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New to catching - advice on gear needed

Jul 16, 2019
50
8
Hi all, my 10U DD has been transitioning to catcher from 1B and I need advice on which gear, size, etc. She is 4’7 and about 85 lbs, so I’m guessing youth size. Is there any gear to stay away from or must haves? I’m hoping to stay under $200 as we don’t believe this will be her permanent role, but also don’t want to settle for inadequate gear. I see a lot of catchers in our league using fielding gloves. Could she get away with a 1B mitt? I’ve avoided buying one so far because I wanted to wait until she could handle a bigger glove since she will be moving to 12” ball this coming spring for JR. High.
 
Feb 12, 2014
526
28
My biggest piece of advice is this - don't feel like you need to buy a set from one particular manufacturer. My DD has worn multiple different brands of gear for as long as she has played the position. She loves Diamond shins, wears a Wilson chest protector, and has moved to a Force 3 mask from the Wilson Pro Motion (which is sadly no longer available).

Find a site that offers free returns and buy a bunch of stuff to see what she likes.

NEVER skimp on the helmet. Lots of good threads on here about helmets and what makes one a good decision. She will take foul tips off of it and those can and do lead to concussions no matter what gear she is wearing but the risk and severity can be minimized with the proper helmet. For me, nothing on the market beats the Force 3. It's darn ugly but this isn't a fashion show and we're talking about the long term brain health of our kids.

Also, never take the helmet off. There will be some disagreement here, but my rule for both my kids has been the helmet stays on your head until you're in the dugout. On that note, get familiar with the Catching Camp instruction - it will make her an excellent catcher!
 
Apr 28, 2019
835
43
My biggest piece of advice is this - don't feel like you need to buy a set from one particular manufacturer. My DD has worn multiple different brands of gear for as long as she has played the position. She loves Diamond shins, wears a Wilson chest protector, and has moved to a Force 3 mask from the Wilson Pro Motion (which is sadly no longer available).

Find a site that offers free returns and buy a bunch of stuff to see what she likes.

NEVER skimp on the helmet. Lots of good threads on here about helmets and what makes one a good decision. She will take foul tips off of it and those can and do lead to concussions no matter what gear she is wearing but the risk and severity can be minimized with the proper helmet. For me, nothing on the market beats the Force 3. It's darn ugly but this isn't a fashion show and we're talking about the long term brain health of our kids.

Also, never take the helmet off. There will be some disagreement here, but my rule for both my kids has been the helmet stays on your head until you're in the dugout. On that note, get familiar with the Catching Camp instruction - it will make her an excellent catcher!
Helmet stays on rule doesn’t make sense. On pop-ups behind/around the plate helmet comes off held in hand and once you find the ball discard the helmet out of your way so you don’t trip over it. That’s proper catcher technique.
 
Feb 12, 2014
526
28
Helmet stays on rule doesn’t make sense. On pop-ups behind/around the plate helmet comes off held in hand and once you find the ball discard the helmet out of your way so you don’t trip over it. That’s proper catcher technique.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Taking if off doesn't make any sense to me. If they can see a 60 mph rise ball with the mask on then why can't they see a pop up. Frequently in softball, you have low pops that can be caught only if not taking the time to take off and discard the mask.

Anyway, let's not hijack this guy's thread on gear for his kid. I thought twice about even putting that part in my response because I knew it would be disagreed with by some. I should have left it out. My apologies.
 
Jul 16, 2019
50
8
No need to apologize, I like to see different sides. However, I do agree that we shouldn’t get too far in the weeds debating either.
 
Apr 28, 2019
835
43
We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Taking if off doesn't make any sense to me. If they can see a 60 mph rise ball with the mask on then why can't they see a pop up. Frequently in softball, you have low pops that can be caught only if not taking the time to take off and discard the mask.

Anyway, let's not hijack this guy's thread on gear for his kid. I thought twice about even putting that part in my response because I knew it would be disagreed with by some. I should have left it out. My apologies.
Nothing to disagree about. There is proper technique and then there is personal preference.
 
May 6, 2015
1,131
63
my own piece of advice/pet peeve/crusade on helmets, if you are buying new, get a gray/white one if possible. dark helmets become brain ovens on hot sunny days. one time I felt DDs head after she took it off on a really hot sunny day, was amazed hot warm it felt. however...

fit is biggest criteria for helmet and all the gear.

also, at that age, and especially if this is likely not a permanent position shift, think second hand, we have a pretty decent second hand store near us (PIA). again, do not worry about color or mismatch, she is 10u, team she is on now is highly likely not team she will be on in two years, even if she still is catching.

also, at 10U she can probably get away with 1B mitt for bit, depends on speed of pitchers she will be catching. again, second hand will already be broken in, and for smaller sizes, easier to find I think.

also, not gear related, but great way to get her reps is to find pitchers to catch for during their pitching lessons.

lastly, knee savers.
 
Jul 16, 2019
50
8
Ideally we can find a good used set. So far, I haven’t found many sets that are in decent shape and at a used price. I figure the mitt will be tough since she’s a lefty.
 
May 24, 2013
10,289
113
So Cal
Helmet stays on rule doesn’t make sense. On pop-ups behind/around the plate helmet comes off held in hand and once you find the ball discard the helmet out of your way so you don’t trip over it. That’s proper catcher technique.
Nope, nope, nope, nope! When the ball is in play, the helmet stays on. With every catcher I have worked with this IS a rule. This isn't baseball with a 2-piece mask and cap where the mask flops around if you move your head quickly. The hockey-style masks used in softball stay put (as long as they are sized and fitted correctly). Also, with the smaller fields of softball, there is often way less time to track down a pop fly. Removing the mask is a time-waster, and interrupts your eyes tracking the ball. The single most important moment in tracking down a pop foul ball is reading the trajectory off the bat. This is done with the mask on. It makes no sense to interrupt your vision from that point. If you didn't track the trajectory off the bat, there's not much chance taking off the mask is going to suddenly help you find the ball during it's flight.

I've seen numerous times where a catcher removing their mask cost them the chance to make a catch. I have yet to see even a single example where I thought a catcher had a batter chance of making a catch if they had taken their mask off.

Here's my DD making a few catches last HS season. Through out the whole season, she had about a dozen of these. She caught EVERY one...with her mask on.

Softball catchers leaving their mask on for foul pop-ups is supported by catchers up to and including NPF players. This is where softball varies from the traditional mechanics of baseball.

EDIT: Another reason to keep your mask on...Metal fences hurt! Jen Schro agrees with leaving the mask on.
EDIT 2: My apologies for the detour. This is far too important a topic to ignore. Especially for young catchers learning the game. Teach them to keep the helmet on their head, and it becomes part of their game.
 
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May 6, 2015
1,131
63
Ideally we can find a good used set. So far, I haven’t found many sets that are in decent shape and at a used price. I figure the mitt will be tough since she’s a lefty.
ouch, yes mitt will be tough, again, depending on pitchers she i catching, 1B mitt might work, and certainly easier to find in LH throw than a catchers mitt.
 
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