Picking the right glove for you
When choosing a ball glove or mitt, it can turn into a bit of a daunting task. With all the information at hand, all the different sizes, the different brands and the vast array of colours, you can find yourself confused and uncertain. Don't worry, as we're here to help ease some of that uncertainty and turn it into excitement.
The following must be considered when buying a glove or mitt:
The two main types of gloves can be categorised in Baseball and Softball gloves. Baseball gloves are generally smaller and have a narrower pocket due to the ball being smaller. Softball gloves sport a deeper pocket and generally are bigger in nature due to the size of the ball.
Size preference goes hand in hand with what position you play. However, there are many different sizes, ranging from 9" - 15". Baseball gloves usually stick to 11" - 12.5" with Softball gloves ranging from 11.5" - 14".
Your position you play is one of the biggest factors to take into account when picking a glove or mitt. Let's break down the positions.
- Catchers make use of mitts, these are hard and very thickly padded gloves.
- They don't allow for as much freedom of movement as general gloves, but this is due to the extra padding.
- Catchers have a very round and thick padded mitt to deal with the sheer amount of plays/pitches they have to receive.
- The difference between a baseball and softball catcher's mitt is once again, the size. Mainly referring to the pocket.
- First Base
- First Base players also make use of mitts, however they have less padding than a catcher's mitt due to not having to receive every pitch.
- First base mitts vary from 12" - 14".
- First base mitts also have the extra padding because the majority of plays go to First Base during a regular match.
- As a pitcher, your first priority must be getting a glove with a closed pocket.
- This is so that the batter can't see what type of grip you have on the ball and thus predict the pitch you're about to throw
- You'll also generally want a smaller glove in order to have quick reactions when a ball gets hit your direction.
- A light glove is also essential for a pitcher to ensure your reactions stay quick throughout the game.
- Infielders usually prefer a glove in the size range of 11" - 11.75" for Baseball, and 11.5" - 12" for Softball.
- These gloves usually feature a narrow close with either an I web or a modified trap design.
- The I web closes thumb to forefinger and is designed to field and release the ball quickly.
- The modified trap design closes thumb to ring finger, creating a deeper pocket, giving a bit more space to catch the ball.
- Outfielders usually prefer a glove ranging from 12" - 12.5" for Baseball, and 12.5" - 14" for Softball.
- An H web is one of the clear cut favourites in the outfield due to it's wide pocket, creating the maximum catching area.
- The H web also allows the fielder to look "through" the glove when fielding a ball that's directly in the sunlight.
The type of player or level of player will dictate what type of material you'll be looking at for your glove or mitt.
If you're a young ball player just starting out, a full leather glove wouldn't be your best option as they're rather pricey. In this case a cheaper canvas or PU alternative would work out best as it wouldn't be so much money out your pocket when you outgrow the glove.
However if you're a High School heading to Senior League player, you will definitely need to set your sights on a full leather glove. Leather has a far greater durability to it's canvas or PU counterparts. If looked after properly it could last you a lifetime. (Ask Riaan how he managed to braai his Wilson glove back in the day, when you make a stop by our shop)
Once you've found the glove that fits you like a glove. (Excuse the pun) It's time to start the wonderful process of breaking it in.
The break in process is often long and daunting, but the end result is 150% worth it!
The best way to break in a new glove is to wear it, use it, and play with it. This allows the leather to form to your hand as you open and close it to field a ball.
Glove oil or glove butter can both be used to soften the leather while you're busy breaking it in. This gives the the glove more flexibility. (Be careful as glove oil and butter could possibly change the colour of the leather)
When your glove is not in use, ensure that you put a ball in the pocket and wrap it with either a glove wrap or any type of elastic that won't damage the leather. This keeps the preferred shape of your pocket at all times and ensures your glove is always ready to play!
NEVER Microwave your glove as this removes all the moisture from the leather and laces, drying out your entire glove causing it to become hard and brittle.
NEVER Drive over your glove with a car trying to speed up the break in process.