By Alice Hunter

The BSF is excited to announce that Dan Spinks will be the new GB Slowpitch Head Coach, and he has assembled a great team to support the ongoing performance, and development, of the GB Slowpitch Programme.

Dan’s Softball Career

Dan's introduction to softball commenced at his secondary school, St Anselm's in Canterbury, around 1996 through a dedicated PE teacher looking to introduce the game to his students. His softball journey began back then with a group of close friends through inter school play and with whom he still plays on the same club Slowpitch team today, the Pioneers. Throughout his softball life, they have enjoyed many softball experiences together, something he values a lot. While playing at school in the late 90s, he joined the Pioneers Slowpitch team around the age of 14 who played in the Kent league and independent tournaments. He then started traveling to play in independent tournaments across the UK with Pioneers and the Puppies men's team. During this involvement, he was selected to be part of the U18 GB program playing primarily fastpitch. 

While still playing, Dan and his close friends, with the help of the wider team and many helpful softball friends, would host a competitive tournament called PSST! The tournament ran for well over 10 years with their key involvement lasting around 7 years as organizers. Held at the University of Kent in Canterbury, it created many unique memories for the participants. PSST! (Pioneers Slowpitch Softball Tournament) was known as a fun and competitive tournament that was enhanced by their experiences of playing ball in the USA at the Advertising World Series Tournament (ADWS). There have been many enjoyable domestic experiences, but the highlights are x5 National Championships A/NSL1 Grade in 2002, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2018, and x1 European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup in 2018. For the single-sex team, winning men's nationals with the Puppies in 2012 and 2015. 

Dan's adult GB journey began in his early twenties, and he has been involved ever since, selected for every Coed European Championship, winning gold 9 times with the team since 2006 in Slovenia, Coed team Captain since 2012. Individual highlights include:

  • 2006 European Championships - Best Batter and Pitcher Awards (Slovenia)
  • 2011 European Championships - Best Batter (Bulgaria)
  • Finishing his GB co-ed playing career with a .895 Batting Average in the 2022 European Championships (Slovenia).

He has traveled to compete in many tournaments across the USA, Canada, and Europe with the GB Coed Slowpitch team and the London Mad Cows independent competitive touring team, to play in the ADWS. His involvement was as a player and coach, helping to organize the trip with close friends spanning between 2006 to 2014. In 2010, they took over 35 people to participate in x2 Teams across x2 divisions in Las Vegas, and he, along with Rocket and Pie, were inducted into their HOF in 2010, a special memory. In 2014 at the Border Battle event, he was selected to be part of Team Europe, which was a massive honor and a truly fantastic experience getting to play against the best Slowpitch players in the world! In 2022, he was selected for the GB Men's Slowpitch European Championships in Italy, where the team successfully retained the title. Throughout this time, the journey has been driven by his participation with the Pioneers, Puppies, and the awesome teammates he's been fortunate enough to play alongside in the GB program. He's played on the England World Series team since 2006 and in subsequent years took on the coaching role, winning in 2009 and 2014. Softball has been a massive part of his life and continues to be; he met his wife through playing this game, and now their children are swinging for the fence in their back garden! 

His most recent achievement is being inducted into the BSF Hall of Fame as a player in 2022. With everything that has gone before him, he feels now is the time to build on these playing experiences and deliver continued success together as part of the GB coaching setup. 

A look to the future 

Dan said the following about his appointment,

“I applied for the job because the team is going through a significant transition in terms of staff and players. With the experiences I’ve had with this team over a considerable number of years, I feel I can add further value and help guide the programme with where it needs to be. I will help continue the legacy of the program whilst trying to develop a culture that improves performance and encourages new talent! I’m looking forward to the Europeans in July despite a very short amount of time to prepare! Following that, the structure of training, player development and engaging as many people as possible to help improve the program and inspire the next generation of Slowpitch players! I look forward to working with captains of NSL teams to widen our message and harness talent from every top level domestic team.  

Developing the program will be a team effort, embracing ideas born within our group of passionate players and coaches. The staff assembled will steer this programme forward, with a major future highlight being a home Europeans in 2026 and ensuring as many people as possible have the chance to try out for an opportunity to play on the big stage! A key focus will be to encourage new talent to participate. This programme is not exclusive, and we aim to see good players improve, challenge themselves to play at the highest possible level, and vie for a place in the competition team. I particularly appreciate the involvement of existing members of the GB Slowpitch programme in coaching others, especially in the University Slowpitch Softball scene. It appears to be taking shape and excites me about the potential impact it may have, not only for GB Slowpitch but also the broader Slowpitch community. I am impressed by UK-based teams who travel to test themselves in wider European events. It is wonderful to witness and serves as a valuable learning opportunity for higher-level competition, which will be promoted within the program.”

 A look at the new programme staff

Dan has been fortunate enough to play alongside some fantastic players and coaches and he wanted to assemble a group that GB players will respect, listen to, and learn from. Their approach will be very much focused on teamwork and ensuring the right attitude is maintained during training and competition. As such, Dan is joined by Stewart Butcher (Team Manager), Jenny Ball (Assistant Coach), Luis Arrevillagas (Assistant Coach) and Steve Hazard (Transitioning Player/Coach).

Stewart Butcher – Team Manager

 Slowpitch softball has been a large part of Stewart's life for the last 33 years, and he still plays at the club where it all started for him – BA Softball Club. He also plays tournaments with H2O in NSL1 and The Puppies men’s single-sex. Stewart was quite late joining the GB Slowpitch programme but was selected in 2010 by then head coach Jeremy Bedford. During his time in the programme, he was fortunate enough to represent GB Slowpitch at the 2015 ISF World Cup where he was also captain.

Alongside of playing, Stewart has also spent a large portion of his time on the BA Softball club committee and organizing the BA Softball Tournament, growing it from a recreational tournament to where it ended up as a regular fixture on the NSL calendar.

Stewart had the following comments on his appointment, “I feel lucky to have played with some very talented players over the years, both at club and international level, so when Dan Spinks reached out to ask if I would be interested in applying to become the GB Slowpitch team manager it felt like a natural step for me, if a slightly daunting one. I’m looking forward to working with Dan and the great coaching team he has assembled. The first goal will be selecting the best combination of players to challenge for another gold medal at this summer’s European Championships in the Czech Republic. Then longer term organising the selection, coaching and training of the next generation of GB Slowpitch players to showcase the talent that this country has to offer. “

Jenny Ball – Assistant Coach


Jenny is a long-time member of the GB program, since 2007 for GB Slowpitch, and was inducted into the BSF Hall of Fame in 2018. Jenny comes from Nottingham, that hotbed of talent. She has played for H2O, Chromies and most currently the Pioneers. Jenny’s technical ability and outstanding attitude is unquestionable. Alongside Team GB golds for slowpitch, she has been awarded multiple individual awards over the years at European championships from MVP to Best Batter. Jenny understands the subtle differences between fast and slow pitch, she has performed in both formats of the game to GB level. This international experience and her knowledge as a utility player in both aspects of softball, allows her to provide important coaching and feedback to players.  

Luis Arrevillagas – Assistant Coach

Luis has been involved with the GB program for nearly 10 years, firstly as an assessor for squad selection and more recently as a player of the Men’s squad and as an assistant coach for the Co-ed squad. Born in Heswall, moved to Venezuela at an early age where he played baseball and softball to university level before moving back to the UK 27 years ago. Joined Manchester Baseball Club in the 2000s where he won various trophies including Gold Glove in 2003, Batting Champion in 2005 and 2007 and MVP in 2005 and 2007.   
Luis started playing slowpitch in Manchester and nationally in 2008, assisted the GB manager in squad selections and in 2014 travelled to Canada as part of the team of players representing Europe in the Border Battle tournament against the USA and Canada. Luis has been exposed to the highest level of the game. In 2018 Luis was part of the original GB Men’s team who won European gold in the Czech Republic for the first time that competition was played. Also played and won another European gold medal in 2022 in Italy for the second European Men’s competition.  
Luis has managed his local club Thunder for over 10 years, currently the Manchester League Champions and regularly manages teams into various tournaments in and around the UK. Luis plays for Spitting Camels in the National Softball League 1, a tough, powerful competitor with a brilliant attitude towards performance and a level head. Luis took the role of Assistant coach for the GB Co-ed squad in 2022 and helped bring back a gold medal from the Europeans in Slovenia that year. Luis continues in the role as an experienced and valuable member of the coaching staff. He brings with him a wide scouting knowledge of players nationwide.  

Steve Hazard

 Steve will be part of the program as a transitioning Player/Coach primarily focused on enhancing the player experience at training sessions. As previously documented in BSF articles, a jewel in the crown for British homegrown softball. Also from Nottingham, where he started out playing baseball and was further introduced to softball in his teenage years. Steve has been a member of the GB Slowpitch program since 2007 and has experience competing internationally within the GB Men’s Fastpitch team. He was also a member of Team Europe in 2014.  
Steve was inducted into the BSF Hall of Fame as a player in 2022. He formally played with H2O and is a current member of Pioneers and Nottingham Pyros who compete in select ESSL tournaments. He has experienced the game at the highest levels and still performs at them now. Steve is very much a driving force within Softball, hugely respected as a player who is interested in elevating the standard of play and bring more talent to the program.