Young softball athletes with ambitions to reach higher representative honours have the opportunity of a lifetime to develop their skills through a tour to North America this year.
Under 15 and Under 19 female athletes are invited to submit an expression of interest for the tour, which combines world-class competition, high-calibre coaching and sightseeing over 12 and 21 days respectively.
“Softball Australia has put this tour together as part of Softball Australia’s Development Pathway to provide players with another opportunity to receive high-quality coaching and quality game-play,” Wilkins says.
This tour is for athletes who want to improve their playing skills. They may have missed out on selection for national teams but are still interested in potentially being part of future Australian teams.
Both age groups leave Australia on 27 June and begin their tour in Las Vegas, where they will play in the Stars and Stripes Tournament in front of college coaches and professional scouts. At last count, 49 college coaches had registered to attend. Click the following link for more information about the tournament: https://www.usapreps.com/sball/tournpage.php?evt_id=78
“Athletes will receive a whole day of college coach tuition,” Wilkins says. “Transferring this intensive training into game-play through a guaranteed five-game tournament is crucial to progress their development. Hopefully our teams will get all the way to the final.”
Both squads will then head to Los Angeles ,where the Under 15s will play more games against local club teams before heading home.
The Under 19s will review their performances and continue to train in preparation for the Canada Cup Gold tournament being held in Surrey, British Columbia from 10-16 July.
Wilkins said athletes on the tour would undoubtedly improve their skills and benefit from high-quality coaching and competition, adding that the standard of competition will be consistently higher than the players have experienced in Australia.
“It is all about providing players with the opportunity to improve their skills and experience against international opposition and be able to showcase this development in front of national selectors in the future” she said. “Providing the right environment on and off the field to build athletes’ competencies, confidence, character and connection with each other, will optimise their developmental progress.
Interested players should register an expression of interest with SportsLink International. Each squad will have a maximum of 16 players. Successful applicants will be selected by a panel who will collaborate with the athletes’ state softball association.
The cost of the 12 days tour for the U15s is $5790 and 21 days tour for the U19s $7800. Flights, accommodation, uniform and two meals per day are included as well as sightseeing trips to the Grand Canyon and Universal Studios.
Parents and other family members are also invited. SportsLink have package deals to accommodate anyone wishing to travel with the team.
Aussie Spirit Head Coach Fabian Barlow says the tour is a great opportunity for players to get a taste of international competition.
“This tour will help develop players for the future and add depth to the pool of players we can select from to represent Australia,” he says.
“Game play in particular is a crucial feature of developing and consolidating skills in athletes and the international experience gained for the tour provides a great investment in a sense.
“The high standard of competition will be great for the athletes’ development, as selectors look toward the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and hopefully beyond.
“Playing in front of college and professional scouts provides another added bonus of the tour.”
SportsLink International is the leading provider of tours to major international sporting events around the world. It has conducted supporter tours since 2002, providing unforgettable experiences for thousands of sports fans.
For more information, check the SportsLink International website. http://sportslinkinternational.com/usa-and-canada-softball-development-tour/