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Buying a new glove
Buying a new glove?
Here's what you should know.
Today's gloves have different features to help your game and to suit your ability. Here are the key features constructed into gloves and what to consider in finding the glove that suits you.
The size of the pocket depends on your position. Shallow pockets help middle infielders quickly grab the ball and throw. Deeper pockets help outfielders shag down fly balls Softball players also need a bigger pocket to catch the bigger ball.
Different styles of webbing are available to either help you better field your position or to fit your preference. A closed web is preferred by pitchers who want to hide the ball from the batter. Outfielders and third basemen like the extra support from a closed web. An open web helps middle infielders get the ball out of their gloves quicker to make throws.
There are two choices of backs, open or closed The type of back is a matter of personal preference, but some styles fit some positions better The open back leaves a space open across the glove's back. Middle infielders prefer this for the flexibility. Outfielders prefer a closed back with a finger hole for extra support.
Many gloves come with an adjustment to keep it snug. Not all gloves have these "fit systems." A D-ring fastener allows you to pull on the lacing and make the glove tighter or looser. A velcro fastener,although it may wear quicker, offers the convenience of pulling and adjusting to fit your comfort level. A lacing adjustment allows you to loosen or tighten the wrist fastener with leather laces. A buckle system adjusts the glove with a buckle similar to an adjustable hat.
The amount of padding in the pocket depends on the position played. The catcher's mitt has more padding. Glove makers have been adding more padding for other positions as well, to help players handle the sting of hard-hit balls. There also may be padding in the wrist area for added comfort.
Gloves come in a variety of materials, with the difference being in the feel and durability.
Leather is the material of choice for gloves. Leather offers the best comfort, control and feel. The better the leather, the better the glove.
In some gloves, the leather is treated and softened with chemicals for faster break-in and increased durability. Treated leather also reduces the care needed for the glove and helps the glove keep its shape.
There are gloves made with synthetic materials, which are lighter and less-durable. These gloves are less expensive, and good for very young players just starting out. However, they won't withstand the wear and tear of playing ball nearly as well as leather.
Fit the Glove to Your Hand
Although age is also a factor, the position you play is the most important consideration in choosing a baseball or softball glove.
Youngsters/Beginners. Youth models are smaller to help kids maintain control. Avoid the urge to buy a bigger glove that you'll grow into. Kids under the age of 8 should stick with a glove from 9 to 11 inches. Kids from 8 to early teens, consider an 11-inch glove. Beginners also benefit from the added control that they get from smaller gloves.
High School/Adult outfielders need 12 to 12 1/2" gloves with deeper pockets. Infielders need smaller gloves (10 1/2 to 11 1/2") with shallower pockets for better control and quicker ball transfer. Pitchers can go with a slightly larger glove than infielders, but still need a small enough glove for fielding and throwing quickly. Softball players require gloves that are slightly longer in length and deeper in the pocket to help field the bigger ball.
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