FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Welcome to the “Hive”. You are now an official member of the Swarm community and we couldn’t be happier! This page will help answer some of your general questions and provide valuable information about our program. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
WHAT IS THE SWARM BASEBALL MISSION?
To teach our players to love the game and inspire them to work hard to achieve success.
HOW LONG HAS SWARM BASEBALL BEEN AROUND?
Swarm was established in 2013 and was originally known as the Scottsdale Swarm.
WHERE DO KIDS COME FROM THAT PLAY SWARM?
All over the valley, but mostly in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
WHAT AGE GROUPS ARE PLAYING IN SWARM AND WHAT LEVELS?
Kids from all levels are playing Swarm Baseball and the ages range from 8U to 18U.
HOW LONG IS THE TYPICAL SEASON?
Swarm youth teams play baseball from September thru June and Swarm High School athletes play June through December. We typically take a one month break sometime over the holidays to rest the arms and let the boys miss playing.
IS SWARM A ‘BASEBALL ONLY’ TYPE PROGRAM?
No. We love multi-sport athletes and think it is very important to take a break from the game, so you can’t wait to play again. Playing multi sports makes you a well-rounded athlete and develops other important skills.
I HEARD CLUB BALL CAN BE COST A LOT. IS SWARM EXPENSIVE?
There are fees to play, but we are on the low side compared to other clubs in the valley. The value is tremendous for everything our players get. Fees and dues will be finalized once all of the rosters are set.
WHO MANAGES SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE SWARM WEB SITE?
Swarm Baseball is very social and parents, players and professionals all push our content.
CAN I MAKE PAYMENTS ONLINE?
Yes. You can pay dues, buy swag and make donations directly through our web site.
IS THERE AN ONLINE STORE?
Yes. We are sponsored by Wilson and the Wilson Swarm Fan Gear store has a vast selection of seasonal items perfect for any game or event.
IS SWARM A 501C3 CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION AND CAN I WRITE OFF ANY DUES?
Yes and no. We are a charitable organization but unfortunately, you can’t write off any fees ordues. Corporate and individual donations are always welcome and can be processed right through our web site.
HOW MANY TEAMS WILL SWARM BASEBALL HAVE IN THE FALL?
The number fluctuates, but we have approximately twenty five Swarm teams including Red Elite showcase teams, spring redshirt teams, and summer teams. Swarm teams represent all levels of players and range on age from 7U through 18U.
WILL KIDS GET A CHANCE TO PLAY ON OTHER SWARM TEAMS?
Yes. If there is a need and the coach feels they are prepared, we absolutely will have players fill in as often as possible. That is one of the benefits of having multiple teams and lots of resources. There are age and class restrictions, but we can work around all of that. Fill-in players always sit first and bat last in the first game of a tournament and are then inserted into the line-up where the coach deems most effective. Remember, even though they are not a permanent member of the team, they have still made a significant commitment to play.
HOW DOES MY TEAM COMMUNICATE WITH ITS PARENTS/FAMILIES?
TeamSnap, email, texts, and player group chats. Every team will use TeamSnap and that will be the exclusive tool to keep parents aware of practices, games and events. Parents will use that to communicate participation with the coaches as well. Your coach will send you an invitation to join once he sets it up and you must create an account as soon as you receive the invitation. Email, text, and group chats may also be used by the coach and his staff.
HOW CAN I/MY FAMILY WATCH THE GAME IF WE CAN’T BE THERE IN PERSON?
TeamManager livestream. Every team is required to have a GC coach that keeps stats for every game and possibly sets up a live stream. Family members can even request access to GC so they can watch the action from wherever they are. Your coach will get all requests and can process them as he sees fit.
HOW MANY COACHES WILL MY SONS TEAM HAVE?
Every team will have two to four coaches; a head coach, an assistant coach, a bench coach and a GameChanger operator. They will manage the day to day operations of the team and organize all team related events. They will also be responsible for collecting dues, securing all tournaments, and making travel arrangements. In addition to the regular coaches, our team of skills coaches will work with all of the boys during batting, bullpens, fielding and side sessions.
DO THE COACHES GET PAID?
Our advisory coaches and most managers receive compensation. Several managers and all staff are volunteers and do not. They all want to give back to the game that has given them so much.
ARE THE COACHES CERTIFIED?
All of our team managers and coaches must be concussion certified, CPR certified and have a background check run on them before they are permitted to participate in Swarm Baseball.
WHAT IF I HAVE CONCERNS WITH THE TEAM – WHO SHOULD I SPEAK WITH?
Like most situations, start with the person you have concerns with and proceed from there. If you are not satisfied with a coach’s response, you can take your concerns up the ladder until you reach a resolution. If there is something egregious or extreme, you can go directly to the head coach of your team or even to me. We will deal with all issues in a swift and direct manner.
WILL MY SON PLAY MULTIPLE POSITIONS?
Yes. Swarm players will be the most prepared, hardest working and highest baseball IQ players on the field. They cannot achieve that unless they are competent at playing multiple positions. Typically, every player has a primary and a secondary position and a third they will play on a rare occasion. We will encourage ALL of our players to learn how to pitch and have a basic understanding of every position on the field. When they go to their HS tryouts and the coach asks where they play, they will respond with, “wherever you need me Coach!”
WHAT IF MY SON PLAYS ANOTHER SPORT IN THE FALL AND CAN’T MAKE ALL OF THE PRACTICES?
In the fall, we are very flexible and understanding of other athletic commitments. Make what you can make, but be very open with you coach so he can make arrangements for practice and games. Once those sports are over, we expect your total commitment to Swarm.
ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES FOR MISSING GAMES, PRACTICES AND EVENTS?
The simple answer is yes, but the commitment level is different depending on the competition level of your team. Attendance is mandatory in spring, but until that time, please attend everything you possibly can and understand, your sons presence, albeit limited, is very important to the chemistry of the team. Until your son is in full attendance, his playing time, defensive positions and spot in the batting order will be a little more fluid. Once spring ball starts, full attendance is mandatory. Players who miss practices, games or events without a valid reason will sit more and play less. If you play on a Majors or Showcase level team, attendance is mandatory regardless of the season or time of year. You must make that commitment to be on that roster.
HOW IS SWARM CREATING A UNIQUE TRAVEL BASEBALL COMMUNITY?
There is more to a young person’s life than baseball even if they don’t know it yet! We have agreat opportunity to use this game to teach leadership, accountability, commitment, sportsmanship, empathy, inclusiveness, and hard work through this community of travel ball. With our Big Buddy Program, our Player Rep Program, our Charitable Leadership Program and the many team wide social events we have planned, there will be no shortage of opportunities to hang out, make new friends and create lifelong memories for all.
WHEN DOES EVERYTHING START?
The beauty of this program is that every team operates a little differently based on the team wants and needs. Typically, we start playing ball in early fall and end in early summer, but we will leave it up to the individual coaches to speak with their players and families and come up with a schedule that is best for them.
CAN MY SON GET SERVICE HOURS IF HE VOLUNTEERS TO HELP AT CAMPS AND CLINICS?
Yes! We are a 501C3 and if he’s age eligible and helps out, we’ll get him hours!
WHAT ARE THE COMMON THREADS AMONG ALL OF THE DIFFERENT TEAMS?
We started this program, so we could share resources and best develop talent. Every team will wear the same uniforms, study the same signs, learn the same defensive plays, practice the same methods and take the same exams. All of the coaches will speak the same language and share the same philosophy. Having players be interchangeable is a key component to the success of this program. A 10U AAA player will have no problem playing on a 10U Majors team and a 13U Majors player will have no problem playing on a 14U AAA team. They will just need their equipment and to be told by the coach where he’s playing.
ARE THERE TEAM RULES?
Yes. And we take them very seriously. They are as follows for all ages:
- Have fun!
- Make no excuses, find a way and do whatever it takes!
- Swarm time is 5 minutes early!
- Never walk on or off of the field!
- If you are disruptive to the team in any way, you will be asked to sit immediately
- Crying, arguing, showing disrespect to coaches, teammates, opponents or umpires, not hustling or trying your hardest or throwing temper tantrums are all considered selfish, disruptive behavior and will be dealt with immediately.
- Be a great teammate and always speak positively!
- Always hustle and never be afraid to make mistakes!
- Listen to your coaches and know your job on every play!
- Play for each other and Always respect the game!
WILL OUR TEAM TRAVEL OUT OF STATE FOR ANY TOURNAMENTS?
That’s entirely up to you and your coach. If your team is up for traveling, then go for it. There are many great tournaments in neighboring states and a good road trip can do wonders for building team chemistry. We will make a list of suggestions to the coach and he can bring it to the group for discussion.
ARE ALL OF THE KIDS GETTING THE SAME UNIFORMS?
Yes. We will provide game jerseys, practice jerseys, game and practice hats. We do not provide bags, helmets, pants, belt, socks, cleats or equipment. Hoodies, practice shorts, undershirts, custom gear, winter beanies and much more are available on the Swarm Wilson Team Shop!
DOES THE TEAM GET ANY DISCOUNTS AT LOCAL SPORTS STORES?
Yes. We can verify the quality of all items purchased through Wilson and guarantee it will satisfy our uniform specifications. The return and replacement policy is also much easier.
ARE THERE ANY EXPECTATIONS IN REGARDS TO PARENTAL CONDUCT?
Yes. Coaches steer the ship, but parents play a major rule in making sure things run smoothly. With that in mind, please be aware of the following guidelines regarding parental conduct:
- Be inclusive and please do not form cliques. As the boys say before every game, One Team, One Swarm and that goes for the families as well
- Please speak directly with your coach, not the other parents, if you have any questions or concerns about how the team is run.
- Please do not critique or make comments about players other than your own.
- Please let the coaches coach and the parents cheer. Do not coach your kids from the sidelines. As much as you think it helps, it is only stressing him out.
- Please do not verbally spar with or be disrespectful to other parents, coaches, players, or umpires even though they might wrong or out of line – walk away and rise above. Let your coach handle and diffuse the situation.
- Please do not come in the dugout or assist your child in any way – he’s a big boy now.
- Please remember that playing time and positions are earned and coaches know what’s best for the team– if you’re concerned about your sons playing time or development, speak directly with your head coach about it and not other parents or your son.
- Please be positive and create a warm environment by embracing all of the other families, regardless of differences.
- Please enjoy yourselves and remember this is only a game.
WHERE WILL WE PLAY OUR GAMES?
Most teams will only play tournaments, but some will also play in leagues. AZ Playball is the PONY house league we usually start our fall season with and those games are played at La Casa, Scottsdale Ranch Park and Copper Ridge Elementary. It is a great way to knock off the summer rust and get kids in different positions without any pressure. Once that ends, we typically do only tournaments for the remainder of the year which includes USSSA, Triple Crown, Baseball Showcase, Five Tool, NCS, PBR, USA, Az Fall Classic and Perfect Game and those tournament games are located around the valley.
WHERE WILL WE BE PRACTICING?
It depends on your team, but there will be multiple locations Swarm will be practicing this year. All of our teams will hit at our private indoor facility called The Hive and most of our teams will hold field practices at either Sereno Park, Desert Horizon Park, Paradise Valley Park or Roadrunner. Conditioning and bullpens will be both indoors and out and all of these locations will be established before the fall season begins.
DOES THE PROGRAM HAVE GOOD BASEBALL CONNECTIONS THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY AND WILL THERE BE ADDITIONAL OR OTHER PLAYING OPTIONS FOR SELECT KIDS?
Yes. We have multiple relationships established throughout the youth baseball community that will allow us to showcase select kids and participate in invite only tournaments and events.Whether it’s USA Baseball or college recruiters, we are always only a phone call away.
WHAT WEB SITES DO I NEED TO KNOW SO I CAN FIND QUICK INFORMATION ON MY OWN?
IS MY 12U TEAM GOING TO COOPERSTOWN WHEN THEY’RE ELIGIBLE?
That is up to you and your coach, but I am eternally grateful for the experience. We are fortunate to have multiple certificates passed down from team to team that guarantees us multiple spots in this very exclusive event. Quite honestly, it is the greatest 12U tournament on the planet, but unless everyone wants to cut a check, it takes a lot of fundraising to make it happen. Garage sales, poker tournaments, coupon books, corporate and individual donations, car washes, grants and whatever else you can think of to raise money has to occur. So, who’s ready to volunteer?
HOW IMPORTANT IS ARM CARE?
Critical. Regardless of your son’s age, we put a tremendous emphasis on strength and conditioning. That will include overall fitness and core strength as well as the use of “J” or arm bands. If you do not have arm bands, please grab a pair and plan on using them at the beginning of every practice and every game.
WHEN WILL MY SON RECEIVE MATERIAL SO HE CAN START PREPARING FOR THE SEASON?
All of you will be emailed a Team Packet with Swarm specific baseball related items. It is mandatory that all of the players read, understand and begin to study all of the concepts in the packet. There will be team exam given at the beginning, middle and end of the season to make sure all of the boys understand and can execute the Swarm way of playing baseball.
ARE THERE SCHOLORSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR KIDS WHO CAN’T AFFORD THE DUES?
Yes. Money should never be the reason a hard-working and dedicated kid doesn’t play baseball. There are a limited number of scholarships available through our foundation for hard working and dedicated players that meet the requirements. Just fill out the Swarm Financial Assistance form and we’ll go from there.
WHAT’S WITH THE BATTING HELMET STICKERS?
Kids get stickers for achieving performance based goals during tournament games. The coach establishes the bar and the kids try and reach it. Doubles, triples, home runs, stolen bases, and strike outs are typical ways a player can get a sticker. The coach adds up stickers at the end of the year and if they hit their goal, they get a team gift.
CAN PARENTS VOLUNTEER TO HELP MY TEAM?
Of course! Coaches always love when parents help. One of the first things Mom’s can do is volunteer to help the coach with setting up the snack schedule, running the music between innings, programming the walk up songs, and organizing social events. Dads can always volunteer to help with practice or any other thing the coach may need. Make sure you let the coach know right away that you’re willing to help and I guarantee he will put you to work!
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE SWARM BIG BUDDY PROGRAM?
As part of our ongoing commitment to the overall development of our athletes, Swarm Baseball is creating a Big Buddy Program where we will assign an older player to mentor and teach a younger player in our program. Typically they will play the same position and be at least two to three years apart in age. Not only will he mentor him for on the field, but he will also make sure he’s making good decisions in other aspects of the program including sportsmanship, leadership, effort, emotional maturity and goal setting.
WHAT’S WITH THE ‘RED ELITE’ PRACTICE SHIRT?
A player in each age group will be given the Red Elite shirt as a reward for the best effort in his age groups weekly practices. The coaching staff chooses a player based on hustle, attitude and leadership. He keeps it for a week and wears it to all of the practices. It’s a pretty big deal.
CAN MY SON PLAY EVEN IF HIS GRADES AREN’T GOOD?
Academics are extremely important to us. We will highlight our top grade getters by listing them prominently on our web site under Academic All Arizonans. Those with poor grades will be dealt with on an individual basis in a supportive way . Our goal is to improve performance, not run away from the challenge.
I’M A BIT OVERWHELMED! THIS SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF INFORMATION?
It is, but we have a lot of time to work through everything. The one thing I require for all of our coaches and players is to be prepared. By putting all of this information out there now, it gives us plenty of time to work out the kinks before it really matters. Also, there will be constant reminders posted on-line and social media and your coaches will be very involved with getting you necessary and important information.