Different Kinds of Gloves
Gloves are the only piece of softball equipment that comes in different kinds based on the position of the player. Closed fingerless mitts are used by catchers and first basemen, however the first basemen’s are longer. Infielders and outfielders gloves look similar, although, as in baseball, outfielder’s gloves are longer.
Softball gloves look similar to baseball gloves, only they are larger (since softballs are larger). For little kids, such as eight-year-olds and younger, the nine-inch glove would be suitable if they are playing infield, and 11 inches if playing outfield. Older players up to the age of 13 may use nine- to ten-inch gloves for infield positions, and 11 to 12 inches for outfield. High school to adult players may use up to 11.5-inch gloves in the infield and up to 14 inches outfield.
Choosing the right material is a matter of practicality. Although gloves made of real leather are widely available, they may not be practical for young children as they will outgrow them in a few years. If the gloves are not replaced, bad playing habits may develop. Choose gloves made of treated leather or synthetic materials for young kids. You can, of course, go for real-leather, but real leather can be costly.
Breaking In a New Glove
Breaking in a new glove involves softening it make to it pliable enough for catching, and making it conform to the shape of the hand and the ball. Ultimately, when the pocket is grooved such that it looks like there is a ball even though there is not, you have a perfect mold. To achieve this, play catch with your son or daughter using the new glove as often as possible. Have her hit the pocket several times gently with a softball bat or even a rubber mallet. Finally, have her wrap the glove around a ball, using a towel wound around the glove to keep its position for several nights. This practice can be continued even after the glove has been broken in to maintain the shape.
Just like other softball equipment, good gloves are an investment and require special attention to prolong their lives. If your daughter is very young, taking care good care of her glove increases the likelihood of you being able to sell it when she outgrows it.
Every few weeks or so, apply leather conditioner, petroleum jelly or even shaving cream all over the surface. You can use oil, but use only a small amount as using too much can cause the leather to deteriorate fasterand the oil may transfer to the ball.. Let the glove sit in for a day after application of oil before using it again.
Clean the glove with a damp piece of cloth, but do not soak in water. Also teach your daughter to take good care of her glove.
You may have heard that microwaving or putting your daughter’s glove in the oven will help in softening the leather,however, many experts disagree because it dries the glove and makes it more prone to cracking.