Baseball is America’s pastime and a sport loved by many. If you’re looking to get into baseball, whether recreationally or competitively, having the right equipment is key. The exact equipment needs will vary depending on your age and skill level, but here are six tips to help you buy the essential baseball gear to get started.
Choose the Right Bat
The most important piece of individual baseball equipment is the bat. When selecting a bat, consider your age, size, skill level, and any league regulations.
For young players just starting out, look for a lightweight bat in the 25–27-ounce range with a 2 1/4” diameter barrel. Composite and alloy bats are both suitable for youth players. As you get older and more advanced, you can size up to a drop 3 bat up to 32 ounces with a 2 5/8” barrel diameter. High school and college players may prefer a drop 5-8 bat in the 30–34-ounce range. Make sure any bat you select is approved for your league.
Find the Right Glove for Your Position
Baseball gloves come in many shapes and sizes for different player positions. Determine what position you’ll be playing most often to select the right glove.
Infielders should look for shallow gloves around 11-12 inches from wrist to the top of the glove. You’ll want a glove with a tightly woven basket web or I-web shape. Outfielders will do best with a 12–13-inch glove that has deeper pockets and uses an H-web or trapeze web. Pitchers need longer gloves from 12-15 inches for reach and control when fielding hits. Catcher’s mitts are much different, with extra padding and no individual fingers. Make sure to try gloves on in person and test opening and closing before purchasing.
Get the Protective Gear
Don’t neglect protective gear – it’s essential for keeping players safe on the field. For catchers, a helmet, chest protector, leg guards, face mask, and throat guard is required equipment. Base runners should wear a batting helmet to protect the head when running bases.
Batting helmets now come with face masks on youth helmets and are recommended at higher levels, too. Baseball sliding shorts with built-in pad compressions shorts help prevent injuries when sliding into bases. And for pitchers, fielding masks protect your face from comeback hits while practicing pitching.
Choose the Right L-Screen
L-screens are another piece of protective equipment baseball players use. These are protective nets that protect the players and coaches from baseballs during batting practice. However, there are so many types of L-screens that it can be hard to know which one to buy.
When choosing an L-Screen, you need to consider how much use it will get and how much you can afford. While lightweight nets are easily portable and inexpensive, they can only be used for light use. No matter what screen you choose, you must make sure they are made of quality netting.
Find Supportive Cleats
Baseball cleats are essential for traction and quick maneuvers on the baseball diamond. Cleats come in two main styles: molded rubber or detachable cleats.
Molded rubbers are more affordable and better for younger players before switching to detachable cleats. When buying cleats, make sure they properly support and stabilize the ankle. Metal spikes are restricted in most youth leagues, so stick with rubber or plastic studs. Break them in gradually to avoid blisters.
Pick Game-Ready Apparel
The right baseball apparel can make you look and feel like a pro. Jerseys, pants, belts, and stirrups allow you to represent your favorite team. For optimal mobility, look for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics – polyester blends work well. Piping and contrasting stitching also adds style.
Make sure any custom team uniforms or practice gear comply with league design rules. Hats, batting gloves, and sunglasses complete the baseball look while serving functional purposes, too. Visors, compression sleeves, and sliding pants are other accessories to consider.
Buying baseball equipment requires consideration of your skill level, position, age, and league regulations. Take time to test out different equipment options to find high quality, comfortable gear. With the right baseball equipment, you’ll be ready to play ball like a pro!