''The key to a successful team is not only the quality of players''
Please introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is George Young, I am 19 years of age and currently playing Fastpitch and Slowpitch softball in England. I play in the Oxford Slowpitch league as this is where I live. However, I travel to London regularly to play in the Great Britain Fastpitch League as this is where all the national teams come together along with club teams to compete in a league throughout the summer. I have played for Great Britain Under 19’s in two European Championships (2015 and 2017) captaining them in the 2017 one. I have also travelled to Paris multiple times to compete with development teams, with many more trips abroad coming up in the future such as Israel, Holland and Czech Republic. I am predominantly a first baseman despite my height and being right-handed. I play many other sports as well such as football and cricket, captaining at both school and club level.
What made you want to play softball?
I got into softball by watching my mum play it socially in Oxford as she used to play it back home in California. I would go every Tuesday to watch and since I was old enough to play I have always been involved.
Can you tell us something about softball in your country?
Softball in England is a very minority sport as even though we have 22,250 baseball and softball registered players in the country (May 2016) it is still massively overshadowed by the nations bigger sports such as Football, Rugby, Cricket and Tennis.
How often do you practice with your national team and what do they look like?
Unfortunately, with the U19 boys' national team, we have players from all around the country so is really hard to bring us all together to practice in one location. Therefore, we strive on doing our own training with players around us, on our own in the gym, in our clubs or during the winter academy where we all come together to have an 8 hour training day.
What's your best experience with the national team so far?
My best experience with Great Britain, other than the first time I got a letter through the post selecting me for my first European Championship having only played fastpitch for a couple months, I did not expect to play every minute of every game, was captaining at the most recent European Championship in Czech Republic as it was a whole unique experience. I knew the competition we were going up against, I knew a lot of the players from other teams such as the Israelis and I knew that I had to be a leadership figure. Therefore, it wasn’t a week of relaxing on holiday but a task to stay up to date on how other teams had progressed and where their weaknesses were.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would like to see myself cementing a spot in the Mens Fastpitch programme and hopefully taking some steps to coaching a national team of a younger age such as U16’s or U19’s boys or girls.
What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
The best advice I have ever been told regarding softball is that it’s a team game. if you hit one home run but strikeout four times no one will remember the home run. If you base hit safe singles or doubles all game long people will remember that you had a very good game at the plate being a team player not an individual for stats alone.
Who's your role model and why?
In softball, everyone knows I have so many role models it's quite embarrassing. If I was going to name a few it would have to be Josh Peat my under 19’s coach at only 23 years of age and still manages to balance his Mens Fastpitch and family life. Also, Robbie Robison (Winter academy head coach and player of numerous years), I’ve never known someone to love and want to give so much back to the game than him, it's truly in his blood.
What do you think is the key to a successful team?
The key to a successful team is not only the quality of players but the quality of coaching staff and people behind the scenes. Those are the people doing an endless amount of preparation all year round so things run smoothly whereas players have it easy, just pay and turn up and get the game won. Coaches, managers, ‘team mums’ and parents don’t get nearly enough credit for the work they do, without them, no games would ever get played.