When buying a glove, there are a few basic terms that have to be defined first. The most common term when buying a glove is what "type of throw" the glove is; a righty or a lefty for common terms. This is asking what hand the player uses to throw the ball with, not what hand the glove goes on. A right hand thrower (RHT) throws with his or her right hand and the glove is on his or her left hand. A left hand thrower (LHT) throws with his or her left hand and the glove is on his or her right hand. Other important parts of the glove are as followed:
How to Measure the Size of a Glove
When trying to find out how long a glove is, it is normally written on the thumb or pinky finger. The sizes range from 8 to 15 inches, and to 35 inches for catcher gloves. To measure a glove that does not have a size, take a fabric tape measure and measure from the top of the index finger, down along the glove, to the center of the heel of the glove.
How to Choose the Right Size Glove for Your Position
The most important thing when it comes to buying a glove, is buying the right size, which depends on the age and position of the player. The size of a glove is important for a specific position because it is designed to maximize the performance of the player. The charts below show an estimate of the size range of the glove for a specific player for both baseball and softball.
Youth vs. Adult Gloves
A youth glove is designed for younger players with smaller hands. They are typically cheaper than the adult gloves and are much easier to close. The youth gloves are not made of the same high quality leather, but the materials they are made of make them easier to close. Youth gloves have smaller, narrower fingers and should be used for a player under 10 years old. They can be used for a player up to 12 years old, but after then, they should be using adult gloves. To fit an adult glove onto a younger player's hand, the back of the wrist can be tightened. This is done on softball gloves with a Velcro strap, but on baseball gloves, the glove needs a minor re-lacing.
A catcher's glove is more commonly referred to as catcher's mitt because it does not have separately cut fingers like other positions. A catcher glove is designed to give the player the ability to catch fastballs all game long without hurting their hand or wearing down the glove quickly. For this reason, catcher's mitts tend to be very stiff right off the shelf and take a while to break in. Many catchers buy their replacement glove a few months before they think their old glove will wear out so the new glove has time to break in. Catcher gloves tend to have a closed pocket because they can be attached with the most lacing and take the most abuse without breaking. There is a difference between baseball and softball gloves, the softball catcher's glove has a deeper pocket and thinner side walls to accommodate for the bigger wall. Catcher gloves are also measured differently, instead of the standard measuring; they are measured around the circumference of the glove to display the catching area of the glove. The standard size range is from 30.5 to 34.5 inches for baseball and from 31.5 to 35 inches for softball.
First Baseman's Gloves
A first basemen's glove is very similar to a catcher glove, except it is longer and has less padding on the fingers. It is designed to have the same catching area as a catcher's glove, but is flexible for making scoops out of the dirt. The first basemen's glove is stronger than a standard glove so that to fingers do not flop back like how a regular fielder's glove would. They also have open web designs to allow the pocket to be a little deeper and lighter than a closed pocket. First basemen’s gloves normally start being worn at age 10 or higher, because it can be difficult for younger kids to close the big glove. The typical size range is from 11 to 13 inches for baseball and from 12 to 13 inches for softball.
A pitcher does not need to be as worried about the performance of their glove as much as other players, and instead have to worry about comfort. The comfort is important since they are constantly catching with it. Pitchers in higher levels of play want to worry about having a glove that is big enough to hide their hand movement and band to avoid giving away the pitch to a batter. It is also important to make sure the glove isn't too heavy. Many manufacturers make light versions of the high end gloves with special materials that are significantly lighter than standard gloves.
Infield gloves are designed for the quick plays that infielders have to make. They are shorter and have a shallower pocket than other gloves. Infielders typically want an open pocket that makes it easy to get the ball out quickly. This is typically an I-web, post web, H-web, or modified trapeze pocket. The only position that sometimes wants a closed pocket is third base. This is because third base gets harder hits that a closed pocket can handle better than an open one. The standard size for a baseball infield glove is 11.25 to 12 inches, and 11.5 to 12.5 inches for softball.
Outfield gloves are designed to catch high fly balls and making diving catches. This means that the gloves are longer and deeper with extra support in the fingers. The pocket designs are typically open with the main options being a trapeze and an H-web. These pockets are the best for long extension plays that need to keep the ball in the glove, such as diving plays and snow cones. For Softball, the pockets can be closed webs, because they need to be extra deep to account for the size of the softball. The typical size of an outfielder's glove is 12-13 inches for baseball and 12-14 inches for softball.
Glove Care and Break-in Tips: How to Break-in Your Brand New Glove
We recommend that you try using our glove steamer if you are near one of our superstores. The glove steamer is a great tool that along with our expert staff can help take your glove to game ready in about 15 minutes.
If you are not near one of the superstores, or do not like the glove steamer, it's ok, we still have some tips for you. We recommend that you use only approved glove oils on your glove. The reason that manufacturers make specific glove oil is because it is designed for your glove. Products such as shaving cream are not recommended for your glove because they are not designed for leather. When it comes to choosing which oil is right, the more expensive oils are a more concentrated formula and are more of a cream than a liquid. This makes it much easier to control how much oil you use on your glove. It is best to oil your glove very lightly, and re-apply as necessary to avoid over oiling the glove. Over oiling will make the glove very heavy and make the glove break down much faster than it normally would.
To break in the glove once it is oiled, we recommend playing with the glove in your house. This includes shaping it with your hands without a ball. Folding the fingers how you like, and creasing the heel where you like it to fold. The most common way is to have the thumb bend over to the ring finger.
Once the glove has started to get loose, then it is time to start playing catch. Lots of catch. This is the best way to break the glove into your hand. It will fold how you want it to and have your palm shape. Once you are done playing catch, it is important to keep a ball or two in the glove to prevent it from becoming flat in your bag. It is ideal to keep one ball in the pocket and one ball in the palm and then wrapping the glove with one of the many aftermarket glove wraps, but something such as an old belt will also work.
Taking proper care of your glove can help make your glove last for many years; no matter how expensive or stiff it was when you first bought it. If you ever have questions about glove care tips and tricks, give us a call and we will gladly help you out and give you further advice.
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