The primary features that distinguish PONY baseball from Little League baseball are those of a two-year age bracket system and scaled diamonds. Additionally, PONY teaches lead offs and base stealing at an earlier age (Pinto), while pitchers learn pick off moves and holding runners on base to counter the potential steal.
In organizations such as Little League player age can differ by as much as 3 years within a division. As a result, the younger players, because of their lack of maturity, ability and size, find it hard to communicate with the older players. They often find themselves spending a disproportionate amount of time on the bench and may feel disconnected from their team. With players of only two ages involved, as is the case with PONY baseball, it is far easier to permit every player to play more positions since the difference in skills within the age groups is not that great.
In addition, PONY baseball scales the size of the diamonds to match the physical capabilities of the players within each division. The base and pitching dimensions for PONY baseball are:
- 50ft bases for Shetland 5 & 6 year olds
- 60ft bases and 40ft pitching for Pinto 7 & 8 year olds
- 65ft bases and 44ft pitching for Mustang 9 & 10 year olds
- 70ft bases and 50ft pitching for Bronco 11 & 12 year olds
- 80ft bases and 54ft pitching for Pony 13 & 14 year olds
These base dimensions are the result of extensive experimentation to determine the size on which players of each age group can properly play the game of baseball. Pitching distance is also scaled to the ability of the player and in proportion to the size of the diamond.
The scaled diamonds allow the players to make the plays made by major leaguers. Outfielders can play in a position proportionate to that played by a major leaguer. The double play, squeeze play and various strategies and tactics, difficult for adults and nearly impossible for youngsters on a full size diamond, become a probability rather than an impossibility.