Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Do masks on helmets impair hitter's vision?


Softball fan
Feb 28, 2008
Montreal, Canada
I got that comment from one of my subscribers.

"Hi Marc,The other vision problem worth mentioning is the players, especially younger ones, that are looking incorrectly through the bars in their mask. They adjust their head, usually crooked, instead of their helmets"

What do you think?

I'll be honest. I have never really coached athletes using the mask. I have been working with 18+ players for the last 9 years. Last time I coached a 16U, 14U on a very regular basis was back in the 1990's - way before masks were common.

Is vision impaired by the use of those masks?

I am totally in favor of the masks. I am just wondering what your experiences are.

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
The first few times they use them, there may be some concerns. But the hitters figure out what they need to do to see the ball. My players have been using them since the rule came in and find no vision impairment.
May 9, 2008
Yes and No

I think that I understand what the person is asking. If the player is wearing a helmet that fits, the mask should be no problem, becuase it is postioned correctly. The problem comes when a player is wearing a helmet that is too small, so they wear it tilted up a little bit and the mask is then off of the face just enough so the vision is impaired. I can picture a girl in our league this year who had that problem. It was her own helmet too!!! She wore it up so high that she was looking right out of the bottom of the mask. If the helmet fits though, I have never heard any complaints. I think that many even find it gives them more confidence. When our HS was done playing this year, and those players began playing LL they all wanted helmets with masks since that was what they were required to use in HS.
May 7, 2008
San Jose, CA
When the mask rule first was implemented there was a little getting used to. As Ken said just took some time. My guess is that you will see more 18+ wearing the masks because they have used them throughout their travel career.
As “Chebjudy” points out, helmets and masks can be the wrong size and ill-adjusted and create vision problems. I do advise the girls I work with to buy a fit helmet not a one size fits all and we install the mask to fit the girl. This is not very hard to do and I have found this helps keep the opening aligned with the eyes and avoids the girl having to tilt their head or adjust the helmet. As a side note, I have a slapper who uses the clear lower mask (not sure who makes it). I am really impressed with this mask, allows vision and very light.
May 7, 2008
Morris County, NJ
Masks on Helmets

I installed a mask on DD's helmet at the beginning of this season as she is 10, playing up in 12U, where bunting and small ball are used extensively....she hated it , but on about the 6th pitch with it on at the local indoor practice facility very early this Spring, she bunted the ball and the foul tip came back to hit her directly in the mask.....without the mask in-place,, potential broken nose, with it on - laugh about her lousy bunting technique....end of story.

DD pitches also and will begin practicing with the face shield pitchers mask when this season is complete, so it will be no adjustment for next season.
Jul 23, 2008
Central, IL
I recently installed an eMask on my daughters helmet and she say it's a big improvement from her metal cage as far as vision and weight go. IMHO, it remains to be seen if the vision will stay better after the mask gets tossed around for a full season and the mask gets scratched up.
May 7, 2008
It will be interesting to see how the eMask evolves in terms of its acceptance in the market. What is somewhat amazing to me is how badly designed some of the masks are (e.g., Rawlings). A few seasons ago we spent the money to go with the Spyder, and later the Rip-It masks - both very well liked by the players.