The British Softball Federation has appointed Robbie Robison to be the new Head Coach for the GB Senior Men’s Fastpitch Team, and Robbie will lead the team at this summer’s European Men’s Championship in Denmark.
The tournament will also be a Qualifier for the group stage of the next WBSC Men’s Fastpitch World Cup.
Robbie succeeds Colin Barrett, who was appointed as the GB Men’s Team Head Coach late in 2021 and led the team to success in last year’s Sweden Series games against the Swedish National Team at Farnham Park. But Colin resigned in the autumn of 2022 for lack of time to devote to the team, given his other commitments to softball as a BSUK staff member.
Robbie Robison has been playing and coaching both slowpitch and fastpitch softball for 50 years, and has compiled an impressive variety of experience as both a national team player and coach in the UK over the past decade.
He has been a player with both the GB Men’s Fastpitch Team and the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team and began his national team coaching career as an Assistant Coach with the GB Under-19 Women’s Fastpitch Team in 2012.
Robbie was the Head Coach for both BSUK’s Softball Academy from 2021-21 and the Softball High Performance Academy from 2013-21.
During those years he also served as an Assistant Coach with the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team in 2017 and returned to the GB Under-19 Women’s Team as an Assistant Coach in 2017 and Head Coach in 2018.
Robbie also coached the men’s fastpitch club team Meteors at the European Men’s Super Cup in 2019 and was Head Coach for four years for The Mix, a women’s fastpitch club team that has won the Women’s Division in the Great Britain Fastpitch League for the past two years and played in the European Women’s Cup in three of the past four years.
When the GB Senior Men travel to Horsholm in Denmark for this summer’s European Men’s Championship, scheduled for 24-29 July, they will be competing in Europe – largely due to the effects of the pandemic -- for the first time since 2018.
In that year, and for many years previously, the GB Men’s Team had had a majority of overseas-based players and often an overseas-based Head Coach, and while this brought a number of third and fourth place finishes in European Championships and participation in two ISF World Championships, it stifled opportunities for an increasing number of home-based players coming up through the programme’s youth teams.
During the pause induced by the Covid pandemic, and without the Olympic possibilities that determine the direction for the GB Women’s programme, a decision was made to base the men’s fastpitch programme primarily on home-based players, from the Senior Team through the Under-23, Under-18 and the new U-16 programmes. Robbie Robison intends to reinforce this decision by helping to ensure integration between the Senior Men’s Team and the age group teams in terms of coaching philosophy and approach.
In response to appointment, Robbie said, “I am very honoured to be given this opportunity. I believe this programme has a lot of potential, and with so much hard work having been done by the coaches in the junior programmes and by my predecessor Colin Barrett in getting the domestic system set up so well, I look forward to taking this programme to the next stage.
“We have an exciting year ahead,” Robbie added, “with several opportunities in the mix, but the Europeans in July is the main goal. The GB Senior Men’s Team has not competed at a European Championship since 2018, but I believe we will benefit from a fresh start, with lots of new blood and passion from our domestic programme, bolstered by athletes currently playing overseas as well. I am excited about the potential of this group of ballplayers and believe we will have a great summer playing at the Europeans against Europe’s best.”
Robbie will assemble the rest of his staff for the Senior Men’s Team before men’s programme tryouts on the weekend of 18-19 March.
“Then we will hit the ground running,” Robbie said, “as the GB Men’s programme has a lot on this summer and it’s going to be very exciting!”