The ball used in baseball is between 9 and 9.25 inches in circumference. It weighs between 5 and 5.25 ounces. The ball is made with a cork center which is then wrapped tightly with thread and covered with leather.
Many times a softer ball is used in youth leagues. This is called a RIF (Reduced Injury Factor) baseball.
The bat is used to hit the baseball. There are different sizes and types of bats. In youth, little league, high school, and college baseball most players use an aluminum or composite bat. In the Major Leagues players can only use bats made from wood. The most popular type of wooden bat is the Louisville Slugger which is made of ash trees.
Youth baseball leagues play with different size bats based on the age group. One general requirement is the bat drop. The bat drop is the difference between the length of the bat (inches) and the weight of the bat (ounces). For example, a 34 inch bat that weighs 29 ounces has a drop of -5.
Check with your league on the maximum bat drop you can have before you go and purchase a bat. In Tee-ball and younger youth leagues the bat drop can sometimes be as much as minus 13. In high school the bat drop is minus 3.
It's important to choose a bat that the player is comfortable with. Taller players will generally use longer and heavier bats.
The baseball glove is designed to help catch the ball and protect your hand. You wear the glove on the opposite of your throwing hand. So if you throw with your right hand, you wear your glove on your left hand.
Gloves are made of leather and have webbing between the thumb and forefinger. This webbing is where the ball is caught most of the time.
Types of Gloves
Younger players use smaller gloves that fit their hands better. Youth baseball players usually use a 9-11 inch glove. If they mostly play infield, they will use a smaller glove like a 9 inch. If they play outfield, then a larger glove like an 11 inch.
Catchers use a special type of glove called a catcher's mitt. These gloves have extra padding and extra wide webbing. First basemen often use a special first base glove as well. They are longer and thinner than an outfielder's glove and designed to snag high or outside throws to first.
Hat and Helmet
Baseball hats are used to help keep the sun out of your eyes. They are very popular outside of the sport of baseball. You will see them on the sidelines of football, at a golf tournament, or just at school or the mall.
The helmet is important and is used to protect the batter's head from a wild pitch. You should always wear a helmet when batting whether you are playing a serious game or just practicing or messing around.
The baseball uniform consists of baseball pants, a jersey, and the baseball cap. Sometimes socks may be part of the uniform as well. It's usually a good idea to wear long pants for baseball so you don't get scraped up when sliding into base.
Baseball players wear cleats when playing. Cleats help to keep you from slipping when batting and fielding a ball.
Catchers wear special gear while playing. They need lots of protection as pitches can come in very fast. Even if you are great at catching a ball, you can't control when the batter may tip the ball and, in that case, you will not be able to protect yourself. Wearing protective equipment as a catcher is a must!
Catchers should wear a full set of protective gear including masks, helmets, shin guards, chest guards, cups, and neck protectors. Be sure to have your coach check your gear and make sure it is on properly before you play.
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