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7 Different Types of Baseballs By Age And For Training!

To an average baseball viewer, any ball that the game is played with may seem the same.

Truth be told, most of them do feel and look exactly alike.

However, those who played baseball, especially at different levels, are familiar with different types of baseballs.

Depending on the age group and the level of competition, they may have different weights, sizes, structures, and be manufactured differently.

Hard and heavy balls, normally used in the MLB, can lead to injuries if used in youth leagues, where players are not yet fully physically developed.

Also, using these balls at this level can cause kids to lose interest in the game.

Likewise, if pros were playing with balls intended for younger age groups, they wouldn’t be able to reach optimal performance.

So in this article I will go into the different types of baseballs. and what they are used for.

Different Types of Baseballs

Different Types of Baseballs Lying on the ground.

Baseball is made of three main parts: the inner core, wool or polyester windings around the core, and covering usually made of cowhide leather.

How these three parts are made determines the ball’s performance and safety properties.

When shopping for baseball, it’s important to know which ones are suitable for a certain level of competition.

I’ll go through different types of baseballs available on the market and explain what distinguishes each of them and who they are intended for.

Safety Baseballs

SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs, 2 Pack, White Pearl
6,627 Reviews
SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs, 2 Pack, White Pearl
  • Reduced impact training balls provide an authentic baseball look with soft, cushioned construction
  • Helps youth players build confidence by reducing fear about impact
  • Same size and visual cues as standard baseballs for effective training
  • Comes with 2 Safety Balls
  • Standard baseball circumference of 9 inches

Last update on 2023-08-31 at 18:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As you can tell by their name, these balls are made with safety as the top priority. They’re designed for use in the youngest age group of baseball players.

This means kids ages 4 to 8, playing tee ball or similar starter competitions.

The main characteristic that differs them from the other kinds of baseballs is their softness. When held in the hand, they’re noticeably softer and, also, lighter than other ball types.

Of, course, they don’t offer much in terms of performance or distance and speed, but they’re not meant to.

What’s important is that they’re safe and won’t put kids at injury risk in the earliest stage of their development.

They’re designed to be used with light aluminum bats and help kids develop their technique. Safety baseballs are commonly made of synthetic materials and are rather inexpensive.

Reduced Injury Factor Baseballs

Rawlings | RIF Little League Training Baseballs | 12 Count | Level 5 (Ages 7-10)...
24 Reviews
Rawlings | RIF Little League Training Baseballs | 12 Count | Level 5 (Ages 7-10)...
  • Little League baseballs designed to reduce injuries
  • Firm center core and leather covers for durability
  • NOCSAE Level 2, RIF 10; recommended for ages 12 and under
  • Designed for training use
  • Approved by the NOCSAE

Last update on 2023-09-01 at 14:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reduced Injury Factor baseballs offer a higher performance level compared to safety baseballs while still keeping injury risk low.

RIF balls are a relatively new addition to the baseballs market with the role of bridging the gap between safety and regulation balls as the young players develop.

They feature a polyurethane core and are still softer than the regulation baseballs but offer a feel and bounce similar to them.

These balls are designed for different ages and are grouped by the SEV Index or SEVerity Index.

This index indicates the impact force of the ball as it comes in contact with a player. It starts at TEE level and goes up to Level 10.

For the youngest kids, the suitable levels are TEE or one level higher. Middle schoolers, for example, commonly use balls with SEV Index level 8.

Youth Tournament Baseballs

Rawlings | LITTLE LEAGUE Competition Grade Baseballs | RLLB1 | Youth/14U |...
2,058 Reviews
Rawlings | LITTLE LEAGUE Competition Grade Baseballs | RLLB1 | Youth/14U |...
  • Designed for Little League Youth Baseball Leagues, Ages 14 and Under
  • Raised seasms offer easier, improved grip
  • Composite Cork and Rubber Center
  • Durable Full Grain Leather Cover
  • Box of 6 competition grade balls

Last update on 2023-08-31 at 18:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As young players get a bit older, they make the transition to youth tournament baseballs.

These are the balls used in the Little League and are intended for kids ages 8 to 14.

Youth tournament baseballs normally feature cork center, wool windings, and leather covering, but are wound less tightly compared to balls used by adults.

However, they’re not soft as the baseballs used in the youngest age groups. These balls are meant to be paired with youth-size aluminum bats.

High-School and College Baseballs

Rawlings | NFHS NOCSAE High School Game Baseballs | R100-H3 | Game/Practice Use...
362 Reviews
Rawlings | NFHS NOCSAE High School Game Baseballs | R100-H3 | Game/Practice Use...
  • High school baseballs with durable full-grain leather construction
  • Rawlings raised seams offer improved grip over flat-seam baseballs
  • Cushioned cork center
  • 15% wool windings
  • The official baseball of NFHS

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Logically, these are the balls used in high-school and collegiate leagues. In many ways, they’re similar to professional baseballs.

Still, they’re not as dense and are a bit lighter. Also, they should be used with aluminum bats, not the wooden ones which pros use.

Like the pro balls, high-school and college base bass have a pill with a cork center that is wrapped in wool yarn.

However, besides leather, the covering can also be made of high-quality synthetic material.

Professional Baseballs

Rawlings | Official 2023 Major League Baseball | Display Case Included | MLB |...
  • The official 2023 Major League Baseball game ball is carefully crafted with the finest materials and to the exact...
  • Ideal for baseball fans and collectors of all ages
  • Outstanding durability and genuine feel, this authentic Major League Baseball features a full-grain leather cover and...
  • Perfect for Major League Baseball player autographs, it features the authentic Major League Baseball logo, Rawlings...
  • Clear display case with embedded uv protection made of transparent crystal styrene will keep your ball in perfect...

Last update on 2023-08-30 at 07:04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Finally, we come to the balls used by the pros, in the MLB and Minor Leagues.

Of course, the MLB uses baseballs of the highest quality, while minors are one notch below except for the Triple-A level which uses the same balls as in the majors.

To satisfy the high quality standards required by the MLB, the balls have to use the high-grade cowhide leather covering.

Also, the seams are not flat or raised but rolled. In addition, the core is tightly wound in three layers of wool yarn and one layer of yarn made of the high-quality polyester-cotton blend.

These baseballs are designed to be used by highly skilled players and offer the most optimal performance.

Practice Baseballs

Rawlings | Official League Recreational Use Practice Baseballs | Youth | Bag of...
  • Designed for Recreational Use, this bag of 12 official league baseballs features a solid cork and rubber center, making...
  • Ideal for ages 8 and under
  • Easy to transport thanks to the convenient mesh carrying bag
  • Easy to grip due to the synthetic leather cover and raised seams

Last update on 2023-08-30 at 07:04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Using high-quality and expensive game balls in practice would be extremely costly, no matter the level of competition.

For this reason, players at all levels use special practice balls.

They don’t match the quality of regular balls nor do they offer the same performance, but are much cheaper and can be easily replaced.

Usually, these balls are made of synthetic materials which makes them very practical and useful when it rains during practice.

Depending on the age group, and the level of competition these balls vary in softness, weight, and fly at different speeds.

Weighted Baseballs

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Lately, weighted balls designed specifically for training have been gaining a lot of popularity. A lot of coaches endorse them as they believe that they help improve arm strength.

Weighted baseballs look more or less the same as the regular balls. However, they weigh significantly more than the standard five ounces.

These balls are mostly used for specialized pitching training programs.

The purpose of these special training regimes is to help pitchers improve their technique or increase pitching velocity.

There’s been a lot of debate in baseball circles on how safe these types of practices are.

For safety reasons, younger players start with balls only a bit heavier than standard, usually 6-12 ounces.

As their body develops and their arm gains strength, they’re ready to move on to heavier weighted baseballs.


With so many types and brands of baseballs on the market, shopping for them can often feel overwhelming.

Hopefully, this guide can help clear some of the confusion and improve your understanding of what type of ball you actually need.

Whether you play baseball yourself or are a parent of a budding young player, purchasing new baseballs can quickly drain your budget.

That’s why it’s important to get it right and have a ball appropriate for the age group and competition level.

Every ball type is designed with a specific group activity in mind and offers most for that purpose when it comes to safety, development, and performance.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

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