Netherlands Federation: Baseball5 a "huge opportunity for the Dutch baseball and softball community"

Netherlands Federation: Baseball5 a "huge opportunity for the Dutch baseball and softball community"
Corinne Van de Griendt of the Recreational Sports Department at the Dutch Baseball Softball Federation runs through the introduction of the five-on-five discipline in the country.

Major European baseball and softball nation the Netherlands has heralded the impact Baseball5 has had on the game across the country.

The Dutch Baseball Softball Federation (KNBSB, Koninklijke Nederlandse Baseball en Softball Bond) introduced Baseball5 in the Netherlands in 2018, after attending the WBSC European Seminar for Coaches in Prague, Czech Republic.

"We were immediately enthusiastic about Baseball5," Corinne Van de Griendt, from the KNBSB Recreational Sports Department, told the WBSC. "We recognized this could be the vehicle to grow our game amongst urban youth."

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The focus is on three stakeholders: municipalities, schools and the baseball and softball clubs.

"Together with our partners at Bold & Beautiful, we created a marketing campaign with a clear plan for developing Baseball5 in the Netherlands over the next few years," said Van de Griendt. "We have created multiple tools to service our stakeholders and reach out to the children. This includes the official website and a Baseball5 playing kit containing balls, a rule guide, a home plate and crayons to draw your own field on the street."

The KNBSB has reached local sports organizations in 20 cities. The tools to help these organizations enter local schools include an informative brochure, cards with helpful drills for beginners and an official course. The KNBSB also provides mobile fields and boarding.

"We also introduced Baseball5 to our member clubs," added Van de Griendt. "It's a huge opportunity for the Dutch baseball and softball community because it can be played all year, indoors and outdoors."

Do you consider Baseball5 an introduction to baseball/softball or a whole different game?

"We see chances either way. It's a great addition to our standard offer, but it's also a great way to reach new target groups outside the baseball and softball community. It can become a great tool to introduce new members to our clubs and give then a chance to make the shift to baseball or softball at a later stage."

The KNBSB is planning a Baseball5 City Tour.

"We plan to reach multiple major cities in the Netherlands and play Baseball5 games on pop up fields in high-traffic locations to introduce the game to a broader audience. This City Tour would allow us to reach thousands of children within our target group and we’re currently looking for sponsors and partners to help us make this tour a great success."

The KNBSB is also working to have Baseball5 introduced in physical education classes and convince local governments that the game offers a great opportunity to keeping children active and playing sports.

"We stimulate local governments to build Baseball5 fields in parks and neighbourhoods so the game can be played everywhere and by everyone," added Van de Griendt."

The Netherlands participated in the first Baseball5 European Championship in Lithuania where they finished fifth.

"We do not have a competition programme for Baseball5 yet, but we thought that a baseball and softball country like the Netherlands had to be there," said Van de Griendt. "It was fun to see so many different countries involved, and I believe that the European Championship showed that Baseball5 could help us reach new target groups. We definitely intend to participate in major international events in the future."