Hey there everyone!
While I was only a brief member of the Coastal Carolina Baseball family, I'd still like to extend my congratulations to Chanticleers for winning the 2016 College World Series! Go Chants!
For this month's T.O.M. we'll focus on equipment. During the College Baseball World Series, Texas A&M's catcher ran into some equipment issues that should be reason for serious concern among all catchers out there.
A&M's catcher was wearing an Easton mask, but I am certainly not indicating that I have any clue as to exactly what caused the helmet to explode upon standard contact with a baseball, or where the fault rests in this situation. However, the fact that it happened got me to thinking about a catcher's responsibility for their own equipment and the gear that we recommend.
Much like a car mechanic needs to fully understand how each part of the car works, what it's job is and then how to spot a problem before it affects the health of the car, catchers need to approach their equipment in the same way before it affects our own health. We need to understand exactly what each piece of gear's function is, what it looks like when it isn't being utilized correctly, and most definitely when there is a problem with it. Let's go through a brief run-through of the things a catcher should be looking for every time they put on their gear.
- Guards should fit snug to leg
- Straps should be tight enough to prevent the guards from turning on the leg, but not tight enough to cut off circulation
- Knees should be centered on the pad inside of the bottom knee cap guard (where you see the silver or orange D3O pad in the photo of All-Star's LG30PRO leg guards). If the knee is resting in between the knee guard and the thigh guard, the equipment is too small and can cause injury or fail to protect the catcher the way it's intended.
- Chest protectors should be worn tight. If a catcher can lean over and there is space between the chest protector and the body, it is not tight enough.
- Chest protectors shouldn't ride up to the throat when a catcher is in their crouch. If it does, it's too big, or is too loose. Try tightening it, and if it still rides up, it's too big.
- It also should't ride too low, exposing the collarbone.
- Do NOT use gear that is not fit correctly, as it can lead to serious injury.
- Inspect a helmet for cracks before putting on head. Even a small crack can render the shell completely useless in protecting a catcher from a head injury.
- Make sure not to paint the helmet with paint that can weaken the integrity of the plastic shell.
- Do not use the mask if the cage is bent in any way.
- Helmet should be tight to head.
- Chin should rest in the middle of the chin pad, not below or above. If the chin rest below or above the padding, the helmet is too big.
Catchers, make sure your gear is in working order and fits properly. At the end of the day, its the first step in making sure you are safe behind the plate.
Thanks for reading this month's Tip of the Month! If you are interested in what we here at NECC recommend for gear, read more about our relationship with All-Star Sports HERE