BSF Executive Meeting Report: 15 March 2018

Mon 19 Mar 2018

The BSF Executive held its monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 15 March.  Below is a journalistic report on discussions and decisions.


Attendance

Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Director), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  Stella Ackrell (Administrator), Steve Getraer (General Officer).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK).


Finances​

BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt circulated an update on the BSF’s 2017-18 budget before the meeting.  Although the BSF is now almost halfway through its financial year, the season has yet to begin and many budget lines have not yet had money spent against them, making it difficult to discern trends.

Laura will continue to circulate updates before each BSF monthly meeting so that income and expenditure can be tracked, and will keep a separate record of BSF Development Grants awarded. 

BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell will be asking the recipients of BSF Development Grants in 2017 for reports on the use and effect of the money received.


National Championships

Competitions Director Liz Graham reported that arrangements were in place for the Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals this summer at the Moor Lane Sports Ground in Birmingham, but that it was yet to be determined whether fields could be fenced.

Meanwhile, the BSF is waiting for BaseballSoftballUK to produce a definitive list of the services that are included within the cost of field hire at Farnham Park and optional additional services that users can purchase.  This information will help the BSF determine the best way to fulfil the pledge made at the recent AGM to enhance the player experience at National Championships.


National Teams

The BSF is considering submitting a letter to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) outlining our ideas on the desirability of moving the current annual Softball World Cup towards a full biennial World Championship-type competition played by national teams made up of passport-holders, but doing so in a gradual fashion that won’t risk losing the competition altogether.

There is support for such a move within the European Softball Federation and on the part of some WBSC officials, but the key to doing this successfully will be for the WBSC to put some effort into encouraging participation and to agree to move the tournament gradually towards the full financial and other requirements imposed on the more established international fastpitch competitions.


Communications

The BSF Executive discussed a range of communication options for this year, including the possibility of:

  • Webstreaming games live from the NSL National Championships in September, and perhaps from the London Cup International Women’s Fastpitch Tournament at Farnham Park in July.
     
  • Creating some short promotional and recruiting videos for slowpitch softball.
     
  • Creating a series of skills and drills coaching videos for slowpitch softball to provide teams with resources for more effective practice sessions.
     
  • Upgrading or revamping the BSF website.


Cost options for all of these possibilities will be researched, and decisions made over the next couple of months.  In particular, the BSF will need to decide on specifications for improving the BSF website.


BaseballSoftballUK Independent Directors

Following an open recruitment process for Independent Non-Executive Directors of BaseballSoftballUK, led by the organisation’s Nominations Committee, two candidates have been proposed for appointment, and the final decision will be made at a BSUK Board Meeting on 25 March.

BSF President Jenny Fromer will attend the meeting, and the Executive agreed that the BSF should approve both candidates.


Service Level Agreement with BaseballSoftballUK

The BSF pays money each year to BaseballSoftballUK for a range of non-development services under a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which includes the Federation receiving a certain number of free as well as paid hours of work by BSUK staff.

The Executive agreed to pay the same amount in 2018-19 as in the previous year, but has also set money aside that could be used to request help from BSUK with regard to additional services such as webstreaming competition events, creating video material, upgrading the BSF website and enhancement of National Championships.

Jenny Fromer will ask BSUK Operations Manager Tim Stride for the outcome of the 2017-18 SLA with regard to hours and services provided.


BASU update

BASU Representative Chris Moon told the meeting that a range of one-day and two-day umpire courses were now booked for the pre-season period by slowpitch leagues, including requests for courses from both Guernsey and Jersey.  All of these courses can be found in the Events listing on the BSF website (http://www.britishsoftball.org/events).

The BASU Advanced Umpire Course will be run at the end of April and has expanded from one to two days to encompass training in the two-umpire system, which is coming into increasing use in British softball.  All 10 places on the Advanced Course have been taken up, and on Sunday afternoon 29 April, the umpires will have a chance to run the two-umpire system during the final games of the Windsor First Ball Tournament at Farnham Park.

The hope is that these umpires can then take the two-umpire system back to their leagues, where it’s ideal for mentoring new and less experienced umpires calling league games.


BaseballSoftballUK Committee meetings

Members of the BSF Executive attend meetings of the BaseballSoftballUK Board and its various Committees, and reports from these meetings are a standing item on the agenda at BSF Executive meetings.

A meeting of the Farnham Park Committee was held on 26 February and was attended by BSF President Jenny Fromer, filling in for General Officer Steve Getraer, who represents the BSF on this Committee.

Much of the meeting was taken up with a discussion of Farnham Park finances.  Revenue from the catering operation in the Home Plate clubhouse had produced more revenue last year than had been expected, and this allowed the operation of the facility to more or less break even for the first time.

A concern going forward is that planned work on the infields at Farnham Park was unable to be carried out over the winter, in part due to weather conditions, and the BSF will monitor the state of the pitches as the season begins.

There was also a recent meeting of the Development Strategy Committee, which Jenny Fromer also attended.  This Committee has a new format, in which each meeting focuses on a particular topic.  This meeting was concerned with BSUK’s plans and programmes to increase access to the sport by women and girls, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people from lower socio-economic groups.


Next meeting

The next BSF Executive meeting will be held on Thursday 5 April. 

Anyone with items to bring to the meeting should contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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