How To Choose a Baseball Catcher Helmet
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As usual, you need to pick something relative to your age level and experience or competitiveness in the sport. For serious high school students or adults, this means buying a solid iron, plastic combination helmet. Depending on your needs and style, you basically have two choices, the newer form or older form.
The older form is probably the most identified catcher style since it has been around the longest and is still used. This model is fine for any level, but requires you to also have a batters helmet separate from the actual mask. Unlike most modern helmets that are a bit lighter and fit more securely, you will need to also remove your mask to catch pop-ups or foul balls when necessary, which may be something you want to consider. The new-school models allow for more comfort, sight and mobility and hardly require a catcher to remove the mask and helmet to do these things unless they prefer each time.
Since the older mask style is 2 pieces (a mask and helmet), it is usually not as secure and harder to wear. The newer style also adds more shock-absorbing material with plastic and padding like a football helmet, unlike the older style which is just padding and metal bars.
The newer style helmets are also more sleek and appealing. It really depends on personal preference. Both are effective and the newer one was developed for better reasons to improve function, comfort, safety etc..., but there are some who still enjoy the old style for the look and the old-school feel that comes with it.
Also, depending on what you want to spend, the older style is usually cheaper for the quality. The new style also provides better security within one single unit and is readily adjustable for most sizes. Rather than two separate pieces, the helmet is composed of a single all encompassing mask with a small back plate attached by elastic bands for adjusting the size.
I suggest trying out both. If you like the feel of the older, more open mask with slightly less protection, and the simplicity of the design, then going with the older style will work fine.
If you want something that fits better and feels more secure, and don't mind having your head completely encased during the hot days of summer, this model of mask would work best for you and function just fine.
Both are equally effective, but each adds or removes some small differences that could really change a players functionality when performing at the highest level, and need to be greatly considered prior to purchase.
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As with all technology and sporting equipment, baseball catcher's gear has improved over the years to become safer and more efficient to use. Catcher's helmets have now taken more of a hockey helmet form and provide greater face coverage without sacrificing comfort.