If you happen to be driving along Summers Road in Farncombe, Surrey, you will notice work is progressing on the building of a brand new baseball & softball diamond on the grounds of Broadwater High School.
Broadwater is the new home for a new Youth Baseball club called the Broadwater Bobcats & this will be the first time that youth baseball & softball has been played in Surrey since 1991. Baseball is very much a minority sport in the UK, which is a pity, as it has so many aspects that make the game suitable for every age group & any ability or disability…Baseball in the States is very much a family sport, where Mum, Dad & the Kids will happily spend the day at the game, whether it’s a Major League fixture or their local Little League.
The formation of the Bobcats is based upon the American ethos of good old fashioned family fun & the club is targeting youngsters from 6-16 years old & is also tailoring a softball programme aimed at all ages, so that the whole family can take part & have fun.
The training of the youngsters is split into 2 broad age groups of 6-10 yrs & 11-16 yrs, but this does very much depend on the physical size of the individuals concerned, the main point is to have groups of players who are roughly equal in physical size – an important issue as there is then no intimidation of smaller players by bigger ones.
New players joining the club are given a very informal induction & then have the opportunity to try out the sport at their first four training sessions before they are expected to commit to joining the club – all equipment is provided by the club for practice sessions & it is hoped that as the youngters’ interest grows, they will want to buy their own personal equipment & break it in to their own style – this is particularly true of the baseball glove.
As training progresses throughout the Summer season, the players can have the opportunity to play in friendly games against other teams, but the driving principle behind the club is for everyone to have fun & to enjoy the game for what it is – at this level it is all about enjoyment & playing the game in a relaxed & safe environment.
We are working very closely with Broadwater High School to ensure that Baseball & Softball are integrated into the local sports activities & the school has been very supportive in our efforts. The school offer a range of sporting activities in addition to baseball & have fantastic facilities such as fully equipped gymnasiums, sports halls & full changing room & shower facilities. In addition to this, there is a licensed social club available to adult members of all the sports clubs.
2009 will see a range of new activities at Broadwater Field, such as Family “It’s a Knockout” Days, Baseball Exhibitions, Pitch & hit sessions for budding Babe Ruths to take on our mechanical pitching machine in the safety of a batting cage. There are also a range of sports activities being planned for local youngsters to take part in during the long Summer holidays – so parents – keep an eye on your local press for details & banish the boredom!!!
We hope to raise the public awareness of the game in our area & we hope that we can build on our successes at Broadwater & hopefully integrate the game to other schools in the area & hopefully throughout the County as a whole.