Softball Practice: Here is the Gear you Need (Complete List)
It’s easy to figure out what you need to wear and use when playing in a softball game. As long as you show up in the proper uniform and have your own glove – you can probably get on the field.
But what about softball practice?
Although you might not see a difference right away, there is actually quite a bit to think about when it comes to figuring out what you need for softball practice instead of what equipment you need for softball in general.
For instance – do you have everything you need when the weather gets colder? Is a cup required? Do you need any training accessories? If you aren’t sure and need some help, we’ve got you covered in this article.
What should I wear in softball practice?
When it comes to softball practice, here is what you could need:
- Softball pants
- Shoes (preferably cleats)
- Long Socks
- Water bottle
Depending on the level, the actual softballs and bats are provided by a coach or manager for the team.
Attire for softball games and practices has changed throughout the years. Shorts and long socks were the norm, but today in softball short knee-length pants are worn in games with long socks, and the jersey has a team name with a number and possibly the player’s last name on the back. However, in softball practice, the outfit can change depending on team rules, circumstances, and weather.
Coach Chooses What the Team Wears to Practice
The best thing to do is to ask your coach or a teammate what to wear to practice, because there are a few different options.
Some teams preach the “practice like you play” mentality and only allow softball pants to be worn. On top of this it’s not uncommon that coaches ask you to wear a team shirt to practice. This way, every player is representing their team which improves the sense that everyone is playing towards a common goal and working together; it lessens individuality and improves selflessness and teamwork.
If this is the dress code for softball practice, it is important to know that wearing a jersey is not allowed! Those are restricted for game days only, and they shouldn’t be getting dirty just for practice.
Coordinating During Practices
While this is mainly reserved for select college teams, the most serious teams will even coordinate during practice. This means that coaches or team captains pick what color practice shirt, pants, socks, and belt to wear to practice that day. While your coach can implement this, it is very uncommon to see planned color-coordination at practice.
Other Apparel Options for Practice
Aside from softball pants, long socks, and a team practice shirt, the next common practice attire is a shirt and shorts. Players can wear shorts to practice if their coach allows it, but usually that means that there will not be any diving or sliding done in practice. What clothes to wear to practice is all dependent on what the coach allows. If he does not say, check in with him or other players to see what the usual dress code is.
Don’t Forget Your Accessories such as Sunglasses
Aside from clothes, some other important options to wear to softball practice include a ponytail, bun, or braids to put your hair up, sliding shorts, sunglasses, cleats, and a hat or visor.
Every field is oriented differently and faces a different direction, so it’s important to bring sunglasses to practice – especially for those in the outfield. Outfielders normally need to shield their eyes from the sun so they can see the ball better and not damage their eyes. Hats and visors also help keep players cooler, avoid sunburns, and also shield faces from the sun.
Lastly, don’t forget your sliding shorts!
Do I need full gear at a softball practice?
More often than not, full gear is not only recommended, it is necessary at softball practice. Practice itineraries vary from day to day, but typically all gear is still used. Moreover, most of the time players don’t know what will be going on at practice before arrival, so it’s important to be prepared for anything.
Pack Your Softball Bag
Players should keep a bag strictly for softball equipment. Many companies make bags designed to hold softball gear, including Boombah, Mizuno, Wilson, Nike, and Under Armour. Moreover, softball bags can range from the size of a backpack to larger than the size of a trash bag. They can have straps that go around your back, or even have wheels so players can drag it behind them. Whatever bag you choose, it’s important to keep everything in it and bring it to every practice and game
Specifically, required gear includes a bat, helmet, and softball mitt. Many players choose to wear batting gloves while holding their bat for a better grip, and to eliminate blisters. Wearing a face mask or mouth guard is also recommended for infielders, and some teams require pitchers to wear metal face masks. Always stay hydrated by bringing water to practice, and depending on how long a coach runs practice, a snack may be a good idea as well.
Moreover, keep cleats, a hat or visor, and sunglasses in your equipment bags as well. If your coach allows shorts to be worn, I recommend keeping a pair of softball pants or sweatpants in equipment bags as well in case players have to put them on to slide. This way, when going to practice all players need to do is fill a bottle of water, grab a snack if needed, grab their bag, and head out. This ensures that nothing is forgotten and thus the wrath of your coach yelling at you for being unprepared. It reduces the amount of time needed to get ready for practice which makes players less likely to be late to practice.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
While players may not use every piece of equipment at every practice, it is important to come prepared every time. One practice might be just hitting, but usually players who are not hitting shag balls instead, which requires a glove. Another day players might be working on defense the whole time, but it’s still important to keep your gear together and bring everything, just in case. If you do not need to bring all your gear, your coach will let you know. Otherwise, bring your softball bag with everything in it to practice every time.
What to wear to practice when its cold
Playing or practicing softball in the cold is not ideal.
It’s not like football where players are constantly staying warm from being so active. There is more downtime in softball. Moreover, many softball bats are not made for cold weather. Composite bats, which is one of the most common bat materials, become stiffer in the cold and are more prone to crack. So, when playing in the cold it’s important to make yourself as comfortable as you can given the unfortunate playing conditions.
There are a few garments that will make you more comfortable when playing in the cold. A tight dri-fit shirt, like the ones that Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, or Reebok make, is highly recommended.
Your coach may require a certain color, so when a new player joins a team, ask the coach if he doesn’t tell you. If it’s cold, wear a few of these dri-fit shirts. At practice, sweatshirts or athletic windbreakers and overcoats are also allowed, just be sure that players are still mobile enough to throw, field, and run. At practice, hats and earmuff headbands are also recommended.
While it’s harder to wear multiple layers in a game because the jersey must be worn on top so umpires can see, at practice player’s can wear as many layers as they want to stay warm.
You can also stay warm with compression leggings underneath softball pants, hoodies, athletic coats, multiple pairs of socks, and hats and earmuffs. Players can even wear gloves, albeit this is tougher because normally your throwing hand has to be bare, and it’s hard to put your mitt on over a glove.
The important thing in practice is to keep yourself warm, when our bodies are colder we get stiffer and more prone to injuries. Players need to keep their muscles stretched out and their bodies warm at practice to stay healthy.
Hand Warmers Help
Many players use hand warmers during cold practices. These little sacs fit nicely in back pockets, which is why so many softball players have one hand in their back between pitches in a cold game. Keep a box of them in your softball gear bag if you play in the cold.
No Puffy Coats
Even though staying warm is important, there are some things that still shouldn’t be worn at practice. Hats shouldn’t be falling off or slowing players down, and unathletic coats – such as puffy ones – can be so large that they prohibit movements allowed to run, throw, and catch balls. While usually there will not be significant downtime to make this necessary at practice, blankets can be used in the dugouts as well.
Do I need a cup?
While softball players often wear elbow guards and shin guards at the plate, face masks on the mound, and catcher’s gear behind the plate, there is a piece of protective gear that softball players can bypass: the cup. Here’s why…
Softball Pants Aren’t Made for Cups
If you are a girl, you do not need a cup.
Cups are reserved for men who play baseball to protect their private parts from getting hit. So, since girls do not have these private parts they do not need to wear a cup. Moreover, girls softball pants are not designed to fit a cup, so it would be very uncomfortable and ill-fitting to wear one. A softball player could wear baseball pants if they chose to, but again, they are made to fit males so they would not be comfortable.
Men Who Catch Should Wear Them
However, if you are a boy, wearing a cup is recommended. While it is uncommon for a ball to strike a man’s privates, accidents happen all the time. The most dangerous position is likely catching because catchers have to block pitcher’s throws in the dirt, making them more likely to be hit. Although it may be less comfortable, wearing a cup would save baseball players from unwanted pain, so it’s recommended that they wear one.
Personal Choice for Other Male Players
Men who play fastpitch softball and aren’t catchers might not need to wear a cup. However, if the field has bouncy conditions, there is a chance the ball could take a bad hop and cause some pain. Men might want to protect themselves with cups if they know they will be facing a wild pitcher in a fastpitch game. Men who play slow-pitch softball usually don’t need cups because the ball doesn’t move as quickly as it does in fastpitch games.
Softball vs Baseball pants
No – baseball pants are not just restricted to men. Girls are free to wear baseball pants if that’s what they prefer. However, before players walk into the nearest sports store, it’s important to note all the options before purchasing a men’s pair.
While both baseball and softball player’s need a pair of pants, the two have more differences than meets the eye.
Baseball pants are designed for men, meaning they’re meant to be baggy down there in order for boys to wear a cup. Not only do they fit differently in the special area, but they fit differently all the way around. While some guys may wear a size too small, most men wear their pants or knickers more baggy than what is preferred for women’s softball.
Also seen much more in baseball than softball are the full-length pants, rather than just the cropped ones, called knickers. While both lengths are seen in both sports, the full-length option is much less common in softball because the knee-length counterparts fit better and are more form-flattering.
What Players Prefer
While most women prefer the short pants to the long ones, it’s important for every player to be confident in their uniform.
After all, it’s “look good, play good”. If full-length pants are what a softball player desires, they don’t have to settle for men’s cut, or short knickers that they don’t like.
Women’s brands such as Boombah offer both options in a women’s cut and in multiple sizes. Moreover, most coaches will allow long pants to be worn as long as they are the same colors and style as the rest of the team. Players can wear baseball pants if they choose, but before buying, check the women’s versions for a better fit.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, you may think you simply need a glove, bat and a uniform when you show up for softball practice. But there are numerous things you’ll also need to consider as you advance in your career. You’ll need extra layers if you play in colder weather and you’ll want to avoid forgetting important things such as sunscreen, water bottles, and hats. This article also looked at whether or not you can use baseball gear – like pants – for softball as well.