San Dieguito Youth Softball (SDYS) has brought America’s favorite pastime to young girls in Encinitas and surrounding areas for nearly three decades, but its players learn much more than just the rules of the game. SDYS focuses on helping girls develop valuable life skills like overcoming challenges in the face of adversity, being part of a team, and growing into strong, confident individuals. Read along as we chat with SDYS President Steve Indian about how the league cultivates a positive and supportive environment for its players in the spirit of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and personal growth.
Q&A with San Dieguito Youth Softball President Steve Indian
What is the history behind San Dieguito Youth Softball?
San Dieguito Youth Softball started as a Bobby Sox organization by a group of parents who wanted to get their daughters involved in softball instead of baseball. In the early 2000s, the league transitioned over to ASA Softball. SDYS was founded in the mid-1980s.
What is the overall mission of SDYS?
The mission of San Dieguito Youth Softball is to provide the girls of Encinitas and the surrounding areas with the highest quality youth softball experience. The league focuses not only on teaching the fundamentals of the game and increasing the skill level of all participants but also creating a positive and enjoyable environment for the girls and their families. We strive to give the girls the toolkit and guidance to improve as softball players.
What programs does SDYS offer?
We are a recreational league. The league starts off with a developmental Fall Ball season, progresses to a slightly more competitive spring season, and concludes with a selected, competitive team for All-Stars. Throughout all seasons, free skills clinics are provided to players and coaches.
At-A-Glance | San Dieguito Youth Softball
President: Steve Indian
Publicity Commissioner: Lisa Kanetake
Facebook: San Dieguito Youth Softball
Communities Served: Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, Olivenhain, South Carlsbad/La Costa
What divisions are offered by the league?
SDYS welcomes girls of all levels and experience for the fall and spring season, from 4 to 14 years of age. We offer t-ball for four to six years of age, t-ball for eight and under, as well as 10U, 12U, and 14U divisions. The guidelines change from t-ball to 8U to 10U to make the game appropriately accessible to the players given their age. For example, not until 10U is home plate live, meaning girls can steal home.
How many players typically participate in the league during a given season?
During our spring season, we attract approximately 225 players across all divisions.
Which communities does SDYS primarily serve?
Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, Olivenhain, and South Carlsbad/La Costa. Primarily, the games take place at Cardiff Sports Park located on Lake Dr. Other fields include Encinitas Community Park and Stagecoach in La Costa.
When is the spring season and when can families register?
Spring season registration is open now! Register or find more information at www.sdyssoftball.com. Opening Day will be in February 2017, and the season will conclude with a tournament in early May.
How can softball benefit a young player’s life?
On one level, softball is exercise and it’s learning how to throw, field, and hit properly; young players begin to understand how to play one of America’s pastimes. As the girls grow up, they learn that when they practice hard, they improve. Players evolve from barely making a throw to first base to catching a pop fly and getting the double play. They learn that they can hit a home run at one at-bat and strike out on the next – but either way, they learn to never give up. They learn that there is some individual performance in softball but that being part of a team is winning in and of itself. Players learn how to slide, get dirty, get up, and dust themselves off – literally and figuratively. In other words, softball is a way to learn life skills such as how to win gracefully and face adversity, and these are ethics that players will use on and off the field. SDYS strives to build confident, independent young ladies.
Tell us about your coaching staff. How do they lead and inspire each player?
All the coaches attend training provided by the Southern California ASA/USA Softball (the national governing body of our league) as well as several clinics that are provided locally. One of our board roles is held by John Clay as Coaches Commissioner. This role’s purpose is to ensure that all coaches have training, resources, and reflect the philosophy to develop the skills of our players and reinforce good sportsmanship.
What key elements does SDYS focus on to help girls grow as players and teammates?
SDYS promotes fundamentals – proper throwing technique (five step) and breaking down hitting. As girls mature in their playing, we focus on situationals so that they know where to throw and when. Each coach is provided an outline which she or he is expected to use as a guideline for skills to achieve by season’s end, depending upon the girls’ readiness. Many coaches use themes, for example “awareness” or “never quit” or “confidence,” for particular practices or weeks; this helps the girls focus on an ethic that we hope to instill towards sportsmanship.
“We’ve had the opportunity to meet families from all over North Coastal County and see these girls not only improve as ball players but also become young adults. Playing with each other or against, we root for each other’s daughters to achieve their personal bests. Every practice, every game, each young lady has the opportunity to overcome a hurdle or be a hero, and seeing that happen is the best feeling.” – Lisa Kanetake, Publicity Commissioner
How has SDYS evolved over the years?
The league reflects the families and players that we have in the league. There are years where the recreational piece carries more or less weight than the competitiveness. The board strives to balance the two and accommodate the population we have in the league; from Fall Ball to Spring Ball to All-Stars, there are seasons that offer increasing levels of competitiveness.
What are players most often excited for each season?
The camaraderie with other players. And the snack bar!
What kinds of accomplishments has SDYS made in recent seasons?
In 2015, our 8U All-Star team qualified for the State Championships. This past summer, the 8U, 10U, and 14U All-Star teams all qualified for the State Championships.
Through Softball, Girls Can Gain:
• Friends throughout Encinitas
• Knowledge of how to work in a team setting
• Appreciation for an American pastime
What are long-term and short-term goals for SDYS?
We strive to grow the league to 250 players, continue to increase the skillset of our coaches and players, and provide a collaborative environment for families and girls.
How can parents learn more about signing up for SDYS?
See our website at www.sdyssoftball.com.
How much does it cost to sign up for a season? What does that fee cover?
Spring Ball registration for 8U-14U is $165 for the season (February to May). There is one practice and two games with occasional double-headers. Registration includes the jersey, pants, and socks uniform, and attendance to as many clinics as the player would like. T-ball registration is $50 and includes the jersey; there is one combined practice game on Sundays.
How does SDYS accommodate families with low incomes or tight schedules?
Scholarships are available. In this case, we ask for additional time for snack bar shifts or volunteering for other responsibilities for the league. T-ball players can use tennis shoes, and bats are provided. For 8U, many times bats, gloves, cleats, equipment bags, etc. are donated by older players. Should you have interest in a scholarship, email Dennis Bilski at email@example.com.
As for tight schedules, all the families work together to either carpool or have their daughter workout with another team while she finishes up a conflicting class. The league is very collaborative, and if a girl wants to play, we’ll find a way.
How can someone go about sponsoring a team?
We depend upon our sponsors in order to keep our registration fees low. Sponsors’ logos and information are promoted through a banner that we hang at our home fields, and on our website. We promote these important partners in various ways – dependent upon the season – through collateral material, at opening ceremonies, on practice tees, and on the back of a team’s jerseys. Contact Jill Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those interested in volunteering, how can they get involved?
Volunteerism is critical for our league to thrive and to keep our registration fees low. We also feel this “getting involved” ethic sets a good example for the girls. Contact email@example.com for more information.
What are some positive things players gain by joining SDYS?
• Friends throughout Encinitas that they will see in middle school and high school
• Confidence in themselves
• Knowledge of how to work with other girls in a team setting
• An appreciation for this American pastime
Is there anything else you would like 92024 Magazine readers to know?
SDYS is a great environment for young girls to come together, experience what being on a team is, and how to be a team player. The skills that the girls learn while participating at SDYS are valuable for them and have an impact on their daily lives.