The Panthers System

The Panthers System

Our Philosophy

The Panthers program is based on the philosophy that our players develop best when pushed to compete at the highest possible level. We want our players to build skills that allow them to compete for provincial championships at every age and every level of play. We are especially focused on building teams at the 13U AAA, 15U AAA and 18U AAA levels, where the opportunity exists to compete in and win a National Championship.

Age Groups and Nomenclature

Age groups are no longer referred to using names such as Rookie, Mosquito, Peewee, Bantam or Midget. We now simply refer to the age of the players at each level. The first level of play (formerly Minor Rookie) is now referred to as 8U and each age group moves up from there until you reach 18U (formerly Midget).

A four tier system

At each age level we seek to field three Rep teams (or 2 Rep teams and 1 Elite team at 14U and above) and a Select team. These teams are chosen sequentially such that the first team plays at the highest level of competition and the other two teams play at the subsequent levels. This three level system aims to retain players within the Panthers Rep program, allowing them time to build skills within the system and enjoy competitive play. Players who are not selected to play within the Panthers Rep system can still don the Panthers uniform as a House League player playing Panthers Select.

For simplicity, we refer internally (within KMBA) to the 1st Rep team chosen at each age group as AAA, the 2nd as AA and the 3rd as A. Select teams are referred to as simply “Panthers Select”.

Our Affiliations

Panthers Rep teams play their regular season as part of the InterCounty Baseball Association (ICBA) “loops”. ICBA (and by extention, KMBA) is part of Baseball Ontario or the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA).

Panthers Elite teams play as part of the Elite Baseball League of Ontario (EBLO) which is affiliated with the OBA.

Panthers Select runs on a different system from our Rep teams, governed by the Select Ontario Baseball Association (part of OBA). The details below pertain specifically to our Rep and Elite programs. More information on our Select Program can be found HERE.

Levels of Competition

Baseball Ontario (OBA) provides competitions at the following levels, shown in decending level of play: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D. Due to the population of Kitchener our Panthers teams can compete at only AAA, AA and A. KMBA encourages teams to compete at the level equal to or greater then their KMBA designation in all OBA competitions.
The Intercounty Baseball Association (ICBA) uses a different system, providing play at two levels: Tier 1 and Tier 2.

For ages 8U to 13U AAA teams will play in Tier 1, the A team will play in Tier 2 while the AA team will choose the loop most appropriate for them. More and more our AA teams are choosing to challenge themselves in the Tier 1 loop and AAA teams are often choosing to play one age level ahead of their designated age group to maximize their challenge and develop player skills leading up to their 13U year where our AAA team competes to go to Nationals.

For ages 14U to 18U the ICBA provides play for our AA and A teams in their Tier 1 and Tier 2 divisions.

The Elite Baseball League of Ontario (EBLO) provides top level play for AAA teams throughout Ontario at the 15U to 18U age levels including our Panthers Elite teams. Teams in the EBLO play strictly at the AAA level and the league consists of teams that typically battle for provincial titles.

Our Panthers Elite program is designed to move our top players into the program and combine them with other top players from the ICBA to form teams that can compete for and win AAA championships.

We begin the journey by forming a 14U Elite team that competes in the EBLO 15U division and against top competition from the United States. This team focuses on player development and learning what it takes to win at the highest levels. In subsequent years this team graduates as a true 15U Elite team ready to compete for National championships.

Following the 15U year the team graduates to 16U and then on to 18U where they can once again compete for Nationals. At every level the teams receive elite levels of training and development along with a great baseball experience.

Summary Table

KMBA LevelICBA LevelOBA Level
AAA (14U-18U)N/AEBLO (AAA)
AAA (8U-13U)Tier 1AAA
AA (all ages)Tier 1 or Tier 2A or AA
A (all ages)Tier 2A

Still have questions?

Choosing what is right for your player is important and we are here to help! For any inquiries about our teams, philosophies, or processes you can contact any of the following individuals:
General inquiries
President – Ron Mooibroek (president@kmba.ca)
Assistant Executive Director – Ellen Menage (aed.kmba@gmail.com)
Elite Program Inquiries
Elite Commitee Members – Brian Bishop (coachbish@golden.net)
– Jeff Pietraszko (jpietrasz10@yahoo.com)
Elite Team Coaches – 14U Ron Mooibroek (ron.mooibroek@gmail.com)
– 15U Brian Bishop (coachbish@golden.net)
– 16U Chris Bishop (chris.bluechipsports@gmail.com)
– 18Y Jeff Pietraszko (jpietrasz10@yahoo.com)
Rep Program Inquiries
Baseball Operations – James Stuart (stuiekmba@gmail.com)

Once Rep coaches are selected contact information will be available on the our 2020 Rep Teams and Coaches Page

Tryout Q & A

Panthers Rep Tryouts
Frequently Asked Questions

Every year, we receive a number of questions regarding tryouts for the Panthers Rep program. We have compiled these questions to bring you this Q & A page. We will continue to add relevant questions and answers as they arise so check back here if you have a question pertaining to the Panthers Rep tryout process.

General Questions

Q. What equipment should we bring/wear to tryouts?
A. The following items are required to be brought to/worn at each tryout:

  • Ball Glove (required)
  • Batting Helmet (required)
  • Jock/Jill (required)
  • Long Pants (required)
  • Cleats or lace-up running shoes (required) – open-toed or slip-on shoes are not permitted.
  • Recommended: A bat that meets age requirements for the age level at which you are trying out (CLICK HERE for Baseball Ontario bat rules), If you do not have a bat, you may be able to borrow one at tryouts.
  • Batting gloves (optional)

Q. Can I try out for the Panthers if I live outside of the Kitchener Minor Baseball catchment area?
The KMBA catchment area includes the following cities/towns: Kitchener, Roseville, Mannheim, Breslau, Maryhill, Plattsville or New Dundee.
If you live outside of these areas, you likely have a different “home association”.
For the full ICBA Boundary map, CLICK HERE

Baseball Ontario (OBA) and InterCounty Baseball Association (ICBA) does allow players to try out for Rep programs outside of their home association if your home association provides you with a Release. You may also require a “pass through” release, depending on your home address. You must provide KMBA with all necessary releases prior to trying out for a Panthers Rep team.

For more information on releases within ICBA, CLICK HERE
For more information on releases outside of ICBA, refer to the OBA Release FAQ

If you have already secured a release from your home association, you can upload it ahead of tryouts HERE.


Tryout Levels

Q. What level should I select for my player on the tryout registration form?
A. This year, we have tryouts at the highest level of play at each age group optional. This means that if your player is not interested in or ready for the AAA (8U-13U) or Elite (14U-18U) levels, you can start tryouts at the AA and/or A level. For more information on the various levels of play within the Panther system, CLICK HERE.

Q. Why was the optional starting point introduced?
A. The first tryout is where the AAA coaches begin their team selection. In previous years, this first tryout has been an open call for all players of all skill levels to come out and be assessed. In some age groups, this has been upwards of 80 players at the initial tryout.
You can imagine how difficult and time-consuming it must be to assess 80 players, many of whom may not be interested in or ready for play

at the AAA level. By allowing players to indicate the highest level of play they are interested in, we can provide our AAA coaches with a more manageable and more appropriate group to assess to form their teams. This also means 1-3 fewer tryout dates for families who know they do not wish to play AAA ball. Players who attend the AAA tryouts but do not make the AAA team are then released to continue tryouts at the AA and/or A levels.

Q. Can I still attend the AAA tryouts even if we don’t want to play at that level?
A. In order to ensure that coaches are able to focus on the players that truly wish to be there (thereby ensuring that those players get as thorough of an evaluation as possible), we are asking families to respect the time of those coaches and players by beginning tryouts only at the highest level at which they are willing to accept a position. If you have no intention of accepting a position at the AAA level if it is offered to you, we ask that you begin your tryout process at the AA or A levels.


Independent Assessments

Q. What are “Independent Assessments” and why has this been added to the tryout process?
A. Each year we continue to receive feedback that families would like to see some form of unbiased evaluation as part of our tryout process. You spoke, and we listened! This year, we have decided to take advantage of advancements in technology to collect digital evaluations all potential Rep players using the HitTrax system located at Blue Chip Sports. This digital evaluation will provide key metrics to our coaches ahead of tryouts to help them get a better over-all picture of each player.

Q. How and when do I book an Independent Assessment?
A. When you submit your Online Tryout Registration, you will be redirected to a separate page to schedule your player’s independent assessment. If, for some reason, you were not redirected, you can schedule your player’s Independent Assessment now.
Independent Assessments for those tryout out for AAA should be completed prior to Labour Day. For those beginning tryouts at the AA or A level, you have until September 27th to complete your evaluations.

Q. What is the HitTrax system and what does it measure?
A. Picture the HitTrax system like an XBox Kinect, but far, far more sophisticated. The HitTrax sensor can measure dozens of key performance metrics simultaneously. For example:
– Hitting: exit velocity and launch angle
– Pitching: velocity, vertical and horizontal break, pitch location (balls/strikes)
– Catchers Only: pop time, throw to second speed/accuracy

For more information on the HitTrax system, CLICK HERE.

Q. What if my player doesn’t perform well in an indoor/digital setting?
A. The HitTrax digital evaluation is only one tool in a very thorough evaluation process. Your player will still have the opportunity to “show their stuff” at in-person, on-field tryouts. If you would like to try out the HitTrax technology prior to your tryout evaluation, you can do so by booking a time (at an additional cost payable to Blue Chip Sports) by clicking HERE.

Q. Can we get/see our player’s results?
A. KMBA and Blue Chip Sports ask that all parents remain in the waiting area while their player is completing their evaluation. You may request a copy of your player’s results from Blue Chip Sports (additional charges may apply), however you will not be able to see how your player compares to others who have taken (or will be taking) the evaluation.


Coach Selections

Q. When will coaches be selected and announced?
A. Head Coach interviews will be taking place in the second half of August. Selections will be completed and Head Coaches will be announced Labour Day. Once Head Coaches are selected, details will be posted on our 2020 Rep Teams and Coaches page.

Q. How do you select coaches?
A. All potential Head Coaches must complete a coaching application detailing their vision and plan for the team for the upcoming season. These applicants are then interviewed by a Selection Committee which selects the Head Coach for each team. Parent survey results are taken into consideration when making these selections. Once the Head Coach is named, they select their coaching staff (Assistant Coaches). This may be done before or after tryouts begin.

Q. Who selects the Head Coaches?
A. Interviews for Head Coach positions are conducted by and selections are made by a Selection Committee of 5 KMBA members including the President, Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director. The balance of the Committee will be appointed from KMBA volunteers who are active, long-standing members of our baseball community and includes those with coaching and/or administrative experience. The Committee as a whole will include individuals who no longer have players in the system as well as those who do. Committee members who have applied for a coaching position, are related to coaching candidates, or have players in the system will abstain from decisions regarding coaches for that age group.

Q. Are current Head Coaches guaranteed to be granted the same team for the following year?
A. There is no guarantee that a coach that currently holds a position will automatically be granted the same position the following year. However, most coaches who continue to support and encourage the KMBA Vision and Principles and receive generally positive parent and player feedback will be invited back for another season leading the same team.


Tryout Costs

Q. Why did the cost of tryouts increase?
A. In our endeavour to provide our members with more impartial tryout assessments, we have added an Independent Assessment using the HitTrax technology at Blue Chip Sports. This additional assessment carries an additional cost and as a result, tryout fees were increased.

Q. What does the tryout fee cover?
A. The tryout fee covers the HitTrax assessment as well as diamond (or indoor facility) rentals required to complete the tryout process. KMBA always aims to break even on tryout costs.


Tryout Timelines

Q. When should I register?
A. You should register for tryouts as soon as you decide at what level your player wishes to play. Tryout registration for Elite closes August 15th. Tryout Registration for 8U-13U AAA closes August 31st and registration for AA/AA closes September 30th. As a reminder, your HitTrax Independent Evaluation must be completed prior to your first tryout date (ideally by the end of August).

Q. When will tryouts be held?
A. 14U to 18U Elite tryouts begin in mid to late August. For more information on the Elite program, visit our Panthers Elite information page.
8U to 13U AAA Tryouts will take place in early to mid September (dates to be determined once Head Coaches are selected).
8U-18U AA/A Tryouts will take place in October (dates to be determined once Head Coaches are selected).

Our complete tryout schedule for all teams will be posted on our 2020 Tryout Schedule page. The schedule page will be updated regularly so please check it regularly for any new or updated tryout dates.


Still have questions?

Contact us by submitting a feedback form and selecting “Question” at the top of the form. CLICK HERE to submit a question.

The Panthers System

The Panthers System

As we head into the tryout season KMBA would like to clarify the various levels of play and the overall approach we take to our Panthers Rep and Elite system. We want to ensure everyone understands the Panthers approach so you know what to expect.

There are so many terms thrown around – Tier 1, AA, Elite, Select, ICBA, OBA . . . . and it’s hard to keep track of what they all mean!

As such, we have created a new page on our site to explain The Panthers System. This new page details a number of details about playing as a Panther including our program philosophy, age groups, our affiliate organizations, our levels of competition, and contacts for questions.

CLICK HERE to learn more about The Panthers System

Our Diamonds

Panthers Home Diamonds

Home diamonds for our Rep and Elite teams are listed below. For Select, House League, and secondary diamonds, please CLICK HERE.

Breithaupt Park
350 Margaret Ave., Kitchener
Parking Entrance off of Union St, between Margaret Ave. and Sunset Place
MAP


Lions Park
20 Rittenhouse Rd, Kitchener
MAP


Rosenberg Park
600 Heritage Dr, Kitchener, ON
MAP


Jack Couch Park
Eugene George Way, Kitchener, ON
MAP

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