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. 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.
If you are interested in setting up a new softball or baseball programme yourself or introducing the sport to your school, college, university, community or work place, our national participation programme, Hit the Pitch, is designed to help. We can help you run an introductory day, set up a new team or organise a whole league! Please visit the Hit the Pitch website to find out more.
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 on the Academy page.
To find out what current opportunities are being offered by baseball clubs, please visit the 'Get in the Game' page of the British Baseball website.
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.
To find out what current opportunities are being offered by softball clubs and leagues, please visit the 'New to Softball' page of the British Softball website.
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. Please visit the Academy section of the website for more information.
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.
To find out what current opportunities are being offered by fastpitch clubs and leagues, please visit the 'New to Softball' page of the British Softball website.