What is a Running Mitt in Baseball?
The running mitt is a vital part of baseball equipment, used by players to catch and throw the ball. It is a glove-like device that fits over the hand, with a webbing between the thumb and forefinger, and a pocket on the palm side. The pocket is designed to catch and hold the baseball, providing a secure grip and preventing the ball from slipping through the fingers.
The running mitt is a specialized piece of equipment, and is used by players of all ages and skill levels. It is essential for any player who wants to catch and throw the ball accurately and consistently. In this article, we will discuss the basics of the running mitt, its various components, and how it is used in baseball.
Purpose of the Running Mitt
The primary purpose of the running mitt is to improve a player’s ability to catch and throw the ball. It allows for a secure grip on the ball, and prevents it from slipping through the fingers. This improves the accuracy of the throw, and makes it easier for a player to field ground balls and make catches in the outfield.
The running mitt also provides protection to the hand and fingers. It helps to cushion the impact of the ball, reducing the risk of injury. The mitt also helps to absorb sweat, which can make it more difficult to catch and throw the ball.
Components of the Running Mitt
The running mitt is made up of several components, including:
- Webbing – The webbing is a leather or synthetic material that is stretched between the thumb and forefinger. This creates a pocket that can be used to catch and hold the ball.
- Pocket – The pocket of the mitt is designed to securely hold the ball. It is usually made of a material that provides a good grip, and prevents the ball from slipping through the fingers.
- Lacing – The lacing of the mitt is used to secure the pocket and keep it in place. It also helps to ensure that the pocket is the right size, so that the ball can be easily and securely caught.
- Strap – The strap is used to secure the mitt to the hand. It is usually adjustable, so that it can fit a variety of hand sizes.
Types of Running Mitts
There are several types of running mitts available, designed for different levels of play. The most common types are:
- Youth mitts – These are designed for younger players, and are usually smaller and lighter than adult mitts. They typically have a shallow pocket, to make it easier for younger players to catch and throw the ball.
- Adult mitts – These are designed for more experienced players, and are usually larger and heavier than youth mitts. They typically have a deeper pocket, to make it easier for more experienced players to catch and throw the ball.
- Softball mitts – These are designed specifically for softball, and typically have a larger pocket than baseball mitts. This allows for a more secure grip on the larger softball.
How to Choose a Running Mitt
When choosing a running mitt, it is important to consider several factors, including size, material, and type.
- Size – The size of the mitt should be appropriate for the player’s hand size. It should fit snugly, but not be too tight. It should also be long enough to cover the palm and wrist.
- Material – The material of the mitt should be durable and comfortable. Leather is the most popular choice, but synthetic materials can also be used.
- Type – The type of mitt should be appropriate for the level of play. Youth mitts are usually best for younger players, while adult mitts are better for more experienced players.
Care and Maintenance of Running Mitts
The running mitt should be properly cared for to ensure that it remains in good condition. After each use, the mitt should be wiped clean and dried. It should also be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
The lacing and straps of the mitt should also be checked regularly, to ensure that they are secure and not worn out. The pocket of the mitt should be lightly oiled, to keep it supple and prevent it from becoming too stiff.
How to Use a Running Mitt
Using a running mitt is fairly straightforward. The player should hold the mitt with the pocket facing out, and the thumb and forefinger resting on the webbing. The player should then place the ball in the pocket, and wrap the fingers around the webbing to secure the grip.
The player should then move the mitt and arm in unison, using the arm to generate power and the mitt to guide the ball. The mitt should also be used to guide and cushion the ball, helping to improve accuracy and control.
Benefits of Using a Running Mitt
There are several benefits to using a running mitt, including:
- Improved accuracy – Using a running mitt can help improve the accuracy of throws and catches, and can help players make more consistent plays.
- Protection – The mitt can help to absorb the impact of the ball, reducing the risk of injury.
- Better grip – The pocket of the mitt can provide a secure grip on the ball, preventing it from slipping through the fingers.
- Comfort – The mitt can help to absorb sweat, making it more comfortable to catch and throw the ball.
The running mitt is an essential piece of equipment for any player who wants to improve their ability to catch and throw the ball. It provides a secure grip on the ball, and helps protect the hand and fingers. It also helps to absorb sweat, making it more comfortable to catch and throw the ball.
When choosing a running mitt, it is important to consider size, material, and type. It should also be properly cared for, to ensure that it remains in good condition. With the right mitt and proper care, players of all ages and skill levels can improve their performance and enjoy the game of baseball.