Germantown Jaguars FAQs
What is the Germantown Jaguars baseball/fast pitch (softball) club?
The Germantown Jaguars is a not-for-profit organization that has one simple goal—to provide more kids in Germantown an opportunity to improve their skills and play more baseball and softball.
The Germantown Jaguars Select Club was formed in 2004. The club was originally created to give kids a chance to play as a team throughout the summer in both league and tournament games. The Jaguars club is considered one of the feeder programs to the Germantown High School baseball and softball programs.
In what league do the teams (that play in a league) play?
In 2014, its eleventh year, the Jaguars fielded six teams that played both in the Wisconsin State Youth Baseball League (also known as WSYBL or “the state league”) and in tournaments. We like the WSYBL because it is the only grade-based league in the area that is based on school districts. It is the perfect league for teams that are a part of a feeder program for the high school. Other leagues are age-based rather than grade-based, and have no school district restrictions. Typically, they end up being mostly all-star teams.
The Germantown teams play school district-based teams from southeastern Wisconsin. Many of these teams are local such as Menomonee Falls, Sussex, and Hartford, although somea bit farther away like Sheboygan, Port Washington, Waterford, and Muskego. In the WSYBL, the youngest teams play 16 games. Most teams play 18-20 games. For more information: www.wsybl.com.
For the 2015 season, the Jaguars are excited to have developed a new partnership with Germantown Little League (GTLL). With this partnership, kids participating in GTLL can join a Jaguars team that will play in tournaments only (not WSYBL). This will give more kids the opportunity to experience tournament style ball without the commitment levels of participating in WSYBL. We will likely field five teams that play in both the state league and in tournaments. In addition, the Jaguars will have another five to seven teams that will play in both GTLL and in tournaments.
How many tournaments do Jaguars teams play?
We are encouraging the younger Jaguars teams to play in 3-4 tournaments and the older Jaguars teams to play in 4-5 tournaments. We also encourage Jaguars teams to enter tournaments that are run as fund raisers for other youth baseball programs (rather than tournaments run by for-profit organizations) that are relatively close to Germantown. Lastly, we recommend that each team try to play one tournament in the Wisconsin Dells, as it is always a great bonding experience for the families and the kids.
Where and how often do we have practices?
Most indoor practices will be at Impact Sports in Menomonee Falls. We give our coaches great latitude as to the number and frequency of practices. Some teams might have a few practices in November or December while others might not start practices until February. Much of it depends on the makeup of the team and how many kids on the team are playing other sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball or hockey.
Where do we play games?
The teams that play in the state league play most of their home games at Jaguars Field in Friedenfeld Park. These teams will also have most of their outdoor practices at Jaguars Field. The teams that are GTLL/Tournament teams will likely have most of their outdoor practices on GTLL fields.
How can my son or daughter get development outside of practices?
We are lucky to have Impact Sports and Badger Baseball right in our back yard. Paul Wagner, Parrish Wagner, Larry Hisle Jr., and Tim Olszewski and the staff at Impact Sports (http://www.impactsportswi.com/) are great.
Many of our players have also had good success with Josh Stoffel and the guys at Badger Baseball (http://badgerbaseballacademy.com/). Josh is excellent with kids and has provided leadership to several Germantown kids who have gone on to play collegiate baseball.
The Jaguars club encourages pitchers and catchers to consider individual lessons.
How does the Jaguars program compare to the Germantown Diamond Club program?
Diamond Club (DC) is a youth baseball program that has had good success at almost all grade levels for many years. It is the most prominent youth baseball club in Germantown. DC has traditionally been larger and more structured than the Jaguars.
DC typically has one or two reasonably strong teams at each grade level rather than having four or five teams at each grade level. This is a pretty typical approach for youth baseball clubs.
The Jaguars club recognizes that there are always some ‘bubble’ kids that don’t make a DC team who may be solid high school players if given the right development. We know that sometimes there is enough talent for three or four teams at a grade where DC only has two teams. As long as there is enough interest, we want to give more kids a chance to get year round development and to play more ball.
The Jaguars club is a strong, local alternative to DC that has always operated in a flexible way which allows coaches and teams to make their own choices (schedules, uniforms, etc.). We might encourage certain things, like kids playing GTLL, but to a large degree we let coaches run their teams as they see fit.
Right now all DC teams play in the Wisconsin State Youth Baseball League (WSYBL) and in tournaments. The Jaguars club has elected to give coaches the option to not play in the WSYBL. In fact, we encourage the younger teams to not play in the WSYBL so that the younger kids (and the families of the younger kids) meet more Germantown people and get more practice time and less driving time.
The WSYBL commitment might be appropriate for some families with kids in second or third grade, but it is not for all families or all kids. This makes the Jaguars a great alternative to DC for families who want to play within Germantown more or for multi-sport families with tight schedules.
Why do we have two youth baseball clubs in Germantown?
We have two programs that act as feeders to the Germantown high school baseball program, each with slightly different approaches and philosophies. Although there would be some advantages to having just one youth baseball program in Germantown, below we’ve listed just a few of the benefits of having two good programs.
The existence of two youth baseball programs reduces perceived cut ‘mistakes’ that are due to evaluator error. Every year a few parents feel like maybe their son or daughter was unfairly or mistakenly cut—when they are sure their child is better than some of the players that made the cut. It is tough judging kids who are so often very close in ability, especially kids with very different strengths and weaknesses. The good news is that the kids that come to tryouts for both clubs are judged by two completely independent sets of evaluators, each with different ratings systems and different blind spots. Mistakes can still be made, but they are made less often with two different sets of evaluators.
The existence of two youth baseball programs reduces cut frustration due to relationship bias. Every year a few parents feel like maybe their son or daughter was unjustly cut because they didn’t know the evaluators at all. As friendships form over the years, cuts for older teams especially can become as much about friendships as they are about ability or potential. It is important for families and kids on a team to get along. It makes the experience much more enjoyable for all involved. It helps to have two organizations, often with very different families involved, to somewhat mitigate this type of bias. More teams also likely mean more shifting around from year to year. The more shifting around and turnover that occurs between teams, the better chance a ‘new’ kid has of making an already established team.
The existence of two youth baseball programs gives more ‘bubble’ kids (who might have been cut and quit baseball prematurely otherwise) a chance to grow and develop and eventually make the high school team. We are excited about that. Kids grow and mature at different rates. We have seen some kids make great strides from where they were in third and fourth grade to where they were in seventh and eighth grade.
The existence of two youth baseball programs lets families make the choice that is right for their family. Currently all Diamond Club teams play in the WSYBL. That may or may not always be the case, but today that is a fact. The Jaguar’s partnership with Germantown Little League gives families an option. Based on the feedback we have received since the partnership was announced, there are many families who are very excited about this choice.
Are the Jaguars and DC bitter rivals?
The Jaguars and the DC are both not-for-profit youth baseball and softball clubs. They both have good intentions. They are not trying to maximize shareholder value for their investors; they are trying to support Germantown youths. Both organizations are imperfect, but we should not be bitter competitors. We should be complementary and should always wish nothing but the best for the other organization.
Occasionally you might hear someone from one organization say something bad about the other organization. If you hear that, please tell that person that kind of negativity doesn’t hurt the parents—but it does hurt the kids. It also says more about the person who made the negative comment than it says about the disparaged organization. I would hate to have a second or third grader who is really excited about making a Diamond Club team or a Jaguars team overhear and adult making a negative comment about their club.
These kids, after all, sit side-by-side with each other in classrooms and on the bus. They socialize with each other. Some families have kids in both the Jaguars and Diamond Club. Lastly, some of these kids from the different program may play together in high school. They should always be fully supported regardless of club affiliation.
Does the Jaguars club have it all figured out?
Absolutely not. This partnership with Germantown Little League is new. We are still learning how to structurend organize it. We feel really good about the fact that we know our intentions are pure. We think this partnership is good for the community.
Representatives from the Jaguars, GTLL, and DC will soon be meeting with Germantown varsity baseball coach Jeff Wolf to form an advisory committee/partnership that will benefit both the feeder programs and the high school program.
We appreciate your patience.
We are excited about the future of youth baseball in Germantown.