When did the West Chester Dragons baseball program start?
The program was founded in 2010 by Graham Hudgings. It began with one team and has grown every season since!
How is the Dragons baseball program different from little league or recreational baseball?
The players selected to play in the Dragons program have shown an aptitude for baseball. They are grouped based on ability and the instruction provided is specific and sequential, similar to a well-conceived school curriculum. As a result, the players report that the practices are fun and challenging, and their level of play increases rapidly.
Can my child participate in both the Dragons baseball program and little league?
Yes, however playing on a travel-caliber baseball team is a commitment that should be considered carefully. Dragons players are expected to attend all games and a minimum of 90% of practices. Many of our players who initially played for more than one baseball program now play exclusively with Dragons baseball.
How is the Dragons baseball program different from the local academy teams?
The first and most obvious difference is that our program is significantly less expensive. The West Chester Dragons are proud to be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, and all team fees are kept to a minimum. This program is not a profit-making organization, and our nonprofit status allows for more competitive baseball at a lower cost.
The academy teams play primarily tournaments every 2-3 weekends with practices during the week. Our younger teams (9U-12U) play scrimmages or league games most weekends (usually on Sundays), in addition to practices and tournaments, giving our players more consistent game experience against good competition. Parents who have experienced both types of programs have indicated that they feel a tangible sense of camaraderie with the Dragons. Dragons practices tend to be planned and executed thoughtfully, and the program retains an unusually high number of players because it is fun! All of our players and families are truly part of our big “Dragons Family” across the age groups.
How have the Dragons teams fared at the most challenging tournament venues?
Dragons teams are extremely competitive and have won numerous tournaments in the last calendar year at all age groups, including a 9U tournament win at Diamond Nation, and 10U, 11U, 12U, 13U, 14U and 15U/16U tournament championships at The Ripken Experience Aberdeen. Please refer to our News page and our Facebook page for the latest Dragons teams results.
What is the cost to play on the Dragons?
Team fees will vary, depending on the number of games, tournaments, field rentals, coaching fees and other factors. Please refer to Our Program page for more information about costs.
Are traveling expenses included in the team fees?
No, all travel expenses, including hotel rooms, are the responsibility of each player. The majority of tournaments played are within a 90-minute drive of the West Chester area and do not require overnight accommodation. A few tournaments, such as Sports At The Beach and Cooperstown Dreams Park (12U only), are the exception.
Who can tryout for the West Chester Dragons?
Players ages 9 though 16 years old (defined as your age on April 30, 2020) are invited to participate in our Open Tryouts. The Dragons are interested in talented, coachable, hard-working, competitive players with great attitudes and committed families.
What do I have to do if I want my player to tryout for the Dragons?
The first step is to pre-register online for our Open Tryouts. Then, have your player attend the Tryout session within your “League Age” or Grad Year group.
When are Tryouts held?
The West Chester Dragons will hold Tryouts in late October 2019 for the upcoming year (2020 Season). Tryouts may also be held in June 2020 to fill any open roster spots for the Fall 2020 tournament season.
What is my player's League Age?
For the 2020 baseball season, your “League Age” is defined as your age on April 30, 2020. For example:
A player who is 9 years old on April 30, 2020, should attend the 9U Tryouts for the 2020 season.
A player who is 10 years old on April 30, 2020, should attend the 10U Tryouts for the 2020 season.
You may also use the Ripken Baseball Age Determination Chart below to determine your League Age.
When do you notify players regarding team placement?
In most cases, prospective players are notified within 7 days after the final Tryout session for your League Age or Grad Year group. The Dragons will email an Offer outlining the upcoming season and associated team costs to each player offered a spot. Team commitments require a non-refundable deposit at time of commitment.
How many players will there be on each team?
Ideally, we like to have active rosters of 12 players for the 9U-14U and 2022-2023 Grad Year teams.
Will the team be competitive?
Yes. We take pride in the composition of our teams. The Dragons play at a high competitive level, and we do our best to properly place players according to their age and ability.
Is my player guaranteed a spot on the team next season?
No, each player must register each annual season so that they are placed on the proper team. Both Prospective Players and Current Players must attend the Tryout session in their League Age or Grad Year group to be considered for the next year’s team rosters.
Is the team all about winning?
The Dragons are a competitive travel team program. As such, we play every game to win — but never at the expense of good sportsmanship, team play, player development and having fun. Some games are more competitive than others, and some games offer better opportunities for teaching and development.
Where are team practices held?
The Dragons practice outdoors in West Chester, Pennsylvania, at our home fields. Indoor training and practices are held at the Dragons Baseball Academy, our new 6,000+ sq.ft. indoor training facility.
If my player cannot make practices, will he be penalized?
Dragons players are expected to have regular attendance, and attend 100% of games and a minimum of 90% of practices. This is critical for coach instruction, individual skill and team development. Absences affect not just the individual player, but the whole team. However, we will not hold it against a player if they are unable to attend a practice due to special circumstances. Please communicate with your team's Head Coach in advance if your son will need to miss a practice.
Will my son play?
Yes. For ages 9U-12U, a core Dragons philosophy is that every player on our active team rosters will play a minimum of 3 innings per 6 inning game. We believe in developing our players by giving all players the opportunity to play in game situations. Some games will end prior to 6 innings, in which case players sharing time may play less than 3 innings in that particular game. However, for ages 13U and above, playing time is earned rather than guaranteed and is at the coach’s discretion.
Where are the games and tournaments held?
Dragons teams are invited to compete in local tournaments in Pennsylvania and out-of-state tournaments in New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland, including The Ripken Experience Aberdeen, Perfect Game, Triple Crown Sports, Diamond Nation, Sports At The Beach and Cooperstown Dreams Park (12U). The majority of tournaments played are within a 90-minute drive of the West Chester area.
Do the Dragons teams offer winter or off-season training?
Yes, Dragons teams attend our 12-Week Winter Team Skills Training Program from January though March. Baseball players are made in the off-season, and our winter program is invaluable in the development of the Dragons baseball players. Please refer to Our Program page for more information about Winter Player Development Training.
Further questions about the Dragons? Please contact us →