2023-2024 Competitive Softball Season
The registration period for the 2023-24 competitive softball season is underway.
Register for tryouts.
For the 2022-23 season we will be fielding teams in the following age divisions:
8U | DOB on or after 1/1/2015
10U | DOB between 1/1/2013 – 12/31/2014
12U | DOB between 1/1/2011 – 12/31/2012
14U | DOB between 1/1/2009 – 12/31/2010
If we have enough players, we will field multiple teams for an age division.
In addition to our traditional higher commitment Competitive offering, we have added a lower commitment Competitive - Select option at 8U and 10U. You can find out more information below.
Tryout Dates: June 27th or June 29th
Times: Pitcher and Catchers begin at 5:30. General tryouts being at 6 PM
Tryout Fee: $25.00
Location: UGRA Sports Complex
Pitchers and Catchers can tryout one of the days and do their general tryout on the other.
UGRA offers a competitive team environment for those looking to challenge themselves a little more. Similar to our rec league, the goal for this level of play is to learn the game, make new friends and have fun. The difference is the degree of commitment and time invested for each of these goals. With this commitment, comes an accelerated learning curve and significantly rapid improvement opportunity. As girls get older, the levels of competition may intensify, but as an organization we never lose sight of our original goals.
The competitive season runs from August to July each year and is broken out by age divisions rather than grade level. Our core offering is 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U teams for girls to participate*. Typically, a girl will play two seasons at each level, depending on when they begin. The upcoming 8U season will be for any girls born in the year 2014 or later. In other words, you are eligible to play at an age level through the year you turn that age.
It can be a relatively small step up the competitive ladder -- or it can be a difficult and expensive leap. UGRA teams are on the lower end of the cost spectrum and typically play in local tournaments within the Des Moines Metro.
*We are able to offer 16U provided there is enough interest. Please contact us if you are interested in fielding a team and the board will take it into consideration.
Competitive - Elite vs. Competitive - Select
This is our traditional program offering that we have had in place for several years, just with the word elite added to distinguish the two. This is the higher level of time commitment and competitiveness between the two options. Elite teams typically follow the following format:
- Two practices a week (Aug – Oct & April – June)
- Indoor practices (Jan-March) one to two days a week – Provided by UGRA
- Additional indoor practices may be purchased by the team depending on team preferences
- Minimum of 5 tournaments, although most teams will choose to play from 8-10
- Fundraising is typically done to purchase more indoor practice time and/or additional tournaments beyond the minimum requirement of 5
- Team sizes are typically capped at 12 players
- There can be one or more elite teams per age division
- UGRA has 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U as their core offering, however we will extend to 16U if there is enough interest.
Guidelines for our Select Option are currently being revised.
Competitive Registration Timelines
Click on each image below for more information
June 27 and June 29
Competitive Softball Information and FAQ
If your daughter is interested in joining a team, the process is as follows:
- Player register for the upcoming season
- Player participates in tryouts,
- Competition committee reviews evaluations and determines team placement
- Committee member contacts players with offers to join a teams (if applicable).
- Players accept or decline offers
- Coaches are assigned teams once rosters are finalized
- Coaches contact players
- Season begins
Late May - Mid June
Mid - Late June
Two different dates for all players will be available. You will choose one.
If your player is a pitcher or catcher (10U and older), tryouts are on the same days as above, however you can opt to choose one of the other days if you wish.
Evaluation Review and Rostering
Offers Made to Players
Our goal is to provide an opportunity for every girl that expresses interest to play on a competitive team. We encourage all girls to register and tryout, regardless of skill or experience. The rostering process allows our committee to create teams of all levels, provided we have enough girls. While there is no guarantee that your child will make a team, the competition committee strives to roster every girl who registers and goes through the tryout process.
It's no secret that competitive softball, just as with any other competitive sport, can become pretty expensive. UGRA recognizes this and tries to offer a program that is much more cost effective option. We are able to do this through various methods.
You can expect the following out of pocket expenses (if applicable)
- Registration fees
The fees for the 2023-24 season are $575.00.
- Player Equipment
Players are responsible for their own helmets, bats, glove and facemasks. The cost for this equipment can vary depending on places you purchase from, whether the equipment is new or used, and the brands/quality of equipment you select.
The core uniform is typically two different jerseys, softball pants, two different pairs of socks and two different belts. We work with vendors to keep the costs as low as possible. Finally, we change out the styles once every three years, as another effort to keep costs low. You can expect to play approx. $200 - $250 for a full uniform set.
In addition to the core uniform, coaches may opt to have another jersey or two for special events, such a a Pink Out Tournament or a third normal jersey option for long weekends or hotter days. An additional jersey can cost anywhere from $30-40 on average.
Finally, you will also be given the opportunity to purchase apparel that will assist in cold weather days, such as a windbreaker and/or sweatshirt. While not required to purchase, it is required that any outerwear has the player number visible on it, so that is a convenient option parents often select. These items can cost between $30-$60.
To help offset some of the optional apparel cost, coaches may take on additional fundraising options to cover these expenses.
- Tournaments Days
Tournament days/weekends can be long days spent at the ballpark. Most, if not all sites that we tend to play at have concession stands. You will want to factor this or eating out into your overall budgets
- Travel outside the Metro
Your team may decide to travel to a tournament that would necessitate an overnight stay. These are fun and rewarding for the players and also give parents a chance to build additional rapport. You would be responsible for all costs associated with transportation, lodging and meals. Typically a team would not do more than one travel tourney, if that.
A potion of your initial fees are designed to cover almost all of following items:
- Team equipment (if needed)
- 10 Indoor hitting practices over the winter
- A small portion of operational costs needed to maintain the complex
- A minimum of 5 local tournaments
Your team may want to enhance the overall experience by doing things such as:
- Adding more indoor hitting, speed & agility or strength & conditioning sessions. These vary by team age and competitive drive.
- Registering for additional tournaments, beyond the minimum of 5
- Assisting with some travel expenses related to registering for a travel tournament outside of the Metro
- Purchasing additional equipment, softballs, scorebooks...etc.
There are few ways to help help costs related to this experience?
Your coach most likely will ask you to partake in fundraising opportunities throughout the season. First and foremost, the fundraisers are designed to cover the following:
- Tournament Entry Fees
- Additional Indoor Practices
- Team Equipment
However, with a strong effort, fundraising can also be used to do things such as purchase optional apparel, cover meals on travel...etc. You are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to help the overall success of your team.
Local businesses are critical to the success of any competitive sports programs. You are encouraged to seek out local business owners and offer them the opportunities to become a team sponsor. It's a relatively low cost for them and they recognize the impact this has on their community. These are directly applied to team funds and used for any team expenses.
- In the rare situations where fundraising and sponsorships don't fully cover costs, your coach may discuss options to pay out of pocket to cover expenses. This option is also available for those that do not wish to partake in fundraising efforts.
While it is an overwhelmingly rewarding experience, there is a time commitment for both you and your daughter to participate on a competitive team to be sure. A typical season may look like the following:
- The season runs from August to July each year. Coaches will typically end the season prior the end of June to allow for families to plan vacations and to help the team prepare for tryouts.
- On average, you an expect two 1 1/2 to 2 hour practices a week during the fall portion of the fall season.
- Depending on experience, your team may enroll in a fall league and/or tournaments. The number of tournaments will vary based on the coach and discussions he/she has with their team, but 2-3 tournaments is pretty typical.
- Outdoor practices typically continue until it is too cold outside. typically late October/Early November).
- If your team chooses to purchase additional indoor hitting practice, these typically occur in December - February timeframe. Your coach will discuss with the team and also communicate if these are optional or required. We have seen teams that do not purchase any additional time and others that add up to 1 a week during this duration.
- The UGRA contracted indoor hitting practices typically begin in early February and last up through Spring Break. Typically they are once a week with an occasional twice a week practice. Your coach will more than likely view these as required practices.
- Outdoor practices begin once the weather is warm enough to be outside. Similar to the fall, teams are provided field usage for two practices a week.
- Some coaches may decide to book additional field time or hitting practice at the complex. Each team will discuss what is considered optional vs. required.
- Typically you will play in anywhere from 4-8 tournaments in the Spring/Summer. This will vary by team and be based on appetite to play, funding and team availability.
Outside of practices and games you can also expect the following time commitments:
It will be vital for teams that wish to enhance their experience that all players do their part to help fundraise.
- Team Support
Managing a team takes quite of bit of cooperation and support. You can help out in many ways to make it a successful season. Items may include but are not limited to:
- Being a head coach
- Being an assistant coach available for all practices and games
- Keeping the scorebook or running the Game Changer App
- Helping with drills if a coach asks
- Planning social events for the team (e.g. places to eat after a hard fought tourney day
UGRA boasts one of the best complexes in the state. We feel we are second to none and pride ourselves on our volunteer efforts to manage a best in class complex while keeping costs to a minimum. In order or achieve this each year, we rely on everyone to do their part. Volunteering takes form the following ways:
- Join the Board
- You can join the board as a chair of a committee. In this role you will work with committee members to provide operational support to keep the program moving forward and thriving. These are voting positions.
- You can also join as a committee member. These are not voting positions, however just as vital to the success of the program.
- Ongoing maintenance
- Join the Board
This includes day to day items such as weed-eating, picking up litter, mowing, emptying trash..…etc. A lot of this work can be done while you're waiting for your daughter is at practice.
It also includes opening and closing of the complex during the spring and late fall respectively.
- Tournament coverage
- UGRA hosts four tournaments each year that teams are responsible for covering. This includes field prep prior to a tournament weekend, field crew during a tournament, concession and stand duty during a tournament. Your coach will be involved in determining which tournament your team is expected to cover. It is the responsibly of the team to ensure all shifts are covered, and as part of the team you will be expected to do your part.
- UGRA will also rent fields on various weekends as another revenue stream. We have the same roles available in these tournaments on occasion, so we look to our UGRA families to help with this effort.
All of these tournaments are the key source of revenue for the complex. The allow us to repair or purchase equipment, repair or replace won out complex items such as (batting cages netting, windscreens...etc.), and pay operational expenses such as water, electricity, garbage and all the other items associated with running the complex.