Your ideal Saturday afternoon with your child should include singing, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," not saying, "Take me to urgent care." Whether your child will be lacing up for his or her first year of little league or preparing for an advanced season, it's always the right time to ensure your child has the safest gear available to protect against injury. Below we outline the key factors to consider when choosing gloves, cleats, bats, and helmets for your little league all-star.
Fits Like a Glove
Start your baseball glove shopping by choosing a material. Synthetic leather does not require a break-in period and will better suit younger players. Genuine, oil-treated leather offers better game-day comfort and is the step-up choice for more advanced players. Make sure the glove fits snugly without being too tight or too loose. The key is to be like Goldilocks and find a glove that fits just right. It should also be stiff enough to offer some resistance, but flexible enough to provide control for both pitchers, catchers, and fielders. If your child's glove is a few years old and has lost too much of its form and structure, it may be time for an upgrade.
Your future MVP will need a bat for use at home and possibly for practices and games. Regardless of your child's age or experience level, choosing the right bat is all about size. Youngsters between 3' and 3'4'' are well-suited for a 26-inch bat. Increase the bat size one inch for every four to five inches your child grows (yes, that may mean multiple purchases during those exciting growth spurt years). Make sure when measuring your child that you do so when he or she is wearing baseball cleats.
Lace 'Em Up
Just like with running shoes, cleats make a significant impact on performance, safety, and minimizing the risk of injury. Once your child is playing competitively, you will want to select cleats that offer the flexibility to make quick, explosive movements (think stealing a base), superior traction, and proper support. To protect a player's ankles, it's all about the height of the shoe. As the name implies, high tops extend above ankle-height to provide extra support for too easily sprained ankles. If your child is looking to set a new speed record, you will want to consider low tops that enable faster lateral movements.
Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset
The helmet will be the most critical safety item you will purchase for your player. It is vital to minimizing the risk of concussions and other head and neck injuries. To help you gauge your product purchase, know that typically the more money you spend on a helmet, the better quality product you'll get in return. Higher-end helmets are usually made with high-impact padding and are often more comfortable. Just like with gloves, follow the Goldilocks rule when choosing a helmet. It should fit snugly, but not be too tight, and shouldn't wobble around your child's head-no matter their age.
A weekend of little league games should never end in an injury, but if it does, rely on the compassionate care experts at Nova Health. CLICK HERE to view Nova Health's urgent care locations in Lane and Douglas Counties.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.