As a father, I understand your frustration!
Finding good fitting equipment for younger players is almost impossible!
I mean…it should be easy. Purchase the best youth catchers gear available at the time within the age range and color for your child’s team.
Unfortunately, that always isn’t the case.
Some 8 year old’s fit into Intermediate sized equipment. Some players require very specific equipment to remain fully protected.
If this sounds anything like you, then please read on and see what we think will solve a lot of headaches!
On this page you will find the best youth catchers gear available to younger players (primarily 13 and under).
What's Included on this page:
1- Easton Mako
In our opinion for the 2018 season, the best youth catchers gear set than the Easton Mako series. Although it is more expensive than the average full set of gear, this is the premier set to own if you are a competitive or somewhat competitive player. With many advanced level features, you’ll quickly notice your game improve with the abundance of advanced level features. The Mako set itself includes the following main components:
- Mako Chest Protector – What makes the Mako chest protector so special is that it features a brand new advanced design which aims to provide the catcher with an nonrestrictive throwing motion and better blocking/catching capabilities. Material wise, the Mako uses tight fitting stretchable material that fits directly against your body. This allows incredible mobility, and also moves as you move. Finally, passed balls should no longer give you any trouble as the foam on the interior is shock absorbing which essentially keeps balls close to you when in the blocking position.
- Mako Leg Guards – Like the chest protector, the Mako leg guards also feature a body forming design that fit directly against your legs. Matching the anatomy of the leg, this provides you with a great amount of mobility especially in cases where you need to run and catch a fly ball. For more protection and comfort, the knee area features extra padding as that is the areas that catchers are most nervous about exposing.
- Rival C Helmet – The Rival Helmet is one of the most popular helmets offered by Easton. Using an ABS shell, the helmet is perfect for keeping your head area protected at all times. For increased comfort, new ventilation holes have also been added to keep you cooler in those hot summer days. Fully NOCSAE approved, you can feel confident sitting behind the plate with this helmet.
2- Mizuno Samurai
For years Mizuno has been known to offer high quality and affordable equipment for a wide variety of sports. In baseball and more specifically for catchers, this is also true in the Samurai G4 series. Built for competitive players, this set has many great things going for it including:
- G3 Chest Protector: The Samurai G3 chest protector really excels at rebound control in that it deadens the ball on impact so you can take care of those wild pitches. For a custom fit, the G3 chest protector has been built with detachable wings and shoulder pads. Personalization wise, a catcher is also able to place their name on the neck pad so everyone knows who it belongs to.
- G3 Leg Guards: Similar to the chest protector, the G3 leg guards offer a custom fit and feel in that the knee pads are completely detachable for better protection and fit when needed. The triple knee design gives the G3 series incredible flexibility while keeping the leg guards as light as possible. For even more durability, each set of leg guards includes stainless steel buckles ensuring they will last many seasons.
- G4 Helmet: The Samurai G4 helmet is one of the more comfortable ones available. Using carefully placed ventilation holes to enhance air circulation you’ll feel much cooler than before in those hot summer days. Using 3 levels of foam padding on the interior makes the helmet very sturdy and resistant to high impact. Finally, with a fully adjustable jaw pad, you’ll find that you can mold the helmet to be your very own.
3- Easton M7
For years, the Easton Natural series has been an incredibly popular set. Although no longer in existence, it has been replaced by the brand new M7 series which has many of the same features. Perfect for all levels of catchers, the M7 series is much less expensive than some of the premier sets allowing any and all catchers to get a high quality set of gear at a great price. The M7 is not the cheapest set of gear available to beginning catchers however we recommend it to quite a few people as we feel it provides the most bang for your buck. This set includes:
- M7 Chest Protector – The M7 chest protector is quite light despite the amount of protection it provides. Built with numerous layers of advanced foam, it is designed to handle rebounds and protect the full chest area. With newly included ventilation holes strategically placed throughout, you’ll never have to worry about excess sweat and will remain cool throughout. Catchers can also expect a nice fit as a double back adjustment system has been used.
- M7 Leg Guards – The M7 leg guards offer quite a bit of customization. With a great fit, they also allow you to adjust or even remove the toecaps that have been included on each. Protection wise, using a triple knee design, you can rest assured that your full knee area will always be protected. Using an advanced design, you also notice more mobility as the leg guards fit directly against you.
- M7 Catchers Helmet – If you are looking for superior comfort and increased protection then you’ll like the M7 helmet. With an ABS shell that is fully NOCSAE approved, you can rest assured that your head will always be safe from impact. It also includes a steel face mask which offers incredible protection without limiting your eye sight.
4- Under Armour Victory
Although they are still the “new kids on the block”, Under Armour has already become one of the more sought after companies when it comes to sports equipment. Innovative, cost effective and offering incredible protection, you can never go wrong with anything designed by Under Armour. The Victory series itself is quite new and has already been sold to quite a few youth level catchers. It features:
- Chest Protector: There are not many chest protectors that offer a fit like the Victory Series. With full over the shoulder protection, the chest protector also offers an adjustable shoulder cap for even more customization. Coming from the Protect this House line of equipment, it also features advanced level inserts in the throat, sternum and shoulder areas to further diffuse impact.
- Leg Guards: The best thing about the Victory Series leg guards are how light in weight they feel around your legs. Using lighter foam (but still highly effective), you’ll barely feel them as you play. For cleanliness, the Victory Series also uses what Under Armour calls AEGIS Microbe Shield. This patented technology destroys bacteria and odor.
- Helmet: Fitting head sizes from 61/4 to 7 inches, the Victory Series helmet is perfect for those looking for advanced level protection and great field vision. This ABS shell that protects the head area is made to absorb any sort of high impact that may come its way (let’s hope this doesn’t happen). The patented I-BAR VISION steel cage surrounds the front of the exterior and provides some of the best field vision possible so you know what is happening at all times.
5- Louisville Series 5
Louisville Series 5 – Another newer highly rated top of the line set, the Louisville Series 5 offers quite a bit for all levels of catchers. Although Louisville is mostly known for their Slugger bats, they have been getting better and better at making highly protective catchers gear as well. With a wide variety of color schemes available you be able to fit right into any color scheme used by your team. The Series 5 set made by Louisville offers the following:
- Chest Protector: Using an over the shoulder harness, the Series 5 chest protector offers a great fit for youth catchers. Protection wise, using high density foam padding provides the young player with all they will need to keep their full chest area safe at all times. The precision design fits directly to the catchers body providing a great amount of mobility when movement is required.
- Leg Guards: Although not as advanced as some leg guards like the previously reviewed Mako and Natural series, there is still quite a bit to like. A double knee design provides quite a bit of protection but does not quite offer the same flexibility as the triple knee design. Where these leg guards excel is that they are designed to fit the contour of your legs to give you great mobility.
- Helmet: Fully NOCSAE approved, the Series 5 helmet will provide everything you need to be protected behind the plate. Advanced feature wise, it also features a moisture controlling chin pad allowing you to be comfortable in the really hot summer days. Sized for head sizes of 6 3/8” to 7”, the helmet also looks great with its sleek, glossy finish.
Tips for finding the best youth catchers gear
The position of catcher is one of the greatest positions for young baseball players to try or play full time. It will teach them many life skills including leadership, and team work along with many baseball skills such as strength, flexibility, and game management.
The sport of baseball (or softball) is a sport often enjoyed by many younger players at schools or in various recreational and competitive leagues throughout the summer time. Playing baseball teaches young players many skills both on and off the field that can be used in everyday life. Often times the position of catcher is the most popular among young players as they get to play a large role in the outcome of the game. Unfortunately (for parents) the role of catcher also requires much more equipment than any other position which presents both financial and sizing challenges.
Without a doubt the biggest obstacle faced by parents and coaches when finding the right set to match the growing player. We’ve all seen it, either when we were younger or watching our own kids grow up, but some young people just seem to grow quicker than others. This is especially true in young adolescent boys as some might already be sized similar to adults whereas others look like they are still aged in single digits. This presents a huge problem for the people buying the equipment as one year it will fit perfectly, and the next it won’t.
Properly sized gear is another important consideration to make when looking into new equipment. As mentioned earlier, younger players are constantly changing body size and the additional weight of heavy equipment can cause many issues on the young player’s body. With many not having fully developed muscles, equipment like catchers helmets can cause a huge strain on the young player’s neck and subsequently back areas. The last thing a parent or coach wants to do is cause any additional discomfort to the young player and having them not enjoy America’s great pass time.
Another factor that should be looked into is how competitive the young player is and what level he plays at. If they are anything like me, they will probably change their mind about what sport they enjoy the most every single month. Non-competitive and beginner players should primarily be focused on an inexpensive full set of gear. This way if the player decides they no longer enjoy the game you are not out a ton of money. Conversely however there are many competitive leagues out there focused on young baseball and softball players. These players should look into individual pieces of gear or on higher end youth catchers gear sets to bring their game to the next level.
We hope that you’ve found all you need when it comes to youth catchers gear/equipment. If there is anything we can help you find, please do not hesitate to contact us.