OKLAHOMA CITY –– USA Softball announced today the launch of the High-Performance Program (HPP), a program that will serve as a pipeline to the USA Softball National Team Program. The HPP will focus on developing player skills while teaching and growing the game of softball in the United States. Inclusive to all that wish to participate and develop their skills, the HPP launches with a special focus on athletes and coaches at the Junior Olympic (JO) Girls’ Fast Pitch division.
“We are excited to officially launch the USA Softball High Performance Program,” said Chief Executive Officer, Craig Cress. “Because the High Performance Program serves as a direct pipeline to the National Team Program, players will have a clear pathway to representing the U.S. at a future WBSC World Cup. Additionally, all players who participate will develop their skills which is essential to growing the game and contributing to the USA Softball mission.”
The HPP will consist of four levels: local area identifiers, local area invitational tryouts, regional team events, and USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) age-specific tryouts. Athletes will first participate in identifiers and tryouts at the local level with the top athletes named to their respective area pool. From the area, teams will participate in regional events, and athletes that stand out as the most elite will then advance for possible national team trial, pool, or team participation. Following the JWNT selection process, athletes officially named to the JWNT would represent the U.S. at a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) international event.
“In a year when things seemed too unattainable due to COVID-19, USA Softball used the time to look at how better we identify athletes across the country by talking to coaches in the travel ball industry and our local associations members,” said Director of National Teams, Chris Sebren. “This new program has taken a lot of effort, by many individuals, to make sure that athletes across the U.S. have a chance to showcase their skills on the field, represent their hometown or the local area, and work their way up to that spot on our National Teams. The WBSC, having implemented World Cups at the U-15 and U-18 age levels, has also created the need for such a program throughout the U.S. Ultimately, I’m excited for what the High Performance Program is going to provide for our future Junior Women’s National Teams.”
The HPP will include the 10 USA Softball regions throughout the country with various local areas being selected to host identifiers and tryouts throughout the year. COVID-19 could prevent local areas from hosting identifiers and tryouts. Should that affect an athlete’s ability to showcase their skills, USA Softball will provide additional opportunities for athletes to display their skills prior to the selection of a National Team.
Participating athletes will be evaluated based on their performances at each tryout with additional metric testing being included for athletes who are selected to attend the JWNT tryouts. Through such evaluation, placement, training, and re-evaluation each year, the HPP can identify athletes for advancement consideration and work to discover future Women’s National Team athletes.
Additional information for the High Performance Program can be found at HPP.USASoftball.com, with local area identifier registration information coming soon.