I always want to shake my head and scream when I see a young ballplayer come to practice or games with an expensive, new bat that is obviously the wrong size. The player, rightfully, is very proud of the new bat, until he tries to swing it and the bat swings him more than he swings it. Then there are those who buy a new bat, use it so it is un-returnable, and then find out that the bat is illegal for the league because of incorrect bat dimensions.
Many parents are unaware of the correct baseball gear to buy. I am in a tough spot as the coach, because I do not want to blurt out that they wasted a ton of money on a bat that will only hurt the player’s chances of hitting or that it is an illegal piece of baseball gear.
The problem often comes about when parents allow their kids to make the decision on which piece of baseball gear to buy. Kids often pick the nicest looking one or the coolest brand available without regard to cost, league rules or sizes that are best for them.
Baseball Gear Tips for Parents
1. Remember, once used, the baseball gear is non-returnable.
2. Check with league and/or baseball organization of any regulations for baseball gear before buying. This is always necessary for baseball bats, but may include baseball spikes, etc… that players can wear.
3. Check with knowledgeable baseball people about the appropriate size glove and bat for the size of the player. Finding a bat chart, as in my book, The Making of a Hitter” is helpful, too.
4. Before spending too much money, consider if you are buying an item for one ball season or for more than one year. Spending top dollar for a baseball bat, when player will need a new bat size the following year, is often not efficient use of funds. Additionally, many serious baseball players wear bats out quickly, so being careful of over-extending with the available funds is good.
5. Buying the right size fielder’s glove is just as important as the correct bat size for developing good habits. There are no glove size regulations as for baseball bat size, but finding the right glove is crucial. The good news is that the correct size glove that is not cheaply made, can last a few years, so spending more money on a good glove is often wise. Additionally, buying too cheap of a glove can inhibit players from learning to catch.
Essential Baseball Gear
6. The wrong size batting gloves is also common. Players should be sure they fit snugly before using.
7. Exact batting helmet size is crucial so parents should have kids try helmets on before buying.
8. Catching gear size is also extremely important, too, but being careful of spending too much is necessary because kids outgrow catching gear quickly.
9. It is always good to consider the child’s interest level in baseball. Sometimes, parents are more interested in their child playing than their child, and the baseball gear is hardly ever used after buying.
10. Along the same lines, kids often want the “hot” baseball gear that some superstar uses. It is a good idea to explain to kids that often the most popular brands are no better than the lesser known ones but much more expensive because of the name. Additionally, letting them know that you will buy the desired, expensive equipment when kids show they are very dedicated to practicing baseball is good.
Of course, it is common for kids to lose baseball gear or even have it stolen, so this is another reason parents may not want to spend top dollar. Finally, parents should store baseball equipment inside in the off-season so harsh winters do not affect expensive baseball gear and so it can be easily located the following season.