When you step into the batter’s box, there should only be one thing on your mind: knocking the ball out of the park. However, there are a number of elements that could shatter your confidence, like wearing an ill-fitting batting helmet. To avoid this, take the proper measures to ensure you’re suited up with a helmet that is comfortable, fits properly, and above all else, is safe.
In today’s game, more and more softball players are opting for facemasks. These are great for players who wear braces or just want that extra level of protection. When buying facemasks, make sure to find one that is manufactured by the same company that made your helmet. This will help you avoid any problems with attachment.
If you find that your new batting helmet is a little loose, don’t fret. Chin straps are an easy way to fix this problem. They’re easy to attach and can be adjusted to create a tighter fit. Like your facemask, make sure to find a strap that was created by the same manufacturer as your helmet so you don’t run into any trouble installing it later on.
Batting helmets are designed to help protect a batter from fast-wielding pitches, so it’s only natural that, overtime, they will deteriorate. One of the biggest factors that causes break down is when a player throws it in the dugout or on the infield. To combat this, keep your helmet on a rack or on the bench until you’re ondeck.
You’ll also want to avoid leaving it out in the sun, which can cause the padding on the inside to harden and crack. Keep your batting helmet tucked away whenever possible and make sure to inspect them before each use.
In terms of sizing, most manufacturers use different measurements with their batting helmets, but they’re pretty similar. A good tip is to treat the process like you would when you buy a hat. Find the measurement of the circumference of your head and correlate it to the closest size available, which can be found in the chart below.
To help determine if your helmet fits right, you can use the shake test as a guide. Place the helmet on your head and give it a few good shakes. If it moves around too much, try going down a size or buy a padding kit so you can guarantee a more accurate fit.
You also want to make sure that your helmet sits about an inch above your eyebrow and that it fits evenly on your head. If it’s tilted up, you run the risk of taking a ball to the forehead when batting or running the bases. The same applies if the helmet tilts too far forward — the back of your head will be exposed, which could pose a risk. Use the graphic below as a guide to make sure your helmet fits right.
Make sure your batting helmet meets all relevant standards that have been adopted by your particular league.
Remember that almost every softball organization and league requires batters to wear a helmet for one reason: protection. Softball is fun, but it’s serious business that you make sure all of the safety precautions are met before taking the plate. Batter up!