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How to Choose a New Fastpitch Softball Glove – A Buying Guide
There are many choices in Fastpitch Softball gloves today. It can be very confusing to choose the best glove for you with all the sizes, styles, materials and models available today.
Fastpitch softball gloves generally have a larger pattern (length) than baseball gloves because the ball is larger. A deeper pocket is usually designed for a softball glove as well. Akadema, one of the most exciting new glove manufacturers; designed some women’s and girls’ Fastpitch Softball gloves with smaller finger openings. The space between the thumb and forefinger is shorter to accommodate a smaller hand.
One important thing to know is that you should not buy a glove that your child can “grow into”. The glove must fit properly and be the correct length (this is commonly referred to as the glove pattern size) to allow them to develop proper playing mechanics and not cheat by having a longer glove. The right glove will also help a beginner player feel more confident as the glove fits well on the hand and is easier to handle and won’t keep falling off. Remember, a six- or eight-year-old has a pretty small arm and it’s not as strong as those 14A level players on the next court.
Let’s start by deciding what position you usually play. This can help determine the size or pattern of the glove. Most kids will start out playing several positions, so the Utility Gloves might be the best choice for beginners. Below is a quick overview of the charts to get you started.
Size Softball Position
14.5 Inch Outfield – Men’s
14 Inch Outfield – Men
13.5 inches Outfield
13 inch Utility
12.75 inch Utility
12.5 inch Utility
12 inch Infield
11.75 inches 2nd base/junior
11.5 inches for youngsters
11 inches young
10.5 inches for youngsters
9.5 inches Youth 6-8 yrs
How to measure a glove
Fastpitch softball gloves and first base gloves are measured from the tip of the index finger down the inside of the pocket and out to the end of the glove. Fastpitch gloves will typically measure 12 inches to 14.5 inches, with junior sizes running smaller.
You should use a flexible measuring tape or a length of lace or twine. This is so while the measurement can lie in the palm of the glove as it measures giving you an accurate measurement. Measure from the highest point of the index finger.
Catchers gloves are measured around the circumference of the glove. All gloves and mittens are usually measured in inches. The Fastpitch Softball Catchers Mitt will measure anywhere from 33 inches to 34.5 inches. Youth sizes may be smaller.
I still don’t understand what size my child is! Parents of beginner players can ask your coach or have their child try on another child’s gloves to see how they fit. Measure those gloves using the techniques above, then refer to the chart and read the rest of this article for more tips. Most gloves have the size marked somewhere on the glove.
Fastpitch Softball gloves don’t have to be expensive. Quality gloves to help your child learn the game and play well are available for under $40. Gloves for the serious competitor to the student can range from under $100 to over $200. So there is a lot of choice.
Outfielders: Typically, Fastpitch Softball Outfielders prefer larger gloves in the 12.5″ to 14″ pattern. This gives them a deeper pocket and a longer glove to catch the ball than going over the fence or diving to catch it with an outstretched hand. A longer glove makes ball transfer a bit slower, but the extra catch area is usually a plus for outfielders.
There are open mesh designs in “H”, “T” and other patterns. This allows you to see the ball while holding the glove for a high fly. Closed web designs are also available for field use. Some players prefer a closed net to block the sun.
Infielders: Generally, Fastpitch Softball Infielders prefer a smaller pattern, ranging from 12″ to 12.5″. This smaller size allows for a quicker catch and quicker transfer of the ball to the throwing hand. There are some new designs that are almost fingerless. They allow you to catch that ground ball even faster. Sometimes an infielder prefers an open net like an outfielder, and sometimes he likes a closed one to provide more stopping power and control.
Pitchers usually like gloves that have a closed mesh. This allows them to hide the ball in their glove for longer. Pitchers sometimes like a longer pattern as an outfielder to hide the ball. There are Fastpitch Softball Pitchers gloves designed by professional players. They sometimes have features such as less lacing or no knots on the outside to protect the leg when the glove hits it when releasing the ball. I know, pitchers can be weird about things.
First Baseman Mitts they are similar to regular players’ gloves, but have more of a glove shape. They don’t have fingers, instead they have a thin but firm pad that runs around the circumference of the glove. They are usually larger to help collect those “bad” throws. This larger size gives them more control to catch the softball. There are still a lot of women first basemen who also use the standard gloves for players. It is not necessary to use a first base glove if you play first base, but you may not use a first base or catcher’s glove at any other fielding position.
Catchers Mitts are probably the most specific and don’t look much like other gloves. They are somewhat round in shape and are measured by the circumference of the glove. Fastpitch Softball Catchers gloves typically range from 33″ to 34.5″. Sometimes they have an added or special palm pad to help with the jab of a very fast bowler. Today’s Fastpitch Catchers glove is larger and shallower than before making it more flexible and similar to First base gloves. This allows for faster ball transfer, which is essential in this fast-paced game of Fastpitch Softball.
Open the Web gloves are usually preferred by middle infielders, first basemen and some outfielders. This open mesh helps hold the ball better and allows you to transfer the ball faster. These are Fastpitch gloves with a “T” or “H” web design. There are many variations of these networks.
Closed Web gloves commonly preferred by pitchers, third and some outfielders allow the ball to be hidden from the batter and also provide better support when catching an outside fly or line drive. This type of web basically means you can’t see through it. These would be “Beehive” or “Spiral Lock” type networks. There are many variations of these networks.
Open back or Closed back
Open back gloves are usually a bit cooler and lighter. They can be placed more firmly on the wrist. There are various methods of belt adjustment; Velcro and D-rings are common methods.
Closed gloves usually only have a hole that you can put your index finger through. Some have Velcro or a D-ring to adjust the size and make it fit better.
Most Fastpitch Softball gloves should be worn with a batting glove on the hand. This will help keep moisture out of the inside of the glove. This can also help take the sting out of hard throws and adjust the fit of the glove. Replace the glove if it is wet. Some leagues do not allow a pitcher to wear a batting glove. Supposedly it distracts the test.
Most of today’s gloves are made of the highest quality leather. There are cheaper brands that use mostly synthetic materials. They won’t last nearly as long as quality leather gloves, but they may be all you need at this point. A quality Fastpitch Softball glove will be made from buffalo, cowhide, buffalo hide, kip hide (younger or smaller plant), pigskin, or other exotic animal hides. Crotch leather is generally a better material and comes in several varieties. Buffalo leather is also good, but tends to be much tougher, so requires a lot more punching. This is a topic for another article.
Higher quality gloves are usually made of heavier leather which helps them last longer and perform differently and better.
Remember to take care of your new glove and it will take care of you on the field. Only use glove conditioners recommended by the manufacturer, if it gets wet, towel dry and allow to air dry – never use a blow dryer. You can then apply a small amount of conditioner if needed. When the game is over, wipe off the dirt and excess moisture from the glove. Place the ball in the pocket and tie it with the length of the previous wrap as you use to hold your hair.
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