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Hit a Homer with the Right Baseball and Softball Equipment
Are there any sports that scream "summer!" more than baseball and softball? Just thinking about these sports evokes memories of hot summer afternoons, cries of "hey batta batta" drifting in from the outfield, and the simple pleasure of tossing a ball back and forth.
What's the Difference Between Baseball and Softball?
One of the main differences between the two sports is hinted at in the names. Most people are familiar with how hard a baseball is (especially if they ever got hit by an errant pitch), but in softball players use a ball that's larger and a bit softer.
In baseball the pitcher usually throws the ball using an overhand motion. Softball, on the other hand, requires the pitcher to use an underhand motion, although many pitchers use a powerful windmill motion to accelerate the ball to high speeds.
There are also some minor differences in the height of the pitcher's mound and some of the rules, but overall the games are very similar.
What Baseball or Softball Equipment Do I Need?
Whether your kid is joining their first ball team or your family wants to play in the backyard, here's some info about the gear you'll need.
Baseball or Softball Gloves or Mitts
There are different styles of gloves or mitts depending on which position you're playing on the team. Gloves feature separate slots for your fingers, and they're meant for pitchers, outfielders, and second or third basemen. Mitts have thicker padding and keep all your fingers together, which means they're perfect for catchers and first basemen.
Try out different glove or mitt sizes to see which one feels the most comfortable, and don't forget to adjust the fasteners to get the right fit. You can try tossing a ball into the glove to see how it feels when you catch it. And don't worry if the glove feels a bit stiff when it's brand new – you'll have to work it in until it gets softer and more flexible.
Baseball or Softball Bats
Your first instinct might be to rush to the sports store and buy the heaviest bat you can easily lift, because that'll help you hit the ball farthest, right? Not necessarily.
It's important to choose a bat with a length that fits well with your body's proportions (mostly your height, weight, and arm length). You should also consider the bat's weight – the heaviest bat isn't always the best. Instead, you'll want to choose a bat weight that helps you generate the fastest swing, and fits best with your style of play.
Chat with the baseball or softball expert at the sports store and they'll be able to walk you through all of the details so you can choose the perfect bat.
Baseball or Softball Accessories
So, what else do you need? That depends on how you're playing.
If you're joining a team, you'll need to consider equipment like batting helmets, batting gloves, and protective gear for your arms, legs, and groin. You also want to get suitable shoes (cleats) and maybe sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare if you're trying to catch a high pop fly. Catchers will need to invest in specialized gear like mask-equipped helmets, chest protectors, and shin guards.
If you're only playing for fun, a glove, ball, and bat are pretty much all you need. Gather some likeminded friends and soon you'll be enjoying summer days that feel like they'll never end.