How to Fit Baseball Gloves
The baseball glove is an iconic piece of sports equipment, one known for its durability and its nostalgia. New baseball gloves come as shiny, inflexible objects made from leather and quickly become dirty, dusty and flexible in the hands of its user. Fortunately, that is exactly what should happen to a glove -- new gloves must be broken in so that they are easier to catch a baseball with. But even with a reliable, broken in glove, it is still important that the glove fit your hand properly and have the right size for the position you are playing.
Look at glove sizes based on age. For high school and adult players, there is a difference in glove size depending on position -- infielders typically use gloves around 11 or 11.5 inches, while outfielders tend to add an inch. Youth models, however, do not differentiate based on position. Three- to 5-year-olds are recommended to use 9- or 9.5-inch models, while 5 and 6-year-olds are best suited for 10 or 10.5-inch gloves. Seven and 8-year-olds are recommended 10.5- or 11-inch gloves, and ages 9 through 12 are advised to look at 11- or 11.5-inch models. The one exception is for first base gloves -- because this is such a crucial position on the field, and because passed balls are likely to be thrown errantly on occasion, it is not unusual for 12- or 13-inch gloves to be used at this position.
Try on the glove. Regardless of the recommendations made, a glove needs to fit your hand well. It should be able to adjust so that it fits snugly on the hand rather than slipping or sliding around, and the glove should be easily movable with the hands. Keep in mind that the glove will become more pliable once it is broken in.
Move up or down in glove sizes based on the feel of the glove. It is most important that a child or adult end up with a glove that is easy to control and won't slip off a player's hands during a game.
Try on a variety of gloves at your local sporting goods store, even if you plan to purchase a glove online. Different brands may fit your hand differently. When purchasing used gloves, examine the leather and ties carefully to ensure that they're in good condition and fit your hand properly.
Avoid purchasing a glove that's too large for your hand; it may slip off in the middle of a play, causing the ball to hit your unprotected hand or face.
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.