Do I Need to Wear a Face Mask for Softball?
Is your child new to softball and you don’t know whether or not a face mask may be necessary? Maybe you don’t even know what a face mask is and want to learn more about it? Either way, we’re here to give you the rundown on softball face masks and if your child really needs one. Keep reading for more!
Are Face Masks Required in Softball?
While face masks are not required in softball, it’s not uncommon to see every girl on the field wearing a face mask on young teams. Many feel that it is only necessary for the pitcher to wear a face mask, while some think every girl on the infield, and even in the outfield should be wearing one. The sole purpose of a face mask is to protect the individual from a line drive or bad hop to the face. Some opt to wear a mouth guard, but this fails to protect the eyes and head.
Why Should I Wear a Facemask?
Just a quick search on Youtube and you’ll be able to watch endless videos of pitchers getting hit square in the face from a line drive. In baseball, the pitcher is 60 feet away from the batter. In softball, however, the pitcher is only about 40 feet away by the time she finishes her wind-up. This is an extremely close distance to be facing a batter swinging at a ball that could be returning at up to 70 mph when you’re at the collegiate level. At lower levels of softball, pitchers are not throwing as hard, but you never know what could happen in the blink of an eye. It is always up to the parent or the individual in making the decision to wear a face mask, but we think it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When Should my kid Stop Wearing a Face Mask?
As your kid gets older and keeps playing softball, the level of play only gets better. Yes, pitchers get better and can master more pitches and movement, but hitters ALSO get better. Getting older and playing at a higher level does not necessarily mean you can avoid getting hit in the face. With this being said, pitchers are typically the only position we see wearing face masks as they get older. Infielders and other positions usually stop wearing face masks around ages 12-15. When you get to the high school and collegiate level, there are still many pitchers that wear face masks. For these individuals, taking a line drive to the face is just not worth it.
If your kid is embarrassed to wear a face mask, there are plenty of big names out there that wear one at the collegiate and professional level! Have you heard of Kelly Barnhill? She pitched for the University of Florida and plays professionally for the Chicago Bandits. She still wears a mask! Paige Lowary (pitcher), Oklahoma alumni and professional player, started wearing a face mask after she got hit in the face with a line drive. This left her with a black eye and a concussion. Now, we don’t want to scare you. We are simply here to share the reality of what could happen to any of our softballers out there!
Where can I buy a Softball Face Mask?
You can easily find a softball mask at your local sporting goods store. They are also sold online, and are actually relatively cheap. There are several different kinds of face masks. Masks come in both youth and adult sizes, and usually have adjustable straps. You can choose between metal and plastic, and a variety of colors and designs. You can even match your face mask to your team uniform!
Are Face Masks Necessary?
So, now that we’ve gone over all there is to know about softball face masks, is it really necessary? Like we mentioned earlier, it is ultimately up to the individual or the parent. If you think it’s not worth it to take one to the face, then it’s probably smart to spend the $30 or $40 for a face mask that will last years and protect your kid’s face. However, if you think the distraction of having a bar in front of your child’s face during a game is unnecessary, then maybe a mouth guard is a better option. Either way, it’s very important to protect our kids and their beautiful faces!