The old adage “practice makes perfect” is just as true in Little League as it is everywhere. For new Little League® parents, getting your players ready for practice will help make sure they’re ready for the game.
What to WearWhether your team is practicing inside or outside, it’s important for kids to wear comfortable, athletic clothing, and for them to look the part of a baseball or softball player.
For early season practices, and temperatures still on the chilly side in many parts, be sure your Little Leaguer® wears long-sleeve shirts or a hoodie, especially when practicing outside. As the weather breaks, it may be tempting to dress your Little Leaguer in shorts. However, with the possibility of practicing sliding and kids getting dirty fielding ground balls and pop-ups, it is recommended to always dress your Little Leaguer in either sweatpants or baseball pants.
Be sure your player wears age-appropriate attire. There should be no “statement” clothing and, without a doubt, no part of the practice set should have any reference to alcohol or tobacco. Many parents dress their kid in old uniform tops or a shirt / jersey of their favorite Major League Baseball team.
When practicing outside, Little Leaguers should wear cleats, and remember, metal spikes or metal cleats are not permitted at the younger levels. Shoes with molded cleats should be worn at the Tee Ball, Minor, and Major levels.
Essential GearFor games, baseball players must wear a hat or visor, so it’s good idea to have them practice in one or the other. When your Little Leaguer receives his or her team hat, he or she should wear that to most, if not all, practices. Softball players are not required to wear a hat or visor during a game, but many do. Softball players should wear to practice what they’ll be wearing in a game.
Make sure your Little Leaguer’s glove is sized appropriately and broken in properly to assist with fielding. If you have questions on the size and methods to loosen up the glove, consult a league official.
Your Little Leaguer’s manager may have team bats to use. If not, be sure your player’s bat is sized appropriately. If you have questions on how to determine the correct size of a bat for your Little League, check out this resource for Little League parents. One important item to note, effective January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball will adhere to the new USA Baseball bat standard. No bats previously approved for use in Little League Play (Junior League Baseball and below) will be permitted to be used in any Little League game or practice, or other Little League function, event, or activity. You can learn more about the new standard at LittleLeague.org/BatInfo.
All players should bring a batting helmet to every practice. Some leagues offer team helmets. If your Little League chooses to wear his or her own helmet, be sure it is approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
Boys should wear an athletic supporter or compression shorts under their sweatpants and baseball pants. If your son is a catcher, it is mandatory he wear a protection cup.
Giving your Little Leaguers time to practice with the gear they’ll be using in their games will get them comfortable and ready to play. There are also many optional pieces of safety equipment, from mouth guards to face protectors to arm sleeves, that parents and players can choose to wear, but are not mandatory. So make sure you head to your local retailer, such as DICK'S Sporting Goods, before your Little League season starts, so your player is ready for the season. While Little League recommends players wear appropriate attire for practices and gear, we put even more emphasis on Little Leaguers having fun and making new friends from the first practice to the last one. Have a wonderful Little League season!