We know it can be very nerve-racking to attend an established club when you're new. As a Club, we want to be welcoming so we have dedicated members to help you along. They are here to welcome all new members and answer any questions they may have.
The questions on the right should help you find out what London Raiders and softball is all about. If you any further questions, please feel free to get in touch Ali and Tom using the link below.
If you’re interested in joining but are still a bit unsure, come along to our 'Meet the Raiders' event that takes place on Thursday 10th March before the season’s first training session. Keep an eye on the calendar and sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date about the London Raiders.
Ali Brown & Tom Rochester
How do I get started?
If you have never played softball before you should start in the Development Squad where you will meet other people new to the sport who want to learn, have fun and make new friends. There are a lot of rules in softball and our Development Squad will take you from wondering what a ‘forced run’ is to being able to explain the ‘infield fly’ with confidence. Softball is a highly addictive and rewarding sport to play offering great fitness and social rewards.
If you have played before, you are still more than welcome to join the Development Squad.
If you want to try out for one of our seven League teams, you will need to come to all of the assessment days so the captains can evaluate your ability and select you for the appropriate team. The dates and times will be posted on our website. The venue is Wandsworth Common.
Before joining you should also look at our club rules.
Who are the London Raiders?
We are an amateur softball club with seven teams, a large development squad (kind of like a softball school) and an even bigger social diary. We have teams of all abilities in all divisions in the Greater London Mixed Softball League. We always field mixed gender teams and often enter tournaments. If we don’t win on the pitch, we win in the pub.
Do I need to be LGBT to join?
No, and you shouldn't expect all our members to be LGBT either.
Raiders is all about fun and competitive softball in a supportive, respectful environment. We are a majority LGBT club however we welcome anyone who wants to enjoy the sport. If you’re comfortable with the Raiders, the Raiders are comfortable with you.
How much does it cost?
The cost of full membership differs slightly each year depending on the size of the club. Membership costs cover insurance, pitch fees, equipment, tournaments, social events and much more.
More information on joining fees can be found on the 'Members' page.
If you want to play in a League Team or you just want to look awesome, you can buy Raiders kit from our online shop (opens for a limited time at start of season). Full price lists are on the Order Uniform link (this will be available later in the season). The club supplies bats and gloves for beginners training but you are always welcome to buy your own. You must have a team shirt to play in a league game.
What do I need to know about tournaments?
There are lots of tournaments in the summer at varying competition levels.
If you’re new to softball it’s a good idea to come and watch at least one tournament. You can learn a lot about softball from watching back-to-back games all weekend.
There are also “D Level” (recreational, or beginners) tournaments and our own Raiders Tournament, which we run especially recreational teams.
If you want to know about how to get involved in tournaments, email our tournament manager for more info.
What about social activities?
London Raiders are a very social bunch. We have a Start of Season Party, we march in London Pride, we have Quiz Nights, an off-season Bowling league, lots of other nights out, an End of Season Party.
This may negate any fitness you incur from playing softball. Don't forget to keep an eye on the Calendar and on the Facebook Group
If playing softball isn't your thing but you enjoy our company, we offer a social membership which allows you attend our many social events free of charge.
What is softball?
Take a look our video which has some of our members explain what softball is.
Kindly produced by LemonWedge Productions.
Where do we play?
Our home ground is Bellevue Road in Wandsworth Common, opposite the Sainsbury’s Local.
We have a handy Pitch Locator on our Members page.
The best train station is Wandsworth Common. It’s a very long walk from Wandsworth Town. We practice there on Monday nights as well as Sunday afternoons.
Our League games happen all over London and the night depends on your team, for example, Red might play on Mondays and Gold might play on Fridays. Our different teams have different home grounds. Our website will tell you where each team plays and there will be regular updates on weekly games through our twitter feed if you fancy supporting our teams.
What are the rules of softball?
The type of softball we play is called Slow Pitch. It’s bit like baseball but with a bigger, slower ball pitched (or bowled) underarm.
If you’re new to the sport, the best thing to do is learn the rules playing in the Development Squad. No one will expect you to understand what “Force is on 2, with 2 down” means until you’ve been here a while.
You can search online for “softball rules” to find lots of handy guides, but we will teach you the official BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) rules. BSUK governs our leagues. Most of the club will be happy to help you understand the rules as you go.
What equipment do I need to play?
Softball, like many sports requires certain items of equipment for the game to be played. You will be familiar with items such as balls and bases which the club supply, however below we have listed those essential or extra items you need to be top of the table.
London Raiders provide a certain amount of equipment to members for training sessions. If you decide to play on a league team, or join London Raiders, we recommend you purchase a glove (see below). Some members decide to buy their own bat, however this is personal preference.
We get a discount with The Softball Shop. email firstname.lastname@example.org for a discount code.
- Essential Kit
Standard T-shirt | Women's T-shirt | Sleeveless T-shirt
T-shirts are ordered through our supplier. This online shop is opened once a year. Before the shop is opened and email will go out explaining how to order do don't forget to sign up to our newsletter. You can also ask someone if you come along to our training sessions.
Essential! Although the game is called softball. The ball isn't soft you must have a glove to catch the ball. Gloves are worn on your left hand if right handed and vice versa. Made from leather, gloves have fingers and a basket in which the ball should be caught.
Gloves come in a variety of sizes. The further out in the field you are, traditionally, the larger the glove you should have. Gloves when first bought can be very stiff so it is important you rub special oil into the glove and store it with a ball inside the basket with elastic bands around.
The club has a number of gloves available for new people to use at the start of season. Should you decide to join, you can either buy a glove from the club, or buy your own.
Without bats we would have no game! Sizing is pretty much standard, weight causes a debate to figure out - to a point - with the weights of 26 ounce, 27 Ounce, 28 ounce and 30 ounce being the most readily available in almost all models. Here is where the choices become a little more difficult.
Some players at a professional level believe that a lighter bat will increase bat speed (usually a lot of strength involved). Resulting in the ball going further when you hit it. I know some individuals who swear using a heavier bat helps them achieve a faster bat speed (using the laws of inertia - heavier object propelled at speed will go faster then lighter object). The best advice we can offer here is men should not use bats higher then 28 Ounces. Women should not use bats higher then 26 Ounces. Anything heavier results in bat speed slowing down and you not achieving the maximum power you can! It depends on your strength and comfort zone.
Try out the different club bats before purchasing your own. There are very strict rules about bats that are legal to use in games and competitions. A full list of banned bats can be found on the British Association of Softball Umpires website.
The club provides each league team, and the development team with team bats so it is not necessary to buy a bat straight away.
- Optional Kit
As your experience grows you can also use the following items to help improve your game and your look!
Bodyshell | Hoodie | Softshell
Tracksuit bottoms | Visor
Sometimes when you bat you may feel the vibration of ball on bat, you may get nervous and have sweaty palms. Batting gloves give that extra layer of skin providing you with enhanced grip and more protection.
Some players wear one glove on the lower grip hand only.
Cleats are very similar to plastic stud or astro turf football boots.
In softball we do not wear metal studs. If you do you will be banned from playing.
Cleats provide runners with extra grip when running the bases.
Are you on Facebook and Twitter?
How do I contact you?
How can I volunteer to help the club?
We put on a lot of events throughout the year which requires a lot of assistance from our volunteers. Our club committee is also made up of volunteers.
If you're interested in volunteering
for the club please drop us an email.
© 2016 London Raiders Softball Club