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The catcher’s position is one of the most taxing positions in all of baseball, as the position is incredibly demanding and requires the right individual with a good penchant for shaking off bruises. Similarly, a catcher’s gear is subject to much wear and tear throughout the course of a baseball season, and it is important to not only buy the correct type of gear, but also to make sure that it is regularly replaced as needed. For young catcher’s especially, this is of particular importance as it will help prevent injuries, as well as grow alongside the player throughout their youth years.
This article will focus on catcher’s mitts and how to select the right one, specifically for the youth age group. Before diving in, however, let’s take a quick look at some of the differences between a regular glove and a catcher’s mitt, as well as some key factors to keep in mind before making a decision on a new youth catcher’s mitt.
What Are The Differences Between A Regular Mitt And A Catcher’s Mitt?
There are certain differences between a regular mitt and a catcher’s mitt, and it is important to understand these differences and distinctions before committing to a purchase. Catcher’s mitts are generally more rugged and durable than ordinary gloves, as they must last through multiple seasons of use at a position that is more prone to wear and tear. While a regular infield or outfield glove will only see a certain amount of catches each year, a catcher’s mitt will see much more use as every pitch that is thrown over the course of a season will end up in the catcher’s mitt. Treating a youth catcher’s mitt as an investment makes sense as the glove will grow with the player for multiple seasons; be sure to find something that not only fits this season, but something that the youth can grow into for multiple seasons to follow.
The added protection will help avoid the risk of injuries which is important in helping the catcher feel comfortable playing the position. This will mean added palm protection to reduce hand stinging on hard-thrown pitches, and it will also mean added wrist support to reduce the chance of sprains or breaks. A regular mitt will still feature some palm protection and wrist support, but catcher’s mitts will feature thicker leather and are often more rigid and firm.
The shape of a catcher’s mitt is also very different from a regular glove. The pocket may not be as deep and balls will generally ‘stick’ better. The glove is also very easy to flip over in order to trap and stop pitches that are in the dirt. The glove is also more round and can help the catcher give a nice big target for the pitcher to aim for.
Final Considerations In Choosing A Youth Catcher’s Mitt
It is important to look for a glove that is tough and made-well, which means it must be durable and made of real leather. This will obviously cost a bit more than synthetic leather, but it will be worth the price for the added palm protection it provides. This lowers the chance of injuries and is well worth the one-time cost. Finding a catcher’s mitt with a decently sized pocket will also help your youth learn to properly block pitches that are in the dirt and teach them to use the correct body positioning to block and smother pitches.
5 Choices For Youth Catcher’s Mitts
Here are some terrific youth catcher’s mitts that have caught our eye this season:
First up is the Easton Mako Youth Catcher’s Mitt, which is a very stylish and comfortable glove that is a great entry glove for youth participating in both recreational as well as house league play. Easton’s finest work with Mako is with the bat, but they take the same attention to detail here with the glove, as evidenced by the very intricate stitchwork and professional patterns that are all scaled down to a youth size. The best thing about this glove is it is incredibly light and easy to maneuver. Don’t let the light weight fool you though, it is still quite sturdy and durable.
- Features professional cowhide which is thinner and softer, which means it is lighter and more flexible which is suitable for youth.
- Finger lining is very soft and comfortable.
- Palm lining features oil tanned hog hide.
- Hyperlite design to create overall lightweight glove.
- Does not come in multiple color combinations.
Very good choice from an incredibly reputable company – when you buy Easton you’re not just buying the glove, you’re buying the brand and the reputation that stands behind the glove.
Mizuno’s ‘Prospect’ glove is next up on the list, a very durable and comfortable youth catcher’s mitt that is similar to the Easton Mako both in look and feel. The v-flex notch and power close features help teach youth the most important thing about playing the catcher’s position: how to actually close the glove and catch the pitch that is thrown. The palm has a nice pocketed protection that makes it easy to use and reduces hand sting. All in all a very comfortable glove that your youth can grow into for several years.
- Power Close technology as well as the V-Flex notch helps players learn how to properly close a glove.
- Palm pad features ParaShock technology to provided added comfort and cushioning in a nice deep pocket.
- Flashy design, easy on the eyes.
- Not too expensive.
- Takes a little bit of use to break-in.
A very good glove that performs admirably amongst others on this list, it is priced fairly and will not break your budget. Especially helpful for players still learning how to properly catch the ball as the hinge is very easy and closes naturally in the same place each time.
All-Star is next to follow and they provide a very good option for youth catcher’s mitts. It is one of the ones on the list with the shortest break-in time as the leather was incredibly soft and pliable upon initial use. The end result is a very nice glove that you can use from day one, and it will rival many of the others on this list. The palm protection is good but may not be as thick as some others, but that is part of the trade-off with getting a game-ready glove that does not require much break-in time.
- Available in both left and right hand throw models.
- The leather is oil softened which means it is extra comfortable while maintaining protection and durability.
- Break-in time is minimal.
- Inside layering is very comfortable.
- The heel has extra wide channels that makes the glove easy to close.
- Brand is not as well known as others on the list.
This is a great glove if you want something that you can use immediately, as the leather is very soft and easy to use with little discomfort. Perfect for the budding young backstop who is still learning the ropes of a demanding position.
The A360 from Wilson is a terrific glove that does not break the bank but is still great bang for your buck. It is very comfortable and durable and the pure pigskin composition is a thing to behold. Although it is only available in one color, it is a nice sleek solid black leather that is easy to look at. All in all this is a terrific glove that should hold up very well for many seasons of baseball.
- 31.5” sized.
- Both palm and web are 100% pigskin.
- Web is in shape of half-moon.
- Features an open-back for added breathability and ventilation.
- Velcro wrist strap is adjustable.
- Only available in one color.
- Slightly stiff out of wrapper.
The A360 from Wilson is a very solid middle-tier glove if you do not want to outspend your budget for a custom model, especially for a youth player who is still learning to play. It comes from a wonderful company that has a long history in the game of baseball with a formidable reputation, and it is easy to see why with this glove.
The Gamer from Rawlings is the most expensive youth catcher’s mitt on the list, and it is very easy to see why once you get a glance at the wonderfully detailed construction. The leather construction is a thing to behold and once again Rawlings sets the bar high for premium gloves. The hand opening is a bit smaller than other gloves mentioned earlier, which means it fits much more snug and does not hang off your hand in a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.
- Full-grained leather construction.
- Fairly quick break-in considering the quality of the leather.
- Authentic professional grade-construction.
- One-piece solid closed webbing.
- Palm and index finger pad are both leather reinforced.
- Very pricey.
- Better for players with smaller hands.
A terrific choice if you’re looking for one of the very best gloves in the business. This is also a great option if you are transitioning from a beginner baseball mitt to a more ‘serious’ glove, perhaps if you have already been playing for a bit and want a youth catcher’s mitt that can help you take the leap to the next level.
All are great options but the A360 from Wilson stands out as terrific value without overshooting your budget. A very nice glove that most youth will be able to grow into, and something that will fit nearly all levels of play.