Following on from their recent adult return to play announcement, Leicester Blue Sox have today outlined plans for the return of kids’ baseball at Western Park in 2021.
The club have been developing generations of youth baseball talent since they began their original Blue Sox Juniors programme back in 2012.
The Little Sox programme then followed in 2014 which brought tee-ball and then coach pitch baseball to the club, with Leicester winning the 2018 Little League Coach Pitch Championship.
Successions of Juniors and Little Sox players have also been selected to represent the Great Britain and United Kingdom national teams.
In 2020, the club needed to pause its youth efforts due to a lack of coaches as well as the unavoidable disruption of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A new way forward
Leicester have been contemplating the return of youth baseball at Western Park for several months now, but starting a programme from scratch in a Covid-secure environment along with a limited coaching resource was always going to be a challenge.
Thankfully, not only have we identified a way of bringing youth baseball back in this uncertain environment, we will be doing so by adopting a new and exciting format of the sport – Baseball5.
“Baseball5 is a new five-on-five, five-inning 'street version' of the game of Baseball/Softball that can be played anywhere. This faster urban discipline will help drive baseball and softball to new places not possible before.” WBSC President - Riccardo Fraccari
Baseball5 has the following key advantages over the previous versions of youth baseball we have played:
· No backstop construction or dedicated venue needed
· Can be played on any surface indoors or outdoors
· Simple rules, easy to pick up from your first swing
· No need for lengthy training programmes, kids can turn up and immediately get in the game
· No bats, helmets or gloves needed (which helps us be more Covid-secure), all you need is a ball!
· No pitching involved, ball is hit by the hand – this makes the game more accessible to a broader range of age groups, we can mix older and younger children together, and even get mum’s and dad’s involved if we are short of numbers
· Kids can go home and play the game in their spare time or in the school playground
· All activity to be located at Western Park, no travelling for league games, tournaments etc.
· Game is 5 a side, which increases the possibility of forming multiple teams at a single location, as well as developing a genuine local league
· Complete independence from National structures, ie Little League, elite youth baseball etc. no need to worry about travelling long distances to face teams at a much higher level
· Fun, community feel to the sport, better opportunity for retention and growth over the longer term
Leicester Blue Sox GM Matt Crawshaw explains more “Like many of the other youth baseball programmes around the country, we have had our fair share of success and challenges over the years. The relaunch of youth baseball at Western Park under the Baseball5 format, gives us the opportunity to try some new and exciting, it will breathe new life into our programme in a much more simplified way. Best of all, this version of baseball only needs one ball and one coach; we are therefore very confident we can provide a safe Covid-secure environment to participating kids and families”.
Registration to the Leicester Blue Sox Kids Baseball5 programme will open on 1st April. We expect sessions to be held at Western Park on Wednesday evenings from late April to early July (depending on Government restrictions easing).
Keep checking back for more details!