How to choose your Softball Catcher’s Mitt

As a catcher, you have sight on the whole field all the time. Therefore you need a couple of traits that will make you a strong catcher. A strong arm for quick throws, a sharp eye for base stealing offense and the ability to read the game during plays.

Catchers are often seen as the leaders because they have a complete overview on the field. The catching position is a demanding position. Choosing the right mitt helps to progress even more and quicker. Check the following factors for yourself and the right mitt will select itself.

Mitts versus Gloves

The terms are constantly used in the sport of Softball. For a catcher, the difference is very important. A glove has separate fingers, think of a glove you wear during the winter. The separate fingers in the glove allow the player to have more flexibility and speed. A catcher’s mitt, does not have separate fingers, which means the fingers stay closer together. This gains extra security in the glove in two ways. More protection and more secure catching off the ball.

For selecting a mitt, the process is often the same as for a regular gloves. Pay attention to the webbing, back, padding, sizing and materials and pick your personal preference.

Webbing

Lets start the first inning with the webbing. There is also a difference in webbing between baseball and softball gloves. Where baseball mitts often use a closed web, a softball mitt uses an open one. An open web loses a bit of support but because the softball mitt is larger and also the ball is a few inches bigger, the open web is necessary . It provides more visibility to the catcher.

Back

A catcher’s mitt has a closed back which gives more support to the wrist of the catcher. An open back has space between the upper part of the glove and the wrist strap, this gives the player extra mobility. For even more mobility and control, some of the mitts have an external finger slot. When you are ready to buy a  mitt, try to find the perfect balance between mobility and security.

Padding

Players need to find the perfect balance in the amount of padding. When the glove has too much padding, there is not enough room for the bigger ball. But a bigger ball means more pressure on the hand in a wider area. More pressure needs more protection, so more padding.

When selecting the right glove, make sure the mitt is selected for the right sport, in this case Softball.

Materials

Choosing a material depends on how long you want to break-in the glove and how long you want your glove to last. While some leather materials take more time to break-in but last longer.

For example synthetic leather and pigskin break-in faster but may only last one season. These kind of materials are often suited for younger players and players who haven’t played multiple seasons in a row.

Full-grain or steer hide leathers take much longer to break in than synthetic leathers. They also last longer because of the quality of the leather but also carry a bigger price tag. So if you are sure that you’re playing for a couple of years, on the long term they won’t be that expensive anymore. Think about the break-in time in advance of the season. Buy the mitt a couple of months before the start of the season so you can break it in during practice.

Sizing

Always remember, catcher’s mitts are not measured by length but by circumference. Players who are aged 12 and under will need a mitt which has the circumference of around 32.5”. Players who are aged 13 and up will look for a mitt with a circumference between 33” and 34”. The reason behind this is that the mitt has a full enough pocket for the bigger ball.

The motto of softball is the bigger the better. However, keep in mind that a bigger mitt lowers your visibility on the field and your agility. Try to find a perfect balance in this one as well.

Play your strengths and weaknesses while selecting the prefect mitt. When you need more mobility, go for a glove with an open back. When you need more structure, go for thicker padding.

There are a lot of options for customization. Choose your perfect mitt that will make you feel like a leader and comfortable behind the plate.