Second University Baseball and Softball Conference takes place in Kettering
Fri 7 Oct 2016
Students from across the country descended on Arena Sports Kettering in Northampton on Saturday 24 September for the second annual National University Baseball and Softball Conference. The conference provided delegates and BSUK staff with an opportunity to discuss all things university baseball and softball.
Opening the discussions, BSUK National Development Manager Chris Rawlings highlighted the dramatic growth in both slowpitch softball and baseball in the Higher Education sector, with the number of university teams having grown from five in 2008 to 62 in 2016.
There are now 18 university baseball teams in 16 different institutions and 44 slowpitch softball teams in 20 universities. In all, 30 universities now have a softball or baseball team, with many having a combined softball and baseball society.
During the conference, the delegates, many of them University Baseball or Softball Officers, attended the BaseballSoftballUK Activators Course, a practical session to upskill them in the delivery of activity for new players, since it will be crucial for these students to engage new players at their universities during the new academic year.
Other workshops included sessions on BSUK’s Academy and High Performance Academy, opportunities for students to stay involved in the sports after graduating and Hit the Pitch, BSUK’s national participation development programme.
A popular workshop was the group discussion on developing university clubs, covering issues such as recruitment, workforce, partnerships and funding.
The conference concluded with a review of the current competition programme for universities, and there was a lot of positive chat about expanding the programme to include regional leagues and extending the format of the National University Softball Championships to two days.
Comments and thanks
Chris Rawlings said: “This second National University Baseball and Softball Conference provided a great opportunity for the students and their universities to reflect on the enormous progress they have achieved over the past few years. I don’t think anybody expected the sports to gain such traction in the Higher Education sector in such a short space of time. The fact that they have is testament to an awful lot of hard work and dedication from the development staff at BSUK and, more importantly, the students at each university.”
BSUK was grateful to partner once again with Volleyball England in staging this conference. Volleyball’s Higher Education development work is well established and the partnership has enabled BSUK to stage the conference at a great facility and with lessons learned from last year’s event.