Because of these two factors, unknowingly parents tend to buy their child an inappropriate glove that will make learning to catch a challenge.
Remember when (us parents) were kids and our first pair of skates were hand-me-downs or purposely bought 2 sizes too big so we'd grow into them. Skating in them was cruel punishment, but we were just happy to be out there on the ice, so we made due.
Well with baseball gloves, we (now the parents) are repeating the same practice. We are buying gloves that are the wrong size, wrong fabric, and they make catching a ball incredibly difficult.
Here's a bit of information and advice on choosing a baseball gloves, along with some recommended models to consider.
SIZING: Typically, glove sizes for baseball range from 10.5" - 12.75". In fact, Little League official rules suggest the largest glove size should be 12" (this is for ages up to 12). The glove size is usually marked on the inside thumb or pinky of a glove. If it isn't indicated, you can usually tell by the code. Eg) GG1200 will mean it is a 12" glove.
Most players beginning baseball should select a glove between 10.5" - 11.5".
FABRIC: Don't buy a plastic glove. There are various grades of leather quality, but this doesn't become a concern until your child is playing competitive baseball and is 11 or older. Mesh (on the) back gloves are a good option for younger kids because it makes the glove lighter and quicker to break-in. Akadema offers some affordable meshback gloves.
POSITION: The position your child prefers to play is also a consideration for the web type (pocket) and size of the glove. Middle infielders (short-stops, 2B) usually go with an I-web or T-web/laced. And never exceed 11.5" in size (this even applies to the pros); 1B have a different style of glove altogether. It is a trap and is usually 12"+. Agan, a specific 1B glove isn't really necessary until your child is playing competitive ball and is 11 or older; OF gloves are the biggest gloves, they are normally 12-12.75" and the web is usually a H-web or 5-finger laced web; Pitchers typically use a closed web to conceal how the ball is being held. Again, not really a concern for younger players. However, keep in mind that Little League prevents pitchers to use white or grey gloves (disguises the ball); Catchers gloves are altogether different. For youth, they should be 31-32.5" in size. Most leagues provide them to each team; however, if your child throws with their left hand, the League may not provide one. If your child takes a love to catching, buy them one so it can form to their hand.
TAPER/SHOWCASE: Rawlings uses the word Taper to refer to their gloves that are made with a smaller size hand or youth hand in mind. Wilson uses the term Showcase or SC for their naming of a similar size glove. If you can find them, I highly recommend your purchase them for your youngster.
WHERE TO BUY: Locally, in the West end, my 2 favorite stores for baseball equipment is Play It Again in Barrhaven or Valiquette's on Carling. Online, use sites like homerunmonkey.com or baseballsavings.com where they regularly put their gloves on sale. They don't ship to Canada, but you can have it sent to Ogdensburg, NY UPS store (just google those 3 words and you will find instructions on how to). While in the US on vacation, stop at a Dick's or Sports Authority. If in Orlando, stop at the Rawlings outlet store (my Disney Land while vacationing in Florida).
RECOMMENDED GLOVES: Let me preface this by saying that there are lots of great gloves out there. Each glove maker offers a range of quality gloves (from low to high). Here are just a few moderately priced gloves that are currently out there, that break-in easily and are intended for younger players.
Ages 4-6: Louisville HXY1102 (11"),; ages 7-11: Gold Glove Pro Taper GG1102G (11"); OF ages 9-11: Gold Glove Pro Taper GG1225G (12.25")
For the more serious baseball player who wants pro-quality gloves that have a long break-in period but will last a life-time, and is ok with spending over $200 on a glove, you will want to consider the following top of the line gloves: Mizuno GMP Pro series, Rawlings Pro Preferred, Rawlings Heart of the Hide, Wilson A2K, Wilson A2000, Akadema Patriot, Louisville TPX, Louisville Evolution.
The beauty of these highend gloves is that you don't get palm-sting from catching the ball and they mold to the player's hand. The long break-in is worth it.
My all-time favorite middle-infielder glove (no longer sold) is the Rawlings HOH PRO1125TI.
Have your say ...
If you want to learn more about gloves and browse through marketplace forums on gloves, here are 2 useful sites:
www.glove-works.com (click on Linkspage)
www.softballforums.com (click on Forums)