Shopping for Catcher’s Gear
Like a hockey goaltender a catcher’s gear is substantially different then any other position on the field. Purchasing gear for your son or daughter can be an intimidating process if you’re not sure where to begin.
How is a catchers chest protector supposed to fit? An old school catcher’s mask or a new hockey style mask? The aim of this article is to help sort those types questions out.
Catcher’s Gear 101
Best Catchers Masks
A catcher’s mask is the most important piece of equipment. A mask that doesn’t fit properly can dramatically affect the ability to play the position. It also result in injury including concussions – something a number of major league catcher’s have been battling with.
The first question we need to ask is whether a hockey style mask is preferred or an old school catcher’s mask. I personally prefer the traditional style mask. No it’s not because I’m a dinosaur, but I believe it better protects the catcher. Many professional catcher’s continue to wear the traditional style mask; often due to a history with concussions.
However, lots prefer the hockey style mask because they find them easier to remove and it improve their vision.
Catcher’s Mask Sizing
Finding a mask that fits well can be difficult. They only come in two sizes; large or small sometimes referred to as adult and youth. Most parent’s find that once their child hits 13 or 14 they move from a youth or an adult catcher’s mask.
Aside from that there isn’t a lot we can tell you in terms of sizing. Like a baseball hat, you’ll know when it fits. It should be snug but not suffocating. The problem with buying a complete set out of the box is that just because the chest protector fits doesn’t mean the mask will and vice versa.
Cather’s Mask Brands
Catcher’s Chest Protectors
Chest protectors are a little bit simpler. Obviously, there isn’t as much at stake as their is with your helmet.
A chest protector that is too small can lead to injury and an oversized one can lead to poor performance. However, sizing a chest protector is fairly straight forward.
Grab a ruler and measure from the bottom of your throat to your belly button. Make sure you were standing up straight and that’ll the size of the protector you’ll need.
Again, the usual brands all make high quality chest protectors. I like Wilson for their prices and the quality.
Catcher’s Shin Pads
Like chest protectors shin pads are fairly straight forward. Similar to chest protectors, catcher’s shin pads are just a measurement based on length.
With a ruler measure from the top of your foot to the middle of your knee. The rest of the dimensions on the shin pad are adjustably so if you get the length right the shin guard will fit.
I personally like the comfort and fit of the Mizuno Samurai Leg Guards.
Having a high quality catchers mitt can make a huge difference. We dedicated an entire post to selecting the correct mitt for your needs.
If you have a son or a daughter who is just starting to play the position the most important thing you can do is purchase them gear that fits. Often times youth teams will have universal catcher’s gear. Unfortunately the majority of the time the gear won’t fit your kid correctly.
Could you get by? Sure, but if she is often playing behind the dish it is always recommended that she’s suited with the correct gear. Take a foul ball off of a mask that fits hurts. Taking a foul ball off of a mask that doesn’t can lead to injury.