North Shore Stars Rep program
Our rep program is intended to provide a positive, supportive and competitive environment for players with higher levels of commitment and ability. We aim to provide players with advanced skill and development opportunities; encourage positive attitude, team work and team spirit; and ensure coaches are constantly upgrading their skills and abilities to enable players and teams to reach their desired potential.
The program is governed by a Rep Committee which establishes the program guidelines, appoints coaches based on applications and need, and oversees team forming. Teams are formed annually based on a tryout process starting in September (usually the weekend after labour day) and begin practicing indoors in October to prepare for the following season which starts in April.
For more information, read our Rep program FAQ further below and the Rep team program guidelines.
U11 development program
We also have a U11 Select rep development program for 2nd year U11 players which includes elements of the rep program modified for younger pre-rep players who are interested in experiencing a higher level of competition, commitment, and development. Players interested in playing rep in the future (and those who simply want to further develop their skills during the off season) are encouraged but not required to participate in the U11 Stars program. The U11 Stars team can choose to either play up in the NSGFA U13 C (house) division or to play in the Lower Mainland U11 Select league, and also participates in U11 Select tournaments and the season-ending U11 Championships. Selection to the U11 Stars team is subject to a try-out process.
The NSGFA also often runs a U11 Tournament teams for 1st year U11 players. U11 Tournament team forming is conducted informally and closer to the start of the season.
Rep Program FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The following does not supersede or supplement the Rep Guidelines, and does not represent NSGFA or Softball BC policy, rules, guidelines, or interpretations. Teams are under no obligation to adhere to the followin
What is rep softball?
The rep program is intended to provide a positive, supportive and competitive environment for players with higher levels of commitment and ability. Our aim is to provide players with advanced skill and development opportunities; encourage positive attitude, teamwork and team spirit; and ensure coaches are constantly upgrading their skills and abilities to enable players and teams to reach their desired potential. The program is governed by the Rep Committee and Rep Program Guidelines. Coaches are appointed based on applications and need. Teams are formed based on an annual tryout process (usually the first weekend after labour day) and start practising indoors in the fall and winter for the following season which starts in April.
What level of commitment is expected for rep softball?
Rep players generally are expected to attend at least 80% of practices and games (including tournaments and district play-downs) and to be available to play in provincial championships. Coaches are encouraged to track player attendance and rep coaches have significant discretion regarding individual playing time and selection of players with poor attendance records (regardless of try-out ranking). Coaches tend to understand players may not be able to attend every practice and may miss the occasional game or tournament, with reasonable notice and assuming it is an infrequent occurrence. Coaches tend to be in-tolerant of players regularly missing or showing up late (or unprepared) to practices or games. Expectations regarding attendance and what is reasonable notice for an absence should be discussed up front with the specific coach.
How long is the season and how often do rep teams practice and play?
The practice days and times are set by the coach. Most rep teams start with 1 or 2 indoor (gym) practices per week from October to March, and at least 1 outdoor practice per week after the season starts. Some coaches may expect players to do additional practice on their own (or with a parent) or may hold extra practices for specific players. The regular season runs from the first week in April to the end of June, during which teams play 2 games per week plus weekend tournaments and practices. Rep teams typically participate in 3 to 6 tournaments during the season in addition to District Playdowns (if required) in May or June, plus (if the team qualifies) Provincial Championships in July. Scheduling of tournaments is up to the coach, based on what tournaments are available. Typically rep teams will play in 2 or more weekend tournaments per month from April to June, and possibly into July.
What if my daughter also plays [another sport] and has to miss softball games or practices?
Most coaches tend to be supportive (within reason) of players involved in multiple sports, provided it does not significantly reduce attendance at practices and games or negatively impact the team. However, this is something that needs to be discussed and worked out with the specific coach, preferably before the player accepts a position on a rep team. The amount of flexibility extended by the coach may depend upon the particular player and circumstances.
Is there a lot of travel involved?
There is frequent travel to games and tournaments across the lower mainland. Home games are played on the North Shore (usually McCartney Park) while away games (about 1/2 of regular season games) are scattered across the lower mainland, and virtually all tournaments are played off the North Shore (with the possible exception of District Playdowns). Most coaches require players to be on the field ready to warm up at least 1 hour before each game, which means players typically need to arrive by 5pm for regular weekday games (home or away). For weekend tournaments the arrival time can be early as 7am for an 8am game. Tournaments such as Provincial Championships may take place outside the lower mainland, requiring overnight travel and accommodation. Some rep teams also choose to participate out-of-town tournaments.
Does it cost more to play rep ball?
Yes. Registration fees are higher for rep players than house players to help to fund the significant additional costs associated with the rep program (e.g. tryouts, special uniforms, gym time). All rep teams are expected to attend and participate fully in Opening Day activities including the Banner Parade and Ball Toss fundraiser. Each rep team usually maintains its own budget as well, and may ask for contributions or participation from rep parents/players in team fundraising activities to help pay for costs not otherwise covered by the Association or private sponsorships. The Association typically does not pay for special clothing such as hoodies or special training instructors/facilities. Some of these items may be paid from the team budget or by each player/parent. Required team budget contributions and fundraising activities as well as other individual equipment/clothing costs should be discussed with the particular coach or team manager.
What is the difference between Rep A and B?
For minor players (under 19 years old at the start of the applicable calendar year), softball is categorized into 3 levels:
- C - recreational house teams
- B - more competitive rep teams
- A - highly competitive, top tier rep teams
NSGFA rep teams typically play at the B level
What about rep coaches?
Like the players, rep coaches are expected to bring a higher level of commitment and competition to their teams, providing a safe and supportive environment that focuses on enhanced skill development, competition, sportsmanship, teamwork, and performance. It is the role of the coach to encourage and develop each player to the best of her ability, to facilitate coordinated teamwork to achieve common goals, and to improve the team over the duration of the season. Rep coaches are expected to complete and maintain all required coach training certifications for their category and classification, and to constantly improve their own knowledge and skills as a coach for the benefit of the team and its players. Further details are set out in the Rep Program Guidelines.
Is playing time equal or fair at the rep level?
While a player can expect to be treated fairly in terms of playing time and position, fair is not the same as equal. While Rep is not about winning at all costs or just short-term success, there is greater focus on competition, team objectives and results. Every player brings different relative capabilities and strengths to each situation, and playing position/time may be based on many factors, such as team needs, individual ability/performance, current situation, overall strategy, etc. Coaches who are aware of a player's preferences and capabilities typically look for opportunities to train and put players in those position(s) when appropriate. Players can use such opportunities to gain experience and earn additional playing time. Coaches often use regular season games for development, with greater focus on winning during tournaments and as the season progresses. Stronger, more experienced and committed players typically see more playing time in set positions during tournaments, especially during District Playdowns and Provincial Championships.