Equipment Buying Guide (Ayr Minor Softball Association)

PrintEquipment Buying Guide
By Ken Sherk
Player Development Co-ordinator
Ayr Minor Softball Association
[email protected]

Hello Parents and Players,
I'm not selling or endorsing any particular brands but in case you are in the market for softball equipment I've included a few good links to help you make an informed decision.  You may notice that the buying guide links are mostly from homerunmonkey.com.  This is not because it was the first site I came across but because I have found their information to be the most thorough, straightforward, helpful and CORRECT.

Softball Bats:


http://www.homerunmonkey.com/baseball-bat-buying-guide


This page has a very good explanation and general sizing guide.  Please keep in mind that for official fastpitch softball play in Canada the the bat MUST have the ASA 2004 stamp seen on the linked page.  If you are visiting a store make sure they know you are looking for an approved ASA 2004 FASTPITCH Softball bat.
When it comes to bat weight I want to see a hitter swinging the heaviest bat they can handle without loss of technique.  I also suggest avoiding bats showing a -12 or -13 marking (called the Drop Number) as they will likely be too light and hinder proper swing development.  Underweight bats can mask swing flaws which will become painfully apparent as the quality of pitching improves.  Better to fix the issues when they first arise.
Warranty is also something you should consider and ask about at the store. 
To the best of my knowledge, bat colour has no impact on performance :) 
 
Please pay attention to proper sizing.  Gloves that are too small make catching a softball nearly impossible and ones that are too large result in developing poor glove technique.  Expect a player to go through at least 3 glove sizes as they move from U8 through U19.  Always avoid the hard plastic models for the little ones regardless of the company name on them.  Proper gloves will be leather (real or artificial) or nylon construction. 
Also note that there is a distinct difference in pocket shape between baseball and softball gloves and you should choose appropriately.  If in doubt, ask for help.
In AMSA players at U12 and below will use 11" softballs while U14 and above use 12" (baseballs are approximately 9" circumference). 

Catchers Equipment:


Getting a proper fit is the most important thing here.  If your young catcher's gear is not fitted properly they are at greater risk for injury. 
If your child is intent on being a catcher then I strongly recommend having your own gear.
For U10-U12 players the ready-made kits with all gear included are a good deal and will be sufficient.  At higher levels it is best to look at each piece of equipment individually.
My personal recommendation for a mask is the hockey goalie style.  They offer more protection and are more likely to fit properly.  These masks are intended to STAY ON during play and not be thrown aside!
Catcher's mitts are covered briefly in the gloves link.
One thing in the homerunmonkey guide I don't agree with is the use of "Knee Savers", the pads added to the back of shin guards.  They are often worn incorrectly and can actually increase stress on the knee joint.  If you are going to wear them please locate them as close to the foot as possible.  A catcher properly trained and disciplined in his/her stance should never need them.

Fielding Masks:


http://thecoachreviews.com/fielding-face-masks/

I have strong opinions on this one however I also understand that the choice to wear this protective equipment on the field is currently up to the player/parent.  I believe these masks should and soon will be mandatory for pitchers.  My boys both wear them while pitching. 
Last season AMSA received a grant from the Ayr 150th Anniversary Committee to purchase a mask for each travel team.  These are intended to introduce the equipment to the players and give them an option. 
If you have a player who is serious about pitching I recommend you own one. 
In the US it is also quite common for corner infielders to wear them as well.
At this time there is no official certification for these masks but all major manufacturers are producing a quality product.  Read more in the link above.

Batting Helmets:

http://www.homerunmonkey.com/baseball-softball-helmet-buying-guide


This link will give you some sizing direction for helmets.  There is not much to choose between brands for safety but comfort level is often proportional to price.  Note that ALL players in AMSA from U10 and up are required to have masks affixed to the batting helmet.  Always get the correct mask for your helmet as each manufacturer is different.

I hope this is helpful and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


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Printed from ayrjrvics.com on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 5:08 AM