Equipment and clothing

Most clubs or schools supply players with softball equipment. If you want to invest in your own gear, you can go to a specialist retailer like Greatrex for expert advice or one of the large sport stores.

 

The basic equipment and clothing required to play softball includes:

 

  • Bat: there is a tremendous range of bats available of varying weights, sizes and materials. The bat you chose depends on your height, weight, the level of softball you are playing and your budget.
    • Bats used in adult competitions are a maximum of 84.4cm (33") in length and weigh no more that 38oz (1077g)
    • The bats used by more advanced players are usually made of very high-grade graphite, carbon, magnesium, ceramic or some combination of these materials
    • When choosing a bat for a child, ensure you choose an extra lightweight bat. The weight of the bat should be as light as possible for children – this makes it easier for them to bring around the bat when they swing. It's also a good idea to buy a bat that is 2.2cm (0.87") longer than necessary. That way the child can use it for more than one season. The following table is indicative of the appropriate bat length for a child by age.

 

Age Bat length (inches) Bat length (cm)
5 – 7 24" – 26" 61cm – 66cm
8 – 9 26" – 28" 66cm – 71.1cm
10 28" – 29" 71.1cm – 73.7cm
11 – 12 30" – 31" 76.2cm – 78.7cm
13 – 14 31" – 32" 78.7cm – 81.3cm
15 – 16 32" – 33" 81.3cm – 83.8cm

 

  • Helmet: must be worn by the batter and all base runners to protect themselves from any hit or thrown balls. It is recommended that, at junior level, all infielders wear a helmet with a face-guard.

 

  • Glove: used by every fielder. They are made of leather and have a pocket between the thumb and first finger that allows for the ball to be caught. There is a tremendous range of gloves available – what is right for you depends on the level competition, whether you are left-handed or right-handed and the position you play.
    • The catcher and 1st base player can use a mitt, which is an extended version (length and width) of a glove
    • Infielders tend to use a smaller glove (9"-11"/23-28cm)) for quick release to make the throw
    • Outfielders use long gloves (13"-14"/33-35cm) to extend their reach.

 

  • Softballs: of various sizes and density have been developed for players of different ages and abilities. For example:
    • It is recommended that children under 14 years use a smaller 11", softcore or low impact softball as it is easier to grip the ball correctly for throwing, and the risk of soft tissue injury is reduced if the player is hit by the ball
    • In adult fastpitch, a 12" (30cm) hardcore softball is used
    • In adult slowpitch, a 12" (30cm) hardcore or softcore softball is used, depending on local playing rules.

 

  • Catcher's gear is protective shielding only worn by the catcher. It includes a facemask, chest protector, shin guards and a catcher's glove. It is designed to protect the catcher from being hit by a bat, or a pitched or batted ball.

 

  • Clothing: Appropriate clothing is important to ensure you are comfortable, can move easily and to minimise the risk of injury.
    • Fastpitch players, especially at the elite level, slide and dive regularly so need to wear protective, padded sliding pants under playing shorts or playing pants.
    • For competition, most clubs wear a distinctive softball uniform that comprises a cap or visor, shirt, undershirt, sliders or compression shorts, socks, and shorts or pants. At the back of the uniform a number from 1–99 must be visible.

 

Children participating in the Softball Batter Up program will receive an equipment kit as part of their registration. The kit includes:

  • Year 1: Softball, glove and draw string bag  
  • Year 2: bat and draw string bag
  • Year 3: helmet and draw string bag
  • Year 4: gear bag

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Updated 29 June 2012

ASC
Easton Greatrex