Run the Bases is a newly formed Sport for Development organization that aims to tackle gender inequalities in sport, focusing on the sport of softball.
Former UCLA Softball Player Tara Henry (USA), Sebastian Cirillo (Italy), and Kelly Smith (UK), are developing an international organisation that combines skills and values based coaching techniques to empower and encourage young athletes to become leaders in sport and in life.
The pilot program took place in Gozo, Malta in partnership with the Għajnsielem Redcoats, a local sports organisation offering softball, baseball and basketball to its members.
Run the Bases was joined by Stanley Doney (New Zealand), the current coach of the European Cup Winners Cup Champions (Olympia Haarlem) and the Dutch Softball Coach of the Year and Tahli Moore (Australia), former NCAA Softball Player (James Madison University), to offer quality softball skills.
The pilot program spanned over five days and included 130 participants aged 6-36 from two different primary schools and four different local softball teams. With support from Sport Malta, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), and the European Softball Federation (ESF) who donated the necessary equipment, some of the primary school children were able to play softball for the very first time. The Redcoats' great response during the goal setting sessions demonstrates the enormous potential that softball as a sport can have in breaking gender barriers.
Not only has this pilot validated the mission of RTB, it also confirms the importance of offering athletes equal coaching in both skills and values. It also served as a useful starting point for academic investigation. RTB will use the results of their research to start building a strong body of academic literature to disseminate educational materials in the field of Sport for Development.
Building on Sport Malta’s plan for improving sport participation on the island, RTB hopes to partner with the Redcoats and other organisations to meet their goal of becoming an international destination for sport. The upcoming investment, set out by the local government in Malta, could be the first step towards building a sustainable system of talent development. This in turn would create many female role models and the ideal environment for promoting gender equality through softball.
To find out more about Run the Bases, visit their website.