When a softball player makes an amazing diving catch in the outfield or stops a line drive, her glove makes all the difference. Outfitting a female softball player with the correct softball glove is an important part of preparing her to do her best in this exciting sport.
Is the Glove Right for Your Position?
First of all, it is important to know that a softball player's glove choice depends on her position and that the catcher's gear is very specialized.
- Open web gloves: used for first base and middle infielders and some outfielders because it allows the ball to be transferred quickly to the throwing hand.
- Closed web gloves: preferred by pitchers, third base, and some outfielders because it gives more support and shields the ball better.
- Catcher's mitts: used by the catcher only, it does not have separately cut fingers to prevent hand fatigue.
- First Baseman's Glove: similar to a catcher's mitt but longer and with less padding, it is good for scooping up the ball and quick transfer to throwing arm.
Is the Glove the Right Size?
Since young female players tend to have smaller hands, right glove size is very important. Too large a glove can strain her hands, cause poor performance and even pain. It is never a good idea for a young female player to use a leftover slow pitch baseball glove worn by an older brother or dad since it often is much too large for her. The best way to make sure you have the right fit in a softball glove is to try it on. Glove sizing is based on the glove measurement from wrist to index finger. Sizes vary by position:
- First base: 13 inches
- Second base and shortstop: 11.5-12.5 inches
- Third base 12-12.5 inches
- Pitcher 11.5-12 inches
- Outfield 12-13 inches
Players should start by trying on the smallest gloves first, moving their hands and handling the ball to get a glove that feels best.
Does the Glove Fit?
Getting the best performance from a glove means being able to use the fingers and thumb optimally to catch the ball. To be able to use a full range of motion, young female players should not try to fit all five fingers in the glove all the way. Instead, they should:
- Put two or more of their fingers in the pinky slot of the glove, pushing all of their fingers to the outside of the glove.
- Leave their wrist exposed.
- Check for full wrist movement by opening and closing the glove firmly.
- Try catching and releasing a softball.
- Look for a glove that stays firmly on and is easy to grip and release.
Does the Glove Feel Good?