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Here is where you can join the discussion on what is happening out in club land. Usual topics will include success stories, new programs being implemented as well as tips and strategies that have worked to get more people playing softball.


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    • Echunga Softball Club, back better than ever

      After closing the doors in September 2000 due to a significant membership decline, the Echunga Softball Club in the Hills Softball Association, South Australia, are back better than ever. The rebirth of the club in 2011 serves as the perfect example of rebuilding a club. Echunga Demons is one of Australia’s fastest growing clubs, building a member base of 65 in just two years. This was enough to land them a spot on the Top 20 League Ladder for membership growth.

      Echunga Softball Club Photo

      To find out the secret to their success, Softball Australia spoke to club President, Randy Siemens and Secretary, Kathy Webb.

      In 2011, Randy re-established the club to develop a men’s A Grade team. What started out as an opportunity for young men to participate in higher competition sparked a renewed interest in the softball community and the club grew from there. The team was very successful with 2 players selected to the national squad and 2 players representing the state squad.

      In their second season, Echunga was able to field a men’s and women’s B Grade team alongside its current A Grade squad with all three making finals. In the 2013-14 season, Echunga added a C Grade women’s team, an U15 mixed and a T-Ball team with the existing A Grade men’s team and the B Grade women’s team tasting premiership success, with the latter going back-to-back in the 2014-15 season.

      The secret to this on-field triumph is a fantastic, hard-working team behind the scenes. The Echunga crew, led by Randy and Kathy, have worked hard to establish a good system of governance, and policies and procedures whilst also developing the club’s culture by encouraging inclusive, social and fair club values. The club has also enjoyed the benefits of being involved in the STARCLUB Program since registering in October 2012. Developed by the Office of Recreation and Sport in South Australia, STARCLUB was designed to help South Australian clubs and associations identify areas for improvement within their club. A STARCLUB is classified as a well-run club where quality coaches and officials work alongside valued volunteers in a safe and welcoming environment. In Randy and Kathy’s own words, “Being involved in the STARCLUB program has greatly contributed to the success of our club as we have had access to a wider range of facilities, tools and grants to ensure our club is the best it can be.”

      Congratulations to Randy, Kathy and everyone working behind the scenes at the Echunga Softball Club for such an inspiring success story of growth and governance.

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    • Hawks Softball Club Flying High

      In a recent interview with Hawks Softball Club President, Cheryl Martin, we found out how this club increased their membership numbers from 20 in 2011 to almost 70 in 2015.

      hawks softball club

      Over the last few years, the Hawks Softball Club committee identified a need for a larger presence within their community and campaigned heavily to increase their membership.

      The Hawks have enthusiastically pounded the pavement in the Mackay and Beaconsfield regions of Queensland, peppering the town with flyers in shop windows and handing them out at the local markets. In the school holidays, the club held a Come ‘n’ Try day, ran sausage sizzles at Bunnings and Masters, and even made an appearance at the Mackay Sports Expo handing out key rings, pencils and balloons. More recently, the Hawks initiated a push to advertise through mediums such as Facebook, the local paper and the pocket ads newsletter.

      All these initiatives have resulted in the club successfully achieving their aim of increasing the community’s awareness of their club, resulting in membership growth. With its increased presence, combined with a welcoming and strong family-oriented culture and environment, Hawks Softball Club has increased their membership numbers from 20 in 2011 to almost 70 in 2015 - a sensational effort!

      In the coming months, the club plans to expand its presence on television and implement the Sporting Schools program, and Social 7s competitions. The Hawks’ committee has taken a proactive approach and used the results of the Club Health Check as a guide to start building for the future. The Club Health Check assisted the club with its organisation and governance, allowing them to develop an advertising campaign with an action plan and structure.

      The Club Health Check also identified a need for the Hawks to share roles at the club and to implement better planning strategies. Cheryl explained “at the end of each year we sit down and plan out what things we are going to do for the next year. How much money to spend on advertising, trophies, equipment. I think that helps a lot so that we're all on the same page. We now have a Uniform Officer, Equipment Officer, Record Secretary and Fundraising Coordinator. It just makes the jobs a lot easier and more members are involved. As the saying goes many hands make light work.”

      The Hawks have also focused on the professional development of its members, encouraging them to take up roles as coaches or scorers, and receive training through scoring clinics and online courses run through the Mackay Softball Association. Cheryl says, “We try to give back to them by paying for courses, if not in full, a part-payment to help out.”

      A proactive attitude, teamwork, planning and the implementation of effective strategies has led to the Hawks’ success. Other clubs and associations can also achieve great success as these strategies can be easily replicated. Softball Australia encourages other clubs and associations to follow the Hawks’ lead and we look forward to hearing similar success stories.

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    • Schools show interest in softball through Sporting Schools

      Sporting Schools for Clubs and Associations - Part 2

      In last month’s edition of Homeplate News, we introduced the new Sporting Schools Program (SSP). At that stage, the SSP was in its infancy and our intent was to initiate discussion on how we could effectively meet requests from schools to run a softball program. The results from the funding application process have been outstanding. In the first two weeks, 60 requests to run a softball program were received; in the third week that number jumped to 89 with the final number of 163. The following is a breakdown of applications by state, resulting in projected participation of 9,380 on current figures. Program requests would be for a minimum of 4 sessions of softball before, during or after school.
      States have now been notified of the schools that requested softball programs, and that information is being used to formulate a plan for developing the softball workforce capable of meeting the substantial demand for softball. Become a Sporting Schools Coach!   If you are interested in becoming a coach for SSP, contact your state association who will be aligning coaches to programs and ensuring they meet the minimum standards required by completing:
      • the ASC general principles course online - click here
      • the Softball Community Coaching Program for Sporting Schools online induction - click here
      So spread the word and tell your members about SSP and encourage them to get involved by:
      • identifying possible program coaches at your club who are accredited
      • directing everyone to the Sporting Schools website to register https://www.sportschools.gov.au/
      To find out more about SSP and becoming part of softball’s workforce, click here.
      To find out more about getting involved in the Sporting Schools Program, or to develop your club pathway program, please contact Softball Australia’s Sport Development Manager, Ben Utting ben.utting@softball.org.au. Link: Sporting Schools for Clubs and Associations - Part 2
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