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  Prevent Baseball Injuries: Practice Safe Play - a young man wearing a baseball helmet and holding a bat with a baseball field in the background

Prevent Baseball Injuries: Practice Safe Play

Last Updated: Mar. 20, 2017

By: Taira Jordan

In This Article: Train to Avoid Injury Batters Catchers Baseball Shoes Other Protective Gear

little kid baseball player running for a base while smiling

Baseball is one of America’s most popular youth sports and is played by children of all ages. Young boys and girls play tee-ball, in which players hit a ball off of a tee, to learn the basic fundamentals of hitting and fielding. Usually beginning at age 7, players hit live pitches from their coach or the opposing pitcher, depending on their age and experience. While baseball is not normally a dangerous sport, there is a real risk of injury from wild pitches, batted balls and collisions in the field. To avoid most injuries, make sure your child wears the proper protective safety gear and follows a consistent training and conditioning program.

 Train to Avoid Injury

Prior to the start of the baseball season, make sure your child follows a pre-season strength and training program. All-Stars need practice to condition their bodies for the game to both avoid injury and fine-tune their skill set. Ask your coach to teach young baseball players the correct sliding (no headfirst sliding), pitching (limit pitches thrown per week) and batting (moving away from a pitch aimed directly at them) techniques.

When the baseball season rolls around, have your child take the time to warm up and stretch before each practice and game as cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury. As many baseball injuries involve the throwing arm and shoulder, players would benefit from practicing proper throwing techniques and pitching limits should be observed. Little League Baseball usually accounts for this with important rules that limit the number of pitches players can throw in a given day and also how many days pitchers must rest their arms before pitching again.

The proper safety gear should always be worn during practice and game time.

 Batters

a girl softball player hits a pitch
  • Any player who is batting, waiting to bat or running the bases should wear a batting helmet. The batting helmet should fit properly and be in good condition. If the batting helmet has a chin strap, it should be fastened and any eye shield or faceguard needs to be in good condition.
  • Batters need to use a baseball bat made of wood or other materials that have been approved for use in youth baseball leagues.
  • While not mandatory, batting gloves are worn by most players for comfort, the prevention of blisters and to help to absorb shock when hitting the ball.

 Catchers

  • Since catchers crouch behind batters to catch all balls that are not hit, catchers need to be well protected.
  • Catchers should always wear a helmet, facemask, throat guard, full-length chest protector, shinguards and catcher’s mitt whenever catching pitches during practice or game time.
  • Male catchers should wear a hard plastic athletic cup.

 Baseball Shoes

a young kid playing catcher is ready for the ball
  • All players need a pair of baseball or softball cleats before they take to the field.
  • Youth baseball or softball shoes should have molded plastic cleats rather than metal cleats. Many youth leagues do not allow metal cleats.

 Other Protective Gear

  • Regardless of position, all players should wear mouthguards while on the field to protect the teeth and the face. Mouthguards also help to reduce head and neck injuries.
  • Male players should wear a hard plastic athletic cup.
  • Sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 should be applied to the face, neck and arms before playing baseball outside.