How many coaches in dugout for game?

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  • Is there a little league rule that limits how many coaches (plus manager) are allowed in the dugout during a regular season game? If so, can local bylaws modify this?



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  • You are allowed a maximum of 3 adults (1 manager and up to 2 coaches) in the dugout. If there's another adult keeping score, they must be somewhere else.

    Rule 3.17 - -- Players and substitutes shall sit on their team's bench or in the dugout unless participating in the game or preparing to enter the game.

    No one except eligible players in uniform, manager and not more than two rostered coaches shall occupy the bench or dugout.

    AND Rule 1.01 - 1.01- - Little League Baseball (Softball) is a game between two teams of nine players each, under direction of a manager and not more than two (2) rostered coaches...

  • I would think the league would need a waiver/approval from Little League for more adults in the dugout, as the maximum number of adults is referenced at least twice in the rulebook.

  • As John said, maximum of 3. Can the Local Rules modify this? They can't increase the maximum above 3, but they could DECREASE it to 2 or 1.

  • Thank you

  • Mark, I'm not sure I agree with you. I know that local leagues have the option of being more or less restrictive than the rule book when it comes to certain rules. For example, a local league can have a mandatory play rule of nine defensive outs and one at bat.

    But I don't believe the adults in the dugout rule can be modified. LL's limitation is set up to balance safety with adult participation in the game. Too many adults, and you've got coaches doing things that players would normally do. Too few adults, and you've got a shortage of folks supervising the kids and keeping them from doing unsafe activities.

    To me, it's no different than, say, the number of innings to make a game official. The book requires a minimum of four (three and a half if the home team is winning). I don't think a local league has the option of changing that in either direction without a waiver from LL HQ. And I would say a local league would similarly require a waiver to say that teams are restricted to having only one adult in the dugout.

  • @Manny - The issue came up locally a couple of years ago. For some reason, one team only wanted to used 1 manager and 1 coach and somoebody called foul. The question was asked if they were allowed to do this and the answer, supposedly from Williamsport, was that so long as there was at least 1 Adult in the dugout, they were OK.

    Think about it as an umpire. How many adults are required to be in the dugout at the start of the game? The answer is at least 1 and no more than 3. During Tournament, the answer could be up to 2 depending on how many players are on the team. If a team starts with 3 adults and you eject 2, can they continue? Yes.

    The stance makes sense, although I still don't understand why a team (or league) would want to have less than the maximum allowed.

  • @ Mark...although a lot of parents enjoy the idea of helping with the child's baseball or softball team, there are times, no one wants to step in and help out.

  • E Mark: Just for clarication, the Tournament Rule limiting the number of coaches allowed based on the number of players present at the game has been abolished. All Tournament teams are now allowed to have a manager and 2 coaches.

    The new Tournament Rule "increases MPR" for teams with less than 13 players present at the game.

    13 or more, MPR = 3 and 1

    12 or less, MPR = 6 and 1

  • @John - I agree. My point was that I don't understand a league WANTING to limit the coaches to 2. I can understand HAVING to limit the number to 2 because of a lack of volunteers, but actually wanting to turn away volunteers? I don't understand that thinking at all.

  • I personally don't understand limiting the number of adults in the dugout. In my opinion, the more help the better. It takes a lot to keep the game running smoothly. It's much better than having an unorganized dugout that delays the game.

  • "It takes a lot to keep the game running smoothly"

    If only.

    I still see Little Jimmy struggling with his catcher's gear, as three 40 year olds discuss pitching strategy for the bottom of the order. (How 'bout helping Jimbo on with his gear, putting a bench guy with a mask behind the dish, and throwing strikes?)

    Three guys is more than enough IF they know what they're doing. Big "IF", though.

    We allow more coaches in the non-competitive minors, as you'll see coaches in the field on defense, and pitching. Not a problem.

  • Seriously, is LL going to have a problem if more than 3 people want to help out with TeeBall? I don't think so.

    I also have talked to Region about a mentorship of sorts. I had a high school player last year ask me to if he could help with a team. He not only plays for the high school team, but attends every practice and every game that doesn't conflict with the high school schedule. I'm not turning this kid away because I already have a manager and two adult assistants. Sorry.

    What does that say the spirit of volunteerism? "Sorry, son, I know you want to help out the LL program and I appreciate your gesture, and even though LL pushes and pushes volunteers (including umpires), I have to tell you that you can't help out because I have too many coaches already."

    Pfft.

  • Dave: exactly

  • With that said, Scott, the flip side can be just as dangerous. Too many captains can be a problem as well. I think it comes down to what level we are talking about.

  • Is it against the rules to have assistant coaches switch between innings? If you have 1 manager and 3 assistant coaches but only 2 assistants are in the dugout at a time. Just curious.

  • @Jimmy, the rules aren't really specific on this.

    If a manager or coach is ejected, I would never allow another adult to take his/her place in the dugout. Short of that, I wouldn't say anything if an adult needs to replace a manager or coach who has to leave the game site for a justifiable reason.

    Now, that doesn't mean the dugout has a revolving door. As far as I'm concerned, the three adults on the field at the start of the game are the ones who will manage/coach the game. I'm not going to allow a tag-team type of arrangement where adults switch roles from fans to coaches back and forth.

  • Is for just me or do the umpire on here act like its THEIR FIELD and we have to do what they say? If my memory serves me correctly, umpires wouldn't have a job if it weren't for the volunteers.

  • @Scott really now i am a volunteer umpire and there would not be games played without Umpires. And according to the rule book once the game starts it is there field. They are responsible for ensuring all the rules are followed, I will tell you there are some Little League rules i don't care for, but i don't have the authority to pick and choose which ones to enforce.

  • @ Dave Little League does not have a rule on the number of coaches a team can have. Only on the amount that can be in the dugout. We have plenty of teams that have more than 3 coaches, they work it out who will be in the dugout for the game. It has worked very well for us.

  • @Scott: The umpires are absolutely in charge once the pre-game meeting starts. It is their job to enforce the rules of the league and Little League. It is not a case of "they woudn't have a job without the volunteers" - the volunteers serve at the pleasure of the President and can be removed from that position at any time by the President / Board if they are found to be in violation of the rules and the umpire is there to enforce those rules.

  • Sorry...didn't mean to start an arguement... I have had the same assistant three coaches the last three years and they would normally just switch in and out inbetween innings without any issue. Sometimes they would let me have all three depending on the umpire and opposing coach... Until this year when another coach complained to the umpire and board. They told me if i did it again I would get ejected from the game. So obviously I stopped.

    They all help me equally at practice so I didn't see an issue. An one of the assistant coaches is my 70 year old retired father'n'law how just likes to be in the dugout and help the boys.

  • @Jimmy, it really is an issue, especially at higher levels when games are played more "by the book" than tee ball low Minor games. LL's intent is to have only the manager and two "rostered coaches" on the field. Those three adults are the ones named in the official roster that goes forward to Williamsport.

    Additional coaches are intended to be the ones who help out in practices, and who may substitute for a missing manager or coach for a given game (a "temporary replacement" is what LL calls him/her for tournament play).

    Rather than rotate coaches during a game, why not have the same two coaches with you for one game, and then two different coaches for the next game? This would serve the same purpose of what you were doing in the past, and would not be as visible to the opposing manager.

  • "Is for just me or do the umpire on here act like its THEIR FIELD and we have to do what they say? "

    You are correct. I'm in charge of the safety of all the participants once I recieve both lineups. Everyone has a job to do on the field, and that's Job 1 for me as an umpire.

    "If my memory serves me correctly, umpires wouldn't have a job if it weren't for the volunteers."

    Job? I get paid the same amount as the coaches, field workers, Player Agent and Team Mom. And my job is no more important than any of the aforementioned. We're all there to give the kids a good experience at the park.

  • @Scott - It IS my field once I get the lineups BY RULE. I adjudicate the rules, enforce discipline where necessary, decide when the game has to be stopped because of rain, darkness, etc., and remove players/coaches from further participation if warranted. I am responsible for safety as well and if I mess up, the league is held liable (I don't take $$ from Little Leagues).

    You may see that as arrogant, but I'm not. I'm entrusted by the League President to enforce the rules and maintain discipline and I take that job seriously.

  • I'm a President, out-of-retirement manager, and a part-time umpire. I agree with the "umpires" on here 100%. Once the game starts, it is their game to oversee. Love 'em or hate 'em, it is their way or the highway. They have a large responsibility. I was raised to respect their authority and learned to appreciate their role last year when I stepped back from coaching to umpire. It never really dawned on me how close plays and close pitches there are in a game in which no matter what you call, someone isn't going to be happy.

  • Jimmy: Your team has an "Official LL Roster" and on it is the name of your team's Manager and Two Coaches. Those are the only three people allowed in your dugout during a game.

    Now, you can have as many "Un-Official" Coaches as you want but even they have to fill out a Volunteer Application and be appointed/approved.

    What you can't do is just have parents trot out onto your practice field and help you coach.

    So, I hope "all of your coaches" have been properly appointed/approved.

  • Louis, this is exactley why we went to name badges to be worn around your neck on a lanyard. Volunteer application approved and manager wants y ou to help at practices, you have to have a badge. No exceptions. In a large league like ours, I do not know everybody so when I walk to the tball field and they have a badge on, i know they are approved. Parents also love this. It keeps the parents from trotting onto the practice field wanting to help out also. Very cheap cost also.

  • OMG! Badges on lanyards on the tee ball field?! Isn't that more dangerous than those Livestrong bracl....

    Ohh, never mind. Don't want to open THAT can of worms again...

  • Ok, I see it has been 21 months since anyone said anything in this discussion string, but I just found it now and I do have a new question:

    I understand for a game a team can have one manager and two "rostered" coaches on the field. Now is there any limit to have rostered coaches a team can have? In other words, can a team have 1 manager and 3 rostered coaches, and just select for each game which of those rostered coaches are on the field? I would think Little League would be flexible, as there are times where a coach may be away for a business trip or something so it would be good to pull another rostered coach onto the field. But I don't see any specification for the number of rostered coaches, whether looking the the LL playing rules (the green book) or LL's operating manual.

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