What size bat and glove should my child use?
As players grow and gain experience, the equipment they use will change. Bats will become longer and heavier, while gloves will become larger and made of different materials.
Every player is different and equipment is affected by personal preference. Softball Canada provides bat guidelines as a reference for parents and players.
SOFTBALL BAT & GLOVE GUIDES
Fastpitch Softball Bat Size by Age Division
West Valley provides each team a selection of bats commonly used by players in respective age divisions. The guidelines below can be used for choosing a team bat or purchasing a personal bat. It is common for players to experiment with different bats throughout the season.
The player must be able to cover the entire strike zone with the bat (length) but must be able to control the bat (weight) to produce an efficient swing. Generally speaking, the lighter the bat, the faster it can be swung and the shorter the bat, the easier it is to control.
Many problems in children’s swings are due to using a bat that is either too heavy or too long for that player.
Bat speed dictates how far the ball is hit and is the result of a player’s power and technique. Therefore, it is important that a player can swing their bat through the strike zone at maximum speed to produce a hard hit.
The bat's weight (usually measured in ounces) is balanced to its length (usually measured in inches).
Many bats have a weight-to-length ratio or drop weight, displayed as minus 4 (-4), minus 6 (-6), etc. This
simply means a 33-inch bat with a -10 ratio or drop weight weighs 23 ounces.
Harry Potter Bat Weight Test: If a player holds their bat in one hand, with their arm extended (like a magic wand) and cannot create a figure-8 shape without struggling or bending their arm, they may want to consider using a lighter bat.
Fastpitch Softball Glove Size by Age Division
Young players do not need new glove for each age division. However, parents should avoid buying an adult sized glove with the expectation a player will 'grow into it'. An oversized glove will be difficult for players to open and close, which makes catching difficult and increases the time required to break-in the glove.
Conversely, players should not player with an undersized glove. If a glove is too small to enclose the ball, one-handed catching will be difficult.
At a young age, (LTP and younger) players are encouraged to learn how to catch using a glove that is light weight and extremely flexible. These are often made of synthetic material and allow for easy opening and closing. Two-handed catches are encouraged, so a larger glove is not essential.
The child's next glove will be slightly larger, also opting for soft materials that allow for easy opening and closing. One hand operation should allow to player to enclose and catch an 11-inch ball.
The child's next glove will be larger and made of synthetic material or leather. These gloves will be stiffer at the time of purchase, but will last longer and break-in with regular use. The player may consider first using the new glove for practice before transitioning to game-use. This glove may be used for several years, while others will choose to invest in a new model to accommodate player growth, personal preference and/or the larger 12-inch ball used in older age divisions.
Position Specific Gloves
With the exception of catcher, a single glove an be used by most players for any position. However, as players get older, some may consider position specific gloves
Check out Baseball Monkey's detailed glove guide for more information.
Batting gloves are not required, but players may use them to reduce the occurrence of blisters from repeated use or reduce the effect of bat vibration, especially on cold days. If a single glove is used, it is typically worn on the bottom hand of a traditional bat grip.