Wondering how to choose the right catcher’s mitt? Whether you’re a novice or an experienced catcher, read this guide to make sure you are outfitted correctly.
While the terms “glove” and “mitt” are often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference that needs to be respected when selecting the catcher’s mitt that’s best for you.
Whether you’re a baseball novice or a seasoned athlete, a little refresher on the traits of a catcher’s mitt will help you choose the perfect fit so you can stay on top of your game.
Here’s an easy guide to selecting the best mitt to fit your needs.
A Mitt Is Not a Glove
Understanding the basic “anatomy” of a catcher’s mitt helps. Unlike a glove, the mitt does not have separate finger slots to allow for more flexibility.
Instead, the catcher requires less mobility and instead, greater security. Because of this, the mitt has one slot for the fingers to remain close together and ensure you catch that ball.
A mitt also has distinct webbing as opposed to the lacing of a glove. Again, this is to make sure nothing gets past you.
Closed or Loose Webbing?
Choosing a smaller mitt with tighter webbing will give you great support when catching fastballs. However, if you get a mitt with webbing that is too tight, it will hamper your vision.
Find a mitt with webbing that balances tightness and visibility.
How Much Padding?
The more padding, the more shock absorption. However, more padding also means a smaller pocket which can make catching harder.
Before you purchase a new catcher’s mitt, try out several to see what amount of padding allows you to grip the ball without breaking your hand.
Open or Closed Back?
A catcher’s glove can have an open or closed back. When outfitting your baseball team, the mitt back you select will largely depend on the catcher’s preference.
Just be sure to understand standard safety regulations for catcher’s equipment.
An open back is often viewed as less secure as it offers little wrist protection. Still, it does offer greater mobility if that is a higher priority to you as a catcher.
The closed-back can be either an entire pocket or include a finger hole for your pointer so you have increased mobility. You can find some models with adjustable wrist guards. This provides important support.
Does Leather Quality Matter?
The short answer is: it depends.
If you’re purchasing a catcher’s mitt for a young athlete who is still growing, spending big bucks on a nice leather mitt is probably not the wisest investment. Especially if you’re purchasing sports equipment online.
Start with a pigskin or synthetic leather until your athlete knows if they even want to stick with the game.
For older and more committed players, there are varying levels of leather to choose from. Full-grain or steer hide leather creates that nice cracking sound when the ball hits the mitt.
These types of leather are harder and thus last longer and provide greater support, a great choice for serious players.
Buying a Catcher’s Mitt: Allow for Break-In
When choosing the catcher’s mitt that’s best for you, don’t forget that the mitt will need time to break in. Keep this in mind when feeling the stiffness of the leather or the firmness of the padding.
Over time, these things will soften up, so purchase with this in mind.
For more helpful tips for athletes, browse our other Sports articles.