Softball By The Numbers: Understanding The Softball Youth Softball Landscape
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The USA Softball youth program started in 1974, and since then softball has continuously grown in popularity in the states. Softball actually began with a boxing glove and broomstick and was known as “indoor baseball” in Chicago in 1877. The sport has come along way and has triumphed through some major milestones like Title IX, being included in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics existing through the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and then later included once again in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
So, what is the current landscape of youth softball? Looking at statistics published from 2006-2018 on Statista, the number of participants (aged six years and older) in softball reached approximately 9.69 million. The Aspen Institute published some findings of pre-pandemic participation numbers in youth sports through 2020, and for softball more kids between the ages of 13-17-years-old participated in softball in 2019 compared to 2017 and 2018.
- 2017: 1.8%
- 2018: 1.7 %
- 2019: 2.0%
- 2018-2019 change: 12.1%
- Number of kids in 2019: 408,000
There were similar trends in softball participation amongst kids ages 6-12-years-old. More kids played softball in 2019 vs. 2017-2018.
- 2017: 1.1 %
- 2018: 1.2%
- 2019: 1.4%
- 2018-2019 change: 20.4%
- Number of kids in 2019: 416,000
When looking at the hours spent playing softball during the week by athletes ages 6-18 years-old, there was much more participation before than during the pandemic. On average, 3.4 hours were spent on free-play before the pandemic and only 2.3 hours spent during the pandemic. The only type of participation increased was in virtual training. Before the pandemic, only 1.1 hours were spent on virtual practices, but during the pandemic it was 1.3 hours. Before, 5.2 hours were spent at softball practices, and a dramatic drop during the pandemic saw only 1.9 hours. Softball competition play also had a huge decline; 4.2 hours pre-pandemic to just .8 during. In total, the statistics show 13.7 hours spent on an average week pre-pandemic to just 6.3 hours during the pandemic.
TeamSnap has served many softball organization pre-pandemic, during, and currently. One of the ways TeamSnap kept softball organizations connected during COVID was through non-sporting events, using the messenger feature, and sharing photos and videos. Now that youth sports are back into the full swing, softball season is off to a strong start!
Do you or someone you know need help managing their softball team or club? Sign up for a free 21-day trial today. Or check out our club and league solution, TeamSnap for Clubs and Leagues if your team is part of a larger sports organization.