New to Softball
You're interested in playing – or finding out more about playing – either 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. The 2015 summer season is now over, but there will be open indoor training sessions and competitions around the country over the winter, designed to attract new players and provide them with basic training and experience.
Below is some basic information about slowpitch and fastpitch softball, followed by a list of winter activities that you can join if you want to get involved in either format.
You can also use our Diamond Finder to check out softball leagues in your area.
What is it?
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, and there is a Great Britain Co-ed Slowpitch National Team that has won ten 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. During the winter, many leagues run indoor taster sessions, training sessions and tournaments. Most leagues run beginner sessions and offer coaching to help people learn to play and find a team, and many of the activities listed below are designed for that purpose.
Open Softball Sessions
Bury (indoor) – Mondays from 7.00-8.00 pm at Broad Oak Sport Centre, Hazel Avenue, BL9 7QT. For more information, contact Hector Martinez (firstname.lastname@example.org) or see the following Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/966133776790844/?fref=ts.
Sefton (indoor) – Mondays from 7:30-9:30 pm at Archbishop Beck School, 55 Long Lane, L9 7BF. For more information, contact email@example.com or useFacebook (https://www.facebook.com/SeftonSoftball) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/SeftonSoftball).
Manchester Indoor Softball League – Tuesdays from 7.00-9.00 pm at Powerleague Trafford, Trafford Way, M17 8DD. For more information, contact Luis Arrevillagas (LA@bsuk.com) or use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ManchesterIndoorSoftballLeague).
Manchester (indoor) – Sundays from 3.00-5.00 pm at Platt Lane Dome, Yew Tree Road, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 7UU. For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/386272364791419/?fref=ts.
Chester Pirates (outdoor) – Saturdays from 10.00am-12.00 pm at Thackeray Drive, Vicars Cross, Chester CH3 5LP. For more information, contact ChesterPirates@gmail.com or use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ChesterPirates) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChesterPirates).
Chester Pirates (indoor) – Thursdays from 7.00-8.00 pm at Goals Soccer Centre, Bumpers Lane, Chester CH1 4LT. For more information, contact ChesterPirates@gmail.com or use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ChesterPirates) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChesterPirates).
Wrexham (indoor) – Mondays at 6.00 pm at Splash Magic Leisure Centre, Llangollen Road, Acrefair, Wrexham LL14 3HL. For more information, contact Ioan Said (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WrexhamSoftballClub) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/WrxSoftball).
University Softball Sessions
Edge Hill – Tuesdays from 7.00-8.00 pm at The Sports Centre Sports Hall, L39 4QP. For more information, contact Jane Grantham (email@example.com) or go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/796355483813427/?fref=ts.
Salford – Wednesdays from 7.00-9.00 pm at Albion Academy Sports Hall, London Street, Salford M6 6QT. For more information, contact Victor Marantha (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/UOSSoftball) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/UOSSTeam).
Manchester Met Cheshire – Thursdays from 8.00-10.00pm at Sports Hall, Crewe Green Rd, Crewe CW1 5DU. For more information, use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/baseballsoftballmmuc) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/MMUCSB).
University of Manchester – Sundays from 12.00-1.00 pm at Sugden Centre, Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HL. For more information, contact Kiran Morrison (email@example.com) or use Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/UoMSoftball) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/MaelstromUoM).
Junior Open Softball Sessions
KS2 primary sessions – 10.00-11.00 am at Powerleague Trafford, Trafford Way, M17 8DD. For more information, contact Luis Arrevillagas (LA@bsuk.com) or go to: https://www.facebook.com/Primary-KS2-BaseballSoftball-Indoor-sessions-144142635929950/.
KS2 primary sessions -- TBC (January) at Reddish Vale, Stockport, SK5 7HB. For more information, contact Ben Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Watch this space -- winter activities will be listed soon.
SOLENT & SOUTH COAST
Watch this space -- winter activities will be listed soon.
What is it?
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, and it is looking ever more likely that the sport will rejoin the Olympic programme in Tokyo in 2020. Fastpitch is more challenging than slowpitch softball, and requires more skill and game awareness, but it is a tremendously rewarding game and the format is growing in both quantity and quality in the UK.
Most fastpitch activity is based in the southeast of England, but there is also a small fastpitch league in the East Midlands and fastpitch activity in Norfolk, Bristol, Chichester and, in 2016, in Manchester.
GREAT BRITAIN FASTPITCH LEAGUE
The Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) is open to all players, female and male, from 14 years upwards. There are ten teams -- male, female and mixed -- playing in two divisions based on ability and experience on five Saturdays during the spring and early summer. Watch for information on the GBFL schedule for 2016.
The league plays at Farnham Park, Beaconsfield Road, Farnham Royal, Slough SL2 3BP.
New players are always welcome, regardless of ability or previous experience with fastpitch softball or any form of softball. If you would like to get involved, contact Lee Grafton.
EAST MIDLANDS FASTPITCH LEAGUE
A small fastpitch league for female players operates in Nottngham and Leicester in the East Midlands, and is open to all interested players regardless of ability or previous experience. To get involved or for more information, contact Paul Cooper.
BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK runs National and Regional Academy sessions over the winter months from October through March, open to all female and male players from 10-25 years of age. For information on dates, venues and cost, go to the BSUK)Academy Page on the BSUK website.
BSUK also runs a High Performance Academy over the winter, by trial and invitation, for female players aged 14-19. For more information or to trial for a place, contact Will Lintern.