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ECYB Shetland Guide and FAQ 2019

Updated February 2019

Welcome to the Shetland Guide and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Hopefully you’ll be able to find the answer you are looking for, but if not, contact ECYB at [email protected]


Shetland Division is the youngest division of the El Cerrito Youth Baseball (ECYB) league. It is for 5 or 6 year olds with or without prior baseball experience (parents of 4 year olds may petition for participation).   Started in 2006, the Shetland division has expanded over time to as many as 6 teams.  Players learn the fundamentals of baseball and how to play as part of a team:

  • Players use a softer than usual baseball on a 50 foot diamond
  • First hour is practice and second hour is 2-3 innings of play
  • All team members bat and play the field each inning
  • Batting Tee or Coach-pitch (followed by Batting Tee after a fixed number of pitches)
  • No game score or standing are kept and flexible rules expedite play
  • Each player receives a baseball jersey, hat, and trophy or other memento.

ECYB offers instructional weekend clinics for all Shetland players and coaches in February, before games start in March.  These clinics, which are run by a professional trainer with the help of our managers and coaches, provide age-appropriate instruction for our youngest players and training for our new coaches and parents on how to run high quality practices.

Important Events

Specific dates are on the ECYB Calendar. Most meetings take place evenings at the Harding Clubhouse right next to Harding School.

Shetland Clinics (February) – Weekend instructional clinics run through our professional trainer program to provide instruction to the kids and coaches and also give parents and kids a chance to know each other and their coaches.

PCA Coach Training (February) – mandatory for coaches and assistant coaches, optional for parents – worth attending for incoming first year Shetland parents to become familiar with the Positive Coach Alliance (PCA) philosophy practiced by ECYB.

Opening Day/Photo Day (First Saturday of March) – All kids and coaches in uniform follow the Korematsu Middle School Marching Band or ECHS Marching Band from El Cerrito High School to El Cerrito Park, followed by food/festivities and team photos.

First Game (second weekend of March) – Games are usually on Saturdays.

Last Game (late May) – Last game is followed by a team party.

Team Formation and Scheduling

Because the number of registrations (and therefore the number of teams) is unknown until shortly before the season begins, scheduling is not usually completed until early February, and it is usually not possible to accommodate requests for specific players to be plugged into a certain time slot. An attempt is made to assign players to teams based on buddy requests and on a geographical basis (to facilitate carpooling).  Returning kids generally play on the same team as the prior year.

When there were 4 or fewer teams, the letters E, C, Y, and B were used to describe the teams but with more than 4 teams, there is now a different color for each team. Each Shetland player gets a shirt and hat of the color for his/her team, which is kept at the end of the season.

There are approximately 8-10 games per season, from early March to late May. Games are on Saturdays, at Tassajara Park or Canyon Trails Park, with possible game times ranging from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, but scheduling is different each season.  For example, in 2016 the managers decided to have all games at Tassajara Park at 9:30 am, 11:30 am, or 1:30 pm.

Teams may schedule optional practices during the week.  Not all teams hold weekday practices.

Games are cancelled (and not rescheduled) if it is raining or the fields are too wet – check the ECYB web page on game day when it is not obvious.

There are no tryouts for the Shetland division.

Game Rules and Customs

Shetland rules are substantially different from regular baseball (and other ECYB division) rules, as they are designed for non-competitive teaching of basic baseball fundamentals. The top most consideration is to stay positive and have fun.

  • There is a one-hour practice followed by a 2-3 inning game.
  • Players use a tee-ball (soft) baseball on a 50 foot diamond
  • All team members bat and play in the field each inning.
  • Plays are taught to run the bases and get outs, but runs and outs are not tracked
  • Any umpiring is done by coaches and flexible rules expedite play.
  • A mix of coach-pitch, machine-pitch, and batting tee may be used.  Most teams use the pitching machine followed by the batting tee until the player hits the ball.  No balls or strikes!
  • Snacks are organized by the team for players after the game.

Equipment and Uniform

Players will need a baseball glove, bat, helmet, and water bottle.  Gloves, bats, and helmets are available from the league on request.  ECYB also runs an equipment exchange in late January so that families may drop off outgrown equipment and clothes and other families may pick them up for use by their kids.  It is recommended that bats and other equipment not be purchased before consulting with coaches on what size and weight are appropriate.

Each player is issued a team jersey and a hat. Teams may also add the option of purchasing colored baseball pants, belt, and socks part of the uniforms, which are available at most sporting goods stores.

Coaching Philosophy: PCA

ECYB, including the Shetland division, follows the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) philosophy of baseball coaching. Explained elsewhere on the ECYB site, PCA emphasizes a dual goal approach of both winning AND teaching life lessons through sports. This includes positive feedback over criticism, parental noninterference with coaching and umpiring, and above all making sure kids have fun. While Shetland is nowhere near as competitive as the Pinto division for 7-8 year olds and there are therefore fewer opportunities for conflict, it is helpful to start the good and useful habits of PCA early.

Differences between Shetland and the rest of the League

The Shetland league is very different from the other ECYB divisions; so much of the information you read on the web site or hear from other people is not applicable or sometimes contradicts what is actually done in Shetland. Here is a partial list of some of the differences:

  • Baseball rules – much less competitive and simplified rules, as detailed elsewhere in this guide.
  • Tryouts – none
  • Volunteer requirements (fewer) – 5 hours/year (not 10 hours/year)
  • More coaches needed to help manage the kids at practice and games
  • Scorekeeping is NOT a possible volunteer position. All other volunteer positions are possible.
  • Cost – the registration cost is much lower
  • Number of games per season – fewer
  • All-Star Program – There is no select team for Shetland players.  However, if we have a qualified manager and coaches, as well as players interested in getting more advanced instruction and competitive playing opportunities, ECYB will support the formation of a developmental team, which may have additional practices and play in tournaments during Memorial Day weekend or the summer.


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El Cerrito Youth Baseball

PO. Box 194 
El Cerrito, California 94530

Email Us: [email protected]
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