones. It’s more likely to happen when you hit a ball on the handle or end of the bat. Your team might have a bat you can use for a while, but it’s common courtesy to get your own. That way if you break it, you aren’t destroying someone else’s piece of lumber.
Don’t ever use a teammate’s wood bat without asking.
As with gloves, you can visit a sporting goods store to get yourself a bat. Remember, cheap bats are usually the bottom of the barrel as far as wood quality goes. So the chance of breakage is higher.
There are a lot of great wood bat companies out there that make outstanding sticks. If you want to browse many of the top brands in wood bats, check out Just Bats. They have bats from major brands like Victus, Louisville Slugger and Rawlings, as well as other popular companies like Chandler and Old Hickory. Chances are, you’ll find a great bat to start your season.
If you aren’t sure which model to start with, check out our article on the difference between bat models.
Prepare to play
Finding and joining a league are only the first steps to playing. Once you are in, you’ve got to put in the work to help your team on the field.
This isn’t little league. With few exceptions, just being on a team or in a league isn’t a guarantee of playing time. Team managers have to play a balancing role. They want to get players time on the field, but the team expects them to make decisions to help them be competitive.
Make those decisions easy for your manager. Yes, you paid like everyone else, but the goal for the team is to win games. Instead of expecting playing time just because you showed up, do what you need to in order to be the best player you can be. The better of a player you are, the more time you’ll be on the field contributing.
Talk to your manager and find out how he plans to use you in games. That will help you figure out the best way to prepare. And if you want a different or bigger role, you’ll know what areas to concentrate your individual training.
Train to be the best
If you haven’t been on the field for a while, you should be starting baseball training as sound as possible. Don’t wait until your first team practice or first game. You need time to get your arm ready to make the necessary throws. Your bat is probably rusty and your swing needs dialed in. When was the last time you fielded a groundball or ran the bases?
Expecting to just show up and play well without some individual practice will probably lead to disappointment. For you and your teammates.
You may already be in good shape. Or maybe you haven’t been as active as you used to be. Either way, if you are going to be playing baseball again, you need to get in game shape.
You can’t expect to play at your best if you aren’t physically prepared for the stresses of the game. Not being in condition to play puts you at risk of injury. It also leads to more errors, fewer hits and less distance and zip on your throws. Taking ownership of your athletic conditioning is going to be a recurring theme in any adult sport.
before you take the field
- Start moving. Get out and walk, jog, bike, etc. Work on building up your cardiovascular system and legs to handle 3 hours of game play.
- If you haven’t been active, it’s going to be a shock to your body the first time you have to leg out a grounder.
- Get flexible. The older we get, the less flexible our muscles and joints are. Work on getting a better range of motion in your joints and loosening up your muscles to prevent injuries
- The most common injuries for new players are muscle pulls, especially hamstrings, calves and groins. Sprained ankles are high on the list as well. The more you prepare your body for play, the lower your risk of getting hurt and missing time.
- Don’t forget your core.
- Almost every movement in baseball, whether throwing, fielding or batting, puts high stress on your abs, obliques and lower back. You’ll play better and reduce injury risk by taking the time to strengthen them.
If you already lift regularly, that’s great. Keep it up. If you don’t, it will be good for your game to hit the gym. You don’t have to train to be a bruiser. But strength training gives you better tools to improve your play.
Being stronger allows you to create more force in your swing and throws. Muscles that are worked regularly will recover better. If lifts are done properly, you will perform better movement through a fuller range of motion. Concentrating on building explosive movement will give you increased capacity to swing harder and faster, throw better and react quicker on defense.
Get a leg up before games start.
When you hit the gym
- Make sure you are familiar with each lift or movement before attempting.
- You’re not going to be hitting the field if you hurt yourself because of poor form. Be safe.
- Concentrate on core lifts (Bench press, Rows, Deadlift, Squat, Cleans)
- Core lifts are compound movements. They recruit the largest muscles and work core groups of muscle while also performing natural athletic movements.
- The key to these lifts is intensity and a full range of movement. Don’t cheat yourself by shortening a lift to move a heavier weight. Your athletic play will benefit more from performing these exercises through their full range.
- Leave your ego at the door
- The goal is to get strong, not look strong. If you can’t do a lift with good form and full range, lower the weight until you have the lift perfected. Then start adding weight gradually over the course of multiple workouts. Do it right or lose out on a lot of potential progress.
- Use progressive overload in your workout plan
- By adding weight, intensity or reps over time you develop lasting strength and condition yourself for solid movement. Push yourself in a controlled way
Individual baseball training
Unless you want to be like Smalls from the Sandlot, it’s a good idea to at least start training for baseball before you join your team. Some things you can do better with a partner. But if you don’t have someone to train with, there are still things you can do to start working on your game.
A few items, besides your bat and glove, can help you train when you are on your own…a batting tee, a net or wall and some baseballs.
build up your arm
- Get out and throw. Better with a partner but can be done by throwing against a wall or into a net
- Shoulders are delicate things and are easy to injure. Start at a short distance and make sure you are using a proper throwing motion. Stretch out and loosen up your shoulder and elbow before and as you throw.
- Slowly start increasing the distance and how hard you are throwing.
- If it’s been a while since you’ve thrown, don’t overdo it. Start with maybe 50 throws total, working your way to 50′. As you build up your arm, Start getting more distance and total throws. There’s no upward limit on distance as long as your arm has been built up to it over time.
- After throwing, make sure you are stretching as well. This helps to keep muscles from tightening up and can shorten recovery.
- Once your arm is built up to it, start throwing from different fielding positions.
- Simulate fielding a grounder and throwing to a target (partner, net or wall). Make sure you are using good footwork to maximize force recruited from the ground.
Warm up the bat
- Hit off the tee
- It’s not the same as hitting live pitching, but a good swing is built from the work you put in
- Get comfortable swinging the bat for solid contact.
- Move the ball around, forward and back, in and out, high and low.
- Work on driving through the inner part of the ball.
- Practice your swing in front of a mirror or get a video
- Being able to get a visual of your swing will help you see what mechanics are rusty. It gives you a chance to work on them.
- Go to a batting cage
- Many batting cages have automated lanes that allow you to hit solo. Get in there and get a feel for barreling up the ball.
Enjoy the process. The more fun you have, the more you’ll grow and be prepared for that first game.
Enjoy playing in your adult baseball league
Baseball is a game like no other. It has a way to call you back, even after a long time off the field. You might be nervous after a time away, but don’t be. With a little work and preparation, you’ll be ready to hit the field with your new teammates.
Make the most of your opportunities to play. Be ready because once the game takes hold of you, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to come back.
Enjoy every minute of it.