Schools work pays dividends in the North West

Mon 6 Aug 2018

During the 2017-2018 academic year, BaseballSoftballUK’s development team in the North West has been reaching out to as many schools as possible to introduce baseball/softball via taster sessions, lunchtime clubs, curriculum PE lessons and after-school clubs.

Dozens of primary schools have invited BSUK into assemblies to spread the word about our sports in their local area, handing out flyers for children to take home to their parents.

The summer heatwave (the hottest summer on record since 1976) came as a surprise and added an element of excitement and American authenticity as children put on baseball caps to play for the first time this summer.

And pupils made sure their water bottles were filled, as hitting home runs is thirsty work!


Links

During the spring of this year, BaseballSoftballUK’s North West Coach, Linni Mitchell, made links with School Sports Partnerships and School Games Organisers in Greater Manchester and Merseyside to set up inter-school competitions for both primary and secondary schools in the summer term.

Before that, coaches had led sessions for Stockport School Sport Partnerships’ Girls Active Days and Boys Active Days for Year 4s and then Year 8s in both November 2017 and January 2018.  This Youth Sport Trust initiative aims to introduce inactive children to alternative sports.

Within the current academic year, around 500 participants aged 9-14 have tried baseball/softball for the first time. 

Linni Mitchell, who was the lead coach at all four of the Active Days, said, “We love coaching at these events.  They really help us with our ‘maximum exposure’ aim by introducing our sports to hundreds of children at each event.   The schools also get a grant to spend on coaching and equipment for their chosen sport, and this has allowed us to continue working with these schools following the Active Days.”


Manchester

In June, BaseballSoftballUK’s North West development team collaborated with Salford School Games Organiser Rebecca Robinson to arrange a softball tournament for teams from secondary schools in the borough, hosted by Salford City Academy.
Following this, the team worked with the County Sport Partnership, Greater Sport, to organise the largest softball competition for secondary schools in the region to date.  Eleven teams from nine of the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester travelled to Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury for the Greater Manchester School Games on 6 July. 

Rochdale’s Wardle Academy made quite an impression by taking home the gold medal in their first-ever softball tournament


Merseyside

Meanwhile, on Merseyside, primary schools from Liverpool were invited to enter the inaugural Primary School Baseball/Softball Tournament run by South Sefton School Games Officer Ali Watt.

Volunteers from the Sefton Softball League helped run the event by umpiring and coaching the children, many of whom hadn’t played baseball/softball until the day of the competition.  Six teams of Years 5 and 6 pupils took part, with St Benedict’s from Bootle finishing in first place.

BSUK Regional Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas said, “Our plan was to extend our outreach to as many children as possible and hopefully leave a long-lasting impression.  Our coaches have introduced our sports to hundreds of children across our region and given them the chance to put on a glove for the first time.”


School Sport Week

The national School Sport Week, run from 25-29 June, presented another fantastic opportunity for children to try baseball/softball, with coaches leading sessions at Barlow Hall Primary in Manchester, Bedford Primary in Liverpool, and Ludworth Primary and Priestnall Secondary School in Stockport.

The North West team has also been working towards setting up a mini-league for Trafford primary schools, and the first game was played in July.

Linni Mitchell has been running curriculum PE sessions for Years 5 and 6 at Flixton Primary School every spring and summer term since 2016.  This year, English Martyrs Primary introduced a baseball/softball after-school club in April, and the school term climaxed with a debut game hosted at Urmston Grammar School, that Flixton Juniors won in extra innings.

After hearing about this inaugural game on social media, another local primary school, Urmston Juniors, has approached BSUK to start baseball sessions for Year 5s in the coming autumn term.


Anyone in the North West region who would like to introduce baseball/softball to their school can contact Regional Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas on LA@bsuk.com.

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