The Holiday season and the softball “off-season” are finally among us. Some of you reading this may have rolled your eyes at “off season” being in quotes because is there even an offseason in softball anymore? The sport of softball is offered as a year-round commitment. The states which experience harsh winter months will play and practice indoors. The teams who have the luxury of living in a warm climate will continue outside on the dirt. There isn’t a pause button in softball anymore, even when other sports or activities begin.
Back to the Holiday season topic, if you are a softball parent, the Holidays are the perfect time for new softball equipment. The softball distributors will be prepared for the Christmas orders, and the “off-season” is a great time to break in and put new softball equipment to use.
Softball players get attached to their equipment, especially when they have used the same glove or bat for years. What softball players and parents need to understand is that players are growing and the game is evolving. Players need quality equipment that is the right size for them to fulfill their role on the playing field.
When players move from 10U to 12U, it is likely they will need a bigger glove. The 10U softball is an 11-inch ball and starting in 12U, the ball size moves up to a 12-inch ball and that is where it will remain for the remainder of the softball players career. Providing a player with the right size glove is crucial because they need to be able to field and catch a ball with it.
Breaking in a new softball glove can be a challenge, especially if the glove is made from real leather. The more expensive the glove, the better quality of leather was used to shape it. For those parents who make an investment in a glove and are worried about it lasting, take the long route when it comes to breaking it in. Steaming a glove is the quickest way to break it in, but you are risking the lifespan of the glove when that occurs. If there isn’t a rush to break in the glove, spend time throwing a ball into it and when it’s not being worn, be sure to keep a 12-inch softball inside and wrap something around the glove to hold the shape.
Softball bats are another piece of equipment that will need to be updated as players move through age groups. The type of bat a softball player is going to swing is going to vary from player to player. There are many different bat lengths, sizes, and brands to choose from. Do some research. Go to stores or pop up demos and watch your player swing the bat. If the bat is too short, the player will have a hard time covering the whole plate. If the bat is too heavy, the player will likely drop her hands during her swing and will be behind a fast pitcher.
Softball equipment isn’t cheap, but quality equipment is necessary for the success of players. Quality in this sense means providing players with the appropriate size bat and glove. You would never buy your kid a pair of shoes that were too small and expect them to wear them. Take the time to research the necessary softball equipment. Then once you receive the equipment, take the time to break the equipment in properly. Even though there may not be much of an off-season, the off-season games are the perfect time to use the new equipment and put it to the test. It’s also a great opportunity for the players to get used to a new glove or swinging a different size bat. Out with the old, and in with the new this Holiday season!