Welcome to Richfield Girls Fastpitch Association 8U program. Many of you are new to the program and we want to provide you with some answers and resources for common questions.
If you have a question that is not answered here or on the website, please feel free to contact the President at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the difference between the fastpitch and slow-pitch programs?
Fastpitch softball is the sport played at the high school and collegiate levels. Girls who wish to play for a high school softball team should choose to play fastpitch as the game of slowpitch softball is not a high school sanctioned sport. At the 10U level and up, fastpitch closely resembles the the full game and uses fun skills such as base stealing, sliding, bunting and advancing to first base on a dropped third strike. Girls who participate in the fastpitch program tend to develop softball skills more quickly than in slowpitch and become better prepared to play at higher levels, including high school. The game is fast moving, and our girls are trained in both the physical and situational aspects of the game. It is best to learn the mechanics and fundamentals of fastpitch early as it can become more difficult to transition from slowpitch at later ages.
What are the Rules of Play?
The 8U Rules of League Play can be found on the MN Softball website - https://fastpitch.mnsoftball.com/8u. Most tournaments follow these same rules. The most distinct difference between fastpitch and slowptich at the 8U level is the pitching. We use a “Louisville Blue Flame” pitching machine (spring-loaded), which pitches at approximately 30 mph from 35 feet away.
Is it hard for the players to hit a “fast” pitch?
The pitching machine might seem intimidating the first time a player sees it. The coaches are very good at helping the girls feel comfortable about how it works and instilling confidence. Compared to a “human” pitched ball, the machine pitch has a consistent speed and placement making it easier for the girls to time and follow.
What are the Goals of the 8U program?
The ultimate goal is the development of all the players as great young sportswomen and as athletes. The focus of the 8U program is to introduce the fastpitch game with an emphasis on fun. We aim to give the girls age appropriate instruction on the fundamentals of the game, including proper mechanics of fielding, throwing and hitting as well as the basics of game “strategy” (i.e., learning to go for the lead runner and not always throwing to 1st base). Ultimately, we want to prepare the girls to enter the 10U program with a solid understanding of the basics of the game.
Winning is NOT the goal of the 8U program.
What equipment is needed?
At a minimum, every player must have a glove and a batting helmet (with a face cage and chin strip). A fielding mask is recommended but not required. Players are encouraged to wear a fielding mask when playing the infield positions of P, 1B , 2B, SS or 3B. While not a requirement, many players choose to wear cleats. The infield dirt can make a mess of tennis shoes, especially when wet, and the outfield grass can be slippery. You do not need to buy specific softball cleats for an 8U player. Many girls wear soccer cleats which can be found at any secondhand sporting goods store. We will begin to teach the players sliding skills, so wearing pants is a good idea. A pair of leggings works well at this age.
What equipment does RFA provide?
The coaches’ bag stocked by RFA includes balls, catcher equipment, and a variety of bats. Many girls prefer their own bat, but it is not a requirement. If you would like assistance in choosing a bat for your child, please talk to the coaches or equipment manager practice.
What does my child need to wear?
For practice, dress for comfort and ease of movement. For games, players need to wear the RFA issued uniform jersey and your own black softball pants or leggings.
What is the Schedule?
The teams practice once per week and play doubleheader games on Wednesday nights starting in early May 6th through the end of June. 8u State is usually the weekend after the 4th of July. Also one or two weekend tournaments in May or June, too. Typical locations for 8U games include Burnsville, Shakopee, Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie, and Bloomington.
Can I help?
Absolutely! Talk to your team’s head coach. Let the coach know you would like to help and the time commitment that you can make. Assistant coaches are needed, the head coach can't be expected to do everything. All parents who wish to assist with practices and/or games are welcome to do so at any time. Bring your glove and jump into the action.
If you would like to get involved with a committee or the RFA board, please contact the RFA President.
Where do we play our games?
The 8U program is a “traveling program” which means that our league games on Wednesday nights during the summer season and Sunday evenings in the FALL. For example, last year's team traveled Bloomington, Eagan, Minnetonka, Edina and/or Burnsville. The league does their best to ensure that teams do not have an unreasonable travel schedule.
Game schedules as well as field locations (with directions) will be uploaded to the team pages when the schedule is finalized for 8U.
Where do we practice?
We practice on the fields at Richfield Middle School - 75th and Newton. The gate is right by the parking lot.
What can I do to help my daughter become a better player?
Practice outside of practice. Just playing catch is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to help your daughter. Good throws and good catches are central to playing the game well. Talk to your daughter’s coach about what your daughter needs to work on to improve and how you can help her.