A Catchers Face Mask protects the most vulnerable parts of their body. There are two options: the standard mask and hard shell cap and the full hockey style helmet. For most organizations, the single mask is no longer legal. Luckily, there are three important features of a good catchers face mask. They must comfortably protect, while also allowing clear visibility.
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The primary goal of catcher's gear is to safely protect the player. The part of the body subjected to the most danger is the head. Consequently, the catcher's helmet is strictly governed by a set of regulations. The helmet or cap must be tested to meet rigid safety standards. Skullcaps, after all, are essentially batting helmets worn backwards.
The alternative to the standard mask and cap is the full hockey style mask. All youth leagues and many adult organizations stipulate that catchers must wear the full helmet.
Sticking a bulky helmet on top of a catcher's head inhibits his or her ability to do their job. For that reason, catchers face mask designers have incorporated strategically placed ventilation and developed lightweight protective padding, which keeps the catcher comfortable.
Single masks have a forehead and jaw padding. Full hockey style helmets use dual-foam padding, covered with breathable mesh. It is critical that the helmet absorbs the impact of a ball, but it also needs to be breathable. Without good ventilation and breathable materials, the catcher's head would feel stuck in a bucket.
The final feature of a good mask is the face mask itself. A catcher needs to be able to have a clear view of the field. They need to be able to see the pitch primarily, but also must clearly see plays develop in front of them. Designers have incorporated hardened steel, coated with a protective layer for durability, and larger openings for improved visibility.