A catcher is the most vulnerable player on a baseball team – basically targeting baseballs moving quickly, adjacent to a swaying bat and vulnerable to house-plate collisions. A catcher needs protective softball catcher gear and it is important that it adapts properly. Poor softball catcher gear can cause discomfort, restriction of travel and compromised protection. The softball catcher gear sizing can be done by taking a few quick body measurements and selecting the appropriate equipment in a baseball or sporting goods store.
- Choose the catcher glove. Place your hand inside the glove and slightly fan your fingers, making sure they can move slightly. A good glove allows a margin of manoeuver for the fingers, but still has a good fit. Catcher mittens are measured by circumference in half-inch increments. Size 30 to 31 suitable for most young players; Adults generally register up to a size of 34.5. Keep in mind that new mittens can be difficult to handle until broken in.
- Measure the circumference of your head using a tape measuring tape. Place the ribbon around the forehead, just above the ears and around the occipital bone – the slight bump on the back of the head. Note the measurement in inches and cross reference with a heading sizing table. For example: head circumference of 21.5 to 22 inches is considered a helmet of size 6-7 / 8 or 7, otherwise referred to as a support. Note that masks can be regulated by your league or school. Some require guard helmets style with an integrated mask to protect the entire head. Others allow slip-on masks on the helmet. If so, try on the mask and make sure you have a complete field of view, and that the mask covers your entire face while integrating perfectly on the helmet. Helmets are often paired with a mask at baseball outfitters or sports shops.
- Measure your torso from the upper part of the sternum to your navel. Note the measurement in inches to select a tight fitting breastplate. For young catchers, the measurement may be slightly longer because some youth leagues require a chest-guard tail. Select the chest protector with matching torso length measures as indicated on the description of the size of the softball catcher gear.
- Measure your tibia from the center of the patella to the bottom of the tibia, just above the ankle, to determine the length of the knee pads and shins. Select the shin guards with the corresponding measurements as shown in the softball catcher gear size description.
Tips and Warnings
You may need to try several gloves before you find the right person. Many models are available from many manufacturers and everything will feel a little different. Keep in mind that the mitten will be difficult to manoeuver with your fingers at first. Make sure that all material is properly adjusted – not too tight or too loose. Softball catcher gear should not contract the movement of the body, nor slide around with minimal body movement. The catcher gear must be tight but comfortable. The mobile softball catcher gear will not protect as well as properly mounting gear.