by Baseball Softball UK, www.baseballsoftballuk.com
For the first time, BaseballSoftballUK will be receiving funds from Sport England during the 2013-17 funding cycle specifically for “talent development”, to help players progress on the English Talent Pathway with a view to achieving national team selection and international success.
BaseballSoftballUK has received significant funding from Sport England since 2009 to develop the sports at grassroots level through a mechanism known as the Whole Sport Plan. The idea is that a sport draws up a plan that tells Sport England what kinds of programmes it wants to run across the whole sport, from children and beginners to elite athletes, plus coaching, officiating, facility development etc, and then Sport England decides which of those programmes it will fund and awards money accordingly.
In the first round of Whole Sport Plan funding received by BSUK, from 2009-13, funds were awarded for objectives that focused on increasing participation.
In the run-up to the submission of the Whole Sport plan for baseball and softball for the 2013-17 funding period, BSUK made the case to Sport England that Talent funding was needed. Specifically, BSUK addressed Sport England’s twin-track rationale of supporting and developing the elite few to progress along the English talent pathway, and creating an environment where every player has the opportunity to be the best that they can be, thus aiding satisfaction and retention within the sport.
Sport England supported this statement, and awarded BSUK £100,000 over the four year funding cycle 2013-17. While this is small in terms of an annual budget, it is hoped that the funding will prove a valuable means of creating special opportunities for the most talented young players to develop their skills and increase their chances of national team selection and success in international competition.