Baseball season is fast approaching and your kids will need the right gear to perform at their best. Whether they’re baseball newbies or have simply outgrown their existing gear, this guide will help you find the right gloves, cleats, bats, and other equipment to make the sport fun for them. By getting your gear before the season starts, your kid will be ready to bat, catch, run and win well before the first pitch is thrown.
The baseball glove is a fundamental piece of gear for players of every age. The right glove can enhance your skill set significantly while an improper glove can make playing nearly impossible. The type of glove you choose for a child will depend on a variety of factors. The first thing to consider is position:
- Catcher – The catcher’s glove, most often referred to as a mitt, is the most specialized glove in the sport due to its specific duties behind the plate. It can repeatedly receive fast pitches without becoming painful for the catcher. It has strong, deep pockets and extra layers for protecting. Catcher’s mitts can take awhile to break in, so plan ahead.
- Pitcher – Comfort, less so than performance, is key with a pitcher’s glove for kids. If your child is a bit older and throws pitches other than fastballs, finding a glove that uses a closed or modified-trapeze web will help conceal their grips.
- First Base – When your kid plays first base, you want them to have the best chance of catching the ball even when there’s a wild throw. That’s why first basemen gloves will have strong, deep pockets with a closed web design.
- Infielder – Gloves for infielders usually incorporate an I Web with open holes so that dirt and other debris from the diamond doesn’t get stuck in the glove. These gloves are designed to make it easier to quickly suck up ground balls.
- Outfielder – Outfielders usually use large gloves with H-Web designs so that they can see through the pocket when trying to catch pop flies. This design is also used a lot by third basemen.
Next, you’ll need to find the right size for your child. If you’re shopping in a brick and mortar store, it’s easy to just try different sizes until you find a perfect fit, but online it’s helpful to make use of a baseball glove sizing chart.
Kids Baseball Bats
The type of bat you’ll need for your child will depend on their age and their league of play. In Little League and Pony League, a bat must be made of wood or some other non-wood material that meets the standards of USA Baseball Bat; there will be a USA Baseball logo on the bat to signify this. The bat cannot exceed a diameter of 2⅝ inches. Here are the typical lengths used by certain age groups:
- Under 7: 24 – 26 inches
- 8 to 9: 26 – 29 inches
- 10 to 11: 28 -30 inches
- 12 to 13: 29 – 32 inches
Bats will also have a drop number. This is the difference between the length and the weight (in ounces). The lower the drop number, the lighter the bat will feel when swung.
In terms of material, wood bats are most often used by professional players, travel ball players and for batting practice. You’ll want to find a material for your kid’s bat that best fits their particular style and needs. Your choices include:
- Composite – Made out of layered materials similar to carbon fiber, composite bats tend to have large sweet spots and less vibration on mishit balls. Unfortunately, they can crack when used in cold weather and take a little while to break in before use.
- Alloy – Alloy bats are made out of aluminum or other types of metal and can be used right out of the wrapper. While typically less expensive than composite bats, they tend to have less of a sweet spot.
- Hybrid – By combining both composite and alloy elements, hybrid bats attempt to get the best of both worlds. While these bats have a lot of benefits, they are not allowed in every league. Check your local league’s rules and regulations before purchasing a hybrid bat.
Kids Batting Gloves
In order to prevent blistering and improve grip while handling a bat, you’ll want to find the right batting glove for your kid. A good glove will fit snugly without cutting off circulation to the hand. How these gloves look are also important to many kids in the sport, so you may want to check that the style and colors of the batting glove you choose are okay with your young baseball player.
Like most baseball gear, choosing the right kids cleats depends on a variety of factors including age and position. There are three main types of baseball shoe:
- Metal Cleats – These cleats provide the best traction on dirt and grass. For older kids, metal may be allowed, but they are banned in younger leagues for a variety of reasons. Check your league’s rules to find out if metal is appropriate.
- Molded Plastic Cleats – Plastic cleats perform almost as well as metal without breaking down on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. They are also much less expensive than metal.
- Trainer Shoes – Depending on the team, your child may spend time practicing off the diamond at places like batting cages. For these situations, a turf or training shoe is far more appropriate. Having both a pair of plastic cleats and training shoes is common for kids in little league.
Kids Baseball Jerseys
In many cases, kids baseball jerseys, pants, and other uniform items are provided by the league your child joins, but it’s good to know what to look for if you’re required to get these items on your own. Jerseys can come in full button down, two button, and no button varieties. You’ll want to find jerseys that fit your climate: light polyester blends breathe well in hot weather and compression shirts can be worn under the jersey during cold weather.
If you want jerseys that have your own unique logos and colors, you can also order your own custom youth baseball jerseys. It’s fairly easy to coordinate the colors of your other gear with your custom uniforms to create a really polished look for your kid’s team.