How to Choose Baseball and Softball Equipment
Baseball and softball are great team sports that everyone can enjoy. However, for safety and maximum fun, it’s important to have the right gear. Check out our comprehensive guide to help get you into the game.
Bats and Bat Structure
Understanding the anatomy of a baseball bat will help you find the perfect size for you.
There are a few terms you should know:
1. Barrel Size: The diameter of a baseball bat is called its barrel size. The smaller the barrel size, the lighter the bat.
2. Grip: A grip is the covering used on the handle of the bat.
3. Length-to-weight ratio: Also known as a weight drop, the length-to-width ratio is the weight of the bat subtracted from the length of the bat. It’s always a negative number. The smaller the number, the heavier the bat.
Choosing the right baseball or softball can depend on the field position you play and how your hand feels in the glove.
It’s always useful to know your glove’s anatomy when searching for a perfect fit:
1. Web: A tightly woven piece of leather that connects the fingers and the thumb Web: A tightly woven piece of leather that connects the fingers and the thumb for secure control of the ball.
2. Palm: The area of the glove where the ball will sit. Most gloves will have paddings under the leather for more protection of your palm.
3. Heel: The lower portion of your glove that provides protection against the impact of the ball.
4. Hinge: The part of the glove that allows you to open and close your hand easily.
5. Lacing: Lacing provides shape to your glove.
Baseball and Softball Gloves have different web designs that can cater to your need and preference:
1. H-Web: Allows for maximum catching area in pocket and the ability to see the ball. It is typically used by outfielders or softball players.
2. Trapeze: Allows for maximum catching area and ball retention. Typically used by outfielders or softball players.
3. Basket-Web: Allows for multi-position use and large catching area. Typically used by pitchers, infielders, softball and youth players.
4. Modified Trapeze: Allows for multi-position use and ball retention in the pocket. Typically used by pitchers, infielders and youth players. This web design is not recommended for softball.
5. I-Web: Allows for multi-position use and ball retention in the pocket. Typically used by infielders and youth players. This web design is not recommended for softball.
It’s important to have a comfortable and well-fitted pair of cleats when you are playing softball or baseball. You should wear a pair of game socks when you’re trying on the cleats to ensure a snug fit. Cleats will break in over time, so don’t choose a pair that is too small or too big.
Baseball and softball helmets are designed to protect you when you are out on the field and up to bat. It is vital to know how to properly fit a helmet for your safety.
Here are some key tips:
• Helmets should be worn so the front brim sits approximately 1” above the eyebrows.
• Players who are under 16 will require a helmet with a chin strip.
• NOCSAE standard equates to 68 MPH pitch speed. All helmets must meet this standard.
Types of Balls
Baseball: Baseballs have a 9-inch circumference and an official weight of 5 ounces. They are white with flat seams are designed for contact at high speed.
Slow-Pitch Softballs: Slow-Pitch Softballs have an 11 or 12-inch circumference and an official weight of 7 ounces. They are yellow or white with flat seams, designed to perform best on low pitch speeds.
Fast-Pitch Softballs: Fast-Pitch Softballs have an 11 or 12-inch circumference with an official weight of 7 ounces. They are yellow which is easier to see at high speeds.