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Rivals Philosophy

For those girls interested in a more competitive level of play, the Rivals fast pitch program is offered as a supplement to the West Metro Thunder program. It requires a greater commitment, in that each participant is expected to participate in year-round development including Fall League, Off-Season Training, and Summer League.
Teams will be formed through tryouts and consist of athletes primarily from the Chaska High School attendance area, however players from surrounding communities are welcome to tryout.  The goal is to provide a community based team with outstanding coaching, personal development for players, the highest level of play possible, and long-term skill development.

Age Divisions

Teams are formed at the 14U, 16U and 18U levels

Player division is based on the player's age as of 12/31/2017

14U – girls ages 14 and under
(born in 1/1/2002-1/1/2004) 

18U – girls ages 18 and under
(born in 1/1/1998-1/1/2000)

Teams are formed according to age guidelines set by the American Softball Association (ASA) and American Fastpitch Association (AFA), availability of coaches and by tryouts, if necessary.


Fundraising may be used to help raise additional funds that benefit each team. One or more fundraisers may be conducted during the year which will involve the participation of all members.  In addition, businesses may be solicited for contributions.
Proceeds from fundraising are used to keep league fees lower and for special events (for example, out-of-state tournament play).  Dependent on Board discretion and availability of funds, the Board has typically given a contribution out of general funds to teams qualifying for an ASA or AFA national tournament to help offset travel expenses. 

Program Goals

The following are the program goals for Rivals softball:

       • Provide effective, high quality training for players.

       •  Provide programs that are cooperative with and respected by other community programs.

       •   Strive to create a fun and entertaining environment for the players, families, coaches and community.

       •   Seek to maximize the potential of every player in the program.

       •   Develop players and teams that are able to compete at a national level.

       •   Foster the importance of teamwork and the understanding that all team members play an integral part in the success of the team.

       •   To promote skill development and create a positive self-esteem for every player.


Players are eligible to participate subject to the following criteria:

       •   Resident of school district 112 area (regardless of school attended).  Non-residents are welcome to play, but the number may be limited by league rules.

       •  Must have paid all applicable fees – past and present

       •   Must have filled out all required forms, including any signed waivers and commitment forms required

       •   Must meet age guidelines for the age group signed up for (as determined by ASA and AFA – current rules are based by the age as of January 1 of the current calendar year (summer season).  For fall season, the age is determined by the age as of the following January 1st (age for next summer season).

See also the Team Selection criteria.

Playing Up

All players interested in playing up must submit a request to the CYSA Board prior to registration.

Playing Time

There is no requirement that equal playing time occur. Over the course of the season, coaches will assure that each player gets an ample amount of playing time, but not necessarily at the player's or parent's desired position. As the season progresses, players will "settle into" playing positions so that the team is competitive.

At this older age group, team development and placement of the most competitive team on the field is stressed.

Once a team is selected, coaches shall treat all of the players on the team as part of the team.  
Playing time is at discretion of the head coach based on the following:

       •  The need to develop depth of talent at every position.

       •  Unexcused absences at practices, games, tournaments and team meetings.

       •   Effort of the players in practices and game situations.

       •   Commitment of the player to improve her skills.

       •   Skill level of the players on the team.

Playing time can also be limited due to one or more of the following:

       •  Disciplinary action is being taken.

       •  The player has been suspended.

       •   The player is injured or sick.

       •   Shortened games shortened due to the time limit or inclement weather.


Registration for Rivals fast pitch tryouts will be in July-early August and should be completed online at  It is the players and parents responsibility to seek out registration information – watch for announcements and/or forms through district 112 schools, posted in the local newspaper, online at, or available at the Chaska Community Center.   Please create a Sport Ngin account on the CYSA website in order to receive Rival emails and updates.
Tryouts will be held once league rules allow which is typically a week after the last Summer league National Tournament.  As a result, tryouts are typically in early August. 

Fall Season (14U Only)

The Fall league will begin in mid-August immediately after team tryouts are complete.

There will be no team events scheduled during Labor Day weekend.

The team will have two practices per week each with a duration of two hours.  Practice for 14U begins in mid-August with a goal of 12 full practices through the end of September. (Pitchers and Catchers will be expected to put in more time).

Many players will be participating in Fall High School sports and conflicts with Rivals fastpitch team events will be considered as excused absences with advance notice to the head coach.

A total of 8 League games will be played by the team.  League games will occur on Sundays beginning the 3rd weekend in August and will consist of double headers.  As such, League games will be played over 4 weekends excluding Labor Day weekend.

The team will play in the Minnesota Metro Fastpitch League (MMFL) State Tournament which typically takes place the last Sunday of September.  The location and seeding for this tournament is based upon opponents and record in League play.

The team will apply for the USSSA Nationals Fall Qualifier which is held annually the first weekend of October.  Playing in this tournament is not guaranteed, but is a great opportunity to qualify early for the 2017 14U USSSA National Tournament.

Offseason Training

The Rivals fast pitch program strongly supports multi-sports athletes and any off-season training should not detracted from a Winter sport that the player is pursuing.

Players are encouraged to join a dome ball team if they don’t play a winter sport. Will pursue a cooperative dome ball team with other local softball organizations as our expectation is that not all players will be interested due to conflicts. Players to pay their own registration fees if they choose to play.

Primarily skills based training concentrating upon fielding, throwing, hitting, and catching.  Clinics conducted by specialty coaches.

Pitchers and catchers are encouraged to work with personal coaches during the off-season

Summer Season

The Summer league will begin once the Chaska HS program is complete.  As a result, practices and are expected to commence just after Memorial Day.

Teams participate in a league and play a number of tournaments on the weekends (see Tournament section).

League games are played on 1-3 weeknights per week with the first game beginning at 6:15 PM.  They will be played at sites throughout the Metro area – usually focused in the south and west suburbs.

During league play, the team will play in three weekend tournaments with one typically being at a location outside of the metro area.

Plan for 4-5 days per week including practice, games and tournaments during the Summer season.

Post-season play includes a State Qualifying tournament. Based on the results, a team may qualify for an A, B or C-level State Tournament in mid-July. Based on the results at the State Tournament, a team could potentially extend their season into late July by qualifying for the Regional or National Tournament.

Memorial Weekend and 4th of July Weekend are generally not scheduled for tournaments unless with the agreement of the parents.  However, while not generally the rule, the State Qualifier has been known to be scheduled for the 4th of July weekend.  The  Rivals has no control over the dates scheduled for state qualifier, state, regional, or national tournaments.

Fees and Expenses

The registration fee covers the following expenses:

       •  General administration fees (newsletter postage, copying costs, storage shed rental, post office box, and so on)

       •   Team insurance

       •  Equipment expenses

       •   League fee

       •  Playing fees (game balls, field maintenance, umpire fees, tournament fees)

       •  Team jersey. (May be kept at end of season.)


Additional expenses may include:

       •  Extra tournament expenses (see "Tournament" on page 17)

       •  Travel expenses to and from games

       •  Possible overnight expenses for out of town tournaments

Scholarships are available.

Tournament Funding

The fees collected by the Association include the ASA State Tournament and any related State Qualifiers. In addition, for the summer season, each team is allocated funds for  three tournament on additional weekends. Additional tournaments may be played in at the players’ expense – if desired by the head coach and majority of player’s parents. Tournaments played outside the metro area may require overnight stay at the player’s expense. Any team which qualifies for a National tournament and elects to participate will incur additional expenses, including travel for up to a week.  Teams usually do their own fund-raising to offset the costs of a National tournament. 

Team Selection

Teams are created using the following guidelines:

       •   Selection from eligible players (see policy on Eligibility) at that age group – the number of players on each team is ideally 11-12 however this will be determined by the  Board’s discretion.  Tryouts will be conducted.

       •   Players desiring to play up if a position is available (see policy on “Playing Up”)

       •  Players from outside the eligibility area if needed to field a team.

Team selection is the ultimate decision of the Board.  A committee may be appointed to review tryout and all other available information and select teams, subject to Board approval.  This committee may include potential coaches at that age group but will always include at least one Board member without players at that age group to ensure a fair process is followed in team selection.

NOTE: Any player who cannot play in the Summer State Qualifying Tournament, State Tournament or other post-season tournaments due to a conflict with any other sport, will not be placed on a Rivals fastpitch team. If a player misses any of these tournaments due to an unexcused absence (see page 26), she cannot play on a Rivals team the following season.  The Board requires a commitment form to be signed at which point known and potential conflicts need to be disclosed.  The conflicts may or may not affect team placement depending on the needs of the team…disclosure of potential conflicts will be viewed upon more favorably by the Board than conflicts which were not disclosed.

Alternate Player

An alternate player is a player who:

       •  Is listed on the team roster.

       • May practice and travel with the team.

Alternate players will be selected as follows:

       •  The selection of alternate players must be approved by the Board to ensure the player is a in good standing, eligible to play, etc.

       •  The choice of and role of the alternate player should be discussed with Assistant coaches, parents, and players.

Tryout Participation

The desire is for two tryout sessions for each age group, however this is dependent on access to facilities and independent evaluators. Players must participate in all scheduled tryout sessions, unless an excused absence is granted by the  Rivals. An excused absence from any of the scheduled sessions must be granted prior to the start of that session. Excused absences will include illness or injury, school functions, family vacations, and games for in-season sports.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each tryout session. Players who are absent from all tryouts without being excused will not be eligible for gold teams

Makeup Tryouts

Players who miss the scheduled tryout sessions due to an excused absence, may be granted an alternate tryout session (if available) or will be placed on a team based on other available information from prior periods and  at the discretion of the board and/or player selection committee.

Player Evaluations

Players will be evaluated on the skills of pitching, catching, fielding, throwing, hitting and bunting. In addition, game situations may be created and players will be evaluated on their game sense.

Tryout and Team Selection Committees

The tryout and team selection committees will be comprised of individuals who are known by the  Rivals to possess the knowledge necessary to evaluate a player's skill at a particular level. Committee members will not be related to any of the tryout participants involved in their assigned age level. The tryouts will be facilitated by members of the  Rivals. The evaluation scores and prior playing history will be the basis used by the team selection committee to select players for a traveling team.

Tryout Philosophy

There is no perfect method of determining teams.  The  Rivals has studied the team selection process of a number of similar associations and has come up with a tryout methodology that –in the Board’s opinion – offers all players a chance to make the team of their choice and to be fairly evaluated.  The team selection attempts to find a balance between:

       •  Evaluating players based on their current skills demonstrated in an impartial tryout process, and

       •  Evaluating players on the skills and game sense shown in the prior year’s games.

Tryout Methodology

Seven players will be chosen from the tryout process exclusively:

       •   1 pitcher will be chosen

       •   1 catcher will be chosen

       •   5 position players will be chosen (not specific to position)

       •   Players designate pitcher, catcher, or position player in advance and are evaluated within only that category (pitcher, catcher or position player).  

       •   Pitchers and catchers are evaluated on general fielding and hitting skills in addition to their pitching or catching skills.

The remaining players for the team (generally 5) are selected by a committee which evaluates:

       •   Try-out scores

       •   Team needs (by position)

       •   Prior year coach’s evaluations

       •   Overall needs of all teams

       •   Potential coaches are included in the committee only if they do not have a daughter still awaiting selection at that age group

       •   The selection committee’s decisions must be approved by the Board.

Assistant Coach Application

Head coaches will be paid positions selected by the Board from a pool of local coaches with a proven track record of success at this age.  The head coach will not be a parent of a child on the team.  Parents of prospective players are welcome to express interest in being an assistant coach.  There is a place on the registration forms to indicate a willingness to serve as an assistant coach for the upcoming season.   Anyone who has not coached previously through the  Rivals and is interested in coaching a is encouraged to contact the  Rivals in advance of this to share their background with the selection committee to ensure full consideration. 
Each candidate will be evaluated by members of the Rivals and evaluated on their commitment to coaching, their experience and knowledge of the game, as well as their coaching philosophy. Please send applications to:
P.O. Box 451
Chaska, MN 55318

Assistant Coach Selection Criteria

Selection criteria may include the following items:

       •   Previous successful youth coaching experience.

       •   Ability and willingness to teach players of all skill levels.

       •   Ability to teach the key skill positions of pitcher and catcher.

       •   Attendance and active participation in coach and player clinics is a plus.

       •  If the applicant has previously coached, feedback from prior seasons.

       •  History of adherence to policies and procedures and willingness to work within the system.

       •  Current NYSCA and ASA VIP certification levels.

       •   Ability to provide positive reinforcement to players in both practices and game situations.