Nine year old baseball players are at a point in their baseball career where they begin to do intensive fielding drills that are more specialized and which aim to get them ready for competitive play. This is the time for them when their equipment becomes important, especially fielding gloves. The Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth Prospect Ball Glove is a bargain-priced glove which many consider one of the best youth baseball gloves for nine-year olds.
The baseball drills which nine year olds perform are based on repetition. They help develop muscle memory as an aid to fielding ground balls and high popups. The Mizuno Baseball glove is durable and allows the player’s hand to fit snugly and comfortable so fielders can rely on it to do for them what it needs to.
The Mizuno Youth Prospect glove comes with a palm pad inside the glove, so catching the ball in the pocket is much easier without hurting the hand. Nine year old fielders’ hands are still small, and their wrists are narrow. To address this, the Prospect Glove has an adjustable Velcro wrist strap. When the wrist is snug, it allows the player to have maximum control of the glove and allows him to control how it responds to his hand movements better.
The Prospect Glove has a fantastic feature called the “V-flex indentation” located below the little finger. The maker of this glove refers to this feature as “PowerClose Technology.” This feature makes the glove snap closed. The glove is more responsive overall to fielders’ hand movements, like clutching and grabbing.
Kids using the Mizuno glove can literally take it out of the wrapper and start using it, without having to spend days or even weeks like other gloves to break it in properly. The glove is made from real pigskin leather rather than a synthetic leather. Pigskin leather is a much softer leather than cowhide, so it’s not necessary to break it in. The Mizuno Prospect Glove is categorized as “game ready” right out of the box.
The glove is a full 11 ½ inches in size which allows for more grab of the baseball and is a definite helper in fielding grounders and pop flies. Additionally, the glove has a “single finger stall exit,” that allows young players to stick their index finger through. This feature allows for more control of the glove when grasping a thrown baseball. The ball can be caught snugly in the catching web.
The control the glove provides, especially its grasping qualities, makes it useful for several youth fielding drills. One of the most popular drills for kids at this age is called the Glove Shuffle Drill. In this drill, players run toward a ground ball hit by the coach and scoop it up with their glove, without using their other hand.
At this age, youths start getting trained to work with speed in their infield positions. Many situations involve runners on base, and simulations are run in team practice. For example, an infield shortstop is batted a ball and he needs to field the ball and attempt to throw a runner out who is careening toward second base. Quick reflexes and coordination, as well as a good fielding glove, all come together to make the play; the shortstop fields the ball with his glove, then stands, removes the ball from the glove and snaps it quickly to the second baseman covering the bag.
Youth players at first base often perform drills which tests both infielders and outfielders to catch baseballs hit over them head. With a glove like the Mizuno Prospect Glove, for example, a large 11 1/2 inches in length, a player has a much better chance of catching the fly line drive, providing his timing and coordination are also well-developed.
Practicing at Home with your Young Player
The ages of 9 and 10 mark a turning point for young baseball players. At this age, they begin to be challenged more by coaches and the team. Games are more competitive, the baseball is hit faster, and pitches are thrown with greater speed.
Your child can benefit from extra practice with his friends and his parents at home. Just playing catch for 15 minutes per day or every other day keeps your young player primed. Every movement his body makes when throwing a baseball works his muscles. Muscle memory is so important at this age. What muscles learn now will be carried over when the sport dramatically increases its competitive level of play.
Long Toss Drill
Doing some short drills with your child helps him become comfortable with his new Mizuno Your Prospect baseball glove. He’ll get used to its fit and any adjustments he needs to make to catch the baseball at longer distances.
The Long Toss drill is essentially just like playing normal catch, except the drill requires players to increase their distance when throwing and catching. The drill works on your child’s catching ability as well as building up his arm to throw.
You and your child start at 20 feet apart from each other. Throw the ball in the air and watch how he catches it. Advise him to keep his body in front of the ball. Throw directly to him.
After 5 minutes, increase the distance to 25 feet. Continue throwing directly to him. He’ll need to put more into his throwing arm when he throws it back to you. Watch how he throws and tell him to put the foot on the same side as the throwing arm forward to get more power behind the ball.
As the distance increases, you’ll see his catching skills improve on their own. What you are seeing is his muscle memory working for him. This is what is needed to develop. The more he throws and catches, the easier it will be and the more improved he’ll become. Now separate another 5 feet apart to a total of 30 feet. Each distance apart for throwing and catching should last about 5 minutes.
If he is catching with ease, and his throwing is accurate (he should be throwing right at you, not to your sides), you can increase the distance. You can also see how the PowerClose feature of the new baseball glove works to his advantage when it snaps closed after the ball is caught and keeping it snugly and tightly secured in the glove webbing.
Ask your young player now how he likes the glove. If the response from him is positive, then you know you made the right purchase. Note how large the glove is on his hand, while it fits his hand snugly despite its size. The glove is one of the largest in its age group class (9 and 10 year olds) at 11 ½ inches. We recommend this size glove for 9 year olds, not only because it makes it easier to catch. It’s recommended because your child can focus on his body mechanics without having to make adjustments for a poorly sized glove on his hand. Baseballs caught with better ease helps him to focus on his throwing and his body movements.
You should also work on throwing ground balls to your youth player. Start with slow rollers. Make sure he puts the webbing of the glove on the ground in front of him as the ball approaches. Then watch his body movements. The ball rolls into his glove, he stands, puts his throwing leg forward, his throwing arm behind him, then pitches the ball back to you with speed and accuracy.
Here are the fundamentals that need to be developed in 9 year olds to prepare them for more competitive play.
· Getting in front of ground balls. Legs crouched, glove in between his legs.
· Throwing mechanics. Takes the ball out of the glove, pulls back his throwing arm behind his body, throwing arm leg thrust forward, then a fast and accurate throw.
· Pop Flies. He should place his body directly under fly balls hit to him. Tracking the fly ball correctly, then raising up his glove above his head. He catches the ball and the glove snaps shut (with the Mizuno Youth Prospect Baseball Glove, the glove snaps shut when the ball is caught in the glove’s web).
· Fielding ground balls to his throwing arm side. This is a very important skill for youth players to learn, as most ground balls will not be hit directly to him. When the ball is hit, he shuffles with his legs in parallel motion (one leg shuffles after the other in tandem) in a fielding position (crouching). He extends his glove out and fields the ball.
· Backhand fielding. Youth players learn to field ground balls backhanded when they are hit to the side opposite his throwing arm. He approaches the ground ball the same way as when it is hit to his throwing arm side and flips the glove to field backhanded.
Youth body Mechanics
It was mentioned earlier but can’t be stressed enough: Using a baseball glove that conforms to your hand and which has features that make it easier to catch is not a handicap. Catching a baseball in a glove comes before the equally important skill of throwing. Buying a glove that needs to be broken in takes precious time away from a 9 year old player. Often by the time the glove fits comfortably and can work to the player’s advantage, he begins to outgrow it and gets a new glove at the end of the season which will also need to be broken in.
The Mizuno 11.5 inch Prospect Baseball Glove is made with soft, real pigskin leather, and is ready to use as soon as it’s purchased. We recommend leather gloves instead of man made materials because they tend to become uncomfortable after a period of time, and they don’t absorb sweat the way a leather glove does.
In addition, leather gloves conform to the hand naturally and have a comfortable feel. The wrist strap the glove has makes sure the fit is snug.
There are three aspects to fielding a baseball: catching, throwing and body mechanics. When players are confident in their catching abilities (with the help of the PowerClose feature of the Mizuno glove), they can turn their focus to throwing. To throw properly involves much more than the throwing arm. In every throw the whole body plays a part.
Throwing a baseball utilizes these parts of the body.
Throwing an object to someone is a natural action for the body to make. When one family member or friend throws something to another person across the room, the motion is fluid and natural and the movements involved in the throw are not even through about. Why should they be?
In a baseball game, however, every aspect of a throw is dwelled upon, because throws must be accurate, and baseballs must land directly in another player’s glove. The catcher of the baseball being thrown should not have to move more than a foot in any direction in order for it to be a good throw.
Coaches focus on every body part required for good throws. However, a good throw can only happen after a good catch is made. If the ball is bobbled when a player attempts to field it on the ground or catch it in the air, it will negatively impact his throw. This is why the right baseball glove is so important. The better a ball is fielded, the better the throw which follows will be.
Benefits of Using a Baseball Glove that’s designed for Playing
Some baseball gloves are manufactured to fulfill basic requirements. There is no consideration for all the different aspects of catching and throwing. The player is compromised in his game and often blames himself and may consider giving up, when all the time it was the poor construction of his baseball glove.
The best and most successful makers of baseball gloves have researched the game and have added design features that help players in their work. Many companies even use consultants who are themselves former or current major league baseball players. These players are given the glove to try out for themselves and to comment on the glove and give suggestions on how to make it better.
Mizuno is a well-regarded name in sports, and their products are quality controlled and are frequently reviewed well. We like the fact that the glove is large, and that it can be used for both infield and outfield play. Because of its size, the only breaking in needed is that the player get accustomed to it. There is no problem with the Youth Prospect glove fitting the hand of a 9 year old. Once a fielder is accustomed to the glove, he will catch with ease because the glove is large and its PowerClose feature keeps the ball in the webbing
Often the problem with more expensive baseball gloves made from cowhide leather is that they require a period of breaking in that can last three weeks or longer. In addition they have to be oiled with lanolin, and molded before they can be used to catch a baseball adequately.
Cowhide leather is sturdy and will soften into a fine baseball glove. But 9 year olds don’t need a professional glove for their level of play. Instead, Mizuno makes the Youth Prospect Baseball with authentic pigskin leather, which needs no breaking in and molds to the hand immediately. Pigskin leather is perfect for 9 and 10 year old players. Not only is it made completely out of leather, it molds to the hand just like a broken in cowhide leather glove does. Its size as well as the PowerClose feature makes catching easier and makes the game more fun to play.
9 year olds begin to fall in love with the game at this age. When they’re able to focus on throwing and body mechanics because have become great catchers, their love will only grow. When they attend high school, they’ll want to have a well-developed skill set when it comes time to try out for the team. Any advantage they can get at the pre-teen level of play will only help them rise to the level of high school and college baseball play.
Another attractive feature of the Mizuno Youth Prospect baseball glove is the price. Makers of gloves from cowhide, as well as other manufacturers of baseball gloves for 9 year olds charge higher prices for their gloves. Some of these gloves are priced higher because of the materials made for the glove and for their durability. Unfortunately, youth players are still growing and grow out of gloves quickly. Mizuno has made a larger glove at 11.5 inches for these players, so the glove will last longer for them.
Other high priced manufacturers don’t even use quality material and the glove never conforms to the player’s hand. That’s why it’s wise to look up the material used in making a glove. Leather and natural materials must be used as much as possible, and the glove should be usable right out of the box.