Richard Hale is a published author who enjoys writing on business, sports, culture, traveling, technology, and symbolism.
Catchers Gear Is Everywhere - Where Do You Even Start?
The last time I played baseball was in 2001 - so it's been 20 years since I've been on the field in a regulated baseball game. Sure, I've played some pick up baseball games over the years, but nothing professionally.
My oldest son does play baseball, he's a catcher. Catchers require a lot of baseball gear, much more than a pitcher, outfielder, or anyone in the infield. That's where my problem began, too many choices and very little in-depth research and guidance.
Fortunately for me, I have a platform here at Hubpages, so I wanted to share my experience buying catchers gear and I wanted to give a special shoutout to the company that went well above and beyond to help me.
The Perfect Catchers Gear Set
As I mentioned earlier, a catcher needs a lot of gear. Due to this, you can find catchers gear sets as a whole or you can buy catchers equipment individually.
If you're going to be suiting up behind the plate as a catcher, you're going to need;
- Catchers Helmet
- Catchers Chest Protector
- Catchers Leg Guards
- Catchers Gear Bag
Most catchers gear sets include those (3) pieces. Even so, you're going to need more than just that. You'll also need;
- Catchers Mitt
- Cup (Optional)
- Sunglasses (Optional)
- Eye Black (Optional)
- Throat Protector (Optional)
I purchased a catchers gear set, I'll go after the specific one I bought a little later. Why did I but a catchers equipment set? Simple, price. Individually, I would of paid more for the same items, so I saved a decent amount of money buying the gear set.
Could you buy them individually? Sure, you may be in the position where you can only buy one piece every week, every 2 weeks. It just depends on your specific scenario. For myself, it was about price, but that wasn't the only decision. I wanted to make sure my son had a good quality catchers set, that played a role also.
So Many Choices, So Little Time
While baseball season is in full gear now, when I bought my son's catchers gear set, it was February of this year. They started practice in March, so I had to make a decision fairly quick. While I always recommend taking your time and doing your due diligence before you buy anything, time was not on my side.
After an hour of searching, I was lost. Sure, many products I checked out did have reviews, but nothing was standing out. Do I just go with anything? What should I do?
I felt I needed some type of guidance, so I took to Google and started searching some websites that sold baseball gear. I ended up messaging around 10-15 of them, one of them messaged back quickly. That site was Guardian Baseball, they're a company based in Louisiville, Kentucky. They sell baseball bats, gloves, and catchers gear.
An Appreciation For A Great Conversation
I did want to give Guardian Baseball a shout out, time is our most precious asset and they went above and beyond to help me learn about catchers gear and what to look for. That was greatly appreciated.
They have a wide selection of baseball bats, baseball gloves, and everything you'd need for baseball, including apparel. They went above and beyond, so that was awesome they took the time to explain everything.
When you're looking for catchers gear, there's a lot you have to weigh out. To help you make the best decision for your specific scenario, I'll lay it all out below.
Catchers Gear - Everything You Should Know
Another important piece of equipment in a catcher’s arsenal is the mask, which offers two main features: protection and easy removal. Not only can it keep your face safe from foul tips and wild pitches, but it’s quick to shed when pursuing a fly ball.
You have 2 main options when choosing a catcher’s mask - you can either go with the traditional two-piece style and you can go with the hockey style catcher's mitt.
The two-piece style sits atop a batting helmet, so it does make it easier to remove when you're chasing fly balls and playing at the plate. Now, the mask is made with padding covering the forehead and jaw, but this does provide good protection versus the hockey styled mitt.
The hockey-style mask looks just like a hockey goalie’s helmet - they've been catching on in the MLB and college. It has become a popular go-to option since it does provide great protection. They're tougher to get off, they also don't give you the level of vision the other style does. Many youth leagues now require catchers to wear the hockey-style mask, so you do want to check on that before you buy one.
Most catcher's masks come in two sizes: youth and adult. The reason there are only two sizes is because catcher’s masks are very easy to fit to your head. It only takes a few pulls of the straps and it will fit just right.
You can find youth masks that are designed for kids 12 and younger while adult masks are meant for players 13 and up. However, these assessments aren’t set in stone and you may even see high school players wearing youth masks, so choose whatever is the most comfortable for you.
The biggest piece of catcher’s equipment you're going to need is the chest protector, this helps protect your shoulders, neck, chest and stomach from foul tips, wild pitches, and baseball bats.
The chest protector’s armor is very durable, it's built with a foam-like material that contours to the player’s body for full protection. There is a mesh-like substance inside that can help keep the catcher cool, which is great technology considering many baseball games are played in the heat.
Price does matter if you want a quality chest guard. Generally, the better the material for protection, the more it will costs. The foam inside surrounds the outer shell, which is usually lighter and softer, but helps the player gain better mobility. With cheaper chest protectors, you’ll find many of them feel heavy.
That was something I didn't know until the guys at Guardian Baseball educated me on the fact, so make sure you keep that in mind. Being mobile behind the plate is very important.
When it comes to sizing, you'll want to make sure you take the correct measurements. To find the right size protector, it's recommended you measure from the base of your neck to the top of your waist in inches. This length would be the size you’ll find online or on a store tag.
For example, if you measure 15 inches, then you’ll want a size 15 chest protector.
If you’re going to be catching heaters behind the plate, you’re going to need a catchers mitt that is durable and reliable. The good news, catcher’s mitts have been designed to not only protect your hand and wrist, but to make those game-changing plays as well.
Catcher’s mitts differ from fielding gloves in many ways, starting with design. Fielding gloves have separate finger pockets, however catcher’s mitts are made to keep your fingers closer together and trade versatility for security. Catcher’s mitts typically have closed webbing, which provides added support and ample protection.
One of the most venerable areas is your legs, so you'll want to make you protect them at all costs. Leg guards protect your ankles, shins and knees. They extend from the top of the cleat all the way up above the knee. Leg guards are built with soft padding for comfort on the inside and a hard external shell on the outside to protect the catcher from balls and anything else that may come their way.
When it comes to sizing, leg guards are just as easy to shop for as chest protectors. To find the right size, measure from the middle of the knee to the ankle in inches. If your measurement is 10 inches, then you’ll likely be a size 10.
Now, there's a few more accessories you may want to consider. These include knee savers, throat protectors and catcher’s gear bags.
These are strong pieces of plastic that provide even more protection to a catcher’s throat. They’re gaining popularity amongst the pros and are starting to be required in some lower-level leagues.
When you spend your time crouching for seven-plus innings, you’re likely to have some soreness in your knees. To combat this, think about buying knee savers. Knee savers are pieces of soft foam that attach to the back of your leg guards to help take some of the weight off your knees when crouching.
As a catcher, you're going to need help packing all your baseball equipment around. They have special pockets and sections to hold your gear, making it easier for you to stay organized when traveling from the field to your home and vice versa.
Under Armour Adult Pro 4 Catchers Gear Set
After a week of searching, this was the catchers gear set we decide to go with. This is the Under Armour Adult Pro 4 Catchers Gear Set.
It has a NOCSAE certified chest protector that protects against commotio cordis and leg guards that are comfortable and mobile.
I was surprised by how light it was, I expected it to be much heavier than it is. Several platforms recommended this particular gear set and it was in my budget, so I'm happy with the decision.
It had many positive reviews online, so buying it was an easy decision.
We've had it for a few months now and it's still holding up great.
I'd definitely recommend it for sure.