2 Things to Consider When Signing Your Kid(s) Up For Little League Baseball
A helpful resource when deciding whether or not to sign your child up for Little League baseball. A breakdown of the costs associated with a season of Little League, as well as the time commitment.
Don’t be thrown off by that title! I love Little League! Every single one of my kids and step kids have played baseball. That’s 7 out of 7 kids; we’re definitely a baseball family. So this is not a post to talk you out of signing your kid(s) up for baseball. Rather, I’ve written this to be a helpful resource for you to check out before making the decision. One season of Little League ends up being a lot more than a registration fee and a couple of games.
So let’s dive in.
**This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
**Note: I am gearing this post toward someone considering Tee Ball, which is for players ages 4-7. However, most of this information applies to all ages in Little League, and I have inserted helpful comments when applicable, for those who are considering signing up older kids for Little League.
How much money does a typical season of Little League COST?
Just like with any sport, there are plenty of hidden costs with having a little baseball player in Little League. While it’s not astronomical, it’s always good to know what you’re getting into, before you commit.
Please Note: I am quoting approximate costs here, to give you an idea of what it will cost when all is said and done. These quoted prices will not get you top-of-the-line equipment; they are average prices for young Tee Ballers, ages 4-7.
1 – Registration Fee ($80 to upwards of $200 per player)
- This varies from city to city. We have paid $80 in one city and almost $200 per player in another city.
- Different leagues cover different things with the registration fee. Most registration fees include the jersey and hat, but some cover pants as well. It just depends.
2 – Uniform
As mentioned above, different registration fees cover different parts of the uniform, but you will need to fill in the gaps on your own. Jerseys and hats are typically covered, but you will need to purchase the following items on your own. (Note: the league or coach will specify the colors of pants, belts, and socks, so you’ll need to wait til you have direction on that)
- Pants – you can go cheap here – it really doesn’t matter, especially for kids who are just starting out. $10-$12 from a local sporting goods store ought to cover it!
- Belt – be sure to check this out before purchasing your belt: 10 Baseball Mom Hacks for Little League You Haven’t Heard Before
- Socks – many stores will have belts and socks in a matching pack together, so look for those. They are usually under $20 for the set. AS LONG AS THE BELT IS PLASTIC! See Hack article above.
- Cleats – these are sometimes optional for Tee Ball, but required for levels higher than Tee Ball. Some leagues require cleats for all ages. A pair of $20-$30 cleats is just fine! Don’t go crazy here. There usually aren’t too many options in younger Little League sizes, so just get what everyone else is getting at your local sporting goods store.
- Cup and Cup Underwear – these are obviously just for boys, but sometimes not required for Tee Ball. Again, it is up to the league on this one, so just double check. I like this set of cup and cup underwear (affiliate link). It comes with one cup and 2 pair of underwear, so you can have one in the laundry and one in use. And I love that it comes in XXS for your little teeny iddy biddy ball player!
3 – Required Gear
- You can spend anywhere from $20 to $200 on a glove. Just make sure it fits your player well and is broken in before the first practice! And if we’re talking Tee Ball here, go cheap for the first year. Not K-Mart cheap. I mean, local sporting goods store low-end cheap.
- Be sure to pay attention to which hand your player throws with! If he/she throws with his right hand, he will get a righty glove, which actually goes on the left hand. They catch with the hand opposite their throwing hand. Speaking from personal experience 🙈 My poor kid played a whole year with the wrong glove because I kind of forgot she was a lefty!!!!!!!!!! 🤦🏼♀️
4 – Optional (but very helpful) Gear
- They will usually have a couple team helmets for all the players to use, so you don’t HAVE to get this one. But I will just leave you with one word: LICE.
Bat Bag / Bat Pack
- If I had to do it again, I would buy the dang bat bag! My kids spent years of baseball being the only kids on the team showing up with old backpacks, or me carrying all their crap in a reusable grocery bag. GET THE KID A BAT PACK! They are designed for this kind of thing. They are worth it! They have a place for everything. And they make your life so much easier and your player’s life so much better.
- There are bat BAGS and bat PACKS. Hands down, get the pack. Picture sending your kid to school with a backpack. Now picture sending your kid to school with a 3-foot long duffle bag. Which makes more sense? Get the backpack style!
- Youth Bat PACKS (affiliate link) are GREAT! I was worried I’d buy this for one season and my son would grow out of it. He’s used it for 3 years and counting. It is still plenty big for him and he is 7 years old. Their helmets and gloves just don’t get that much bigger with age, and these youth packs are built to fit a helmet, glove, batting gloves, water bottle, and bat. They are GREAT! So take my advice. Splurge. Spend the $30-$35 and get the bat pack.
- Definitely not required, but some kids use them. The older they get, the more helpful they become.
- I’d say these are more hassle than they are worth if you’ve got a Tee Baller. 4-year-olds have a hard enough time keeping track of their mitt, helmet, and hat. Batting gloves just add one more thing to keep track of, get turned inside out, get mixed up with the kid next to them, etc. I’d recommend saving batting gloves as a Christmas gift a couple years down the road…
- Like helmets, most teams have a couple team bats that are available for anyone to use.
- If I had to recommend one piece of equipment to skip, it would be a bat. They can be very pricy, and honestly, half the time my kids have ended up using a friend’s or coach’s bat because they like theirs better than ours anyway.
- **Note: Little League has rules and regulations that dictate what types of bats are allowed to be used in official games. DEFINITELY make sure you know the CURRENT SEASON’S regs BEFORE you go shopping!
5 – Team Fee
Soon after teams are organized, you will likely be contacted by a team mom, asking for a player contribution to cover the following costs:
- Team Banner
- End of Season Trophy
- End of Season Coach’s Gift(s)
- End of Season Party
Some team moms collect money bit by bit, each time they make a purchase. Most team moms add up the cost of all of these things and ask for a one-time fee. Regardless of how they do it, each player’s portion typically runs anywhere from $20-$40 per player for the season, depending on how big they intend coach’s gifts and parties to be.
6 – Team Snack
At least once a season (and usually twice, depending on how many games vs how many players there are on the team), your player will be in charge of providing the Team Snack at the end of the game. Most Tee Ball teams have 12 or 13 kids, and a typical snack consists of a drink (Gatorade, Capri Sun, etc) and a couple little snacks (granola bars, fruit, crackers, etc). There will always be someone on the team who goes crazy and puts your snack to shame. But hold your head high. There’s nothing wrong with a granola bar, some Goldfish, and a Capri Sun. You can get away with spending about $15 for the whole team if you go cheap. If you do full-sized Gatorades, fresh fruit, and full-on meals, you’ll obviously spend a lot more than $15.
Recap of Total Cost
Here is a short and condensed list of costs with approximate dollar value for a new Tee Baller (going cheap-ish).
- Registration Fee ($$?)
- Team Fee ($25ish probably)
- Team Snack ($15-$20 each time – count on twice each season)
- Pants ($10-$15)
- Belt/Socks ($15-$20)
- Cleats ($25)
- Cup and Cup Underwear (affiliate link) ($15)
- Glove ($25-$35)
- Helmet (optional but highly recommend $25)
- Bat PACKS (affiliate link) – optional but highly recommend ($30-$35)
- Batting Gloves (I would not purchase yet)
- Bat (I would not purchase)
What Kind of TIME Commitment is a Season of Little League Baseball?
Little League game and practice schedules vary from league to league.
Practices – Frequency and Length
The practice schedule is typically up to the individual coaches, although the league will determine when individual teams have access to which fields (if practice will be held at the actual Little League fields).
Often there will be a mix of practices, with some being held at the league-appointed day and time at the Little League fields, while other practices are held at a local park of the coach’s choosing.
For Tee Ball, 2 practices a week is typical, and once games start, a lot of coaches drop it down to one practice per week.
For Tee Ballers, I have never seen practices last longer than an hour at a time. It’s just a long time for that age to stay focused. As they approach age 6 or 7, practices are still usually only an hour, sometimes an hour and a half.
As they get older, practices get longer and can last up to 3 hours each day. No, that is not a typo. You read that right. 3 hours. Most coaches settle for 2 or 2 1/2 though.
Games – Frequency and Length
The leagues we have been in usually have each team play almost every Saturday of the season with one or two byes (a bye is a day when they would normally play, but they have the day off).
Each team also has had weekday games (usually starting at 5:30pm). Tee Ball has the least amount of weekday games, but they usually have a handful of them each season.
It has been our experience that as the kids get older, the amount of weekday games increases to sometimes 2-3 weekday games on top of their Saturday games.
I have heard of other leagues that opt for double headers, having all games on Saturdays with no weekday games, but every team plays 2 games each Saturday. So it just depends.
We have been fortunate to be a part of leagues that do not schedule games on Sundays, but that is not always the case. As stated on their website, Little League Regulations “do not prohibit or promote games or practices on any particular day of the week.” LittleLeague.org . If there is a particular day of the week that just won’t work for you, due to religion or other reasons, check with your local league before registering.
Game days can be long. The coach will want the players to show up anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours early to warm up (obviously 30 minutes is for the Tee Ballers and 3 hours is extreme even for the older kids, but…it happens).
Tee Ball games typically last an hour to an hour and a half. There isn’t a hard and fast rule from Little League, but each league has their own standard operating procedures. We have usually seen 3 full innings, with each player from each team batting each inning.
Recap of Time Commitment
These are averages for Tee Ball from our experience…
- Practice 2 days a week for an hour or so
- Games almost every Saturday
- Arrive 30-60 minutes early to warm up
- Games are 1 to 1 1/2 hours long
- Often 1 weekday game on top of the Saturday game (usually starts at 5:30, so arrival time is typically 4:30, and it’ll be over around 6:30 or 7)
Now that you have an idea of what to expect, you have a decision to make! Check out your local Little League page and gather the information you need to make the right decision for your family.
And if you decide that it’s a YES, be sure to subscribe to this blog! You will get tips and tricks throughout the season, and you won’t want to miss them!