This is an excerpt from Coaching Youth Baseball epub.
Over the years, Babe Ruth League has been proud to provide our leagues with valuable input and services to help them provide a safe environment for everyone at youth baseball games.
Another way to prevent injuries is to regularly inspect the field on which your players practice and play. Remove hazards, report conditions you cannot remedy, and request maintenance as necessary. If unsafe conditions exist, you should either make adaptations to prevent risk to your players' safety or stop the practice or game until safe conditions have been restored. Refer to the Facilities and Equipment Checklist at the end of this chapter to help guide you in verifying that facilities and equipment are safe. Note that installation of all equipment must meet manufacturers' requirements.
You can also prevent injuries by checking the quality and fit of uniforms, practice attire, and any protective equipment used by your players. Make sure the players' equipment fits properly and is not worn out. A helmet that is too large can cover a batter's eyes and prevent him or her from reacting to an inside pitch. A helmet that is too small might not provide proper protection. Catcher's gear that is too large might shift and leave an area of the body exposed. If the gear is too small, it might not cover all the body parts that it should. Other equipment guidelines to consider:
Bats: Use appropriate bats based on the following information detailing approved bats for Babe Ruth League:
- Cal Ripken Division: All non-wood bats must have the USABat marking and a maximum barrel size of 2 5/8 inches. No BBCOR bats are permitted in the Cal Ripken Division. For the T-ball division, bats must be marked with the USABat T-ball stamp.
- Babe Ruth Baseball 13-15 Division: All non-wood bats must have the USABat marking or be marked BBCOR .50 with a maximum barrel size of 2 5/8 inches.
- Babe Ruth Baseball 16-18 Division: All non-wood bats MUST be a BBCOR .50 and no greater than -3 with a maximum barrel size of 2 5/8 inches.
- Protective headgear: During practice and all games, players shall wear a batting helmet on deck, at bat, while a base runner, and while in the coach's box. The batting helmet must cover the top of the head, have extended earflaps that cover both ears, and properly fit the player wearing it. The batting helmet shall not have a chrome or mirror-like surface, which is distracting and may be dangerous to other players.
- Ball and bat boys and girls: During local league and tournament play, ball and bat boys and girls must wear helmets while out of the dugout.
- Catcher's mask, helmet, and throat protector (all divisions, except Cal Ripken Division): Any player, manager, or coach warming up a pitcher at any location shall wear a mask. An extended dangling throat protector is considered a required part of the catcher's mask. Hockey-style catcher's masks with built-in extended throat protection are approved and do not require an extended dangling throat protector. The catcher's mask shall not have a chrome or mirror-like surface.
- Catcher's mask, helmet, throat protector, and protective cup (Cal Ripken Division): The catcher's helmet must cover the ears. Hockey-style catcher's masks are approved as meeting this requirement.
- Shoes (Cal Ripken Division): Shoes with metal cleats or spikes are not permitted to be worn by any player, coach, or manager.
- Jewelry: Jewelry is prohibited. Players shall not wear jewelry. Medical alert and religious bracelets or necklaces are not considered jewelry. If worn, they must be taped to the body.
- Protective cup: No baseball player should step on a field without wearing a protective cup. The earlier a player gets used to wearing a cup, the easier it will be for him to wear it consistently.