At BaseballMonkey, we know that choosing the right fastpitch softball glove is a very important decision as a player, coach or parent. Because of this, we do our best to offer as many options as possible to fit your needs, whether it be as an infielder, outfielder, first baseman or catcher – we have a huge variety of fastpitch gloves from quality manufacturers like: Mizuno, Wilson, Worth, Nokona, Louisville Slugger, Wilson and All-Star. There are many factors to consider when purchasing a new softball glove, including: age group, level of play and position. Your personal preference and position as a fastpitch softball player is going to weigh heavily on the size and web pattern you choose. However, it is important to understand the construction of the fastpitch softball glove before purchasing one, as there are many differences from baseball gloves.
Because of the 12” size of a softball, fastpitch softball gloves differ from baseball gloves in general size, function and style. While in baseball, a 12.5” glove is considered an outfielder’s style, in softball that size is acceptable for both the infield and outfield as a utility model. Softball gloves also close deeper and rounder than baseball gloves to accommodate for the size of the ball. So when most baseball gloves will close from the thumb to the middle finger or ring finger, softball gloves tend to close from thumb to the pinky – allowing for a more rounded pocket to ensure the ball is secure. Moreover, it is less common in softball to turn a double play than it is in baseball, because the basepaths are 30ft shorter in softball (60ft) than in baseball (90ft). For this reason, fastpitch softball players can be less concerned about keeping a shallow pocket in the middle infield, unlike baseball players who tend to keep their glove extremely shallow for quick transitions when turning-two. Now that you understand the basic construction of a fastpitch softball glove, it is also important to determine which glove is perfect for your needs depending on the position(s) you play.
Infielder: Even though “turning-two” is not as commonplace in softball as baseball, it is still important to have a quick transition from fielding the throwing. Fastpitch softball is very high-paced, where speed is the name of the game and a deal breaker for many teams. Unlike baseball, in fastpitch softball you will see left-handed slap hitters that tend to get down the line very quickly, (a) because they are fast to begin with (b) because they are a couple steps closer to 1st by setting up in the left batter’s box and (c) because they are getting a “running start” so-to-speak. Because of this added slapping factor, as an infielder it’s extremely important to get the ball out of your glove and on its way to first as soon as possible. As a middle-infielder, you will want a glove that is a little on the shorter-side, 11.5”-11.75” with a web that is open like an I-web or dual post. Those web types along with a short glove, allow for the glove to stay a little shallower for a quick transition. If you are a third baseman, you can get away with 11.5”-12”, but will probably want a glove that is more closed. When at the hot corner, you are only 50-60ft away from the plate – so a strong glove is going to be key to snag any hard-hit line drives or grounders. Being so close to the batter, your transition doesn’t need to be quite as quick. The main focus should be to make sure you scoop up the ball or at least knock it down.
Pitcher: In softball, a pitcher’s glove is less position-specific than baseball. As a pitcher, you will typically use a glove anywhere from 11.5”-12.5” – any glove within that range is acceptable. However, the one thing to set the position of pitcher apart from the rest of the fielders is the web pattern. While other fielders may use whichever pattern she chooses, as a pitcher, you need to make sure the web is closed when selecting a pitch. If you use an I-web, for example, the gaps in the web will allow other players to see the seams and potentially determine which type of pitch you are selecting. For this reason, you should probably stick to basket, closed and modified trapeze webs, to prevent and tips as to what you are throwing.
Outfielder: Being the last line of defense, the outfield needs to make sure the ball is caught or stopped no matter what. For this reason, you will want to use a glove that is a little longer, with more reach and deep pocket to ensure the ball is in the glove. Fastpitch softball outfielder’s gloves will run in the range from 12.5”-13” – some might even get a little extreme and go with 13+”, but that might be excessive for some. The great thing about fastpitch softball gloves from the get-go, is that they already tend to close a little wider and rounder, which is exactly the kind of pocket you will need as an outfielder. Some of the preferred web patterns are: basket, modified trapeze, dual post and trapeze. Basket webs are more common in the outfield in softball than baseball because they provide that deep pocket and are strong enough to handle the large surface space the softball has inside the glove – which is great when having to make a diving or snowcone catch.
First Baseman: The style and build of a fastpitch first base mitt will be similar to that of a baseball first base mitt, but still with some differences. The general size of a fastpitch first base mitt runs the same to a baseball first base mitt at 12”-13” long. However, a fastpitch first baseman’s mitt will have a little less padding around the glove and a deeper pocket to accommodate the size of the softball.
Catcher: Although there are smaller differences between a baseball first base mitt and a softball first base mitt, the same cannot be said for fastpitch softball catcher’s mitts. Softball catcher’s mitts are still measured in circumference, as they are in baseball, however they run slightly bigger. A typical catcher’s mitt for softball will run from 32.5”-34” (some even 34.5” or 35”) as opposed to the 31”-33” range for baseball. Fastpitch catcher’s mitts will also (like first base mitts) have less padding around the outside to accommodate for the size of the ball coming in.
Utility: Unlike baseball, fastpitch softball has utility size and style softball gloves. These fastpitch softball utility gloves can be used at just about any position on the field, usually with the exception of first base and catcher. Softball utility gloves will generally run from 12”-12.5” and have a either closed, basket or modified trapeze webs. Fastpitch softball tends to have more players that play dual positions – pitcher and right field, shortstop and center field, 3rd base and 2nd base. For this reason, instead of buying multiple gloves for multiple positions, because all fielder’s gloves are designed in a similar fashion to make up for the size of the ball, utility style gloves are a great option.
At BaseballMonkey, we do our best to provide the most options at the greatest prices for all of your softball fielding needs. Whether you are in the field or behind the dish, get your fastpitch glove at BaseballMonkey.com™ today so you can dominate the field tomorrow.