A lot of kids get started in baseball because their parents played youth sports or they have relatives who are athletes. Sometimes that is not the case. Usually, parents new to a league have a learning curve because it has been a while since they played as a child or they never played at all. Let’s take a look at an Introduction to Youth Baseball For New Parents.
#1 Toy Store Gloves
A “toy store glove” is one that is not necessarily appropriate for competition but looks really fancy. An example of a “toy store glove” is one that has cartoon characters on it like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Disney characters like Mickey Mouse. The problem is that these gloves are usually not good for use with a hard ball in a competitive league. A lot of times, these types of gloves actually come with a disclaimer stating the glove is not appropriate for use with a hard ball. For the best glove, a novice parent should go to a sporting goods store and ask an employee for assistance with selecting a glove.
More Info: See Our Best Baseball Gloves Under $100.
#2 Correct Glove Size & Type
A novice parent who has made the decision to go to a sporting goods store to by a baseball glove is on the right track. However, they should not be over confident enough to not talk to an employee about helping select a glove. There are all types of gloves and sizes. Walking out of a store with an oversized first baseman’s mitt for a 6-year-old, first time, T-baller would be a worse case scenario. The novice parent should consult with a store employee before making the purchase.
Breaking in a New Mitt
Learn More: Choosing the Right Baseball Glove
#3 Choosing the Right Bats
Like gloves, bats come in different sizes and also types. There are youth bats, adult bats, softball bats and wooden bats just to name a few. The first thing a novice parent should do before purchasing a bat is to consult the coach of the team and ask for a bat list. The coach should have a list of bats that are “legal” for league use. After getting a bat list, the parent can head over to the sporting goods store to consult with an employee about selecting a proper bat.
Learn More: Baseball Bats
Again, the novice parent should consult with the coach before heading over to the sporting goods store. I can’t tell you how many times I saw players show up with brand new metal cleats which are illegal in youth baseball.
#5 This Isn’t the Big Leagues Part I
Sometimes there is a little confusion about what is appropriate behavior at a youth baseball game. At a big league ball game taking place in Fenway Park where the Red Sox play , a person who pays for a ticket might boo Derek Jeter of the visiting Yankees because the they are the “bad guys” and rivals of the good ol’ Sox. However, at a youth baseball game booing is extremely bad sportsmanship which is the very foundation upon which youth baseball is built. So, at Fenway Park, booing Derek Jeter unmercifully is perfectly acceptable while booing Junior at a youth baseball game and making him cry is not.
#6 This Isn’t the Big Leagues Part II
Just like like booing Junior until he is sitting in a puddle of his own tears is not acceptable, booing and ridiculing umpires is also not acceptable. Again, at Fenway Park when one of the boys in blue blows a call that cost the Sox the game it is perfectly acceptable to boo. However, the same is not true for a youth baseball game. Umpires are going to make mistakes and this is part of the game at any level. However, parents who boo and ridicule umpires are not showing good sportsmanship which again is a very important part of baseball.
#7 Yes, Players Must Wear Their Uniforms to Every Single Game
A novice parent might think it is ok for a player to show up to a game without their full uniform. It is not ok. This seems like something that should go without saying but I can assure you that it happens. Uniform being washed is the number one reason for this violation of the rules.
#8 Yes, The Players Have to Be on Time
Some novice parents might not understand the importance of being on time for a game because after all it is just a game. I can actually understand that point of view. It will be the coach’s job to be a good communicator with all parents and stress the importance of being on time.
#9 “Why Can’t I Sit in the Dugout With or Stand on the Field With My Child?”
It is an honest question that deserves and honest answer. Only players and baseball officials ( coaches, umpires, etc.) who are insured to be on the field are allowed on the field.
#10 This Isn’t the Big Leagues Part III
At a Big League game, if a ball is hit into the stands, fans are allowed and encouraged to keep the baseball. The balls are kept as souvenirs and some even get them signed by players. This is not true in youth baseball. If a ball is hit outside the field, please return the baseball. Baseballs like most equipment are expensive and youth baseball is not raking in the dough like MLB.
Youth baseball can literally be a new experience for a parent who has no knowledge of the game. The best advice for a novice Little League parent is to ask a lot of questions and make connections with volunteers in the league.