"It has been difficult for the past head coaches here to get greatly involved in the Little League program, but they have finally opened their doors to me. I will be the coaching director of the GCYO. I will pick and train the coaches for the league," Stonebraker said.
"I am just so glad to be involved in this now so I can set forth a plan for each program and connect the football programs here from the ground up. It will be better for everyone. There will be better competition with minimal travel for everyone and the bowl game at the end of the year should really be fun for the kids."
Stonebraker envisions what could eventually be an area-wide Little League football program.
New conference has three age divisions
The new Central Kentucky Youth Conference will have three age divisions: Mighty Mite (ages 6-7), Pee-Wee (7-9) and Tom Thumb (10-12). Garrard will not have a Mighty Mite team because it plans a team for players ages 5-6 that will play a separate schedule.
"There will be different scheduling for different age groups," Stonebraker said. "We have more kids in the younger divisions."
Stonebraker emphasized that this league should not impact middle school teams.
"Seventh-graders will play in the middle schools for better practice and game competition," the Garrard coach said. "We want seventh-grade players on middle school teams."
Teams won't be able to recruit players, either, because all players must go to school or live in the county in which they are playing. That means a player in Stanford couldn't go to Danville or Garrard to play in this league.
"This is to ensure that these teams are feeders to their middle and high school programs," Stonebraker said. "The guy who has really done a lot of work for this conference is Stuart Critchfield of Danville. He is the one writing the by-laws that all the various age groups agreed on. He's doing a great job keeping everything in order."
Special defensive rules
The league also has special defensive rules: no stunting, no lining up in gaps, only 4-3 or 5-2 alignments.
"I have talked to many youth league coaches who say that they cannot focus as much on fundamentals in practice because they have to spend so much time on blocking schemes. This will take care of that problem and allow coaches to teach fundamentals during practice," Stonebraker said. "The main purpose of the conference will be for the players to have fun and learn the fundamentals that will later make them better middle school and high school players. There are rules that are set up in this conference to focus on the development of fundamentals among the players."
Stonebraker thinks this is the "biggest thing" that has happened for football at Garrard. Danville High School coach Sam Harp has been just as excited about his involvement with the Danville program.
Stonebraker says the players, and their parents, will be the big winners.
"Parents can be guaranteed that their boys will learn fundamentals that will help them succeed at higher levels of football due to the fact that the youth league coaches are being trained in clinics performed by the high school coaches in their county. They can also be assured that they will be learning fundamentals the correct way, which will decrease the likelihood of injury," Stonebraker said.
Garrard Little League plans
Specific plans Stonebraker has for the Little League program in Garrard:
*All coaches will be trained by the high school staff.
* Focus will be on getting players ready for middle school and high school football as well as fundamental safety issues.
* A free camp for boys ages 5-12 with Garrard County High School coaches providing instruction. Players will be available to register for the league during the camp and each camper will receive a T-shirt and food.
* Little League players will receive in-season practice instruction from the high school coaching staff and each youth team will have a day to attend a high school practice and interact with the high school players.
* All Little League players will be introduced at a community-wide pep rally to kick off the football season.
* Each Little League team will have players chosen as "players of the week" each week during the season. The players will have their names listed in the high school game program and winners will be announced during each home game as well as on Stonebraker's Saturday morning radio show.