As we come towards the end of the season, we are reflecting on a season very different to any other. In March, just before the culmination of our Indoor League, we suspended all softball activity not knowing it would be three months before we would be able to get back on a pitch. In June we honed our risk assessment skills, readied our coaches and finally re-launched with our pod training, and we have been enjoying Tuesday night sessions (and an unlikely amount of sunshine) ever since.
So, what next?
As those of you who have been along to sessions will have heard, planning for winter has been another rollercoaster ride. With ever changing regulations we have gone back and forth several times over, assessing a range of winter options from Astroturf to virtual sessions, but I am now pleased to confirm that we will be returning to the warmth of the Radcliffe School from October the 13th.
How will it work?
As per BaseballSoftballUK’s latest guidance, we will be returning to our training ‘pod’ format, running two pods per week with a maximum of five players and one coach per pod. The sports hall will be split in two, divided by the curtain and each pod will be allocated their own entrance to the hall to ensure there is no mixing. We have also worked with the facility to ensure there is a one way system for entry and exit, with all doors open en route to prevent additional touch surfaces.
What else is different?
Other than the restricted numbers, the main change to our practices is that players are asked to wear masks when entering and exiting sessions, the school also has a QR code that will be on display which they ask participants to scan and check in to using the NHS Covid 19 App. Other than that, it is all the same procedures everyone is now probably familiar with; physical distancing, regular hand sanitising, minimal equipment and plenty of cleaning between use of any shared equipment. There will be no changing rooms available on site, although the toilets will be open, however as previously, we would encourage people to change prior to arrival. A full list of all the measures in place can be found in our Player Code of Conduct and within our three Risk Assessments which have all been updated and can be downloaded here shortly. We will be holding a training session with our coaches prior to sessions starting to make sure they are up to date with all procedures so they will be able to answer questions at sessions or alternatively please do contact our Covid 19 Officer Sam Gibson or any of the exec committee if you have any questions.
Sign me up!
For those wanting to join, the process will be very similar to outdoors. New players will need to start by completing a membership form so we have all the relevant health and emergency contact info. Those who have never played with us before get their first session free so spread the word to anyone who fancies giving softball a go.
There will be a £5 membership fee for those joining during the winter season, those who have paid their membership fee during the outdoor season will be exempt. Session fees will be £7 per person. This is an increase to previous years due to the low number of participants permitted per week.
The weekly sign up form remains the same with the deadline for sign ups as 8pm the night before each session. Based on current participation levels we could well be oversubscribed; in which case we will allocate places using a random number generator. We will aim to notify players of whether they have secured a place on Monday night, but failing this guarantee to notify everyone by Midday on the day of training. Anyone who doesn’t get a place will be guaranteed a spot at the following week’s session.
We know some players may not feel comfortable moving indoors just yet so with this in mind, we also hope to organise the occasional weekend Astroturf session, so we still get to see you over winter. Once our indoor sessions are underway we will turn our attention to this and update you when we have further detail.
We have also just scheduled our annual Christmas curry (your local take away of choice!) and quiz (via Zoom) night for the 22nd December so get it in those diaries!
As always if you have any questions or would just like an informal chat to find out more or share any feedback, our exec committee are all ears; please do get in touch. It has been wonderful slowly welcoming back lots of our members, as well as meeting some new faces, and to those who we’ve not seen yet – we miss you!
MK Softball Chairperson