From May to October, Softball Victoria, with the help of many of the member associations, will host the Junior Development Program for Victorian Junior Softballers.
Focused primarily on Under 13 Softballers, the success of the program from last year saw many players that “aged-out” seeking opportunity to return the program, despite their age, and therefore at their request the program extended to include 13 and 14 year olds.
With the 2017 program catering for 48 players, and seeing four teams travelling to South Australia for the SA Labour Day tournament, this year we have seen impressive growth, with the program now welcoming over 90 players, and shaping up to send up to six teams of enthusiastic juniors interstate. None of which would be possible if it were not for the dedicated group of 20+ coaches and officials who turn out each session to ensure that everything runs smoothly, not to mention the behind the scene hours that go into coordinating and planning each of the sessions.
There are six trainings in the first 10 weeks, easing the players into the program, and then the program escalates to weekly sessions from the start of August leading up the tournament at the end of September.
The program is focused on teaching various aspects of softball to the young athletes. The program includes core fundamental skills, (i.e. throwing, catching, fielding, batting, battery and base running) in the early weeks. As the program heats up, the session will extend the players as they build on foundation technique, and integrate those fundamental skills into focused positional play, situational play, strategy, and game play.
Whilst the program does focus heavily on development of physical softball skills, there are also strong threads of theory, rules and team work, and all coaches are determined to foster safe, fun and above all respectful and positive behaviours in the players. The program also offers players opportunity to learn from older State players, as some of the players from last years (and likely this years) state teams come down to sessions from time to time to bring elements of their experience to the program.
With State Team trials running at the moment the program also offers those players who do not make the U15 State Teams the possibility to join the program and attend the tournament in Adelaide as part of the Softball Victoria Academy teams.
The program is set to head into session five on 21 July at Maribyrnong Sports Academy, and we look forward to seeing the players all continue to grow and develop during the program’s duration. Further updates on the program’s progress will be announced in the coming weeks.
If you have any questions related to the program, please contact the program coordinators:
Belinda Ainslie – email@example.com (Boys Program – 2018)
Tony Black – Blacktsc@gmail.com (Girls Program – 2018)