Softball is a sport played by two teams competing against one another to score more runs than the other. On offense, the team is working on hitting pitches, running bases, and earning runs. On defense, the team is working to stop the other team from earning any runs. Teams are required to play both offense and defense during every inning, which means softball players need more equipment than some other sports!
Accessories are important to all athletes, but baseball and softball players are especially known for their accessories. Popular softball accessories include chains or necklaces, arm sleeves, eye black, and bracelets. Depending on the league, certain accessories are or are not allowed. In bigger softball leagues almost all players wear some kind of necklace or chain, often with a pendant. When buying an accessory consider what you would wear on a daily basis.
Ankle guards shield a softball player's ankle from foul balls. Ankle guards fit on the front of your ankle and the top of your foot. Many companies make ankle guards including Mizuno, Rawlings, and Nike. Another well-known ankle guard company is Evoshield which makes protective equipment that molds and hardens around your ankles to fit you perfectly. You don't absolutely need an ankle guard to play softball but it can make you feel safer while you play. An ankle guard will cost $15 to $30.
A traditional arm guard is an elbow guard, but advancements have included arm guards that also cover your tricep and forearm. Other arm guards include wrist guards. Wrist guards usually have hard plastic inside of a wrist band. Arm guards are mostly only worn while hitting. They can protect you from an off target pitch and can make you more confident at the plate. A wrist guard or another forearm guard is often softer and is recommended for catcher's especially, though some infielders also wear one. Arm guards vary depending on the kind but they cost between $20 and $60.
Bat bags are exactly what they sound like, bags that hold your bats. Bat bags can be a backpack with side pockets for bats. These bags can help to carry other pieces of equipment as well. Other bat bags are just long bags that carry only bats. Teams will use those bags for travel because they make it easier to carry multiple bats. For younger players a bag that has bat pockets is important. A personal bat bag will cost around $40 to $50.
Batting gloves have gained lots of popularity in softball in recent years. Up until the mid 1950s, no players in either softball or baseball wore batting gloves. Nowadays, a majority of softball players wear batting gloves to protect their hands when hitting. Softball players wear batting glove brands like Nike, Rawlings, and Franklin. Buying batting gloves is not necessary but highly recommended by most softball players. Batting gloves will cost $20 to $30.
Batting helmets are one of the few necessary pieces of protective equipment in softball. When hitting, a batting helmet is required. In some leagues with younger athletes, a face mask is required as part of a batting helmet, though higher level softball is moving away from that. It is important to research safety standards before buying a batting helmet. Some teams provide batting helmets that are shared so it is not necessary to buy one. If you buy a helmet, though, it'll cost $40 to $60.
Batting tees are one of the fundamental, and most useful, softball tools. The concept of a batting tee is simple; they are essentially ball holders. A tee is an important tool for young players to purchase. A batting tee can drastically improve your swing. You do not need a fancy batting tee, a simple rubber one will suffice. A good batting tee will cost $50 to $70.
Catcher's equipment, which is also referred to as catcher's gear, are the essential pieces of protective equipment that a catcher wears. Catcher's equipment includes the catcher's chest protector, glove, helmet, and other stuff like wrist protectors and leg guards. Catcher's equipment is crucial for anyone playing the position. However, it can be very expensive and a lot to carry around so you should be positive that you want to be a catcher before investing in catcher's equipment. A full set of catcher's equipment will be $200 to $300.
A catcher's chest protector is an important part of a catcher's equipment. The chest protector protects the catcher's chest, both from foul balls and from pitches in the dirt. For anyone who wants to become a catcher, buying a good chest protector that will last a long time is very important, as is getting it fitted specifically for the player so that they will be comfortable. Good brands include Nike, All Star and Mizuno. A good chest protector sold by itself will cost you $60 to $100.
For a catcher the glove is the most important piece of equipment that you can have. A catcher's glove is a wider, more padded glove. The glove is rounder than normal gloves and is specially designed to withstand multiple high speed pitches. A catcher's glove is also good for picking up balls in the dirt. Buying a good catcher's glove and taking care of it is important. A good catcher's glove will cost $100 to $200.
A catcher's helmet is the most important piece of protective equipment. The helmet covers the head and face. In softball the catcher's helmets are "hockey style" helmets. This is a single piece that protects the entire head and face and is easy to peel off quickly when fielding a bunt or pop-up. A good catcher's helmet is key to protect you from concussion and other injuries. Buying a catcher's helmet separate from a set will cost $75 to $150.
Catcher's leg guards are another significant part of catcher's gear. They are two separate pieces, one per leg, made up of a combination of soft leather and hard plastic. It is important that the leg guards are flexible so they can bend as the catcher squats and throws and blocks and moves around. Leg guards usually come with a set of the gear. If you buy them separate from a set, they will cost $50 to $100 for a pair.
A compression shirt is an undergarment that is often worn by softball players under regular uniforms. Compression shirts can be long sleeved, short sleeved or even sleeveless. These shirts help you by increasing blood flow and keeping the body warm and dry. There are various types of compression shirts, some that are warmer and some that are cooler. Most importantly, compression shirts are comfortable and prevent the thick uniform from rubbing directly on skin. You can buy a compression shirt for $10 to $20.
A softball elbow protector is a specific piece of protective equipment. Most elbow protectors are simple pieces of equipment that you strap on before you go to hit. Modern elbow protectors are adapting. Some elbow protectors are softer and fit on the arm, much like an arm sleeve. These can be worn in the field as well as in hitting. An elbow protector is not necessary but can be useful for gaining confidence when you hit. A good elbow protector will cost $30 to $40.
Energy bars are food that softball players will sometimes eat in order to help them gain energy to play softball. In long tournaments or games, players sometimes do not have time to eat full meals in between games or before games. Energy bars are important and a good source of protein and energy for players. Some brands include Cliff bars, Gatorade bars, and Luna bars. These are completely up to player preference, they are in no means necessary but highly recommended. You can get one energy bar for $1 or packs for $5 to $10 to have in your softball bag.
Eye black is an accessory that many baseball, softball, and other athletes have started to wear more in recent years. Aside from looking good, eye black protects you from the glare of the sun. The little black strips are either painted or taped onto your cheeks in order to soak in the glare of the sun that would bounce into your eyes. Softball players get really fancy with their eyeblack, drawing big lines and designs on their face. Eye black will only cost $3 to $5.
A fastpitch bat is a bat used in fastpitch softball. It is one of the key pieces of equipment that you should purchase before playing any softball. The bat is much like a baseball bat but it is thinner on the barrel. Buying at a store is important in order to ensure proper sizing. Fastpitch bats will cost you anywhere from $100 to $300 depending on the brand and the quality.
A fielder's face guard is an important piece of protective equipment for fielders. First and third basemen stand very close to the batter, where balls can fly off the bat at nearly a hundred miles per hour. Fielder's face guards are important to protect your face from balls that could do a lot of damage. Pitchers can also wear face guards. It is important to learn the information of a league as some require face guards for certain positions. You can buy a face mask for $30 to $40.
If there is a singular piece of equipment that you should buy for yourself it is a glove, also known as a mitt. Every other piece of equipment is either not necessary or can be provided by a team or league. A glove is personal to every softball player. For many a softball glove is like a child, they will protect it at any cost. Good softball glove companies include Rawlings, Mizuno, Easton and Nike. You can buy a glove for anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on the customization and quality.
Grip tape is the tape that goes on softball bats in order to improve your grip when you swing. Since softball bats are metal and almost all of them come with some grip tape already on the bat. However, the grip tape can wear out or get dirty and that is when replacement grip tape can come in handy. One popular brand of grip tape is Lizard Skin grip tape. This is tape that can be bought at any sports store and can be taped on your own bat. A single roll of grip tape will cost $3 to $5.
Knee savers are a piece of catcher's equipment that are not necessary but can be a great help for catchers during a long season. Knee savers are little foam blocks that are tied to leg guards that catchers will wear. When tied properly, the foam blocks will sit between the catchers upper thighs and their calves, almost mimicking the sensation of sitting down. This can make it easier to survive long seasons by lessening the strain on your knees. Knee savers cost $15 to $30.
A mouth guard is another piece of protective equipment that many softball players choose to wear. The mouth guard protects your teeth from other players or a ball. Mouth guards are common in other sports like football and basketball. In softball, some players, namely corner infielders, will wear mouth guards. Some youth leagues enforce certain players wearing mouth guards so before buying one it is important to research the rules. You can buy a mouthguard at any sportswear store for $2 to $10.
Pitching machines are an insanely useful practice tool for softball teams to use to improve their hitting. Pitching machines are essentially big spinning wheels with the size of a softball in between them. This allows space for the ball to be threaded through before it is shot out of the machine. Pitching machines can have different effects, like drop balls or rise balls. Balls can shoot out at over seventy miles per hour. If you plan to buy a pitching machine, make sure that you first have a lot of space for hitting. If you do have the space for it, a pitching machine will cost $200 to $400.
Practice balls are softballs that are used just for practice and not for games. There are multiple kinds of softballs for practice. Some of them are regular softballs that just happen to be used for practice. These tend to be more beat up and used than the usual clean and new softballs used in games. There are also batting practice balls, softballs that have little dents in them, designed for pitching machines. Having practice balls is important for any type of hitting practice. You can buy a bucket of practice balls for around $50.
Practice shirts are shirts that you will wear when you are at softball practice. These shirts can be compression shirts sometimes and other shirts can be just comfortable, athletic shirts made out of a good material. Dri-fit shirts for instance are very popular options. For younger, less organized teams, players usually wear their own practice shirts. Other teams have stricter practice uniforms. These will usually be uniform shirts that every player will wear and they will be different from the team uniform. You can use a $5 t-shirt as a practice shirt or spend up to $20 or more on fancy athletic shirts.
Practice uniforms are sometimes enforced by the teams. In this case, all of the softball players have specific clothing that they must wear to team practices. Usually this is made up of a singular practice shirt, practice pants and single colored socks. If the team has a practice uniform that they enforce, then the team will usually provide or sell it. However if there is no enforced practice uniform then any softball pants, sock, and practice shirt will usually do the job; nothing fancy is needed. You can pay $5 for a shirt, $20 for pants, $5 for a belt, and $5 for socks and that can be your practice uniform. However, if you want higher quality gear, you can pay more for nicer practice clothing.
A rebound net is a net that is used for softball training. Essentially, it is a big trampoline that shoots the ball off of it, back to where it was thrown or hit. The rebound net is best used for fielding practice; it can be angled so that you can throw a softball and then it will rebound as either a ground ball or fly ball. It can also be used for hitting as a backstop. It is not necessary to buy a rebound net but if you have the space it can be an efficient method to practice. A rebound net will cost $20 to $100.
Shoe laces serve the same purpose for softball players as they do for just about anyone else. Shoelaces help to tighten your shoes and ensure that the shoes stay on through all of the running and movement that you go through. Shoe laces are especially important in sports but they are needed in pretty much every walk of life as well. For softball most shoe laces will come with the pair of softball cleats that the player will buy. There is no need to buy shoelaces separately unless they rip or break, in which case they can be bought at a shoe store or online for $2 to $5.
Sliding shorts are another undergarment that are especially useful for baseball and softball, though they are used in other sports as well. Sliding shorts are compression shorts that are worn under softball pants. The shorts usually have little pads built into them so that you do not bruise or cut yourself when sliding. Some players wear sliding shorts, while others do not feel the need for them. However, if you are interested they can be bought at most sports stores and are good especially for young kids who are scared to slide. Sliding shorts will cost $20 to $30.
Softball bats are essentially the same thing as fastpitch bats, as the most popular type of softball is fastpitch softball. Softball bats are thin bats with bigger barrels than baseball bats. All softball bats are made out of metal, though the kind can vary. They can be made from alloy or composite. Teams will sometimes provide bats, but unless that is stated it is probably a good investment to get a softball bat. You can get a softball bat from $100 to $300.
Softball and baseball are one of the few sports that incorporate a belt as part of their wardrobe. Softball belts hold the softball pants up, though often they are not needed for that purpose. Other than that softball belts are a fashion statement, and they are usually color coded with the team uniform. Most teams will provide a belt as part of their uniform as it will be color specific, but it is good to have a few softball belts for practice uniforms. A softball belt will cost $5 to $10.
Softball cleats are the specific shoe worn by softball players on the field. Also called "spikes" by softball players, they are shoes with squared spikes on the bottom. These shoes give you better grip in the dirt and grass. The spikes can be made of metal or plastic, and this is usually up to personal preference. Metal is recommended for better grip but some people prefer plastic as it can be better for turf fields. Good cleats will cost $50 to $100.
A good part of being on an organized team or being a fan of a sports team is that there are deals you can take advantage of and spend less money on all of the softball gear that you buy. A lot of stores offer discount opportunities before softball season, in the spring, when players will be looking to buy more gear. Furthermore, some teams will have sponsorhips or partnerships where their players can buy gear at a discounted price. It is always good to ask a team or a league about the deals they offer before independently buying equipment.
One of the most unique aspects of clothing for a softball player are the softball pants that you wear. The pants are about three quarters of the way down the leg, paired with pulled up socks that are worn up to the mid shin. Softball pants are usually gray or white, or the same color as the uniform top. Having a pair of black, white, and gray pants is a good start for practices. You can buy a pair of softball pants for $20 to $40.
Softball socks are specific colored socks that are worn as part of the softball uniform. Different people wear their softball socks differently but for the most part the socks are pulled up to the mid shin to go with the three quarter length pants. For uniforms, the team will usually provide socks, but it is probably good to have a few pairs of softball socks for practice. A pair of softball socks should only cost $5 to $10.
Softball, as with most other things, is susceptible to having trends. Most softball trends, as with many other sports, are related to the accessories and the wardrobe of softball. That is something that, despite the very literal uniformity, allows players to show their individuality. One trend that got very popular in softball were braided necklaces. Those replaced chains and other necklaces and were a mark of a softball player.
Softballs are the namesake of the very sport. Softballs are 3.5 inches in diameter and 11 inches of circumference. The biggest factor that differentiates a softball from other balls are the seams on the ball that help with grip in throwing it. For the most part softballs are a bright green color, though that is not necessarily a requirement. The seams of a softball are stitched on, often by hand, and give the ball a good grip. You can buy a bucket of softballs for $50 to $100.
Sports drinks are a popular drink amongst softball players in order to re-energize them and to help them feel good and regain liquids that they may have lost due to dehydration. Sports drinks are filled with electrolytes and sugars in order to help players with dehydration. Popular brands of sports drinks include Powerade and Gatorade. Most softball players have a flavor preference when it comes to their sports drink. A singular sports drink will be $2 to $3.
Sunglasses are another piece of softball equipment that may be overlooked but they can come in handy in many situations on the softball field. Sunglasses are worn mostly by outfielders, though all players on the field except for pitchers can wear them. Outfielders are most likely to need sunglasses because they catch fly balls and therefore are looking up at the sun and the sky. Sunglasses will help players to better locate the ball and block the sun. Any sunglasses work, though buying some sports sunglasses that stick to your face and will not fall off is probably a good idea. You can get sunglasses for $50 to $100.
Sunscreen is by no means specific to only softball but it is something that softball players should definitely wear. Softball players play outside, and their season is the spring and the summer. Because of this, you will find yourself in the sun for long periods of time, often in direct sunlight. Because of this, sunscreen is something that you need to wear to avoid burning and to take care of your skin. Something to be cautious of is that sunscreen can be slick so it is always good to wash hands or wipe all the sunscreen off of your hands after applying it. A bottle of sunscreen will cost $5 to $10.
Swing trainers are training tools that players can use in order to correct any problems in their swing while hitting and for younger players to learn how to best swing. A tee can be considered a swing trainer that you can use, as you can take hundreds of swings at a time to practice. Other swing trainers include a swing-away, which is like a tetherball for softball players. Others include the swing stick, which is a stick that a coach can hold for the player to hit. You can get a swing trainer for $20 to a few hundred dollars depending on the type of trainer.
Training balls are softballs, or other balls, that can be used to practice assorted softball skills. A training ball can be something as simple as a tennis ball thrown against a wall to practice fielding or even hitting. Small wiffle balls can be used for hitting practice, training the eye to hit something smaller than a softball before moving on to hitting the bigger softball. Heavy balls are another option for training, especially for catchers and fielders to train their muscles to catch balls with better strength. Weighted balls can cost upwards of $50 but tennis balls will be $10.
Many different things can be considered training equipment in softball. Training balls, swing trainers, and pitching machines can all be considered training equipment. Other training equipment include running ladders, weights, running parachutes, and more. This equipment can all be used to improve a softball player's strength, conditioning, and hand-eye coordination. Training equipment can be bought or even made in some cases; people can improvise and do their best.
Uniforms are the cornerstone of a softball player's attire. A uniform is made up of a jersey, pants, socks, a belt, and sometimes a visor or hat. There are many add-ons that are possible for a uniform but those are just the basics. Uniforms can be just one color or multiple colors; that is decided by the team organization or coaches. Uniforms are usually bought and paid for by the team. Each uniform usually has a number and a name on the back, specific to each player and often chosen by the players. Uniforms will usually cost $50 to $100 but it depends on the team.
If there is one thing that a softball player will find in the bottom of their bag it is a water bottle. Wattle bottles are carried by every softball player. Many use reusable water bottles that they can refill and drink from. Some of the water bottles are sealed where they hold the cold water and ensure that ice does not melt. Plastic water bottles are also used sometimes; they can be bought at concession stands at softball fields. Hydrating is insanely important to softball players. You can get a reusable water bottle for $5 to $50 depending on the quality of the bottle.
Softball equipment is unique because it is mostly used just for softball. For example, a softball bat can only be used to play softball; softball requires a lot of specialty items that only apply to the sport. The majority of sport equipment is designed to be unisex, but since women dominate the sport of softball, it is mostly made for women. But if a man wants to find a softball bat or helmet designed for men to use, he still can!
Softball equipment comes in a wide range of prices and quality. An excellent softball bat may cost up to $350, but will last a long time and provide every batter with more power and a better feel. A lower quality bat may only cost $20 and will serve you well, but it will not last you as long.
Just like bats, a more expensive softball mitt will cost you more money but serve you well. A long-lasting mitt will cost $260. However, a cheaper mitts also will work fine and only costs around $25!
Softball balls cost about $4 each, but you can get them cheaper when you buy a bucket of them, ranging from $18 to $28 depending on the ball count. Softball batting helmets cost $15 to $50.
If you are looking to play softball recreationally, do not splurge on expensive items; the cheaper ones will be fine! If you are playing for a competitive team, spending more on your equipment will ensure it lasts longer.