Get in the Game!
You're interested in playing – or finding out more about playing – either baseball, slowpitch softball or fastpitch softball. You've never played before and you don't know where to start. Maybe you're not even too sure about the differences. Or maybe you've played one or more of these sports before and want to find a team to join.
Whether you're a beginner, a relative novice or an experienced player, you'll find information in this section that will help you get involved in the format of your choice. We are currently in the off-season as far as the normal outdoor summer game is concerned, but there are plenty of indoor training and competition activities going on around the country during the winter months, many of them designed to attract new players and provide them with basic training and experience.
Below is some basic information about baseball, slowpitch and fastpitch softball, with a link in each case to a list of open training or tryout activities that you can join.
You can also use our Diamond Finder to check out teams, clubs and leagues in your area.
Maybe you've seen Major League Baseball in America played on television, with those big stadiums, colourful uniforms, pitchers throwing the ball at 90 mph and batters hitting it 400 feet!
Well, in Britain, we don't have the big stadiums -- though we do now have our own dedicated baseball centre at Farnham Park near Slough, opened in July 2013 -- and pitchers and batters here are not quite so scary. But we do have baseball clubs all around the country with adult teams (primarily men but women are also welcome) and with youth teams at different age levels. These teams play in leagues that range from social and recreational to very competitive, and most clubs will welcome new players and teach them the game.
There are also Regional and National Academies for youth baseball players, open to anyone aged 10-25 who wants to attend. You can find dates and details in the Events section on the BSUK website or on the Academy Page.
The 2014 outdoor baseball has now started but some clubs or organisations still run sessions designed for players who are new to the game and who want to give it a try.
Find out more about how and where to get involved in baseball.
Co-ed slowpitch softball is a recreational, social and enjoyable game that's easy to learn and play, even for people who are not “athletes” or don't have much experience of team sports – and the game offers particular opportunities for women.
It's a lot like baseball in terms of the rules, but because the ball is pitched slowly to each batter (as the name implies!), it's easy to hit the ball and succeed at the sport's central skill. The fact that men and women play together in the same team and on an equal level gives the sport a social buzz, and most softball games are followed by sessions at the local pub!
But there is also a competitive side to the sport, with serious tournaments and national championships. There is even a Great Britain Co-ed Slowpitch National Team that has won nine straight European Championships.
There are softball leagues and teams in major cities and town throughout England and also in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. League play tends to be on weekday evenings after work during the summer, and there are weekend tournaments for keener teams. Most leagues run beginner sessions throughout the year and offer coaching to help people learn to play and find a team.
Find out more about how and where to get involved in slowpitch softball.
Fastpitch softball in the UK and around the world is played mainly (but not exclusively) by women and girls and is the international competition format of the sport.
Women's fastpitch softball was the Olympic format while the sport was on the Olympic Games programme from 1996-2008. It is more challenging than slowpitch softball, and requires more skill and game awareness, but fastpitch softball is a tremendously rewarding game and the format is growing in both quantity and quality in the UK.
There are regional and national Softball Academy sessions over the winter months, open to anyone between the ages of 10 and 25 who wants to attend. Academy sessions are seen as a stepping stone to national teams at Under-13, Under-16, Under-19 and Senior levels for girls and women and at Under-19 and Senior levels for men.
During the spring and into the summer, play takes place in the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) based at Farnham Park in Buckinghamshire and in the East Midlands Fastpitch League, which has teams in Nottingham and Leicester. Both leagues are open to new players regardless of experience or ability.
Find out more about how and where to get involved in fastpitch softball.