Thursday, July 7, 2016

Baseball Glove Options for Switch Pitchers

Custom made
 Mizuno ambidextrous glove
Looking for a glove for a switch pitcher?

Before spending hundreds of dollars on a custom glove, please think about age of the player and how much time they will spend pitching.

Here are glove options for ambidextrous pitchers, based on age:

Age 3-5

Kids don't pitch at this age. They should be learning the proper way to throw.

Young kids should try catching the ball with two hands. Use tennis balls or foam balls for throwing. Forget about the low quality plastic glove - it's in the landfill within a year. Gloves are awkward for young kids. If they learn two hand catch when they are young and continue with the skill, they will do well fielding balls when they are older.

Learning to throw with both arms is easy at this stage. If a child can throw with either hand when they are three-years-old, it doesn't mean that they are talented or ambidextrous - it just means that they are a typical kid.

Gloves: Buy a small leather glove for the player when they are around five-years-old. You might find a nice used glove at a local thrift shop or second-hand sports store that will work.


Age 5-7

Most of these kids play in tee ball or coach pitch. My son started pitching as a 7-year-old, but most kids don't have good throwing mechanics at this age and have trouble throwing strikes. The catchers having trouble catching and can't block balls in the dirt.

Hitting Tip: This is a good age to teach kids how to switch hit. Many of the switch pitchers started out as switch hitters. Switch hitting helps with balance and learning the strike zone, which will come in handy when pitching.

Pitching Tip: Please don't force the your child to pitch -- even if they are left-handed. Not all kids want to be a pitcher. Pitching can be very stressful to kids. They really have to enjoy pitching to become good.

Gloves: Two gloves work fine for an ambidextrous thrower. 9-10 inch size. It's better to use a small infield glove than a large outfield glove.

No ambidextrous glove is available for this age.

Have fun learning to throw a baseball.

Throw hard daily to a target.

Watch a 6-year-old practice throwing with both arms


Age 8-10
Switch pitcher using two gloves

Ambidextrous throwers in this group can use two separate gloves since there is rarely a situation where having an ambi glove on the mound will help at this age. Have the kid pitch one inning with each arm and see how well they do facing hitters.

In a game, if the ambidextrous pitcher needs to switch gloves, then the coach can call time and get the other glove from the dugout. Using two gloves worked well for the best ambidextrous pitchers. There is no need to switch gloves for one hitter. Winning just isn't that important at this age. Remember the game should be fun.

Gloves: Use two separate gloves for switch pitching. Different color gloves make in easy to gab the correct one. 10-11.5 inch size

Don't think about ordering a custom ambidextrous glove until your child can throw well with boths arms or else you are waisting money.

Training glove: Valle Baseball makes a nice ambidextrous pancake glove. This flat training glove does not have a pocket, so it forces you to use two hands.  My son loves his pancake glove and his teammates find it challenging to use. Cost is around $40 for the Valle Flat Ambi Pancake Glove  www.vallebaseball.com


Age 10-12

Players this age should really work on throwing hard and developing a smooth throwing motion.

Switch Pitchers can use two separate gloves without a problem. Pitch lefty one inning, then switch to righty the next. Or pitch two innings left, then the third inning right. Lefties are valuable in games since they have an advantage over most hitters. Make sure to spend extra time throwing left-handed.

The exception might be in tournament play where pitchers mainly throw with the dominant arm.

Let the umpire know before the game that the player is planning to use both arms for pitching. Check to make sure the umpires know the rules regarding switch pitching. Note that the pitch count is still the same for one player - they don't count each arm separately.

Most umpires really enjoy calling games with a switch pitcher. It's something they can share with their buddies.


Gloves:

Most switch pitchers will use two separate gloves that are different styles or colors. 11.5" size is common (range 11" - 12").

If the kid has adult-sized hands, and is a solid pitcher from both sides, then you can order the ambidextrous glove from Akadema (see below). This is the only "stock" ambidextrous glove available and it is ready for delivery from Amazon from around $100.

Custom made gloves are $200-$600+ and it takes 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. That's just too much money to spend on a glove at this age. There are only a few manufacturers that will make a custom ambidextrous glove.



Switch pitcher Henry Knight using an

Akadema ABX-00 Ambidextrous Glove


Age 13-14

If the player really can pitch well in games with both arms, then you might consider using an ambidextrous glove. Kids are playing more games at this age and owning a quality glove is a good idea. Many of the utility players own multiple gloves for different positions - pitcher, first base, catcher, infield or outfield. It's amazing the money parents shell out for sports equipment (but it won't make the kid a better player). One ambidextrous glove could cost less that two quality right- and left-handed gloves.

Gloves: 
Many switch pitchers use two separate gloves that are different styles or colors. 11.5"-12" size

Six-finger Glove:
A quality ambidextrous glove is available from Akadema (ABX-00: Ambidextrous, 12" model $135 list; Amazon $100 with free shipping).

Note that the Akadema ambidextrous glove is in high demand and might be out-of-stock following the debut of MLB switch pitcher Pat Venditte.

My son uses the 12" model - which is the only option available. This is a stock glove, but you will not find these in any stores. Order online from Akadema or Amazon. Akadema only produces about 100 ambi gloves per year (made in China). You can have a smaller custom glove made by Akadema for around $200. Visit www.akademapro.com



This six-finger ambidextrous glove is from the Akadema Pro Soft Series. The leather glove features four finger slots, plus two adjustable thumb loops (using velcro tabs). Like most quality gloves, this ambi glove is very stiff at first. If you follow the old-time break-in process, with glove oil and playing catch daily, then the glove works fine after a couple of weeks. Learn about Breaking in Your Glove

The Akadema ambi glove is a bit too large for an 11 or 12-year old player since it is an adult size glove. The glove is symetrical with no webbing, so it looks different and a lot larger than the 11.5" style of infield glove. Be prepared to use two hands on every catch until the pocket is formed since the ambi glove does not have the conventional webbing. Young fielders should try to use two hands to catch the ball, since they often have trouble squeezing a glove with one hand. So this turns out to be a good training glove.

The Akadema Ambidextrous Glove in Action

Switch pitcher Henry Knight using an Akadema ambidextrous glove


After about two weeks of regular use, the pocket breaks-in and the ambidextrous glove works really well in practice. It might take a month of regular use to make the Akadema ambi glove game-ready. The glove spreads out nicely for scooping up grounders. It's large enough to use in the outfield.


Custom Crafted Ambidextrous Glove


This cool looking ambidextrous glove, crafted by Carpenter Trade, uses state-of-the-art synthetic materials making it stronger and lighter than conventional gloves. The ambi glove was designed by Scott Carpenter after consulting with Pat Venditte the famous switch pitcher with the NY Yankees organization. All Carpenter Gloves are custom made to fit each individual. The glove maker is based near Copperstown, N.Y.


Carpenter Trade on Twitter @CarpenterTrade


Carpenter gloves are unrivaled in craftsmanship, performance, and customization. If you dare to be different, visit  CarpenterTrade.com


High School

Using two separate gloves is still a good option for games. There just aren't that many left-handed hitters playing baseball, so most of the pitching will be done right-handed against righties. The advantage of switching sides at this stage is to rest the dominant arm.

Two Pitching Gloves

The top high school player in Washington state, Drew Vettleson, was a switch-pitcher. Vettleson used two gloves and his strategy worked well for switch pitching.

"Drew Vettleson would take two baseball gloves with him out to the mound when he pitched for Central Kitsap High School in Washington. If he was pitching with his left arm, he tossed his left-handed glove to the back of the mound. Pitching as a righty, Vettleson would switch gloves and toss the other to the back of the mound". (source: milb.com)

Vettleson, a power hitter, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays as an outfielder. The Tampa Rays named Drew Vettleson the MVP of the Princeton (W.Va.) Rays, their rookie league team in the Appalachain League.

Ambidextrous Pitcher Glove

Ryan Perez, a dominant switch pitcher in college, used an inexpensive six-finger glove from Akadema. His fastball tops out at 92 mph from the right side and up to 94 mph left-handed. Perez was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2015. Now, he uses a custom Mizuno glove in the minor leagues. Watch Ryan pitching.

According to a report in the Chicago Sun Times, Perez threw a complete game no-hitter left-handed, then came back later in the day and threw four innings of two-hit, shutout relief right-handed.


College switch pitcher Aubrey McCarty uses a custom Mizuno ambidextrous glove. McCarty signed a letter of intent to pitch for Vanderbilt University in 2014, and threw in relief in 2015. Aubrey McCarty was drafted in 2013 by the SF Giants, but he decided to get a good education and is playing in college. Vandy won the College World Series in 2014.


College

If you pitch in college, then it's time to buy a custom ambidextrous glove with your name on it.  The custom six-finger glove could bring you some extra attention in the press.

New Glove Option
44 Pro Ambidextrous Custom Glove $230

Pat Vindette used a custom Louisville Slugger TPX Ambidextrous glove at Creighton University. The  leather glove has 6-fingers, with 4-finger holes plus two thumb loops. It looks cool and was easy to change from one hand to the other.

You can custom order the Louisville Slugger ambidextrous glove for $399.99 by calling 1-800-282-2287 and a representative would be happy to assist you. (updated June 2012)

The Mizuno GMP1A ambidextrous glove is $450 and it takes 4-6 weeks to deliver.  

Carpenter Trade crafts custom gloves to fit each individual. Gloves range in price from $500 for a conventional style to $600 for an ambidextrous glove. Learn more at CarpenterTrade.com



Big League

Pat Vindette, a major league pitcher, uses a custom six finger glove made by Mizuno. Ryan Perez who plays in the minors with the Cleveland Indians also has a custom Mizuno glove. (Contact Mizuno by phone or email).

A big leaguer can arrange a sponsorship deal with the glove manufacturer.




Good luck.
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6 comments:

  1. How do you break in a six fingered glove. I'm a switchpitcher and I used baseball foam but it only broke in the palm of the glove.

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  2. The best way to break in a glove is to play a lot of catch. Also, try pounding the glove with a ball when you are watching TV or listening to a game on the radio.

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  3. To break in an ambidextrous glove - alternate days playing catch right- and left-handed. Put two baseballs in the glove when not in use.

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  4. Great advice coach, after I take my time machine back to 1940, I'll be sure to pound my glove while listening to the game on the radio! Might even add a wad of that healthy chewing tobacco so I can get that real authentic spit!

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  5. Good news switch pitching community: Akadema is now going to make a junior switch pitching ambidextrous glove for little kids: 9".

    Back Story

    I live in Toronto and we're huge Blue Jay fans. But my son Billy (throws both sides) and I are also huge Pat Venditte fans... and he's now a Blue Jay!! :-)). I have been trying to find ambidextrous gloves for a junior and got nowhere… Especially with Mizuno who made the original glove for Pat Venditte.

    I called Akadema and let them know that we couldn't get anywhere with Mizuno making a junior sized glove but would they make a custom junior glove? After a few back and forth's, some chuckles, and them realizing that when Pat Venditte made the Majors that they sold out of ALL of their ambidextrous gloves virtually overnight.

    We talked about the obvious contradiction of having an adult sized ambidextrous glove yet not having the junior sized: when did anyone expect ambidextrous pitchers to evolve if not when they were little kids?

    Of course, given our humorous and exciting banter, they figured out that I wasn't going to take no for an answer.

    And then when I told him that Mizuno wouldn't do anything, they agreed to do it.

    Awesome!

    We're now in the process of working out what type of leather, color combinations and other custom-like details… But we're very excited to say the least!

    Hats off to good old American customer service and business acumen. I have a feeling that they're going to sell a lot of the ambidextrous Junior gloves. Hats off to Akadema. This might be the only true innovation in baseball products today.

    And since you guys are the leading voices for the switch pitching community, I thought I would let you know right away.

    Call Akadema and ask for Ryan. 1-973-304-1470

    Dom
    416-887-5837

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dom did you receive the youth glove? It is almost may 2016 are Akadema Ambidextrous Glove available in youth? I think the 12 inch is too bog for my 10 year old.

    ReplyDelete