Thoughts on Tournament Formatting

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by Richard Smith, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Active Member

    I am the winter indoor tournament coordinator at the Pavilion in Mt.Vernon Ohio. I am also an assistant coach and the team treasurer for the Ohio Storm '08. I look at tournaments from all angles. I am going to start hosting a few outdoor tournaments throughout the summer and fall this year, and more will be coming in 2021. I know how to run tournaments. I know what I look for in tournaments for our team. I am also aware of budgeting team expenses. I would like to hear some opinions and thoughts on what others out there are looking for, when considering tournaments. Also thoughts on how to make tournaments a better experience for coaches, players and parents. I am not looking for criticism of other tournaments,nor tournament directors. I would just like some input, so I can make decisions on how to make my tournaments a good experience for everyone.
    Examples on thoughts:
    1 day or 2 day tournaments ?
    60 min plus 1 inning, 75 minute finish the inning, etc?
    round robin, single elim, double elim?
    Qualifier, Non-Qualifier?
    Trophies, medals?
    Pay at the plate, not pay at the plate?
    Gate fee, no gate fee?
    Stay to play (I don't care for), no stay to play?
    Concession, no concession?
    Pre-order shirts or t-shirts at the tournaments?
    Non-refundable deposits?
    (12 teams) 1,2,3,4 pools into 1 bracket, or 1,2,3,4 pools with top 8 to Gold, bottom 4 to Silver?

    I have read opinions in other threads about refund policies, so I am not looking for input on that.
  2. Dwheeler83

    Dwheeler83 Member

    Richard I like the 60 min finish the inning plus one inning format. Concession stands seem to be a positive for a lot of people. As far as medals or trophy's I like the throphies for first and second place finisher and instead of girls getting small throphies I would like to see the tournament give out t-shirts to the girls. Pre order shirts are easier for the directors but kind of a pain for coaches. With all travel ball I dislike gate fees due to the expense of the fees
    for the parents obviously it does not affect me but they spend enough. I think you do a great job with the pavilion so just keep doing what your doing!
    Richard Smith likes this.
  3. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    make tourneys better?

    1) coolers are ok to bring in
    2) no gate fee (increase team entrance fee - parents already pay enough)
    3) have vendors ( t shirt, hair ribbons bows, kettle corn, slurpie, pretzels, food truck)
    4)try to keep games longer... i hate 60 min games.
    5) get 2 umps for every game!!
    6) 2-3 day tourney (dont make teams that play friday night, have to play early the next morning)
    7) t- shirts for awards
    8) Home run balls for everyone that hits it out!
    9) depending on the total teams in tourney... dbl elim is better.... get more games just in case you have a bad game.
    11) gotta have a refund policy
    12) need to have a great field crew! nothing worse than playing on a field that hasn't been prepped in the last 5 games....
    13) if its a dust bowl.... figure out how to get water on the field to keep the dust down.
    14) if its raining.. better have a couple skids of field dry.
    15) can we all stop the 8 am games please! no games b4 9 am.
    16) MVP ribbons voted on by the other team for the younger ages was something i remember the girls liked.

    thats all i can think of from top of my head. i am sure there is more.......
    Richard Smith likes this.
  4. BA824

    BA824 Active Member

    Longer time limits!!! I coach so much differently in High School vs travel due to time limits. Decisions are rushed and a much more sense of urgency in travel. Not to mention when you get coaches playing the clock. I want 1:30 time limits. Now you have to spread games out which means tournaments have to stop being greedy and taking 150 teams. Been doing this a long time and I understand why we have time limits, I just hate them and not the way the game is meant to be played.
    RedsDad and Richard Smith like this.
  5. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Active Member

    Thanks for the input, you know me and I am constantly looking for feedback to make tournaments better, not only at the Pavilion, but as well as outside. Points well taken.
  6. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Active Member

    Thanks, very good points in your response and many things I will take into consideration and think about appreciate the info.
  7. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback. Stalling is always a problem. I have found over the last 2 years that, 75 minutes finish the inning works best. Takes out 90% of stalling, and teams get 75 to 90 minutes a game. To me, quality of the tournament and formatting is more important, than the quantity of teams. Appreciate your insight.
    RedsDad and IRdad09 like this.
  8. SoftballBomb

    SoftballBomb Member

    If a tournament could offer everything people are asking for how much would you be willing to pay to play in that tournament?
    Captain_Thunder likes this.
  9. I like finish the inning at the time limit + one inning. That could be two more full at bats for both teams and much more difficult for a team to stall.
  10. Wolfpack31

    Wolfpack31 Active Member

    I am gonna agree with what a few above have already mentioned... In the past year I have played in a few timed games - finish the inning + 1 inning and I have to say I like that format. Since its obvious time limits are not going to get any longer, I think this format is the next best thing. Even when the actual timed part was rather short, it was still nice to know that we had 1 more inning to complete regardless. It is the closest thing to a full game (which is hard to come by in travel) in my opinion, not to mention, during that final few minutes there is no stalling, no rushing, etc...

    I will also add that since pool play is considered warm up and for seeding purposes, while they are important games, they are not nearly as important as elimination games. With that said, I would like to see shorter games in pool play to allow for longer games in elimination. Pool Play = 60 min + finishing inning + 1 inning / Elimination Games 75 min + finish the inning + 1 inning.

    And PLEASE - How about a break from 8AM Games!!!!
    RedsDad likes this.
  11. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback. The one problem I can see with 75 minutes finish the inning + 1 inning is probably looking at an increase in umpire fees, because games could last for 1 hr 35 -1 hr 45. however with most older classes 14-16U, teams usually have 7 innings in in 75 minutes. Most tournaments are on a tight schedule, especially in the fall because of darkness. Certainly something to consider, I don't like 8am games either. Thanks.
  12. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Active Member

    thanks for the feedback. I have over the past 2 years, used many different time formats at my indoor tournaments. Two that seem to be popular. was 60 minutes finish the inning + 1 inning, (Older age groups) and the most popular was 75 minutes finish the inning (younger age groups). As with any time formats, there are good things and bad things.

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