Do You Have To Wear A Cup In Youth Football Coaching T-Ball – Choosing the Right Equipment

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Coaching T-Ball – Choosing the Right Equipment

Spring is well underway, which means T-ball season. One of the most common questions parents and coaches of new players have about purchasing equipment for their teams and their children. We thought it was time to address some of these questions to give you some guidance on how to choose the right equipment for your players.

For those of you who are new coaches and wondering what kind of equipment you expect to receive for your team, your league’s equipment manager will usually contact you and give you instructions on where and when to pick up your team’s equipment. You’ll usually get an equipment bag with a tee, a box of tee-balls for practice and games, 3 to 4 helmets with chin straps, and a tee-ball bat or two. Actual number of items may vary at your league’s discretion.

One piece of safety equipment is the heart guard. This piece of protective gear, when worn properly, prevents a player from serious injury if struck by a batted tee-ball in the chest area around the heart. If the league requires the wearing of a heart guard, every parent or coach must follow this rule. However, if the league does not require a heart guard on eve, I would make sure the parents of your players are aware of this so they can decide if their children should wear it.

Depending on your child’s hand size, glove sizes range from 8 to 11 ½ inches. The size is usually indicated on each glove. A good bench mark is to have your child try on a glove and ask them to squeeze it. If they have trouble closing the glove, it’s probably too big. The glove should also adequately cover the underside of the palm at the beginning of the wrist. Glove manufacturers have made significant improvements over the years to the point that most gloves do not require extensive “breaking in”. “Breaking in” means opening and closing the glove to remove some of its initial stiffness. There’s nothing like the feeling of a broken glove. It is best to always keep the baseball or t-ball in a glove when not in use. The beauty of glove leather is its memory, and by storing the ball in the glove when not in use, the glove pocket takes the shape of the ball.

Most t-ball leagues will provide a t-ball bat, so if parents want to purchase their own bat, I recommend doing so. A T-ball bat has length and weight. To find the right size bat for your child, get your child a bat that they like and hold the bat in their hands (left hand for right-handed batsmen and right hand for left-handed batsmen) with both hand and bat fully gripped. extended and parallel to the ground. The child should hold this position for 30 seconds and if the arms and bat do not sag and lose their parallel position with the ground, then the size is correct for your child. In general, our players always err on the side of light.

Coaches and parents should check their league’s national and local rules to see if there are any restrictions on bats, as some national and local league rules allow only official T-ball bats. Other leagues have no restrictions, therefore, youth league at-bats are allowed. Parents should read the wording on the bat to determine if the bat is a T-ball bat or a youth league bat. Youth league bats are slightly longer and heavier than T-ball bats, and these bats are usually for older kids at the T-ball or coach pitch level. Youth league bats are measured by length to weight difference (eg, a -14.5 youth league bat may measure 28-1/2 inches in length and weigh 14 ounces). Each bat may vary in weight and length.

We tell our parents that batting gloves are optional. We would not recommend them at this age as we feel that a player should only use his bare hands to get a feel for the batted ball. When the player coach moves to pitch level, he can experiment with batting gloves, where the batted ball and caught ball have more impact.

Rubber-cleated baseball shoes (never baseball shoes with metal spikes) should be used instead of sneakers to get a better grip on the field while running, batting, and fielding. We want kids to build confidence as they run and make plays, and a wet field without cleated shoes can cause them to slip and fall.

I advise all T-ball players to wear a protective cup. There are protective cups for both boys and girls, each slightly different. Players should get into the habit of wearing protective cups as they may be required or recommended at the next level of play. Check your local and national league rules for information on this protective gear.

Some parents buy batting helmets for their children for hygiene reasons (potential source of hair lice). We recommend batting helmets that can be adjusted to fit players of different ages and head sizes. Batting helmets for girls have a curved diamond-shaped opening at the back of the helmet for their pony tails. Many leagues require helmets to include chin straps. A child reaches the next two levels of play, coach-pitch and kid-pitch, with a wire face guard available to fit on the helmet model you purchase. Fasteners and plastic/metal anchors are supplied with wire face guards for easy installation. Some leagues require these wire face guards when you reach these levels. Check your national and local league rules.

Finally we recommend that you purchase a small equipment bag to store and transport your player’s equipment. Please be sure to write each player’s name in indelible marker on the player’s glove, bat, helmet and batting gloves. Equipment identification makes it easy for players to claim loose equipment after practices and games.

We hope you found this article helpful and we wish you and your kids the best T-Ball experience!

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