As the snow melts and the trees begin to bud signaling the end of a long winter and start of a new spring, it’s time to break out the ball bag and make sure the baseball player in your family has everything they need for the upcoming season. Pants can get worn out, gloves can somehow shrink (even if you just bought one last year!) and even bats can be outgrown in just a season. But fear not, as all of the bases can easily be covered in one trip.
From the Ground Up
First and foremost, make sure last year’s spikes fit. Depending on your child’s age, it’s entirely likely they’re too small and a new pair will be needed. Or, if the cleats are molded, they may have worn down. When shopping for cleats, make sure you check the league rules to see if the cleats can be metal or have to be molded or plastic. From there, ensure that you have the correct team-colored socks, pants and belt (if needed). Check with the league or coach if you’re unsure of this step.
Like a Glove!
Once the uniform is taken care of, it’d be wise to take an equipment inventory to make sure everything both is still the proper size or weight for your player and they fall within the league rules. For gloves, make sure your player’s hand still fits in the glove comfortably. For more competitive leagues or the more seasoned player, make sure the glove size its best suited for the position. For example, if you have a blossoming first baseman, make sure they have a first baseman’s glove if needed. Or, a smaller glove for an infielder and larger for outfielder.
Tools of the Trade
In order to make sure your player’s bat is good to go, see if the bat’s drop weight – which is the bat’s length minus it’s weight – is appropriate. You’ll find in youth bats, that value typically ranges between -8 and -13 ounces. Stronger, more developed players will be able to swing more weight easily while smaller players might need something lighter to ensure proper bat speed.
As far as length, there are a couple ways to ensure it’s the right size. One is to have the player set the bat barrel-side down and let their arm hang palm out. If the bottom knob of the bat sits in their palm, the length is good. Another way is to have the player stick their arm out to the side. Line up the end of the bat in the center of the chest. If the player is able to easily touch the other end, the length is still OK.
Taking an early inventory of baseball gear can help make sure your player has everything they need for the upcoming season. With so many items to consider, don’t hesitate in dusting off the ol’ bat bag while there’s snow on the ground while you prepare for pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training!
-Home Run Hitter
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