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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
According to Justin Stone of elitebaseball.tv, there are three reasons advanced baseball players wear their gloves this way:
- Easier hinge action with the glove
- Glove as an extension of your fingers
- 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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