The popularity of Softball is growing fast – both as a recreational and a competitive sport. The many versions of Softball make it suitable for whole-of-life participation – from children old enough to hold a bat through to master’s competitors.
More than 32,000 Australians are registered members of Softball Australia. They have a diversity of interests and backgrounds and make valuable contributions to Softball as players, coaches, administrators, umpires, scorers, volunteers and fans.
It is estimated that a further 90,000 people participate in Softball on a casual basis, at school, in corporate competitions, or as members of Associations and Clubs that are not currently affiliated with Softball Australia.
In schools, Softball participation is widespread with an estimated 73,000 girls and boys in 6,745 teams playing Softball. While Softball is still predominately played by girls in schools, boys make up about 29% of participants.
At the masters level (35 years +) Softball continues to grow in popularity. The Softball competition was the 2ndlargest event at the 2009 World Masters Games held in Sydney. Almost 2,500 male and female athletes, in more than 200 teams representing 11 countries competed in the Games.The oldest Softball player at the Games was 75 years old.
Softball is a popular sport in the Indigenous community. From 2007-2009, there were more than 9,000 participants in Softball Australia’s Indigenous Softball Program (ISP). Softball is the sport of choice among Indigenous women in Australia. It is estimated that up to 90% of Softballers in Indigenous communities are women.
Softball Australia and Special Olympics Australia(SOA) are working together to foster the development of Softball for people with intellectual disabilities at local, state, national and international levels. Softball was 1 of 12 sports represented in the 2010 Special Olympics National Games in Adelaide. More than 60 athletes plus support staff participated in the Softball competition. The Special Olympics National Softball team will be defending their 2007 Gold Medal win at the Special Olympics World Games in Athens in June 2011.