Glove Buying Guide
When purchasing a glove, the first thing that needs to be determined is what hand the glove will be worn on. A right-handed thrower (Righty) throws with his/her right hand and the glove is worn on his/her left hand. A left-handed thrower (Lefty) throws with his/her left hand and the glove is worn on his/her right hand.
Guidelines to consider during your purchase:
- Select the proper throwing hand. (Lefty or Righty)
- Choose a glove size that fits your age and position.
- Check for a glove that will break in according to your timetable.
- Select a glove that is in your price range.
Glove Sizing Chart:
Youth Gloves vs. Adult Gloves
Youth gloves are designed for smaller hands and are made with shorter, narrower finger stalls. Youth gloves are not typically made with the same leather as adult gloves, instead they are constructed of materials that allow them to be more easily broken in and more reasonably priced. Players from 5-10 years old would typically use a youth glove, but they can be used for smaller players up to 12 years old.
Catcher’s gloves are not made like traditional fielding gloves. The catcher’s glove does not have separately cut fingers like a regular fielding glove, is typically stiffer when new and requires more time to break in. Catcher’s gloves have heavily laced closed pockets to enable them to stand up to repetitive use. Baseball and softball catcher’s gloves are not the same, softball catcher’s gloves have a deeper pocket and the sidewalls are thinner to make it easier to catch a larger ball. Catcher’s gloves are not measured like a regular glove; they are measured by the circumference around the glove.
First Base Gloves
First baseman gloves are somewhat similar to catcher’s gloves, but the fingers are longer and less padded. The glove is more flexible, enabling the versatilty required at the first base position. As such a first basemea’s glove is not as strong as a catcher’s glove, but it is stronger than a regular fielder's glove as the fingers are designed to be firm and not bend back. First baseman gloves usually start being used at age 10 or 11 because it can be difficult for a younger player to handle a larger glove. A baseball first baseman’s glove ranges from 11-13 inches and a softball first baseman’s glove ranges from 12-13 inches.
Infield gloves are designed to be small with a smaller pocket to enable infielders need to get the ball out of their gloves quickly. A variety of pockets are used, although third baseman typically use a glove with a closed pocket as they handle more hard hit balls. Infield gloves for baseball usually range from 10.75-12 inches. Infield softball gloves usually range from 11.5-12.5 inches.
Outfield gloves are larger than infield gloves to enable more range and reach in the large space being covered. These gloves have a deeper pocket, and usually have an H-web or a Trapeze web. Softball gloves tend to have pockets that are very deep to catch the larger ball. Baseball outfield gloves tend to be 12-12.75 inches and softball outfield gloves tend to be 12-15 inches.
A pitcher is typically not as concerned about the performance of his glove as are other players, his main concern is comfort. Pitchers gloves tend to have closed webs, such as a basket web or a solid two-piece web which allows them to hide the ball from the batter so they can’t see what grip is being used and know what pitch is coming. Baseball pitchers gloves usually range from 11.5-12.25 inches and softball pitchers gloves range from 11.5-12.5 inches.
Tips on glove break in
The best way to break in your glove is to use a little glove conditioner to keep the pocket firm and the leather strong. Shape the glove with your hands including folding the fingers and creasing the heel to your liking. The most common method is to have the thumb bend over to the ring finger. Ultimately, playing catch is the best way to break in a glove to your hand. You will begin to feel the glove take the shape of your palm and see the glove start to fold the way you want.