You may be the captain of a league team, a tournament team or both. Below is a concise description of a captain's role with information and links that might be of help. BaseballSoftballUK will continue to develop this guidance as feedback is received and taken onboard.
We have developed this guidance from our resources, captains' input and resources already existing in leagues around the UK.
This guidance will be supported by workshops and a support busy system for slowpitch captains.
Building your club/team committee
A sports club/team committee plays a vital role in the effective management, governance, and growth of the club. It provides structure, accountability, and leadership, ultimately enhancing the experience for all involved.
The following are helpful steps that will assist you in forming a group to develop your club/team: Identify potential candidates, Approach potential co-captains, Forming a committee, Assigning roles, Hold regular meetings, Encourage open communication, Support each other, Evaluate and adjust.
By following these steps and building a cohesive committee, you can effectively share the workload and ensure that your team runs smoothly, even when individual members are away. Collaboration and teamwork are key to success both on and off the field.
Promoting your team at new player days or taster sessions is a fantastic way to attract fresh talent and grow your membership. Here's how you can go about promoting your team at such events:
Research local opportunities, Attend events, Promotional materials, Demonstrate the sport, Networking, Host your own event, Utilise social media, Follow up.
By actively promoting your team at new player days or hosting your own recruitment events, you can increase awareness, attract new players, and contribute to the growth of softball in your community.
Induction of new players
Inducting players into your softball team involves welcoming them into the team, providing necessary information, setting expectations, and integrating them into the team culture. Here's a step-by-step guide to effectively inducting new players:
Welcome meeting, Introductions, Team handbook (if you have one), Team expectations, Training and Game days, Team culture. Uniforms and equipment, Social activities, Feedback and communication.
By following these steps, you can ensure that new players feel welcomed, informed, and supported as they join your softball team. Effective induction sets the foundation for a positive and inclusive team environment where all players can thrive and enjoy their softball experience.
Where to find teams
Find other teams using the BaseballSoftballUK Team Finder.
Running your club/team off the field
Managing a softball team involves a combination of organisational, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Below are few pieces of advice to effectively manage your softball team:
Establish clear goals and lead by example.
Delegate responsibilities, stay organised and handle team finances responsibility.
Provide feedback, promote team unity and address conflict.
By implementing these strategies and approaches, you can effectively manage your softball team and create an environment where players can thrive, develop their skills, and enjoy their softball experience.
Effective communication with your softball team is essential for fostering a positive and cohesive environment. Try some of the tips below:
Establish your communication channels/platforms and use them regularly. Encourage two-way communication with a call to action on your messages. Make sure you and your committee are approachable. Celebrate successes, both big and small. Recognise individual achievements and milestones to boost morale and motivation within the team.
Allow softball players to be themselves, this is crucial for fostering a positive and inclusive team environment where each player feels valued and respected.
Rules and Regulations
You and your players must know the rules of the sports we play. Those on and off the field. Some are written and some are unwritten.
Softball as a sport has many complicated rules, so it is useful to identify members of your team who are keen to familiarise themselves with the rules of the sport. You can find the current official rules of the sport here.
A useful simplified beginners guide to softball can be found here https://www.BaseballSoftballUK.com/uploads/documents/Coaching/Beginners_Guide_Softball.pdf
BaseballSoftballUK LGBTQ+ Steering group has created a set of Inclusive Softball Rules, designed to assist teams in managing the inclusion of non-binary and transgendered players. Please note that these rules are a guide and can be adapted as needed.
BaseballSoftballUK and the British Softball Federation
These two organisations will be able to help you on your journey as a captain. Below is a link where you can see what each organisation do: https://www.britishsoftball.org/news/article/bsuk-and-the-bsf-what-is-the-difference
Safeguarding your Team
Safeguarding your team, especially in sports, involves creating a safe and supportive environment for all members, with particular attention to protecting children and vulnerable adults. BaseballSoftballUK have trained staff and procedures in place which will allow you to safeguard your team while concentrating on what you really want to do, play the sport. Please get in touch with your BaseballSoftballUK relationship manager for more information including providing your committee with DBSs and opportunities for safeguarding training.
Under 18 Players
Most leagues in the UK allow for players 14 years and older to play in the same teams as adults. You can read all about the regulations for Under 18 players here.
Once you register your team with your league it’s likely your team will be insured via the British Softball Federation. Please ask your league organiser for details.
We hope you have a smooth ride as a captain or a player, but in case anything happens during your training or game, please make sure you report it using the Incident Report Form https://www.BaseballSoftballUK.com/incident-reporting
Getting Kitted Out
Having a softball uniform serves several important purposes for a team, below we name a few:
- Team Identity
- Sponsorship opportunities
- Team spirit
Overall, having a softball uniform is essential for a team's identity, professionalism, safety, and unity. It contributes to a positive team culture and enhances the overall experience for players, coaches, and fans alike. The Baseball Outlet offers Team Shops at the link here.
Teams will need a certain amount of equipment for training and games. Balls, protective screens, tees, bases, scorebooks, cones, weighted balls, etc., are available from the online shops below, however, make you talk to your league as they may provide some of this for you.
Basic equipment which every player will need, whether the teams has it for them or they have their own is:
- a glove.
- footwear, trainers or studs depending on where you play.
- a bat.
Baseball Outlet - https://www.baseballoutlet.co.uk/
Softball Shop - https://www.thesoftballshop.co.uk/
Approved bat list
Before your teammates go and get themselves a great bat, please check the https://www.wbsc.org/en/organisation/softball/bat-list to make sure they are allowed to use it in the UK leagues.
Developing Coaches for your club/team
Coaching and coaching resources
Teams should aim to have people who can coach, captains don’t necessarily have to be the person coaching the team. As a captain, you may identify people in your team who are capable or have an interest in coaching.
If you have identified a player/coach who wants to develop their coaching skills, BaseballSoftballUK will have a programme to suit them.
The Slowpitch Academy
BaseballSoftballUK set out to create a multi-faceted and accessible slowpitch Softball Academy to offer technical guidance to support the skill and gameplay development of slowpitch players and coaches – focusing on the core skills of hitting, throwing, pitching and base-running.
Our mission is to empower slowpitch softball players and coaches to reach their full potential by providing resources and support. We aim to enhance the skills, knowledge, and passion of every slowpitch softball enthusiast, enabling them to excel on the field. Together, we build a stronger future for the game we love.
In the Summer of 2023 BaseballSoftballUK delivered 29 sessions over six different venues in the UK, reaching out to 182 participants. These batting and fielding sessions were delivered by experienced players/coaches at events the participants were already attending, minimising travel and cost.
Through the off-season, three-hour academy sessions are being delivered in key areas of the country, servicing local leagues, and involving and developing local coaches. London, the South West (Bristol) and the North West (Rochdale).
The slowpitch Academy also helps develop coaches which are much needed in our communities. Over 14 coaches have now been supporting the academies.
BaseballSoftballUK will run a similar academy programme as 2023 during the 2024 season. We are also keen to deploy the academy coaches to local leagues, for the benefit of players but also to help develop local coaches. If your league is interested in please get in touch with Luis via LA@bsuk.com
For more information on the slowpitch Academy and Coach education please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Practicing with your club/team
Field set-up and dimensions
There are a few dedicated softball fields in various parts of the country however, in the UK most leagues and tournaments are played on grass fields, in the following link you will be able to find the regulations field dimensions.
Running your training session
Running a productive and engaging softball practice session requires careful planning, organisation, and attention to the specific needs and goals of the team. Here's a step-by-step guide to running a successful softball practice session:
Set Objectives: Determine the goals and objectives of the practice session. Identify areas of focus such as skill development or fitness conditioning.
Plan the Session: Develop a detailed practice plan outlining the activities, drills, and exercises you will include. Structure the session to include a warm-up, skill-focused drills, team drills, and cool-down activities.
Warm-Up: Start with a dynamic warm-up routine to prepare players' bodies for physical activity. Include exercises that target key muscle groups used in softball, such as jogging, high knees, arm circles, and lunges.
Skill Development Drills: Focus on specific skills that align with the team's objectives and areas for improvement. This may include hitting, fielding, throwing, pitching, catching, or base running.
Break down each skill into individual drills and exercises to provide focused practice and feedback. Use repetition to reinforce proper technique and muscle memory.
Feedback and Corrections: Provide constructive feedback and corrections to players throughout the practice session, while also identifying areas for refinement and growth.
Use demonstrations, and ask experienced players to demonstrate.
Fitness Conditioning: Integrate fitness conditioning drills and exercises to improve players' strength, endurance, and agility.
Cool-Down: End the practice session with a cool-down routine to help players transition out of intense physical activity and promote recovery. Include static stretching exercises to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
Use the cool-down period as an opportunity for reflection and feedback, allowing players to share their thoughts and experiences from the practice session.
Review and Reflection: Take time at the end of the practice session to review key takeaways and reflect on areas of progress and areas for improvement.
Solicit feedback from players on the practice session, asking for input on what worked well and what could be enhanced in future sessions.
Provide Encouragement and Motivation: Throughout the practice session, provide encouragement, motivation, and positive reinforcement to players.
Evaluate and Adjust: After the practice session, take time to evaluate its effectiveness in achieving the intended objectives. Identify any areas that may need adjustment or refinement for future sessions.