From doing little things right, big things grow

From doing little things right, big things grow

The Strikers Softball Club, affiliated with Newcastle Softball Association in NSW has been crowned Homeplate Ladder Club champions for 2018/19.

The Club finished in first place nationally, achieving Homeplate status, amassing a record 190 points, including a 13% growth in membership.

Two years ago, the Strikers committee had a small number of junior players and in particular only three under the age of 12.

The club’s belief was that without juniors there was no future for the club. Strikers put in place a plan to increase the number of juniors not just for Strikers but for softball in general.

Strikers put their plan in motion which saw them heavily subsidise registration fees for children under 12-years-old. It was a huge cost to the club but major fundraising projects allowed Strikers to achieve their goals.

The response to the campaign was overwhelming bringing an extra 69 children to softball. A vast majority of these children were now able to afford to play the game.

“The success of this campaign is shown in that the Club achieved a 13% growth in membership for the playing season of 2018/19 however over the last two years the junior growth to the club was 340%,” said Sharon Taylor, Junior Coordinator at Strikers Softball Club.

“We also had an increase in seniors with some of this success coming from encouraging the carers of juniors on the field for social games.

“The carers had so much fun the first year that some are now proud members of the club.”

Upon completing Softball Australia’s National Affiliation Standards Checklist in 2019, the club identified two key outcomes that they wanted to address and have put in place the following changes:

  1. Set up the registration system for the upcoming season to allow and encourage for players to pay online for their registration fees and uniform etc.This will hopefully reduce the impact on the Club by chasing and recovering fees.
  2. Over the last few years Strikers has been continuously replacing volunteers which has seen a loss of skills and knowledge that is difficult to rebuild.They have now focused on seeking out people from the club. The focus was on the right people, right roles and right skills.With this in mind this year’s committee is now a strong group of seven that empowers the core values of the Club. They bring a vast combined knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with the skills to excel in their roles.

This is the second year in a row that the club has achieved Homeplate status. Sandra Holland, President, Strikers Softball Club says

“Achieving this goal last year made an impact on the Club as all achievements big and small are celebrated,” said Sandra Holland, President at Strikers Softball Club.

“In this regard gaining Homeplate status last year gave us the renewed energy to learn and grow as a club and to set out to again reach this goal.

“Our advice to other Clubs is that how we obtained the honour of being number one was by aligning the requirements with our operational plan for the year and submitting each requirement one by one. We also identified that it isn’t just one person’s responsibility and that all committee members were responsible for various tasks.

“This allowed us time to submit the correct information and it wasn’t a last minute dash to the finish line.”

Another major factor in the Club’s success is a ‘Strategic Plan’ that the committee set in place with what goals they wanted to achieve.  The plan was regularly reviewed and altered as the Club found what did and didn’t work.  The Strategic Plan was paramount in Strikers achieving its goals and the committee and volunteers worked tirelessly to make them happen.

Short, medium and long term goals are necessary to achieve success in all aspects of sport and life in general.  There will also be road blocks and bumps along the way and that is why it is so important to revisit your goals and Strikers are continuing to update and add goals to improve.

The Homeplate website has been an invaluable tool for the Club and in particular, Strikers has benefited from many of the resources including fundraising and sponsorship, planning and volunteer management. The website has a wealth of information and can help not only experienced clubs but also new clubs.

Given Strikers have now grown significantly in membership, as part of their Strategic Plan, the club are also committed to increasing and accrediting their volunteers.

“As a result, last season alone, 21 of our volunteers achieved Level 1 Coaching Accreditations, three achieved Level 2 Coaching Accreditations, nine achieved Level 1 Scoring Accreditations and one volunteer achieved a Level 2 Scoring Accreditation,” said Holland.

“We are so proud of all of our new volunteers, we put all our Level 1 coaches in assistant coaching positions so they could learn and develop.  In addition to this we also increased the number of awards at the end of the season to recognise our volunteers. We also fully subsidised the cost for non-playing volunteers.”

Overall the last two years has seen the club’s hard work payoff and are a fantastic case study for a club trying to turn around their fortunes.

“With hard work and the right people involved, anything is possible. We are learning on a daily basis and trying to improve our club for the betterment of Softball in our community. Achieving number one in the Homeplate Ladder Program is an honour and we would like to thank Softball Australia, Softball NSW and Newcastle Softball Association for their support,” added Holland.

View the Final Homeplate Ladder placings 2018/19