What Parents, Local Leagues Need to Know About Equipping a Little Leaguer®
At the end of the Little League® season, and again before league tryouts and the start of the next season, are typically when players look at the condition of their glove, bat, and other playing equipment.
These are also the times when parents and legal guardians make a “note-to-self” to replace a piece(s) of equipment. This includes gear worn, or used, in practices and games.
Local leagues go through a similar review, as teams return their issued equipment bags full of bats, batting helmets, balls, catcher’s gear, and other items used by the team throughout the year.
Both parents, and the local league go through the process of deciding what is good and what’s got to go. To that end, the local league needs to decide what equipment it will provide to teams for the coming season, which leads to parents to ponder what equipment do they need to buy.
It is vital to the health and safety of the players and adult volunteers that all equipment be regularly inspected and deemed safe for use. Limited contact and handling protocols with the equipment, including proper sanitary storage conditions are to be considered when preparing new or gently-used equipment for distribution.
To assist families, and the local league’s Board of Directors with budgeting for equipment purchases, here are some tips and recommendations.
What equipment does the league provide?
- Your league should be prepared during player registration to detail what equipment is offered to players and what equipment will be required for purchase.
- Little League International recommends the following equipment in various sizes is offered to each team.
- Bats in suitable sizes by age and division
- Baseball bats must meet the USABat Standard for Tee Ball, Minor, and Major Divisions (Rule 1.10)
- Baseball must meet the USABat Standard or BBCOR for Intermediate, Junior, and Senior Divisions (Rule 1.10)
- Softball must be stamped with BPF 1.20 (Rule 1.10)
- Visit LittleLeague.org/BatInfo for more information.
- 6 or 7 batting helmets per team (if needed, league-provided helmets may be shared between teams during a game) (Rule 1.16)
- Catcher’s gear, catcher’s glove, and mask with dangling throat guard
- Baseballs and/or softballs for practices and games
- Bats in suitable sizes by age and division
- Many leagues organize equipment drives to help collect game gear, and make donations to individual families. For example, at registration, encourage families to bring their old cleats, fielder’s gloves, and uniform pants so that other families may look to use them for the upcoming season. Any leftover items can be donated to organizations like Pitch In For Baseball and Pitch In for Softball or held over for families the next season.
Is a Little Leaguer’s family responsible for buying their uniform?
- Most leagues include the cost for uniforms as part of the registration fee. At your league’s registration events or at the parents meeting prior to the season, leagues should have samples of the uniforms for players to try on and size appropriately. Leagues should fully explain what parents are responsible for supplying for their players early in the season, well in advance of games starting.
- Most leagues provide:
- Team Uniform jersey or T-shirt
- Team hat/visor
- Little League shoulder patch (if a patch is not provided during uniform distribution, request one from your child’s team manager, division Vice President, Player Agent, or President.)
- Parents should look to purchase:
- Baseball/softball pants, belt, and socks (color to be decided by team and league)
- Parents or league guardian should also look to purchase the following equipment for their Little Leaguer(s):
- Ball glove
- Batting gloves (if desired)
- Rubber-soled cleats (for Major Division and below)
- Backpack or equipment bag (if desired)
- Suggestions on choosing equipment can also be found through DICK’S Pro Tips.
When considering the equipment to be used in a Little League game, be sure to inspect its condition throughout the season. If league-provided equipment becomes damaged and/or a safety concern arises, bring it to the attention of the team manager or a member of the Board of Directors, so that it can be immediately addressed. Parents are also strongly encouraged to assess the condition of their player’s equipment to help ensure it is in good condition and safe to use.