At the core of USA Softball is a goal to provide initiatives for the growth and development of the game in collaboration with other bat and ball organizations. USA Softball, alongside Major League Baseball and local communities, works to coordinate various initiatives for youth ages 7-18.
YOUTH PROGRAMS, INITIATIVES & EVENTS
MLB PLAY BALL
Launched in June of 2015, PLAY BALL encourages widespread participation in all forms of softball and baseball activities and highlights the many ways the game can be played — whether at Championship or recreational levels, or even with a simple game of catch.
PLAY BALL provides players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper play and instruction while bringing awareness and accessibility to the program’s initiatives through special events and promotional opportunities. Together with MLB and USA Baseball, PLAY BALL events are conducted all across the United States, offering countless opportunities for youth athletes to get involved in the game.
Pitch, Hit & Run
Pitch Hit & Run (PHR) is the official skills competition of Major League Baseball (MLB) and is a free, one-day event for boys and girls ages 7-14. The event gives athletes the opportunity to showcase their baseball and softball skills while earning a chance to attend and perform during the MLB World Series.
Athletes are tested in multiple aspects of the game and their measurements are recorded. Based on their scores, they advance from the local event to a Team Championship held in an MLB stadium. Top scores then qualify for an all-expenses-paid trip for two to compete at the National Finals — hosted at the World Series.
PHR events can be hosted by any organization, league, civic group or set of volunteers in the community. An administrative kit is provided and the competition is free of charge for participants and hosts.
Jr. Home Run Derby
Major League Baseball’s Jr. Home Run Derby (Jr. HRD) is a free event series for softball and baseball players — ages 12 to 16 — to showcase their hitting skills and compete against their peers. By competing at a local event, athletes have the chance to earn a spot at the National Finals, taking place during the MLB All-Star Week in July.
Jr. HRD events can be hosted by any organization, league, civic group or set of volunteers in the community. An administrative kit is provided and the competition is free of charge for participants and hosts.
Softball Breakthrough Series
The Softball Breakthrough Series (BTS) is designed to promote softball as a viable collegiate option for youth from underrepresented and underserved communities. The event is completely cost-free for participants, who are selected by invitation only. The program focuses on developing players on and off the field through seminars, mentorship, gameplay, scout evaluations, video coverage and the highest level of instruction.
In all, 60 participants are selected from all over the country through league nominations. Selected athletes will have the opportunity to work with U.S. Olympians, former National Team members and coaches for three days of on-and off-field instructions and scrimmages.
Elite Development Invitational
The Elite Development Invitational (EDI) is a five-day camp as an extended version of the Breakthrough Series. It is a highly intense program that mirrors USA Softball Women’s National Team training camps, giving players an opportunity to see what life is like as they prepare for international competitions such as the Olympic Games.
The EDI will host 64 softball players to participate in the development-focused event with on- and off-field position-specific work, strength and conditioning, mental performance and other topics. USA Softball Women’s National Team players and alumnae serve as instructors for the event.
USA Softball Rookie League
In partnership with Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation and the Rookie League Foundation of Oklahoma, the Softball Rookie League welcomes widespread participation for youth athletes ages 8-Under through 12-Under to deepen their interest in the sport or sharpen their skill sets on the field. The initiative provides players, parents and coaches with opportunities to get involved in the game and help build bat and ball sports in the metro OKC area.