As baseball and fastpitch softball have evolved as sports, the equipment each player uses has evolved as well. The gloves and mitts that are used on the field are more position-specific, helping the player field or catch the ball to the best of his/her ability. However, those that are new to a position may not understand the importance of the design of the glove and just what the big differences are between each one. This goes especially for the fielders that are considering catching for the first time. If you are new to being behind the dish, here are 3 things to know about catcher’s gloves before buying:
1 – Technically, It’s A “Mitt”
You may be wondering why some players and coaches refer to their catcher’s gloves as “mitts” – well, it’s because technically speaking, they’re not gloves. A “glove” has cut fingers, just as you see in fielder’s gloves; while a “mitt” does not have any fingers cut. If you think of when your hands get cold, you can put on gloves or you can put on mittens. Gloves have individual fingers, while mittens cover the hand – same idea when it comes to the appearance of a fielder’s glove and catcher’s mitt. Although in the baseball and softball world, these terms are usually interchangeable.
2 – They’re Measured Differently than Other Gloves
When looking at fielder’s gloves vs. catcher’s mitts, you may have noticed that the measurements are different. Typically, fielder’s gloves can range from 10” to 14”, depending on age-group and sport. Catcher’s mitts, on the other hand, can range from 30” to 35”, also depending on age-group and sport. Youth catchers will want a mitt that is 31” and under. Adults will want a mitt that’s 32” and over.
So why the huge difference? This is because catcher’s mitts are measured by circumference of the glove, while fielder’s gloves are measured by length. A fielder will be concerned about length based on position for: transition, fielding ground-balls and catching fly-balls. A catcher, on the other hand, will be more concerned about how big around the glove is for: catching the ball from the pitcher and digging wild-pitches out of the dirt.
3 – Baseball Catcher’s Mitts are Different than Fastpitch Mitts
You’re going to want to purchase a catcher’s mitt based on whether you play baseball or fastpitch. Some fielder’s gloves can be used for either sport, but a catcher’s mitt is going to have a different design for each. The reasoning behind this? The size of the ball.
Since baseball uses a 9” ball, a baseball catcher’s mitt is going to have a smaller pocket and circumference, as well as more padding around the outside. Usually, an adult catcher’s mitt will range from 32” to 34” in circumference.
Fastpitch uses a 12” ball, so the glove will need to be bigger in circumference and has thinner padding to compensate for the size of the ball. When shopping for an adult catcher’s mitt in fastpitch, the size will range from 33”-35” in circumference.
So, if the view behind the dish is new to you, keep these 3 things to know in mind when shopping for your catcher’s mitt. You can browse our selection of catcher’s mitts by clicking on either of the following: