Spring Training Evaluation Program
9-12 year-olds registered for AAA, Majors, or 50/70 attend the Spring Training Evaluation Program (STEP) where League Official and Coach recommendations are used to place players at the appropriate level. These evaluation sessions are kept fun, friendly, and informal. The STEP Days typically are scheduled on the last two weekends in February and the first weekend in March.
- All 9-12 year olds registered for AAA, Majors, or 50/70 are required to attend STEP
- Exception: The only exception is for players registered to play 50/70 who were on a 50/70 team in Spring 2015
- We make a concerted effort to place players in time slots with friends and former teammates so that they may be more relaxed in the STEP environment. HOWEVER, this does NOT necessarily mean they will be drafted to play together. We simply hope that this will make the day more enjoyable for your children.
Parents and Players Guide to 2016 Spring Training Evaluation Program (STEP)
Location – Williamsburg Middle School Gym (3600 North Harrison Street, Arlington, VA 22207)
Dates & Times
Sunday, February 21 – 50/70 & Majors - 12:00 - 7:30pm
Sunday, February 28 - Majors & AAA - 12:00 - 7:30pm
Sunday, March 6 - AAA - 12:00 - 7:30pm
Confirm your appointment that you receive via email.
Bring your glove. A batting helmet and bat are recommended, but can be provided by the league.
Dress the same as you would for an indoor baseball practice: sneakers (NO cleats!), hat, tee shirt or sweatshirt, and shorts, baseball pants, or sweatpants.
Purpose – STEP is to allow the league and the coaches to rate players in order to form balanced competitive teams. Every player will get placed on a team.
We know that many kids have not played since last season. We also understand that a player’s ability to hit the ball or throw a strike on so few repetitions is not necessarily indicative of their skill level. Please trust us to evaluate form and mechanics as much as, if not more than, results.
PLAYER EVALUATIONS WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH PARENTS. This policy is non-negotiable. The information gathered in STEP is only for use by the league officials and coaches involved in the drafts for the purpose of assisting ALL in forming balanced, competitive teams. It is not designed to provide specific feedback on individual players. All coaches have been instructed not to provide STEP information to parents, so please do not ask them for it.
Process – Players will be asked to:
- Hit 3 pitches
- Hit 3 more pitches
- Run to first base, whether they hit their last pitch or not
- Field 3 ground balls and make three strong throws to “first”
- Field 3 fly balls and make three strong throws to “home”
- Throw 3 pitches
Volunteers will lead the kids through the different drills one at a time, so every evaluator sees every child perform each task. Two league officials will evaluate every child (this provides a consistent baseline). Coaches from AAA, Majors, and 50/70 will evaluate the players in their divisions. The evaluations will be on a five-point scale
Evaluations – Players are evaluated in the following areas:
- Hand to Eye
- Stance / Form
- Hustle / Speed
- Fielding Grounders
- Fielding Fly Balls
- Throw Accuracy
- Throw Strength
- Pitching form
Draft –Arlington Little League will hold three drafts. League officials provide coaches with their baseline ratings. Coaches use this, as well as their own information, to draft players.
At 50/70 and Majors, coaches fill their teams to the limit of 12 players. Any players who are not selected in the 50/70 draft are placed in the Majors draft. Any players who are not drafted in Majors are automatically placed into AAA.
The AAA draft is also done following the Arlington Little League draft rules (available on our website). Coaches are encouraged to consider schools, friends, and other requests. In practice, this means that the more highly rated players tend to get spread evenly across all of the teams. The rest of the players (who are often rated very similarly) tend to get drafted onto teams based on school, coach, and friend requests. This allows Arlington Little League to get the best of both worlds -- where teams are balanced and competitive, but a majority of kids end up on teams with friends and classmates.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why is STEP in a gym?
A: While we would love to be outside, spring weather is unpredictable. There are too many families involved to reschedule at the last minute based on weather. We work with the county to get the best location we can. This year, Williamsburg Middle School was gracious enough to let us use their gym.
Q: Why does each child get so few repetitions?
A: We have well over 400 kids that need to get evaluated. The only way that we can give each child an equal opportunity is to limit the number of repetitions.
Q: How can you possibly evaluate my player based on so few touches?
A: While more repetitions would be great, coaches are actually quite good at evaluating the skills based on limited repetitions. The purpose of STEP is to organize competitive, balanced teams, not to provide specific individual feedback on each player. Coaches understand that players may not have touched a baseball since the prior season. Coaches are looking less at results and more at form. For example, when a player is pitching, the coach is looking at the pitching form. When the player is fielding, the coach is not only watching their ability to get in the proper fielding position, but they are also watching their throwing mechanics, arm strength, and accuracy.
Q: What are the draft rules and where do they come from?
A: The base rules come from Little League International. The Arlington Little League local rules are available on the Arlington Little League Website.
If you have any questions or need more information about STEP, please contact us at
IMPORTANT NOTE: Under no circumstances will any Arlington Little League board member, evaluator, or coach reveal the STEP information of an individual player. Please, don't even ask!