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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.

Different Types of Baseballs

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
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SKLZ Soft Cushioned Safety Baseballs, 2 Pack
  • 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 2021-10-27 at 07:26 / 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

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Rawlings Youth Tball or Training Baseball, Box of 12 T-balls, TVB
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Rawlings Youth Tball or Training Baseball, Box of 12 T-balls, TVB
  • Designed for indoor/outdoor TBall training, this 12 pack of TVB balls are official size and weight compared to standard...
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  • Durable synthetic leather cover allows players to continually train with these baseballs
  • Sponge and rubber center gives them a cushioned feel that are safer for younger, beginner players

Last update on 2021-10-27 at 07:26 / 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 Youth Baseballs, Box of 6 Balls, RLLB1
1,409 Reviews
Rawlings Little League Competition Grade Youth Baseballs, Box of 6 Balls, RLLB1
  • 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

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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

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Rawlings Raised Seams Official NFHS High School Baseballs, 12 Count, R100-H3 ,...
  • 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

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Rawlings Official 2021 Baseball of Major League Baseball (MLB), with Display...
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Rawlings Official 2021 Baseball of Major League Baseball (MLB), with Display...
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Last update on 2021-10-27 at 00:26 / 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 OLB3BAG12 Official League Recreational Use Baseballs, Bag of 12, White
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Rawlings OLB3BAG12 Official League Recreational Use Baseballs, Bag of 12, White
  • Designed for Recreational Use, this bag of 12 official league baseballs features a solid cork and rubber center, making...
  • Ideal for ages 8 & under
  • Easy to transport thanks to the convenient mesh carrying bag
  • Easy to grip due to the synthetic leather cover and raised seams
  • Official size and weight making them the No.1 choice of leagues, coaches, parents, and players in North America

Last update on 2021-10-27 at 07:26 / 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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160 Reviews
ProNine Heavy Weighted Training Baseball Ball for Pitching and Throwing Practice...
  • ProNine heavy weighted baseball for pitching and throwing training
  • ProNine weighted ball is 10 ounces in weight to help you develop greater arm strength
  • This weighted baseball consists of a durable leather cover with a cork/rubber center
  • Great trainer product for helping your pitchers, infielders, outfielders, and catchers develop greater arm strength

Last update on 2021-10-27 at 07:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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.

Conclusion

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.

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