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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2014 > January-April > Little League Softball® Celebrates its 40th Anniversary and National Girls and Women in Sports Day with New Initiatives

Little League Softball® Celebrates its 40th Anniversary and National Girls and Women in Sports Day with New Initiatives

Little League Softball® Celebrates its 40th Anniversary and National Girls and Women in Sports Day with New Initiatives


In 1974, the United States Congress amended the federal charter of Little League® to allow girls to play Little League and the organization officially launched Little League Softball®. Now, 40 years later, millions of women around the world can call themselves Little League graduates.

“Whether on the baseball or softball field, Little League has been able to provide a healthy outlet for girls around the world to gain confidence and learn valuable lessons of teamwork, dedication and citizenship through friendly competition,” said Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, President of Pennsylvania College of Technology and Little League International Board of Directors Chair. Dr. Gilmour is the first female Board Chair in the 75-year history of Little League, assuming the position in November 2012. “We’re excited to celebrate 40 years of Little League Softball this year and share in that celebration to give all of our players and volunteers the opportunity to have a great Little League experience.”

2013 LLSWS 500

Game action from the 2013 Little League Softball® World Series in Portland, Ore.

In recognition of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on February 5 and the 40th Anniversary of Little League Softball, Little League is announcing a year’s worth of initiatives. This year, Little League honors the past, present and future of Little League Softball, which currently has 360,000 athletes participating on more than 24,000 softball teams in over 20 countries, with four divisions culminating at a Softball World Series. Little League will also feature highlights of female Little Leaguers accomplishments and photos on its 75th Anniversary website, LittleLeagueBigLegacy.com.

40th Anniversary of Little League Softball: At events around the world, Little League Softball will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. The occasion will be marked at the 26th Little League International Congress in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 4-7, and celebrations will run through the four Softball World Series Tournaments this summer. The anniversary will be marked with a new Little League Softball 40th Anniversary logo, which will be incorporated into a patch on all Softball World Series uniforms.

Softball Excellence Coaching Courses for Little League: Just announced in January 2014, Little League has partnered with Softball Excellence, one of the best softball education organizations, to release a special set of online tools specifically designed and discounted for Little League volunteers. Developed by Softball Excellence founder, Cindy Bristow, the courses include seven levels of photo and video tutorials, from basic to advanced, to educate coaches on everything from pitching mechanics, to practice planning and offensive and defensive strategies. The online courses, which include practical advice that can translate directly to practice and game situations, can be purchased at LittleLeague.org/SE for $17.95 per course.

Expanded Television Coverage of Softball World Series Events: Already one of the only softball tournaments to air on television around the world, 2014 will feature more coverage of Little League Softball events than ever before. In addition to broadcasting the four Championship Games of all Softball World Series Tournaments (Little League, Junior League, Senior League and Big League), early-round action will be featured on the ESPN family of networks and Longhorn Network. More information will be available this summer on all Little League Softball game broadcasts on LLBWS.org.

Little League Softball Days: At colleges and universities around the United States, Little League Softball players and volunteers will be welcomed to watch top-notch softball competition, while joining the collegiate players for a special day at the ballpark. Some activities during Little League Softball Days include on-field instructions, free admission for Little Leaguers and more. Current Little League Softball Days are planned throughout the spring and summer at Baylor University, DePaul University, Hofstra University, Stanford University, University of Tennessee, University of Washington and more. More details can be found at LittleLeagueSoftball.org.

Little League Softball Coaches Clinics: Starting in January, Little League Softball has brought some of the top softball instructors in the nation to provide tools and tips to our Little League volunteers. Working with Olympic Gold Medalist, Michele Smith; former UCLA Bruin standout, Jen Schroeder and owner and founder of USA Elite Training, Jennifer Hapanowicz, Little League volunteers have the opportunity to learn from the best. Clinics have been completed in Louisiana, Illinois, California and Washington with a future event being held in Bristol, Conn. (March 8).

“This is an exciting year for Little League Softball,” said Sara Thompson, Little League Director of Softball Development. “To be able to mark the occasion of not only the 40th Anniversary of Little League Softball, but also the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the organization, with such great events and initiatives will be a great way to celebrate with our local Little League programs around the world.”

LLS 1977 500

Little League Softball® players coming off the field during the 1977 season.