West End Slo-pitch Association
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This page provides information on the structure of our slo-pitch softball league and how to determine which tier is right for you.

 One of the things that we love about WESA is that when registering to play every year, you will sign up as an individual, rather than a team, and choose one of our two tiers to register in. This means that every year you will make new friends and play with new teammates.

 It is not possible to register a team or partial team to play in WESA. All players are pooled together within the tier they sign up for and coaches assigned by the WESA Commission draft their teams for the season from the list of available players. 

 This universal draft process promotes the social and participation values that are such an important part of WESA culture and helps ensure that new and returning players alike of all abilities have an opportunity to play.

 New Division Structure for 2023 

 This year, WESA is updating the old D and C division structure to a new tier structure: Tier 1 and Tier 2. While both tiers are competitive due to the nature of sport, both offer a friendly, fun, and social environment to play softball and make great friends.  

Tier 1 
Best suited for players of all abilities and ages who prioritize a slower paced game, including beginner and novice softball players, who may not yet have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the game.

Tier 2 
Best suited for more experienced softball players who have a good grasp of the fundamentals of the game and who appreciate a more efficient, fluid, and faster paced game.

 Our Journey So Far

 As WESA has grown, our old NAGAAA-aligned D and C divisions have become increasingly unbalanced. Surveys and stats show both that the player experience is being affected and that our membership demographics are changing.

 (What is NAGAAA? WESA has been a proud member of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) since 2008. We continue to believe strongly in the benefits the organization offers our membership, including player and community development through participation in city tournaments and the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS). Our challenge is to find a "made in Vancouver" solution that works for our membership as we grow with our community.) Learn more about WESA and NAGAAA.

 The facts are that in 2022 61% of WESA members playing in WESA D were NAGAAA E eligible and 74% of members in WESA C were NAGAAA D eligible. The skills gap between players within the same division has been widening as well.

 Your WESA Commission feels very strongly that a more balanced divisional structure is a prerequisite for sustainable growth, now and in the future. The Commission, in fact, believes this so strongly that they wrote a position paper on it following the 2022 season. You can find it here.

 The first part of the solution is to rename the divisions to weaken the association between WESA divisons and the NAGAAA rating system that sometimes deters members from registering in the tier best matched to their abilities and style of play they desire. This led us to renaming the divisions to be simply Tier 1 and Tier 2.

 The second part of the solution is to reframe player criteria for each tier to focus more on capabilities and experiential outcomes and less on an imperfect rating system that quantifies only a small part of the player experience. This can be seen in the new descriptions of our tiers.

 The third part of the solution is to retain our members by continuing to improve the player experience. By renaming and reframing the way our league is organized, offering our players more development opportunities, and our coaches better support, we hope to encourage members to self-select into the tier that makes the most sense for them, resulting in a narrowing of the skills gap within tiers, and therefor an increasingly positive playing experience for everyone!

 (updated April 02, 2023)

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