How my equipment failure can hurt your chances on making the team.
Its not fair to have poor equipment holding you back from reaching your goals!
At 12 I played little league for the first time. My first glove was a Spalding pitcher’s model, just like Doc Gooden’s glove when he pitched for the Mets. I was ready to get on the mound and show of my imitation Doc leg kick and bring the heat. But pitching was not in the cards.
It turned out I was the biggest kid on the team and was passed a catcher’s mitt. I was not happy. 😔
I had a hard time from the start. I’m using a mitt that too large for my hands. My hand stung when the ball hit the mitt and I dropped the ball, constantly. Ouch…
Inexperienced, I continued on, using a batting glove to help with the sting. That helped a bit, but the ball continued to pop out of the mitt.
As a young ballplayer, at every opportunity I’d go into to the sporting goods store to look at the “wall of gloves.” Just to see the different colors and glove types and try on as many as I could, and “baseball dreamed.”
Come on, we’ve all done it.
But when it comes to being the best defensive player at your position, more information about what we are using matters. And the following experience forced me to rethink how not to be a failure on the field.
My catching problems continued in high school baseball. On the day of the varsity tryouts, I had to catch pitchers I had never seen before. Naturally, these guys threw much harder. My hands were swollen in my mitt.
What happened that day bothered me. I had doubts in my baseball ability again. The rest of the tryout was blah for me, and I was headed for the B team. And that hurt!
But all was not lost—I did get a clue on how to fix my problem.
Two seniors, a catcher and infielder, worked out in the tryout. I noticed they were using gloves from another brand I was not familiar with. The catcher was very smooth with everything that he did. He performed bullpen sessions, catching the flame-throwing pitchers with ease.
I quickly stood up and walked over to ask the burning questions that I had. The seniors were happy to answer my questions and allow me to handle their equipment. Their gloves looked and felt different than other players’ gloves and gloves in the sporting goods stores.
Remember the “wall of gloves”? Here is how it fails you.
Examining the mitts at the retail sporting goods store, I looked and felt all the gloves. But I could not tell what was good from bad. Aside from colors and their combinations, why was one better than the other?
Is there a difference in strength between the leathers? Why does one infielder glove cost more than another of the same type?
Often the sales reps were not knowledgeable about the products enough to help. The stores also lacked clear marketing displays to educate shoppers.
As I was telling you about…my teammates with the awesome gloves. They directed me to a specialty sporting goods store that focused its offering on professional quality equipment. What a difference. The store owner was able to give me some information on what to look for in a glove and what type of glove to stay clear of.
After working several nights for a month at the memorability shows, I bought my first—of many—pro catcher’s mitts. After breaking in and molding the mitt, my overall defensive started to improve!!
I was able to improve my receiving and framing because the ball did not move once I caught it.
I was more aggressive with the pitchers due to the ability to trap the ball better.
And the stinging problem disappeared. All this because I found the right mitt.
I learned that using high quality gear helped me play better:
- Better defense.
- Reduced Errors.
- Saved money on gloves.
- Successful college play.
As I worked to improve my receiving skills in college, I had two mitts from different brands that I used for different pitchers on the team. The reason for this was the differing ball movement of the pitchers on our team.
It sounds funny, right? But to me, I learned that I could adjust style of catching based on who was pitching. Well, that’s just me.
Wait…let me introduce myself.
My name is Andre and I am the founder of NYStixs. I was that player who would have gotten cut from the college team if I had not used the right equipment.
After college, it was still difficult to find the equipment needed to compete at pro tryouts and semi pro leagues.
For 20 years I manufactured the highest quality wood bats for players all over the world. My plan was to stick with making pro bats, until customers started asking me about defensive equipment.
It has taken me a while to find the perfect glove to add to the product offerings. I wanted a special glove to bear the NYStix name.
Finally, I found the perfect glove-maker to continue NYStix’s commitment to quality.
And…NYStix is very lucky to partner with the same glove-maker who made the pro gloves used by my high school teammates.
I bet you were thinking that “a glove is just a glove” or “they are all the same.” What difference does it make?
Well you can believe that and whatever I say next might not change your mind. However, I will lay out the facts.
After hours of practice and regular session play, your equipment takes a pounding. The last thing you want to do is buy a glove every year. Unless you want to. 🙂
‘Cause It’s One…Two…Three Types of Leather for Base…ball…Gloves!
The available leathers used for baseball gloves are cowhide, kip and steerhide. Gloves made from these leathers are available in retail stores, but not always using the best of the best leather.
Kip leather is untanned hide from juvenile animals. These animals include young calves, lambs and goats. This leather is highly sought after material for high end fashion, auto industry and baseball glove manufactures.
Kip is popular because of the natural softness of the leather and its weight. Lighter than cowhide, a kip ball glove takes less time to break in.
But all kip gloves are not the same. The right kip leather depends on the animal and were it is sourced. The preferred kip leather is from the Netherlands and this leather is very expensive. Current price for Wilson A2k is $379, non custom.
There are glove companies marketing Kip gloves for less than $200. Sounds great, but I would advise against this purchase. These gloves are probably made with hide from US cattle. But there is a problem, the leather is too thin and not as soft as Dutch Kip.
Cowhide leather are from the female cow. Horween.com describes cowhide leather as being lighter in weight and having “looser bellies.”
This “looser bellies” characteristics is bad for baseball gloves. Cowhide leather is structurally too soft and pliable.
Cowhide baseball gloves are cheaper for glove companies to produce gloves at a lower cost and asking up to $199.
This can be done because shoppers are not educated of the differences. Cowhide gloves cannot be used in advanced baseball. I learned this lesson very late.
The next time you are in Dick’s Sporting Goods, go to the “wall of gloves” and count how many they have with soft and wavy pockets or fingers. If the gloves you find are really soft or is described by “Soft xxx,” chances are it is made of cowhide parts.
It is not unusual to mix leathers on a glove model to control cost, but the softer leathers like cowhide should be used in the right sections of the glove, namely the outer shell, while the remainder of the glove should be made using the more durable and consistent stronger leather.
Steerhide leather is sourced from full grain hide from male cattle. US Steerhide gloves are available in two characteristics, which I’ll explain below.
The strength of the glove depends on location of the source hide used.
US Steerhide from the higher sections of the hide is used for professional baseball gloves, leather jackets, wallets and fine shoes.
The leather is versatile and resistant to finger twisting while trapping hard hit liners and acrobatic catches. The leather will not suffer from stretching, maintaining its shape (with proper care) for long lasting use.
Steerhide leather gloves in retail stores is sourced from the lower section of the hide. These gloves are a bit heavier and prone to finger twisting and stretching. (What you don’t know will not hurt you? You are paying too much for these gloves.)
Remember when I told you about my troubles catching consistently? The pain?
Not only was my mitt using soft leather, causing me to drop the ball, the internal design of my mitt did not exist.
I could have suffered from serious injuries if I did not make a change of equipment.
Research conducted 16 years after I made the change of equipment proves that bad glove design causes health problems.
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
In the May/June 2005 issue in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, they released the results of their study of catcher mitt design and the potential damage to healthy players. They found “early signs of blood vessel damage that can lead to significant symptoms and could end a player’s career.”
Catchers reported symptoms of weakness, numbness and tingling with their gloved hand. The scientist conducted ultrasound and other circulation tests to find “abnormal blood flow” amongst the catchers tested. Some of these symptoms was discovered in the other positional players, but at lower percentages.
“The glove’s current design does not protect the hand from trauma.”Based the research we learn that claims of “a glove is just a glove” is not true.
What we learned from our new glove maker..
The mechanics behind how we close our hands when trapping a baseball and how the glove’s pocket can be manipulated was new to me.
This education I received answered some questions about how some mitts I’ve owned caused problems for me.
Let me show and describe how NYStix gloves ticks all the checkbox of benefits and why our customers love our gloves.
Do you know how you close your glove, catching a baseball?
Are you a pincher? Closing your glove, joining thumb to middle finger?
Or are you a grabber? Closing your glove joining your thumb to pinky finger to trap the ball?
Gloves sold in the sporting goods stores are not strong enough.
Players, you will be not trusted with playing time if you are known to not be able to secure the ball.
Retail gloves simply lack the internal framing to secure the ball properly.
“Does this matter?” You ask.
Yes it does.
Being a better baseball player involves repetition. Thousands of ground ball, balls and bullpen sessions.
Catching the baseball is the #1 skill a baseball player needs. Failure at catching means no playing time for you.”
If you pinch your glove closed. Your preferred pocket location is under the web between the index finger and thumb.
Pitchers and outfielders pro gloves align with the pincher’s profile. Outfielders want shallow pockets to secure caught balls during dives and leaps.
If you are a infielder and your goal is a quick catch and release you may want a shallow pocket glove.
Take a look at the video to the left.. What you see here is the internal lining shaped with the pincher closing pattern. Again, the thumb joins with middle finger to trap ball under the web/index finger.
Grabbers are players who want to trap the ball securely and have the arm strength to complete the play. Grabbers close their gloves from thumb to pinky finger.
The grabber’s glove pattern is wider and shifted under the index and middle fingers.
Third base, second base are the positions that have more time on hard hit balls to secure the grounders.
Grabbers gloves’ models close from thumb to pinky as shown in the following video.
Amazing how a better understanding of how baseball players use our gloves, we can order the correct equipment and be assured that we will become better, faster over time.
You will be more confident fielding tough grounders, getting more strikes for the pitcher and making the diving play in the outfield, knowing that a NYStix gloves are made with the player in mind.
I am glad that I made the change before it was too late.
Don’t make the same mistake and almost miss out on being a college prospect!!
How many of these scenario’s can you say yes to?
- If you or your athlete is getting serious about developing to be a Elite player.
- If you are training hard everyday to be in the starting lineup.
- If getting recruited to college to learn and play the best baseball of your life.
- If you are a professional player where consistency matters.
- If you are a weekend warrior.
NYStix builds value in all of our branded products and we wants to be a major part of your game.
NYStix is the perfect gift for you or the baseball player in your life.
Limited Time Offer
Design and buy today a NYStix full custom glove or mitt with all the features described in this guide for only $125.
This price covers:
- 15+ colors options.
- Over 10 different webs
- Free Personalization
- Free Shipping
- GloveStar Guarantee
Ready to start?
This offer includes the GloveStar Guarantee where NYStix assume all risk and self penalizes for mistakes.
Here is how your purchase is covered:
Buying is easy..
Our Report Card..
NYStix customers recognize that we strive to continue be of service after a sale. And your honest opinions matter.
Here what some of our customers think about our gloves.