Junior baseball/softball sessions are a hit in Manchester

Mon 7 Dec 2015

Baseball/softball sessions for schoolchildren in Years 3-6 have been running since October this year in Manchester, and have so far brought 28 new young players into the sports.

BaseballSoftballUK’s North West Regional Coach, Linni Mitchell, got the process started by taking a bat, ball and glove to schools in North Trafford, speaking to children in assemblies, raising awareness of the sports and creating excitement for the sessions.

Ten weeks of baseball/softball fun have been a huge success, with a total of 28 children falling in love with the sports as they’ve learned the basics: how to bat, field and run the bases.  Strong demand for the sessions in the area means they will continue indoors in January 2016 and for the foreseeable future.

Dave Warren, a parent of one of the children, said: “James absolutely loves the baseball/softball sessions on Saturday mornings and his confidence has soared since he started.  The sessions are so well organised and the coaches are all brilliant with the kids, keeping their attention without losing any of the fun elements.  Anyone thinking of bringing their kids along should -- you will be very glad you did.”

Kids lead and parents follow

As well as the sessions being great fun for the children, parents have followed suit in catching the softball bug.

Since bringing their children to the sessions, a number of parents have been recruited for local adult teams playing in the Manchester Indoor Softball League at the same venue on Tuesday evenings.  Parents seem to look forward to the sessions as much as their kids, jumping at the chance of an empty pitch where they can hone their own skills while their children are coached.

Future development

Plans to replicate these successful sessions are in place in Bury, Stockport, Liverpool and Bolton, where sessions will run throughout 2016.

BSUK Regional Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas said: “The ultimate aim is to create a Junior League.  Once a month, games will be hosted by a particular team, and will include existing youth teams in the region, who will be invited to take part.  The intervening weeks will be used to further develop skills in local training sessions.”

“Plans are being formulated to create similar sessions for children aged between 11 and 14,” Luis added.  “This will give children who currently attend the sessions and who will be going into Year 7 in September 2016 the opportunity to continue playing locally.”

It looks like a man in a red suit with a white beard may be delivering some junior-sized baseball gloves to children in Trafford this Christmas!

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