Northside Little League: Equipment

Saturday, November 19
EQUIPMENT

**********************************************************************************************************

This information is furnished by Northside Little League as an aid for parents of Little League players. It is offered as a reference to help answer common questions about youth baseball and softball equipment. NSLL provides all players with a Team Shirt and Cap. Each team is provided with balls, T's (upon request) and catcher’s gear.

Each player is responsible for their own glove, pants, belt, socks, shoes/cleats and helmets. Bats are generally available for the younger groups but are permitted. Also, although not required, a baseball bag for your equipement is helpful and available at the starting price of about $10.  

T-BALL PLAYERS

T-Ball players do not have any required equipment except a glove. T-Ball, as an introduction to the baseball/softball programs, offers the opportunity for players to gain experience with the equipment of those programs.

The Glove:

Comfort, more than anything else, should rule the day when selecting a glove for a tee ball player. Selecting a glove that is already soft and pliable, and doesn’t require any break in, is very desirable. Resist the temptation to get a glove much larger than required. A smaller glove is easier for the young player to control and will build good fielding habits. Typically, never exceed a size 9 glove for the t-ball player. For those new to baseball/softball, it is important to determine which hand is a player’s throwing hand. The glove is worn on the hand opposite the throwing hand.

The Ball:

The type of ball used in T-Ball is sometimes called a “safety ball” and is made to play like a real baseball, but to be softer. Officially called a “Reduced Injury Factor” RIF ball, they are engineered to roll and bounce like their harder cousins, but to not hurt as much if a player gets hit by one. Wiffle balls are a useful training aid for young players. Practicing with a wiffle ball can teach players to catch the ball with two hands and reduce the chance of a young player developing a fear of the ball.

The Bat:

The bat used in T-ball is a smaller version of the base ball bat. T-ball bats are typically labeled as T-ball and run in the range of 24-26 inches of length. The lightest bat possible is recommended for tee ball players. Tee ball players commonly develop an “arms out” bat swing due to using too heavy of a bat.

BASEBALL & SOFTBALL PLAYERS

In addition to a glove, many players choose to have their own bat, bat bag, batting helmet and rubberized cleats. Rubber cleats improve traction allowing greater speed during baserunning and chasing down fly balls on mushy northwest fields. Cleats can also prevent injuries from slips and falls. The protective cup is highly recommended for each male player and required for anyone wishing to play the catcher position. Protective “sliders” are recommended for female players to avoid sliding “rasberries”. Starting these habits at a young age can provide confidence and will avoid unnecessary injury.

The Glove:

A player’s glove is probably the most personal piece of equipment he/she will own. Like the hand that the glove fits, they come in many different sizes. There are also many different styles, colors and features. A glove’s size is measured in inches from the base of the hand to the end of the middle finger. The glove size is typically printed on the glove. When selecting a glove for younger players, the most important factor is size and comfort. A smaller glove is easier for the young player to control and will build good fielding habits. Children under 8 are best served with a glove from 9 to 11 inches.

A catcher’s glove is fingerless in that it has two slots; one for the thumb and one for the fingers. It contains additional padding to protect the hand. It is reinforced to hold up to stress of catching a pitched ball. A first baseman’s glove resembles a mitten, but unlike the catcher’s glove has normal padding. It has an oversized pocket that is long to help “scoop” low throws from infielders. A pitcher’s glove serves two primary functions. It must conceal the pitcher’s hand with ball from the hitter and field the position. The glove should have a fairly sized solid mesh web. An infielder’s glove has five fingers with a shallower web than the first baseman’s glove. Infielders use a glove with a smaller and more open web for mobility and to make quick throws.

The Bat:

Once you decide to get your own baseball bat the choices are staggering. There is a multitude of brands, lengths, weights and materials from which to choose. Bats have come a long way from the huge piece of timber your dad used. Now you have wood, metal, composites and ceramic materials. Both bat technology and bat prices have advanced over the years.

Little League rules state that a bat can be made from either wood or non-wood material. The narrow end of a bat is called the handle and wider end is called the barrel. The handle end of the bat is called the heel end and barrel end of the bat is called the head or cap end. Bats are sized by barrel width, overall weight and overall length. A bat’s length in inches is typically printed on the heel of the bat. Non-wood bats also typically have a weight in ounces printed with the length.

The bat barrel for T-Ball through the Major League baseball division must be no larger than 2 1/4 inches in diameter. Junior League and Senior League divisions (youth leagues 13 years of age and higher) can have a barrel no larger than 2 3/4 inches. New for the 2007 season all bats must be printed with a BPF (bat performance factor) rating of 1.15 or less. All little league-approved bats are labeled with the printing, “Little League Approved” which should not be confused with the Junior, Senior or Big League approved labels.

Please visit the following websites for more discussion on bat selection, bat care, and bat warrantees:

Equipment Info or Little League Equipment Info