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Discussion: What Would You Change - Have More Teams at Tournaments to Fill the Divisions

Posted Discussion
Jan. 10, 2008
155 posts
What Would You Change - Have More Teams at Tournaments to Fill the Divisions
What Would You Change - Have More Teams at Tournaments to Fill the Divisions

We’ve all had the experience of traveling to a national/regional tournament, only to play just one or two different teams in your divisions and they’re both from your own area! This problem exists in all divisions, but appears to be worse at the M+ levels. Here are some recommendations from the posts. Not all of these are possible, but a few would help solve this problem.

(1) Modify or eliminate geographical restrictions for players (mentioned mostly by M+ players or managers). Permit teams to select players from any state, similar to St George.

(2) Give “special” awards (rings, bats, better trophies, etc.) to M+ champions. This will discourage teams from sandbagging and moving to lower-skill divisions.

(3) Institute a Certified Substitute Program. Often teams don’t go to tournaments because they’re short a couple of players. At the same time, there are players who want to travel to more tournaments than their team is interested in attending. Connecting these two groups would definitely increase the number of teams at tournaments. Recommendation: create a data base of players interested in traveling and make the list available to managers. The players would likely need to be “certified” to ensure no sandbagging.

(4) Permit players who to play outside of their region when there is no tournament team within their region.

(5) Expand the age range for certain divisions, such as, moving to 63 to 69. This would be particularly useful for older age and higher skill divisions.

(6) When setting up round robin play, match teams from different areas to help prevent a team from always playing a neighborhood team.

Mike Sisavic
Jan. 10, 2008
Men's 60
1024 posts
Hi Mike just an excellent job on your part I am really looking forward to meeting you in Phoenix next weekend. Here are two ideas I was batting around in my head.
1.) When possible have the two nearest age group divisions on separate weekends. LVSSA did a good job with this and I think it increased the number of teams in small divisions and close large population areas such as Florida and the Southwest it might add a team or two. I know a number of 50 teams that have several 55 players and I would hate to see what happens when they need to make a choice.
2.) Allow teams to experiment and play up without penalty and possibly some sort of reward for doing so. Have the TD's contact speciific teams and fill out brackets with lower classed teams. I think this might have some surprising results not all players and teams are specifically about winning. When that speciic tournament let the team playing up go back to their classification without penalty.

Joe Lecak
Jan. 10, 2008
Men's 65
4549 posts
1. Will allow teams to load up
2. Give all the more reason to load up and or sandbag.
3. I agree with but you're gonna get them from all to all over just like ST G.
4. Just like #1, not good
5. I don't like. Next we'll have 46 moved to 50's...Leave it as it is.
6. One darn good idea.

Could be good, but depends on whether or not you can draw from out of the area, and are playing on one roster or two. Might help field more teams however.
Teams are for the most part a good ole boys club. They rarely seek players unless needed for a specific tournament, but for a permanent spot. But having an opportunity to "play up" would be good for those who want to better themselves, possibly another team and the game as a whole.
Jan. 10, 2008
Men's 60
78 posts
It seems to me the way to get more teams to enter tournaments is to get more players into senior softball. Admittedly, this is a "long term" goal, but the demographics are on our side. Baby boomers are now between the ages of 44 and recruiting and playing age for SSUSA and other organizations...and they represent the largest number of people in any generation in the nation. There are millions of them out there who know NOTHING about senior softball...and they are turning 50 faster than you can imagine.

Each one of us is a marketing arm of senior softball, and with the amount of fun our team is having playing ball it isn't hard to sell fellow seniors we meet about this game.

Every player on every team should make it his personal goal to sign one new senior player in 2008---imagine the tournament slates with so many more players involved.

Here's what might happen. Look at the Ratings section of this website---there are over 2000 teams rated in all age divisions. With an average of just 12 players per team, that totals almost 25,000 players active in the senior game today. Even allowing for 30% duplication (a high estimate) there are almost 17,000 players competing. Double that by taking personal responsibility to find one new player this year and you have over 34,000 players suited up and on teams for 2009...maybe more.

This personal one-on-one "sales job" is the best way to do it, but the big senior organizations could help by doing a little more PR, advertising, and marketing of the product to help increase awareness.

Go get 'em!!
Jan. 10, 2008
197 posts
Get rid of "Paid Players" and fully sponsored teams OR start a "Professional Senior League" for paid these players.
Its hard to feel any empathy for the players that are whining about only having 1 or 2 teams to play. If it wasn't for the wealthy "wanna-be jocks" that missed out in their early life but now have the money to "buy" a team to be associated with, screwing up the Major Plus div., that complaint wouldn't exist. Too many Major players being gathered up by these "wanna-be's" is concentrating all the eggs in to few baskets.
Jan. 11, 2008
Men's 65
4549 posts
Man that's gonna hit some nerves here.
But the thought for a separate assn or whatever has crossed my mind...They can add the 40's guys to them as well.
Perhaps the young ones can grow old and become actual seniors with them.
I just don't think it's a good idea to rush the aging process just to make a buck here. They will still be playing and keeping in shape, just not being designated as a senior player. They are not.
Jan. 11, 2008
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
Reduce the number of tournaments.
Jan. 13, 2008
Men's 65
252 posts
Sisavic & WOW.I don't think we could get rid of paying players,if it was against the rules it still could be done without anyone knowing. These teams do have a big advanage as do the teams that pay for airline tickets,motels & rental car. Most teams are like us and pay their own way. After 12 years of playing senior ball I belive one of biggest problems is when it comes to moving a team UP the rules are the same for all classification .
If a team get moved from aa to aaa or aaa to major with a few adjustments you can compete but to get moved from major to m+ for a team that don't recruit from bordering states and pay their own way their season is shot. To appeal a team has to play in 3 tourneys but by the time a team does this the season is half over plus who wants to go to a tourney knowing you will get your butt kicked. I don't know what the answer is maybe to talk to mgr's from teams that the major team played something needs to be done this is crazy.
Jan. 13, 2008
Men's 65
20 posts
Hi All: Well established Major+ teams, epecially those that are heavily sponsored will continue to always dominate. Perhaps the associations should consider shrinking the geographic territory rather than expanding it. By doing so, Big money becomes less of a factor which helps more teams and more players to compete at that level. If we only could put our personal egoes asside for a moment to consider what is good for the game. Any thoughts? Bobby K
Jan. 13, 2008
Men's 65
440 posts
Nice post Sisavic, a lot of good responses to it. I especially like your thoughts as well Lecak & DD have some solid ideas. Here’s a couple more.

· Location – location – Location …tournaments in warm, dry weather or destination spots like St. George, Phoenix, Vegas, Reno seem to do well. Being the manager of a team I know how much easier it is to fill a roster when the team is going to play in a destination spot.

· Eliminate the 55-year old age division. Most of my friends and I are closer too 60 then 50 and still play 50 just fine. Too many age groups water tournaments down. I always had the same opinion on the 40/45 age groups. Five-year increments may be okay after 60 but 58 and 59 year olds can still play well in the 50 age group.

· Provide more incentive for teams to play higher divisions. Refund the entry fee for the top two or three teams based on a sliding scale.
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