Part of our remit at Softball Australia is to ensure that softball is played by people of all ages and abilities, at all levels, countrywide. Recently we were featured in an article on the reasons why softball is particularly beneficial for the hard of hearing. Hearing aid brand Connect Hearing published the article, ‘Don’t let Hearing Loss Stop You From Being Active’.
We want to encourage as many hearing impaired Australians as possible to get involved with our sport, so it was a great opportunity for us to showcase how we do this.
Making a difference
The Connect Hearing article focused on the benefits of sport for the hard of hearing community. We were delighted to be approached for our perspective. Putting our contribution together made us realise just how beneficial a sport like softball can be for the hard of hearing.
As a team sport, softball can make a real difference to the life of someone with hearing loss. All the basic skills of softball can be learned visually, so someone who is hard of hearing isn’t at any disadvantage – you don’t need perfect hearing to be able to catch, throw, hit or run. This level playing field is a great confidence boost to someone who may find themselves feeling marginalised in other aspects of their life. Softball is also a relatively low-risk sport, so it’s ideal for improving your fitness and gaining new skills in a safe environment.
Above all, it’s the perfect opportunity for making new social connections – the world of softball is well known for being friendly and welcoming, and every new member adds a new dimension to the team.
The different pathways available
Softball is played widely throughout the school network, is part of many school curriculums and is also one of the most participated sports played in remote communities by indigenous women. The game is inclusive, can be modified easily to suit any skill level and provides pathways for both females and males from age 5, through to masters.
The softball pathway often starts in schools and progresses to club membership. From club competition, participants can follow the social or elite pathway. Many softball members get hooked on the excitement of the game and enjoy life long participation.
They are often involved as youths, but can also join at later life stages. Many people now get involved in the social pathway as an older adult.
What we can do to help
We’re hoping that following our inclusion in the blog article, more deaf and hard of hearing people will contact us for details of their local softball club so they can get involved with the sport. We make sure that most clubs offer multiple levels of competition, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played before. It’s a highly enjoyable way of improving your fitness and confidence. We hope to welcome more hard of hearing players into the world of softball.