All ball players will need a ball, a bat, and a glove. All baseballs are pretty much the same, but bats can be either wooden or aluminum. These days, only the pros use wooden bats full time. Aluminum bats are lighter and easier to handle and don’t break as often. There are a couple of different types of gloves, depending on your field position.
Batter up! All batters should wear a helmet while at the plate and on base to protect the head. For better base running, try wearing baseball cleats instead of sneakers.
What a catch! Catchers have a special set of protective gear that includes a helmet, a mask, shin guards and a chest protector. All of these pieces are very important to protect you if you play behind the plate.
Play it Safe
Wear your protective gear during all practices and games, especially if you’re a catcher — those fast balls can pack a punch! Don’t forget to warm up and stretch before each practice or game. In the infield? Stay behind the base on any throw. You’ll avoid hurting yourself — and the base runner. In the outfield? Avoid bloopers with your teammates by calling every fly ball loudly, even if you think nobody else is close by. And in the batters’ box, wear a batting helmet and use a batting glove to protect your knuckles from those inside pitches. If you think a pitch is going to hit you, turn away from the ball and take it in the back.
Throwing those fastballs can really take a toll, so if you’re a pitcher, make sure to get plenty of rest between games, and don’t pitch more than 4-10 innings per week.
How to Play
Baseball is known as America’s favorite pastime. This sport uses many different skills from pitching, catching, and batting (which require lots of hand-eye coordination), to base running which means going from a standing start to a full sprint. To get started, you just need a bat and a ball!
How to hit the ball.
First, get hold of that bat by stacking your hands on the handle (right hand on top if you’re a righty, left hand on top if you’re a lefty), making sure the curve of the bat is in the middle of your fingers and that your knuckles are in a straight line. Balance on the balls of your feet, with your weight on your back foot, and bend your knees slightly. Your hands should be shoulder height, elbows in, and keep your head in line with your torso, turned toward your front shoulder. As the pitcher throws, step toward the pitch, and swivel toward the ball with your hips, keeping your arms steady as you move toward the ball. Keep your eye on the ball, and complete your swing by pivoting forward and shifting your weight to your front foot, following through with the bat after you hit the ball.
How to throw the ball.
Did you know that throwing the ball accurately requires a little footwork? First, step toward the target with the glove side foot, making sure the toe of your shoe is pointing directly to where you want the ball to go. Aim the leading shoulder at the target. Aim the bill of your hat (the “duckbill”) at the target and throw.
How to catch the ball.
Keep your eye on the pitch and stay low with your feet apart and knees bent so you can move quickly in any direction. Have your glove ready at or below knee level, pocket side out. When scooping up a ground ball, bend down and use both hands to scoop it to the middle of your body so you have it securely.
How does Barry Bonds hit the ball so far? It’s science! When the bat hits the ball, the bat exchanges momentum with the ball and the ball takes off. The faster the bat is swung, the harder it hits the ball and the harder the bat hits the ball, the faster and further the ball goes. So if you want to hit like Barry, pump up those arm muscles and take some practice swings!
There are exactly 108 stitches on a baseball.
In 1974, girls started playing on Little League teams.
A major league pitcher can throw a baseball up to 95 miles an hour—which takes less than 1/2 second for the ball to cross the plate.
Source: CDC; Baseball Activity Card