North Hills Athletic Association

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Pony Logo

"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build the youth for our future"

 

Did you know?
P.O.N.Y. stands for "Protect Our Nation's Youth"

 

North Hills Pony:

"Pony League Baseball is called the "Transition League" because it is the next big transition a baseball player makes in his life. North Hills Pony is offered for kids ages 13-14, and the primary goal is to help the kids transition to a "larger" game while not completely overwhelming them. Pony League is specifically designed for the player in those very formative early teen years. The younger Pony players simply are not ready to play on a full-size baseball diamond. At the same time, they have outgrown the dimensions of "kid's baseball" (Little League) diamonds. This is where we feel the players within the NHAA have the advantage because, at the 11-12 y.o. Bronco League level, they have a head start over their competition. They've started the "transition" early, and are ready to jump right into a bigger, faster game.

Pony League was founded for this very apparent reason. After becoming skillful players in the younger leagues, players in their early teens found themselves unable to compete, to play the game of baseball as it was intended to be played, on the regulation size diamond.

With bases set at 80-feet apart and pitchers throwing from 54-feet away, NHAA Pony Leaguers play one of the most fascinating games in all of youth baseball. Well beyond the beginners stage, they have mastered all but the finest points of technique and strategy and can play the game with a skill comparable to that of older players.

 

The NHAA Pony Programs are as follows:

  • Pony Varsity Teams: We typically field (1) 13 y.o. and (1) 14 y.o. Pony Varsity team in the Quad-County North League. The QCN is a competitive baseball league which includes teams from all other neighboring associations, including Cranberry, Ingomar, Pine Richland, Butler, Shaler, Kiski, North Allegheny, and others. We are committed to fielding as many Pony Varsity teams as player and coaching interest will allow.

  • Pony Junior Varsity Teams: Our Pony Junior Varsity Teams also participate in the Quad-County North League, but at a level that is geared towards the player who is looking to play baseball in more of a "recreational" manner. We are committed to fielding as many Pony J/V teams as player and coaching interest will allow
    For most of the kids on these teams, this will be their first experience playing against teams from other associations. Therefore, we will put a lot of emphasis on some of the other "unwritten" fundamentals of the game including; sportsmanship, respect for the opposing team, respect for the game, and upholding the North Hills reputation.

 

Expectations:

The NHAA believes strongly in keeping things simple when teaching the game of baseball and softball. With that in mind we have developed five goal areas for each of the age groups. As a coach we want to keep these five goal areas in mind every time we plan a practice. They represent the fundamental building blocks for success. The goals at one level need to be accomplished before the goals at the next level can be pursued.

 

These are the Five Goals that we believe and you should expect your child to have achieved at the completion of the Pony League Level:

 

  • Throwing Mechanics and Pitching - emphasis on generating momentum toward the target and following the throw (larger field); breaking balls; change-ups; pitching mechanics and using the body effectively (longer distance); pickoff mechanics; flatwork (drills); introduction to long toss.
  • Hitting - introduce situational hitting (inside-out swing, hitting behind runners, hit and run, productive outs); sacrifice bunting versus bunting for a hit; understanding the count. 
  • Baserunning - first-and-third situations; steal breaks; delayed steals; reading situations and reacting to them.
  • Fielding - generating momentum back toward the target on throws when necessary; crossover and drop steps; backhands and when to use them; double-play depth; pitcher covering first; infield communication. 
  • Team Fundamentals - pickoff plays; full bunt defenses; full first-and-third defenses; pop-up and fly ball priorities; double pays and underhand flips.

 

We also expect the kids at this level to finally know the answer to the question:

 

WHO ARE WE?

 
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