In late June, the JCC Association of North America and Major League Baseball announced grants to sponsor the after-school Rookie League Pitching Machine Program at 10 JCCs around the country.
The league is geared toward players 12 and younger who are making the transition from hitting the ball off a tee to live-pitch baseball. In rookie-league play, pitching is done by machine, so as to minimize the number of balls outside the strike zone and to allow hitters to develop their confidence — as well as their swing.
Rookie League guidelines keep the stress on learning the fundamentals. Scrappy tactics like bunting and base stealing are banned, and keeping score is discouraged.