FIBSA Update (May to August)
15/10/2021 4 Minute Read

FIBSA Update (May to August)

An update on the activities undertaken by the Fiji Islands Baseball and Softball Association (FIBSA) from May to August, 2021.

National teams prepare for Saipan 2022

With Fiji being hit by its second wave of COVID-19 and association lockdowns, FIBSA returned to its online platform, which was establish during the first wave of COVID in 2020.

The national team continued its training for the first two weeks of April, focusing on team cohesion by separating players in two teams as part of our preparation for the Pacific Mini Games, due to be held in Saipan at the end of 2022.  Players continued to support the idea to create competition amongst each other.

This month baseball players living overseas who have links to Fiji and have shown interest in representing Fiji at international tournaments if they are eligible - especially the 2022 Pacific Mini Games – have joined the program.  Fiji now has three players that reside in the US (currently attending college or high school) who have expressed interest, subject to meeting all requirements.

FIBSA awarded continental equipment donation

In May, FIBSA received a letter from the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) stating that they had been awarded a continental equipment donation, which the Fiji governing body would be responsible for its distributing to other baseball and softball organisations throughout Oceania.  

The sports’ international governing body - with the support of WBSC Oceania - is now realising that FIBSA will be the core of development organisations for baseball and softball in the southern region of Oceania. After 10 years of development work through our community and youth initiatives, FIBSA is now getting a lot of positive feedback from WBSC Oceania, such as with this continental equipment donation.

WBSC has recently completed a massive distribution of baseball and softball equipment to continental bodies as part of the world governing body's development plan to accelerate the globalisation of the game, particularly following baseball and softball's successful showing at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The equipment includes 4,020 Baseball5 balls, 2,400 baseballs, 1,520 softballs, 1,114 gloves, 410 bats, 469 complete uniforms, 162 batting helmets, 72 sets of catcher’s gear, and 78 bags.

The WBSC delivered the equipment to affiliated continental baseball and softball associations in Africa, Asia and the Pan America region - as well as Oceania - who will then to distribute the goods to National Federations across their respective continents, based on the various needs.

Each continental governing body will then report to the WBSC Development Commission about the distributions to the National Federations where WBSC intends to monitor the way this equipment is used.

The equipment was due to arrive in Fiji in September thanks to the assistance of the Fiji Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Fiji National Sports Commission.

Food ration distribution

FIBSA also conducted a food distribution program for its coaches and senior players who were affected by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Development officers visited those affected when restrictions eased around the central area.  We only assisted those that were badly affected by the pandemic and have been the backbone of FIBSA for the past 10 years through our youth development initiative.  FIBSA felt that we had an obligation to give back to these individuals and their families during these trying times.

Online training for National Squad players ahead of the 2022 Mini Games

Baseball seasons across Fiji have been cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdowns for the past four months. Typically, this time of year is focused on competition. As providers, we see this as a perfect opportunity for our athletes to focus on proper pre-season preparation, injury prevention, and optimising their baseball performance.

In order to reduce the incidence of overuse injuries leading up to the 2022 Pacific Mini Games in Saipan, players have been focusing on three key areas; safe management of pitching volumes, baseball-specific exercise to improve mobility and strength, and correct improper techniques.

All twenty players in the squad for the 2022 Saipan Pacific Mini Games have been monitored and are continuously updating their training programs. The squad have continued using their online platform since May, but now with a more elite structured approach as they have set a baseline data of each player from the past four months. This is an example of a weekly baseball training regimen developed by WBSC Oceania which FIBSA continues to use, in which players once a week upload some of their sessions and most importantly their weekly training program sheets to the online platform.

Online discussion between Fiji and Japan exchange programs for 2022 and beyond

Over the past three months FIBSA and our partners in Japan have been discussing more initiatives for our youth development programs and national teams.  SSK - a renowned baseball brand – is a very ambitious promoter of baseball countries where the sport is still developing, through providing rubber balls.  SSK have welcomed FIBSA to their family, and indicated that there would be higher possibility of personal bond between a participating country and a participating city or town in Japan.

Another opportunity is Catch Ball Classic online event in December.  Catch Ball Classic may be joined by some of Japanese professional players. The Japan Professional Baseball Players Association considers the skill of catching a ball to be the very starting point of baseball, and since 2005 has been involved in the ‘Catch Ball Project’, holding various events throughout Japan.  Furthermore, the ‘Yu-ball’, which will be used on the day, was designed especially for Catch Ball and created through the collaboration of the Players Association and the business sector in Japan. This year due to the pandemic, the event will be held via an online platform and countries from around the world are being invited to participate. FIBSA will have nine representative Under 12 to Under 15 age-group players competing in the online Let’s Play Catch competition.

Next year there is also an invitation to Akita City, which FIBSA have been in discussions about for the past two years.  Mr Ota of Akita City Commerce School has been positive despite the pandemic, and told FIBSA that they are still keen to host three to five Under 18 representative players and join their school baseball team for a couple of weeks.

In 2022 or 2023 the Under 13 player age-group is invited to Kawaminami.  FIBSA hope this opportunity could lead to a new possible exchange partner for the younger generation.  This connection comes as Kawaminami town is the home of former FIBSA national coach and JICA volunteer, Mr. Masahiro Shirakawa.  Earlier this year we began the program through an online introduction to players exchange program, which included a skills activity event.

Finally, we want to note an online workshop conducted by FIBSA and former Fiji coaches Mr Masahiro Shirakawa, Mr Kento Oshima and Mr Takahiro Nishio through the JICA program.  These started in July and will be conducted every quarter.  FIBSA have been preparing PowerPoint presentations to ensure all data coming in from coaches and players via the online program is correct, and so they can accurately convey the facts of FIBSA's activities when necessary.