A Bigger Boost: Little League Expands Softball Opportunities
In 2009, responding to requests for an easier approach to organize softball tournaments – even during the regular season – Little League International announced the Expanded Softball Special Games Guide. This year, the opportunities have been enhanced even more.
The all-inclusive guide has been updated by Little League, laying the groundwork for modified softball playing rules – designed to attract more Little League players, coaches and parents to a mid-season tournament setting.
“We will use these regulations as a platform for possible future softball rule revisions, without compromising Little League’s core standards,” Little League International’s Softball Manager, Sara Thompson, said. “Little League recognizes the unique needs of its girls’ softball program, and we’re hopeful that these adjustments will entice more softball teams and encourage leagues to establish new programs.”
Girls’ Little League Softball began in 1974 with about 30,000 players. With about 350,000 girls now playing around the world in divisions ranging from Tee Ball for 5-6 year olds, to Big League Softball for girls ages 14-18, the softball program in Little League has potential for even more growth.
“It’s a thrilling time for Little League Softball,” Ms. Thompson said. “The new opportunities go beyond just having more tournaments.”
One additional opportunity is for softball-only leagues to be formed. In some cases, Little League Softball programs are created in areas where there is no Little League Baseball program. In other cases, when all parties agree, a program only for Little League Softball (with its own separate Board of Directors) can be formed with the same or similar boundaries as the baseball program, provided the local Little League Baseball program turns over its softball “rights” to that territory. Organizers interested in this should contact the Regional Office.
For more information on the Expanded Softball Special Games opportunities, go to:
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Here are a few testimonials from volunteers in those leagues that held Expanded Softball Special Games tournaments in 2009:
“We invited all Little League teams, Majors on up, to the tournament from our district. We had quite a response from 20 teams.”
“As the District Administrator, I believe these types of tournaments are what our coaches, parents and players want.”
“I think with these rules you will bring up the numbers in softball. The girls that played had never experienced playing in a tournament and loved it.”
“The Expanded Special Games for 2009 was a great step in the right direction.”
“District 15 plans on using the special games again this year.”