Are you playing a casual softball game with friends or would like to join a league at school? You will need some basic softball equipment. Competitive leagues have restrictions and guidelines on the specific equipment to use. You will also need more equipment when you play in an organized league.
Let’s start first with the basic softball equipment.
SOFTBALL BAT - bats vary according to league. It has to be approved by a certain softball association. These bats should contain ASA logo. Some leagues have guidelines using wood and aluminium bats.
Younger players are usually required to use softball bats with safety knobs on end. Large end caps help them to keep their grip tight and prevent the bat from slipping when they swing. Likewise, bats are made of different materials that will suit the players’ preferences.
Bats come in different weight and sizes too so make sure to buy the bat with just the right “drop” and material.
BALLS- softballs have different sizes. It usually ranges from 10-16 inches in circumference. Fastpitch players use 12 inches ball while slowpitch players use 16-inch ball. Like bats, softballs should also meet ASA specifications. They have indicated limits in ball’s circumference, bounciness and color.
Choose the ball according to your age and type of play. Softballs also vary in materials. Some are made of leather and synthetic covers. Stitching has also an impact to the softball. Raised stitching allows players to have more control. This is ideal for casual play.
Rolled stitching has less air resistance and is flatter compared to raise stitched softball. This type is normally used in professional leagues. There are also different core types. Cushioned cork, wool windings and rubber cores have significant effects on the softball’s performance.
CLEATS- refer to the footwear that softball player’s use. It is made of either leather or synthetic materials. Leather cleats are durable and comfortable to use. While synthetic cleats are less durable but adds support.
There are high-top cleats which extend up to the ankle for more support. Low cut cleats allow you to move quickly and to manoeuvre easily. The mid-cut cleats offer both support and comfort to move.
SOFTBALL GLOVE - is another important equipment to have. These are measured from the top of the index finger to down the finger of glove. Sizing also varies according to age and if the player is a left hand thrower or a right hand thrower.
Most softball glove can be worn by any player. However, certain gloves work better at specific positions.
BATTING HELMET - is a crucial piece of safety equipment used in softball. Batting helmets are usually constructed of foam and rigid durable plastics. This helps in distributing the forces of ball when it strikes the batter’s head.
Softball catchers are advised to use helmets with throat protectors and face guards. They are also required to wear shin guards and chest protectors. Not wearing full body gear may result to serious injuries.
SLIDERS AND SLIDING SHORTS - Sliders are like shin guards. You should wear it to protect your shin and calf from potential injuries when sliding. Sliding shorts are synthetic compression leggings that also protect the athlete when sliding.
You may already hear the term breaking of gloves. This is done to make your softball glove comfortable to use. Others use hot water or shaving creams to break in their gloves. Others opt to put it in the oven.
Some experts chose to rub their gloves with Lanolin oil or original shaving creams. Take a cloth and rub it in the glove’s most rigid parts. After that, put a ball in the pocket of the gloves and wrap a rubber band around it. Let it sit for a few hours.
This will allow you to break-in your glove. Remember that continuous care and proper conditioning will prolong the life of your glove. Same goes with your other softball equipment.