On the 29th January it was the Birmingham Bobcat’s first committee meeting for 2012. It was also the first assembly of the new Committee which includes Alex Levine as Chairman, Justin Evans as Club Secretary, Debbie Evetts as Treasurer, Kate Page-Smith as Tournament and Marketing Manager and Sapin Patel as Operations Manager. The meeting went extremely well – we successfully covered a lot of issues and have come up with a plan to make 2012 a formative year for the Bobcats.
Here is a summary of the committee meeting minutes:
Present: Debbie, Kate, Justin, Saps
- Going well, upwards of 12 people every week. Very committed team developing, skills advancing.
- More structure needed to the 1 hour session rather than just throw around or a game. Coaching and specific drills for the first 30 minutes followed by a game was agreed as a good structure. Saps and Kate to run this – good opportunity to practice following their coaching courses.
- Date confirmed for 28/4/12. Alex and Reinout are meeting Hallfield venue in near future. Kate had met with Peter Evans (BSUK) to explain the tournament and to discuss funding. Peter was very pleased with progress. Community Olympic funding may be possible, but we would have to have opening and closing ceremony for this to apply. Kate offered to investigate this further along with advertising. Kate also said Birmingham University were interested in entering a team (Justin thinks they do have a softball team).
- Kate showed and discussed a tournament schedule for 2012, inc Cologne Tourcats. We have already signed up for Manchester First Ball.
- Nottingham First Ball details will follow.
- Committee members provisionally agreed which tournaments we are likely to enter. Some are D grade/recreational and others are more competitive (C grade).
- There was a discussion about managing player expectations and how we can do this adequately. Should we have two teams – one competitive team, one social team, single sex teams, offer lots of tournaments etc. Cost of doing this was discussed and there was concern that this would impact membership fees. To research this Kate will contact tournament organisers to ascertain the cost of the tournaments and send to committee members an amended list.
- Kate handed out a useful list of 2011 members and potential 2012 members. We will have a few new players and returning ones.
- Major issue is that we cannot continue to turn up to tournaments with 30+ members, all of whom expect to play. So how do we combat this? Separating the team was discussed, but we need to ensure that the club is inclusive and be careful not to create fractions in the team. We don’t want to marginalize members. Must achieve a balance between social and competition.
- In addition to our usual tournaments (Cotswold, Labour Day etc) serious consideration is to be given to entering smaller teams for specific graded tournaments. These would likely fall outside of membership fees and would be “pay to play”. Single sex tournaments would also fall into this category.
- Kate advised that the Leamington Hawks are unlikely to return this year and this is probably the case for NFU Stratford team. Coventry Tigers are also unreliable as the team consisted of overseas players.
- However, there is a potential inter-club league likely to emerge this year involving the Bobcats, Leicester Blue Sox, Warwick University etc. This has emerged from the Central Midlands League which was thought up last year by Kate and Giovanni Ciotti from the Leicester Blue Soxs. After Kate’s discussion with Peter Evans, BSUK are very keen for this to develop but have suggested that it is renamed the Mercia League to provide a wider catchment area. BSUK will develop this with support from the Bobcats.
- While the ‘coaching only’ sessions in 2011 were very good, feedback from last year showed that more game experience would be preferable. After discussion the committee thought that an intra-club league would be able to offer this, but the main concern was when to hold it. The Committee did not want to give up the coaching sessions completely in favour of a league, and it was felt that most players would not be able to attend two sessions a week. It was also highlighted that the coaching sessions would be able to build upon specific skills (beginners, advance, pitching, etc.) which would not be as easily addressed in a league situation. However, these specific sessions could disconnect the team, and would also not provide a fun environment.
- It was agreed that in the first six weeks of the outdoor season there should be a general training session to be held on a Thursday. Following the completion of the Softball for Beginner’s course (May 2012) an intra-club league should be held on a Thursday. The league would start with two teams divided equally in all regards and each team will have two designated Coaches – who will be the captains. These coaches will not only lead the teams, but also watch players and advise what skills the players should work upon.
- There will be some players who would like to have some additional impromptu training. For these players the Operations Manager (Sapin) can organise a specific training session as and when there is a demand. It was felt this approach would enhance specific skills for those who wanted to develop further but not divide the club into different fractions.
- Meeting took place on 25th Jan and Kate will prepare and distribute some notes. Regular meetings between the coaches will take place to establish a standardized coaching base and to develop the coaches as a team.