Baseball

Northeast Zone Baseball has worked hard over the last few years to develop a program that is fun and aimed at player development.  Our program has over 500 players and hosts over 60 teams with athletes from 4 to 18 years old.

We are a member in good standing of Baseball Alberta and Baseball Canada and in 2010, NEZ Baseball was the first association in Alberta to receive the prestigious “RBI Approved” designation by Baseball Canada.

The RBI program was introduced by Baseball Canada in 2008.  It’s mandate is to:

Ensure that local baseball associations apply core common criteria to ensure that consistent good practice is in place.

To empower parents when choosing a local baseball association for their children.

To ensure that RBI Accredited Associations are recognized through a common approach to branding.

To provide a focus around which all baseball associations in Canada can come together to support good practice in working with children and young people.

To promote and reward registration/membership within Baseball Canada, baseball’s national federation of sport, as well as within the Provincial Baseball Associations.

We feel that by being RBI approved, we can give a parent an easy choice when they are looking for a program to place their child.

Hello Baseball Parents and Players, Welcome to the 2020 season!

Preparations for the 2020 baseball programs are under way and we’re all very excited for what promises to be another successful season.  The Northeast Zone (NEZ) offers a wide variety of baseball programs that cover a wide range of skill and commitment levels for players ranging between 4 and 18 years of age. As parents or guardians of children who either played baseball last season or may be interested in playing this year, we would like to inform you of the various baseball programs that are available to your son or daughter through the NEZ and Edmonton Padres Baseball Club.  This letter is intended to provide you with a basic understanding of each program so that you can start to consider which will be the best fit for you and your child. A summary of the different programs is provided in this document and additional information is available on the NEZ Baseball website. http://nezsports.com/baseball/

AAA Edmonton Padres (13U AAA, 15U AAA, 18U AAA)

The Padres (AAA) program is the most competitive of the baseball programs offered by the NEZ, and therefore has the highest level of commitment required from players.  The teams represent the NEZ in a league that includes teams from across the province.  Rep teams are designed for players with more advanced baseball abilities and a desire to compete at a higher level, among peers and competing teams that will challenge their abilities.  In order to support the players in continued skill development and provide an understanding of higher-level competition, the AAA Padres teams receive coaching from a staff of highly experienced, NCCP-certified and technically proficient coaches. The AAA program’s coaches and players are also guided by a Technical Director who works with all AAA teams in player and coach development.

AAA Padres teams typically consist of 18-20 players for 18U and 16 players for 15U and 13U, who are selected throughout the winter High Performance Programs and winter clinics. There are also open tryouts in February/March. There is a $100.00 non-refundable fee to all players wishing to try out for any competitive or performance team (AA and AAA). In order to ensure the team is fully established in time for the beginning of the season, the tryouts are hosted indoors and commence on March 6, 2020. Please click HERE for all try out dates for all divisions.  The specific time commitments will vary depending on the coach and Baseball Alberta’s provincial schedule but in general, players and parents can anticipate:

  • 3-4 practices per week between April and end of July
  • 2-4 games per weekend between May and end of July
  • Provincials are typically in late July/early August
  • The AAA 18U team may also travel to tournaments in the province, Western Canada and the US.

AA Edmonton Padres (11U AA, 13U AA, 15U AA, 18U AA)

The Padres (AA) program is a competitive division of the baseball programs offered by the NEZ, and therefore also has a high level of commitment required from players.  The teams represent the NEZ in a league that includes teams from across the province.  Rep teams are designed for players with more advanced baseball abilities and a desire to compete at a higher level, among peers and competing teams that will challenge their abilities.  In order to support the players in continued skill development and provide an understanding of higher-level competition, the AA Padres teams receive coaching from a staff of highly experienced, NCCP-certified and technically proficient coaches.  The AA program’s coaches and players are also guided by a Technical Director who works with all AA teams in player and coach development.

The AA Padres team typically consists of 14-16 players who are selected by tryouts.  In order to ensure the team is fully established in time for the beginning of the season, the tryouts are hosted indoors and commence on March 6, 2020. Please click HERE for all try out dates for all divisions.  The specific time commitments will vary depending on the coach and Baseball Alberta’s provincial schedule but in general, players and parents can anticipate:

  • 2-3 practices per week between April and end of July
  • 2-4 games per weekend between May and end of July
  • Provincials for Tier 3, 4 and 5 are typically in late July
  • Provincials for Tier 1 and 2 are typically the first week of August
  • Provincial A Edmonton Padres (All Divisions)

“A” Edmonton Padres (11U A, 13U A)

The Padres Provincial (A) program is one level below the AA program and therefore the skill level, competition and time commitments are at a similarly slightly lower level. It is intended for skilled house league players who have a desire to play at a more competitive level after the house league season ends. Similar to the AA program, the team typically consists of 12-15 players, which are selected by tryouts and therefore the team can be considered a “selects” team, composed of the more skilled players that participated in the house league program in May-June. The tryouts commence in May and the team plays during the first 3 weeks of July. Like all NEZ rep teams, the Padres A team is supported by a coaching staff of experienced and NCCP certified coaches, who can provide a higher level of instruction and direction in competitive baseball.

The team represents the NEZ in a single-A provincial tournament that takes place the third weekend of July (location TBA); qualification games are played during the weekends leading up to the final provincial tournament during the month of July. The time commitments are generally as follows:

  • 2 practices per week during the weekdays
  • 2-3 games per weekend
  • Provincial tournament (3rd or 4th week of July)

House League (All Divisions)

The house league program is designed for players of all skill sets and athletic abilities; all are welcome to play and there are no tryouts. The house league program is intended to provide all players with a fun and fully inclusive playing environment with a focus on skill development, sportsmanship and recreation.  Players in this league have skill and experience levels that range from introductory (i.e. never played on a baseball team before) to rep team calibre.

NEZ BlastBall teams play their games in Borden Park.  Rally Cap & 9U Sr. Rookie house league teams play their games in north Edmonton (from St. Albert Trail to the east City Limits).   11U and 13U teams play in a league with Fort Saskatchewan and Gibbons.  15U and 18U play in the ERRBL league with teams from greater Edmonton. The season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of June. The majority of games for our 11U and 13U players will take place within communities in the NEZ and a few will be either in Fort Saskatchewan or Gibbons. 15U and 18U teams will travel in Edmonton and surrounding area. Coaches are typically parent volunteers and therefore have a wide range of experience; however, NEZ strives to ensure that all coaches are NCCP certified. All coaches, regardless of level, are also required to complete in the Respect in Sport training program.

Time commitment varies depending on coach/parent preference but generally is as follows:

  • One practice per week
  • 2 games per week (weekdays)

Fall Ball

The fall baseball program is a strictly developmental program intended to provide 11U, 13U and 15U players an opportunity to further develop their baseball skills after the spring and summer programs have completed. The fall league is similar to the house league in terms of time commitment and the range of skill sets and there are no tryouts.

The fall ball team plays in a league with other communities in close proximity to Edmonton (i.e. Sherwood Park, Stony Plain, etc.). The league runs for 4 weeks during September and October. Time commitment is typically two practices per week and 2 games (one double-header) on Saturdays.

Fall performance program – 13U, 15U AND 18U

The Fall Performance Program is meant to be developmental in nature, both from a team standpoint and individually.  Therefore, the goal is to provide a fairly equal amount of playing time for each player as we establish our program as far as intensity, tactical strategy and player technical development.  Games will provide opportunity for feedback on developmental progress as well as to base our weekly practice plans upon (team and individual development).  Players will work in their primary positions as well as have the opportunity to develop secondary positions or pitches (pitchers).

13U and 15U divisions will compete within the Baseball Alberta Fall Ball schedule, plus additional games against academy and regional teams.

The mid-October showcase tournament in Kelowna will wrap up the 18U Fall Performance Program season and will be used to provide a final exam-type opportunity for our players (not to put pressure on them but to assess our progress).  The goal again will be to provide a fairly equal amount of playing time while attempting to do as well as possible in the tournament.  We will use this tournament as a gauge for where our overall team development is as well as to collect final data for individual player development plans during the High Performance Program in the off-season.

 

High Performance Program

The High Performance Program (HPP) is an off-season development opportunity for players interested in elevating their game.  Whether that be a goal to make a AA or AAA team, showcase for regional, provincial and/or national programs, or pursue collegiate baseball and beyond, this program offers a pathway for athletic and personal development. The $100 tryout fee for Edmonton Padres AA/AAA programs will be waived for the athletes participating in the full HPP.

HPP is staged in four blocks of developmental progression over the off-season:

  • Team Strategies & Conditioning: focus on team strategies and drills (5 weeks – mid-October to mid-November)
  • Fundamentals, Group Work by Position & Conditioning: focus on individual player development by position including hitting drills and batting practice – NO THROWING (4 weeks – mid-November to mid-December)
  • Arm Strength Program, Fundamentals, Group Work by Position & Conditioning: focus on arm strength and care as well as continued individual player development by position including hitting drills and batting practice (3 weeks – January)
  • Arm Strength Program, Tryout Prep, Bullpens & Conditioning: focus on tryout preparation with arm strength and care plus pitchers’ bullpens and live batting practice (4 weeks – late-January to late-February)

HPP workouts run 2-3 times per week for baseball technical sessions and twice per week for strength and conditioning plus a Life Skills session weekly.  Facilities include Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre (field house), Home Run Sports and NAIT.  Instructional staff features coaches who are experienced and provincially trained or certified by way of NCCP through Baseball Canada.

HPP also offers elite strength and conditioning training by way of partnership with NAIT.  Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists with Master’s degrees Biomechanics lead baseball-specific, off-season training program workouts and assessments.  Our athletes benefit from the knowledge, expertise and customized training of NAIT’s varsity strength and conditioning coaches.

With a core philosophy of developing the person as well as the athlete, HPP offers Life Skills sessions on Saturdays at NAIT.  These sessions provide our athletes with a well-rounded and enlightening experience through presentations, small projects and mentorship from subject matter experts.  Topics include financial literacy, leadership, public speaking, resume writing, public speaking, athletic health and nutrition, community engagement, baseball theory, etc.  Post-secondary prep opportunities are also available through NAIT Student Recruitment and other on-campus events and initiatives.

Overall, HPP offers an academy-type program as far as hours and intensity, conducted all within NEZ Baseball through the Edmonton Padres brand.  Since this is an “after school program” players are not required to change schools to participate.  In an effort to ensure access for all athletes interested in developing to their baseball potential, this program has been priced at an extremely affordable level (especially when compared with local academies).

Summary

The table below summarizes the key information regarding the 4 different baseball programs offered by NEZ. For additional information, please refer to the NEZ baseball website or contact any of the following individuals:

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