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SOFTBALL EQUIPMENT GUIDELINES

 

(Put your name on every single piece of equipment you own!)

 

Fielding Glove

  • Determine which hand child throws with so you can purchase glove for opposite hand

  • Glove measurement runs the base of the glove at palm to the top of the middle fingertip. 

  • Have child put glove on hand making sure each finger is inside correct finger slot. 

  • Most importantly make sure pinky finger reaches pinky slot while the thumb reaches the thumb loop. 

  • Have child hold glove up a few minutes like about to catch the ball.

  • If their hand feels uncomfortable like it is about to cramp up, the glove is stretching their fingers out too wide apart and it is too big.

  • If the child can’t easily open and close the glove with the aid of the pinky slot and thumb loop, it is too big. 

  • I would not recommend buying position specific gloves at little league age

  • This chart is a good starting point but make sure child tests finger slots and thumb loop as described above.

  • Grab a correct size ball (see below) for their age off the shelf and see how it fits in the glove. 


Age

Division

Typical Glove Size

4 - 6  

Tee Ball Softball

9.5 – 10.5 inch

7 - 8  

Machine Pitch Softball

10 – 11.5 inch

9 -1 0

Minors 

11 – 12.5 inch

11 - 12

Majors

11.5  – 13 inch

13 - 16

Seniors

12 – 14 inch

 

Youth Glove vs Adult Glove?

A youth glove is designed for younger players with smaller hands. They are typically cheaper than the adult gloves and are much easier to close. The youth gloves are not made of the same high quality leather, but the materials they are made of make them easier to close. Youth gloves have smaller, narrower fingers and should be used for a player under 10 years old. They sometimes can be used for a player up to 12 years old, but after then, kids should be using adult gloves. To fit an adult glove onto a younger player’s hand, the back of the wrist can be tightened. This is typically done on softball glove with the Velcro strap.



 

Ball Size by Division

If you want to purchase a ball so you can play catch at home its worth spending the extra money for a ball with a genuine leather cover vs synthetic cover because it will hold its shape, weather better, and have taller seems. 

 

Age

Division

Softball Size

4 - 6  

Tee Ball Softball

10 inch safety/training ball

7 - 8  

Machine Pitch Softball

11 inch ball

9 -1 0

Minors 

11 inch ball

11 - 12

Majors

12 inch ball

13 - 16

Seniors

12 inch ball




 

Fastpitch Softball Bats

  • Size and weight of the bat matter. These are the most important factors, because it allows players to work on their hitting mechanics, batting stance, and swing speed.

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  • Regarding bat weight, most youth bats feature a length to weight ratio (or, drop) between minus 10 and minus 13.5.

  • Length to weight ratio (drop) represents how many ounces a bat weighs compared to its length. The higher the drop ratio number, the lighter the bat.

  •  

  • It's recommended to select a bat that's easiest to control. DON’T buy a bat for your child to “grow in to.” 

 It will be too heavy for them.

Examples of Drop

5-6 year olds = 24”-26” (-10 to -13) Example: 26 inches -11 drop = 15oz bat

9-10 year olds = 28”-29” (-10 to -13)  Example: 29 inches -13 drop = 16oz bat


* For any bat to be eligible for little league it must have the 1.20 BPF rating 

stamped on it somewhere (Bat Performance Factor).  It can also have any of

these stamps as well but at a minimum must have 1.20 BPF on it. 






Materials: Alloy vs. Composite vs. Hybrid

  • Alloy softball bats are constructed with a one-piece design out of aluminum or aluminum that is mixed with other metals to make a stronger product. The advantage of this strength is that it allows alloy bats to have thinner, more responsive barrel walls. $

  • Composite softball bats, on the other hand, are made out of a mixture of carbon fiber, graphite, fiberglass, and sometimes Kevlar. $$

  • Hybrid softball bats feature a two-piece design in which an alloy barrel is bonded to a composite handle. This makes the handle lighter and allows the alloy barrel to be made longer than on a traditional alloy bat. $$$

One-Piece vs. Two-Piece

  • One-piece softball bats use the same material throughout the entire design. The advantage of the one-piece design is that you get a stronger, stiffer bat that is favored by power hitters looking for as little flex as possible.

  • Two-piece softball bats have a handle that is a separate piece from the barrel. The advantage to a two-piece bat is that its design allows the barrel to flex at the point of contact creating a trampoline effect off the barrel. Two-piece bats have less vibration in the handle due to the separation of the handle and barrel.

 

Batting Helmets: Most families buy their own helmets for hygiene reasons but the manager will have 1 or 2

                               helmets available to use in the team bag if you don’t want to invest in one yet.

  • Helmet w/ face shield required for ages (4-10)

  • Helmet w/ face shield HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for ages (11-16)

  • Batters fouling balls back into their own face is more common in softball than baseball due to the 

pitcher’s release coming from underhand windmill (low to high) vs an overhand baseball pitch (high to low)

 

Defensive Face Masks: Many players like these because it keeps them from being intimated by the ball. 

                                        There are only certain situations in which they are required. See below. 

  • Machine Pitch = Pitcher required to wear batting helmet with shield or defensive face mask

  • Minors Pitchers= required to wear face mask, manager will have one in team bag for those that try pitching or don’t want to invest in one yet.

  • Majors and Seniors pitchers = Not required to wear a defensive face mask when pitching but it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  

  • Please note that face masks come in youth and adult sizes. 

 

Cleats

  • Help keep from slipping in mud or losing traction on dirt

  • Baseball/softball cleats are more conducive to sliding than the round posts on soccer cleats. 

  • Cleats keep their regular tennis shoes from getting ruined by the red dirt. 

  • If your child will be pitching a lot she may want to get a brand with rubber pitching toe for wear and tear on her drag foot.