Youth Participation Figures

Softball in Schools and Clubs

According to the Youth Sport Trust, softball is played in just under one in five British schools (17%), where it is often offered as an alternative striking-and-fielding game in the summer term and largely played by boys.  This number goes up to 74% in secondary schools.  However, a concentrated schools development programme to introduce girls to softball has been in effect since 2002 and is beginning to show results.

Softball is also played by over 64,000 11-15-year-olds out of school and there is a network of community clubs always looking for new players.  Local, regional and national leagues and tournaments, including national championships, are run from late April through September and teams often include youth players.

On an adult level, co-ed slowpitch softball is the predominant format, played by over 500 teams in more than 20 leagues around the country.  However, combined youth and adult fastpitch leagues for male and female players are run indoors during the winter and outdoors during the summer, and winter indoor slowpitch competition is also a growing phenomenon.

Baseball in Schools and Clubs

Youth baseball tends to be more club-based than schools-based, though community leagues are often formed following sessions in clusters of local schools.  Youth teams at three age levels compete in local and regional leagues and there are national championship competitions for youth teams each year.

Adult baseball is played largely in regionally-based leagues, though there is a National Baseball League for elite teams and an exciting weekend of National Championship competition in three grades of play at the end of each season.

Youth Academies

Both sports maintain Regional and National Youth Academies, open to all players from 10 to 25 who wish to receive high-quality coaching and improve their skills and game awareness.  Players selected for GB youth teams often come from those who attend Academy sessions.  For more information about Baseball and Softball Academies, please see the Academy Softball and Academy Baseball sections on the BSUK website.

Summary

  • Overall, 17% of schools offer softball.
     
  • 74% of secondary schools offer softball.
     
  • 64,000 11-15-year-olds play outside of school.
     
  • There are local, regional and national competitions in both sports at youth and adult levels.
     
  • A wide range of clubs and leagues offer playing opportunities across the country.
     
  • National and Regional Youth Academies in both sports are open to all.
     
  • Co-ed slowpitch softball is often played at a social level, but there are competitive opportunities in all formats of both sports.

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