For a softball catcher, having a good catchers gear set is important because it has strong effect on your safety and performance. An insight look onto each components of a gear set and some buying tips will help you to select the right catcher gear set easily.
Basically, a catcher gear set consists of catcher’s mitt, helmet, chest protector, leg guards and other accessories.
Mitt is the most important gear to a catcher because it protects the hand and wrist which catchers use to catcher the ball frequently. Therefore, a catcher’s mitt should be strong and reliable, so it could protect you as well as bring good performance.
In term of material, leather is the most preferable one because it can bring the best durability to the mitt. Besides, leather could also reduce sting from a pitch.For catcher’s mitt, webbing is not really a big concern because both closed or open web are good for catchers.
Regarding size, catcher’s mitts tend to be larger than other position’s gloves. Normally, 32 – 33 inch mitts would be good choice for players under 12 years old and older catchers need 35 inch mitts.
It’s not a big challenge to select the right size of catcher’s helmet. It’s because catcher’s helmets are divided clearly: kid helmet for player under 12 years old and adult helmet for players above 12 years old. Besides, every helmet has a strap to ensure that it perfectly fits the head of players, so you don’t have to worry about the size. The most important factor that you need to consider when choosing a catcher’s helmet is select a design that suits you. Basically, there are 2 main designs which are mask and helmet.
As its name implies, catcher’s mask is a mask that cover the face. Besides, there are paddings at the neck and forehead or throat guard to add protection. The main strength of this design is that it provides good visibility to catcher and it’s easy to take on and off. However, this design only provides little protection, mostly to the face while there is lack of protection on the back of the head. For that reason, catcher’s maskis more suitable to adult players.
In contrast, a helmet covers the entire skull of player. Therefore, it provide full protection and is suitable for both kid and adult players. On the other hands, wearing catcher’s helmet is not as comfortable as wearing a catcher’s mark; vision is also limited.
Chest protector shields catcher’s body and absorbs shock from any collision during the game. Therefore, it is vital to prevent players from severe injuries. In order to choose the good chest protector, you need to check if its padding is comfortable enough for you and to select the right size. Since the tightness could be adjusted by elastic straps, length of protector is the most important factor to consider. Chest protector size is based on its length. Hence, what you need to do is to measure the precise length from base of neck to waist. For example, if the length from neck to waist is 14 inch, you should choose a chest protector size 14.
Since catchers have to knee for long period, a pair of leg guards to protect their ankles and knees are indispensable. Similar to choosing chest protector, the 2 most crucial factors to check from leg guards are size and comfort. Size of leg guards depends on the length from middle knee to ankle.
The 4 above gears are the most vital components of catcher gear set. Besides, there are other optional accessories such as knee saver, throat protector and bags… A suitable knee saver and throat protector should be comfortable and provide enough protection. Regarding catcher’s bag, it’s better to choose a big bag that could store all of your gears properly.
Hopefully, this article could help you to have deeper understandings of softball catcher gear set as well as know how to choose the good one.