Eight-year-old baseball players play in Little League’s Minor League Division. In the division, the ball is pitched faster and moves with greater speed on the baseball field. Fielding becomes more important, and youth players begin to learn techniques to be great defensive players. The size of the glove should be matched as closely as possible to the size of the youth’s hand and should be appropriate for paying defense in the infield or outfield.
So, what size glove should an 8 year old use? For 8-year old players, the glove size should be between 10 ½ and 11 inches.
The glove should include these features.
- When worn, it feels like a natural extension of the hand and arm.
- The best model is the one that feels most comfortable on the player’s hand, regardless of cost or whether the glove is new or used.
- Design features, like large webbing, a big pocket, the flexibility of the glove material, should be considered.
- The baseball glove should be easy to break in.
- The leather should be as soft as possible so it’s flexible and easy to manipulate.
- The glove’s weight should match the player’s ability to flex it and use without difficulty.
Fitting the glove on the hand before purchasing it is when you’ll know how comfortable it feels on the hand. There are a few steps that should be taken before going to the store to pick out the glove.
How to Measure the Hand for a Baseball Glove
Since a baseball glove is such an important piece of equipment for youth players, it is highly advised that parents measure the young player’s hand to get the proper dimensions before deciding on a glove. By knowing the dimensions, you’ll know better where within the 10 ½ to 11-inch range the glove should be. To measure the hand, follow these simple steps.
- Put the child’s hand palm side down on a flat surface like a table.
- Take out a ruler or a tape measure (a flexible tape measure will be more accurate) and run it from the base to the tip of the index finger.
- Measure the index finger in inches.
- Now add two inches to the number. This will be the proper size for your child’s baseball glove.
During this time in a child’s baseball careers, there is a shift towards fielding. Hitting the ball well is only a small part of playing baseball. Most of the time, the player will be on the field, only going to the plate to bat three or four times.
A properly fitted glove not only allows youth players to grasp the ball in the glove, but a well-fielded ball becomes a well-thrown ball. A glove that fits properly will affect throwing and even running.
The baseball glove should have a solid construction with no loose parts, especially in the fingers. The webbing should be large but not so much so that it restricts hand movement. The best way to test a glove for comfort is to see how easy it is for the young player to open and close the glove.
Keep in mind that the glove will be used not only in gameplay but during practice and in drills. The glove needs to be well-constructed, form-fitting as if it is an extension of the hand, and comfortable and durable.
Breaking in a Baseball Glove
Baseball gloves today are made of synthetic materials which are much easier to break in compared to cowhide leather gloves. However, there are also leather baseball gloves that require less time to make game-ready than the gloves of 30 years ago. A rule of thumb for buying a leather glove is to make sure the leather is soft and malleable. However, soft leather can be expensive. It should be noted, however, that the stiffer the baseball glove is, the longer it will last.
Buying a stiff leather glove may not be necessary since a child at 8-years old is still growing, so they will not need the best cowhide leather glove. That’s designed to last a long time. At this age, you will likely be replacing the glove in two years anyway. You may wish to consider a stiff leather glove if there are younger children in the family who may use the glove later on.
- Playing Catch
The best and most tried and true m method of breaking in a baseball glove is to play catch with a partner, as often as necessary until it becomes malleable. This method also reduces the damage that may come from breaking in the glove by another method. Besides, the greatest advantage of playing catch is that the glove’s pocket will form around the ball being used during practice and in gameplay.
- Glove Steaming
Steaming a new baseball glove helps to relax the leather, and in the process, make it softer. Besides playing catch, this is the next best method of breaking in a baseball glove.
- Apply conditioner to the entire glove. Make sure to cover the fingers and the web especially. The conditioner opens the pores of the leather.
- Steam the glove to about 150 degrees until it becomes soft
Hot Water Method.
- Run the glove under steaming hot water (150 to 175 degrees)
- Wait for the leather to get soft.
- While the glove is still wet, bend the glove, especially at its stiffest areas, like the fingertips and in the palm.
- Breaking in the Glove Pocket with a Mallet
Using a mallet or aa 5-pound dumbbell (do not use a baseball bat), the young player hits at the glove pocket (see illustration above) and hits it with great force until the leather of the pocket folds. Feel free to be aggressive with the glove to make certain the pocket is well-broken in. Every ball that is caught in the glove rests in the glove pocket.
Are Softball Gloves and Little League Hardball Gloves Interchangeable?
No. Baseball gloves are different in their length and in the pocket. Even the flexibility of baseball gloves is different than softball gloves.
Baseball gloves can be as long as 10 1/2 inches to 13 inches, depending on whether the glove is for infield or outfield play. A softball glove, on the other hand, ranges from 11 ½ inches to 15 inches for the outfield.
The main difference between baseball gloves and softball gloves is the pocket. Because of a softball’s larger size, softball gloves have larger pockets than hardball gloves. If an 8-year old use a softball glove to play, the ball he fields will be loose in the pocket. Some parents try to be economical and let their child use a softball glove to play, but this is not recommended. Youth players are learning how to field and throw as well as follow the ball, so the glove’s pocket is of critical importance at this age.
Is there a difference between Infield and Outfield Baseball Gloves?
8-year olds are beginning to play more competitively and as they gain fielding skills, within the next few years they will be assigned specific positions on the ball field. Coaches and parents notice special abilities in their 8-year old, such as the ability to move quickly to the ball backward, forwards and sideways, or they may have superior throwing skills.
Coaches will try young players out at different positions to see how each child’s skill set works, At this level of play, there’s no need to choose between outfield and infield gloves. The drills they participate in focus mainly on fielding ground balls, putting the glove on the ground and scooping the ball into the glove.
A baseball glove for an 8-year old should be well-made, consistent through the fingers, palm, webbing, and pocket. It should be a glove that feels like it’s a natural extension of the hand as much as possible. The glove should be neither too light nor too heavy, nor feel as if it’s not even there, ideally.
Is There any Special feature to Look for in a Baseball Glove?
The only feature to look for is that the glove can be easily broken in and that it has solid construction throughout, with no looseness in the fingers. In addition, the glove should fit as comfortably as possible and parents should look inside the palm where the player’s hand will be to see if there is anything that could cause chafing.
The glove should not be shoddy, but at the same time, it doesn’t need to be expensive with state-of-the-art materials. Parents should focus on choosing between synthetic and natural leather, and often the synthetic models are good to use because of their softness and how they form to the player’s hand.
Remember that this glove will only be used for a year or two because the player will grow out of it. It is best to wait until the child is 12 or 13 before investing in a state-of-the-art baseball glove.