Junior Equipment Guide

Junior Equipment Guide



Introduction

We are regularly asked about the equipment that is required for junior hardball cricketers. We have put together a useful guide below that can help parents to buy the correct items. Safety is of paramount importance when supervising children's cricket, and we take this very seriously at our club. There are 8 essential hardball equipment items all explained here.

Junior players cannot take part in hardball cricket if we think their equipment is inappropriate. Too often we see children with equipment that is of poor quality, too big and too heavy. The wrong equipment has a very detrimental effect on developing cricketers. This guide can help you in selecting the appropriate equipment for your child.

Bats

1 Bat

The most important thing with a bat is to get the right size and weight. Do not buy a bat in the mistaken belief that your child will “grow into it” – this does not work for cricket bats. Using a bat that is too big can have a seriously negative impact on development. It makes coaching technique and hitting the ball very difficult.

As a general rule bats should be lightweight. The player must be able to pick it up comfortably and play a few shadow shots with the top hand only. Size 3 & 4 bats should ideally weigh in the 1lb 12oz - 2lbs range. Size 5 & 6 bats should weigh in the range between 1lb 14oz to 2lb 2oz. Size Harrow (H) bats should weigh between 2lb 2oz – 2lb 6oz. For the taller/bigger boys in U15-U17 using a full size bat, look for one that is no heavier than 2lb 8oz or possibly 2lb 9oz. 

Please note that brands such as GM have an additional size that fits between a Harrow and full size bat, called Academy and Small Mens. The Academy and Small Mens size bats feel significantly lighter than a full size and are a great option when playing with a full size bat may just be too heavy and difficult to play with.

VKS in Ealing have a large selection of junior bats and can advise on the best size and weight to opt for. Please remember the pick up and balance is as important as the scale weight. Often one bat that is heavier on the scales than another bat, can actually feel lighter thanks to the way its been made. This is an advantage as weight is what gives the bat power.

Bats vary in quality. The different grade of willow will be reflected in the price. If you buy a bat for under £50 the chances are that it will not be made of English willow, but of Kashmir Willow, which is fine for softball, but for hardball cricket you should buy an English Willow bat.

Batting Legguards

2 Pads

As you will notice, there is a very wide price range for protective equipment. You should look at the standard of cricket being played as a guide to what's appropriate. For beginners at U10 level the popular ambi pads in the £25-£30 range are normally sufficient as the bowling faced will not be as quick.

However from U13 and upwards as players get bigger so to does the speed at which the ball is bowled, meaning significantly higher impact speeds. It is here that pads in the £35-£50 price range become more relevant.

As you pay more for pads they not only become more protective, but also more comfortable, lighter, and wrap around the leg better making it much easier to run.

Batting Gloves

3 Gloves

In cricket the hands are among the most vulnerable parts of the batsman. The better the glove, the more comfortable it will be with better protection - again look at £20 or so for kids starting out in hardball cricket at U10. But those playing at a much higher standard or against faster bowling should look at gloves in the £30 - £50 range.
 

Helmet

4 Helmet

This is one of the most important pieces of equipment for two reasons; firstly and most obviously because it protects your child's head and secondly because he or she will not be allowed to play hardball cricket without wearing one.

The ECB recently changed it's guidelines for helmets and the relevant British standard to a newly updated specification. Too often we see children with poorly fitting or unsafe helmets. Your child only has one head, it's worth protecting properly.


Cricket helmets have undergone a transformation in recent years to make them much safer, specifically to avoid facial injuries and concussions. Brands such as GM, Masuri and Shrey make some of the best junior helmets with prices starting from £40.

Thigh Pad

5 Thigh Pad

Every player should use a thigh pad - a cricket ball on the thigh is extremely painful even for adults. 
Thigh pads come in two types, the first being a plain old fashioned thigh pad and the second an all-in-one inner and outer thigh protector. The latter is extremely popular and is very easy to put on - we highly recommend these. Prices for the standard style thigh pad start at around £10 and for the all in one style start at £25.

Abdo Guard

6 Abdo Guard & 7 Box Briefs

This is also known as a box and protects the delicate area between the legs. Players are not allowed to bat in hardball cricket without one. There is also a female version of the abdo guard. Broadly speaking most Abdo Guards are very similar. However, in order for them to fit securely and not move around while batting, you should also purchase a pair of box briefs – these have a pouch for the box to fit securely inside.

Cricket Shoes

8 Cricket Footwear

There are two types of cricket footwear. Cricket shoes with a dimpled rubber sole, and cricket shoes with spikes. For most younger junior players the dimpled sole shoes are good enough and can also be used on artificial surfaces such as astro-turf nets and astro-turf pitches. As juniors get older and bigger, spikes become more necessary, particularly in wet or damp conditions. 

Please note that spiked footwear cannot be used in nets or on astro turf pitches. If you have a pair of spikes you will also need a pair of rubber dimple soled shoes. Please remember wearing a pair of good quality cricket socks is recommended. These will add to comfort during long games and training sessions.

And Finally
..and finally

If in doubt, please speak to one of the coaches. We are here to help. Alternatively the staff at VKS will gladly advise on the correct size and equipment to choose.

VKS
31 Bond Street
Ealing
W5 5AS

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
You can also order online for next day delivery: www.vks.com