On both the podcast and the blog, one of my goals is to separate misinformation from true information about coaching youth baseball. For the longest time, I thought there was only one way to wear a baseball glove:

In other words, just stick your entire hand inside your glove.

OK, actually, I thought there was an additional variation on that one way: to stick the index finger out of the glove, rather than leave the index finger inside the glove. Glove with index finger outGlove with no index finger out
So "how to put on a glove" was essentially a non-teach for me as a coach. I thought this was as obvious and basic as "how to wear cleats".

Not how the pros do it

Recently, I discovered that advanced players do not simply slide their entire hand into their glove. Check out Cubs SS Addison Russell:
Addison Russell's palm

What Russell—and basically every Major League ballplayer—does is leave the palm of his hand outside his glove.

Youth coaches: are your kids wearing their baseball gloves the 'pro' way? Click To Tweet

Don't believe me? Here are pictures of every 2016 Gold Glove winner doing the same thing:

Rangers' Mitch Moreland shows palm

Rangers' first baseman Mitch Moreland showing palm


Cubs' Anthony Rizzo showing palm

Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo showing palm


Tigers' second baseman Ian Kinsler showing palm

Tigers' second baseman Ian Kinsler showing palm


Giants' second baseman Joe Panik showing palm

Giants' second baseman Joe Panik showing palm


Indians' shortstop Francisco Lindor showing palm

Indians' shortstop Francisco Lindor showing palm


Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford showing palm

Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford showing palm


Rangers' third baseman Adrian Beltre showing palm

Rangers' third baseman Adrian Beltre showing palm


Rockies' third baseman Nolan Arenado showing palm

Rockies' third baseman Nolan Arenado showing palm


Yankees' left fielder Brett Gardner showing palm

Yankees' left fielder Brett Gardner showing palm


Pirates' left fielder Starling Marte showing palm

Pirates' left fielder Starling Marte showing palm


Rays' center fielder Kevin Kiermaier shows palm

Rays' center fielder Kevin Kiermaier shows palm


Braves' center fielder Ender Inciarte shows palm

Braves' center fielder Ender Inciarte shows palm


Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts shows palm

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts shows palm


Cubs' right fielder Jason Heyward shows palm

Cubs' right fielder Jason Heyward shows palm

You might think this only applies to the "regular" position players, but not catchers, right? Actually, no...catchers wear their gloves this way too. Here are the 2016 Gold Glove catchers:

Royals' catcher Salvador Perez shows palm

Royals' catcher Salvador Perez shows palm


Giants' catcher Buster Posey showing palm

Giants' catcher Buster Posey showing palm

What about pitchers? Surely they wear their baseball gloves the "normal" way, right? Actually, no...even pitchers wear their gloves this way. Check out the 2016 Gold Glove pitchers:

Astros' pitcher Dallas Keuchel shows palm

Astros' pitcher Dallas Keuchel shows palm


Diamondbacks' pitcher Zack Greinke shows palm

Diamondbacks' pitcher Zack Greinke shows palm

According to Justin Stone of elitebaseball.tv, there are three reasons advanced baseball players wear their gloves this way:

  1. Easier hinge action with the glove
  2. Glove as an extension of your fingers
  3. Creates an air pocket so you're not stung by the ball

But this way of wearing your glove is not merely exposing the palm of your hand, because if that were the case, hopefully you'd be asking how players would close the glove to secure a non-groundball (e.g., line drives, fly balls, thrown balls). After all, the finger length from the fingers of the hand going into the glove finges will be shorter if you don't slide your entire hand inside the glove. In order to regain control of the glove fingers, players:

  • Put both their pinky finger and ring finger into the pinky slot of the glove
  • Put their middle finger into the ring finger slot of the glove
  • Put their index finger in the middle finger slot of the glove

This means the index finger slot is empty (which was often empty anyway, as most players who put their entire hand in their glove would often leave their index finger out of the glove).

What about younger players?

For youth players, this method could be a little tricky since youth players' fingers are shorter than adult players despite wearing similar size gloves as adults.

My recommendation for youth players who are comfortable catching balls to give this method a try. If they are unable to open and close their glove comfortably, then they should wait until their hand and fingers grow more before using this method. But if they are able to open and close their glove comfortably with this new method, they should consider transitioning to the new method permanently.

Every player is different so they should be evaluated using this new method individually and not rely on an arbitrary distinction like a certain age or school grade.

The bottom line

This new method will be a revelation to many coaches and parents, as it was to me. This method is almost standard operating procedure for all college and pro players so it's absolutely worth having your players start to learn it if they are already able to comfortably catch a ball.

Once your player(s) try it, leave a comment below and let Edge Nation know if they prefer this way or will go back to the traditional way of wearing their glove. It'll likely be foreign initially but how will they feel about it once they use this method for, say, a few weeks?

And if you've been doing this for years already, leave a comment below and let Edge Nation know how it's working out for you or your player(s).

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