Is there anything cuter than a field of young ballplayers wearing matching uniforms and chasing after baseballs? Tee ball is a rite of passage for many kids. It teaches hand-eye coordination and teamwork, and it requires minimal gear to participate.
However, parents face the challenge of selecting the right tee ball glove from a sea of choices. We compiled a guide to help you narrow the field and choose the right glove for your tee ball player.
How to Pick a Tee Ball Glove
While you have several choices when it comes to tee ball gloves, you only have to consider a few conditions. Whether you’re looking for a boys or girls tee ball glove, you should only need to answer three questions.
- Which Hand Does Your Child Use to Catch?
- How Do I Know if the Glove Fits?
- How to Break in a Tee Ball Glove?
You can’t start your search until you know whether you need a right-handed or left-handed glove. If your kiddo uses their right hand to throw, they need a right-handed glove that goes on their left hand. The opposite is true for kids who throw with their left hand, who need left handed tee ball gloves.
Some kids may not choose a dominant hand before starting tee ball, and that’s okay. There are a few things you can try.
- Throw a soft foam ball to your child several times and pay attention to which they use more often to catch it.
- Pay attention to which hand they eat with, especially when using silverware.
- Which foot does your child use to kick a ball? They usually throw with the same side.
A Note About Left Hand Throw Tee Ball Gloves
Lefties may be the most coveted pitchers and first basemen in the game of baseball, but it can be challenging to find a proper glove. Even in baseball and softball, it’s not possible to find every style of glove for lefties.
Left-handed tee ball gloves are scarce in some areas. You may need to have your child try on right-handed gloves to find the proper fit and then order a left-handed glove from the store or online.
Usually, tee ball gloves don’t last as long as baseball and softball gloves because kids grow out of them. However, if you want yours to go the distance, choosing a durable glove is worth the slightly higher cost.
Tee ball gloves are leather, vinyl, or a leather-vinyl composite material. Vinyl gloves tend to be cheapest, but they have drawbacks. They aren’t as pliable, so they can be difficult for some kids to use.
Leather and composite gloves tend to last longer. Since you can break in the leather, it’s easier for kids to catch and field the ball.
The most important part of purchasing a tee ball glove for your child is sizing. Tee ball gloves cannot be longer than twelve inches but are usually much shorter, usually eight or nine inches.
It may be tempting to choose a larger glove that your child can grow into, but it’s not the best idea. If it’s too big, it’s probably too heavy and difficult to maneuver. On the other hand, if it’s too small, a tee ball glove doesn’t provide enough protection or comfort.
When sizing a glove, you want to address a few areas to find one that accommodates your child in all areas. It may take a minute to find the proper fit, but it’s worthwhile to take the time.
- Check the wrist to make sure it’s not too tight for your child.
- Can your child fit their entire palm in the glove? If not, it’s too small.
- Ask if your kiddo can move their fingers around inside the glove. If they can’t, it will be difficult for them to use the glove on the field.
- Have your child squeeze it closed to make sure they can. Don’t worry if it’s a little tough; we’ll talk about how to break the glove in later.
Tee Ball Glove Size by Age
A big part of finding the ball glove size for your child is their age and position. However, when it comes to tee ball glove size, you usually won’t consider a special glove for certain positions, like first base or catcher.
Since many people find visuals helpful, we put together a quick guide for comparison between fastpitch softball, baseball, and tee ball glove sizes by age.
|Level of Play||Age Range||Position||Average Glove Size|
|Tee Ball||3 to 6 years||All||8” to 10”|
|Youth Baseball||7 to 12 years||First Base||11.5” to 12”|
|Youth Fastpitch||7 and up||Infield||10.5” to 11”|
|Youth Baseball||7 to 12 years||Infield||10.25” to 11.5”|
|Youth Fastpitch||7 and up||Outfield||11” to 11.5”|
|Youth Baseball||7 to 12 years||Outfield||11.5” to 12.25”|
If you chose a leather or composite tee ball glove for your child, you probably need to break it in a little bit. There is a lot of bad advice about how to do it properly. You don’t want to damage the glove or waste time with ineffective methods.
Some stores offer the service if you purchase from them or charge a small fee if you bought a glove elsewhere. However, it’s not that hard to break in a tee ball glove on your own.
Breaking in a tee ball mitt usually requires a glove oil or conditioner and a little elbow grease. The oil or conditioner softens the leather without damaging it, so you can bend it and mold it to make the glove more pliable.
For those who prefer a visual walkthrough, a master craftsman walks you through the process of breaking in a glove. Shigeaki Aso’s tutorial is just a few minutes long, and he explains the process clearly, so even beginners can break a glove in like a pro.
Choosing the Right Tee Ball Glove
If your child wants to play tee ball, they need a glove that fits properly. Hopefully, this guide answered all of your questions and prepared you to choose the best one for your future all-star!