The program has teams for beginners and advanced players.
By Tracey Edwards
Baldwin Hills Fastpitch is developing girls in all areas of softball, as well as several areas of life.
“Studies have shown that girls playing sports do better in school, have more confidence, and have lower pregnancy rate,” said LaVerne Kimble, facility director at the Baldwin Hills Recreational Center.
Softball is an expensive sport, and it’s not as popular in African American communities as in other areas. The sport was brought to the recreational center four years ago to encourage girls to become more active in sports.
There are teams for girls who are at the beginners stage of the sport, and teams for girls who are playing at a more advanced level. Many of the girls on the advanced teams started out at Baldwin Hills Fastpitch with no experience at all.
While many sports fans watch athletic competitions to see who wins and loses, that is not the main purpose of youth sports, and that is not the approach that Baldwin Hills Fastpitch takes.
“We are all about developing the player, and making sure that the fundamentals of softball are taught,” Kimble said. “It’s not about the wins. We want to develop their confidence, we want them to learn, and we want them to have fun.”
This approach takes the pressure off of the girls and allows them to flourish in the sport.
“As a coach and a parent, the ultimate joy is to see a player who had been striking out, get her first hit,” Kimble said. “The confidence of the player is now high. It’s empowering for girls at a young age.”
Baldwin Hills Fastpitch is a part of The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks’ Girls Play Los Angeles (GPLA) program, which focuses on getting girls involved in sports throughout the city. The program strives to get and keep girls involved in sports and living a healthy lifestyle, while making friends, building self-esteem and having fun. The GPLA program allows Baldwin Hills Fastpitch to keep the cost affordable for parents who sign their girls up for the the program.