There are countless companies that make batting helmets for players of all ages and levels, but not all helmets are certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). The NOCSAE rating is essential for any ball player's safety, and you should make sure that any new helmet you buy has the certification sticker on it.
Softball Face Masks
Softball players also need to keep themselves protected when playing the sport they love. There are separate face masks made specifically for softball players that attach to most batting helmets. When you buy your face mask, try to find one that's the same brand as your batting helmet to ensure it fits perfectly without issue.
Batting Helmet Chin Straps
Chin straps on batting helmets are not seen at the professional level, but there are some leagues that require these for batting helmets. Chin straps usually don't come with a batting helmet, so you may need to buy one separately. Just like with the face mask, when you're buying a chin strap, look for one that's made by the same manufacturer as your helmet.
Attaching a chin strap to your helmet is pretty simple. You'll notice there are two button snaps on the front of the helmet on the lower corner of each side. The chin strap will snap onto these and give you added protection. Some people assume they can use straps from other sports on their baseball or softball batting helmet, but this is not the case. Chin straps that would be used on a football helmet usually contain extra straps that are not necessary for baseball or softball.
Why Do Batting Helmets Look Burnt?
Many fans who watch baseball and softball on TV often ask about the look of batting helmets. If you've ever wondered why batting helmets look burnt, there's a simple explanation. Batting helmets worn by professional ball players aren't burnt, but have this look because players rub pine tar on their bats, touch their bats, and then frequently re-adjust their helmets with their dirty hands. Some players even rub pine tar on their helmet to use as a backup in case they need to add more pine tar to their bat during an at-bat. By the end of a long season, this practice can lead to a faded, or burnt, look in the helmet.
Buying a batting helmet that fits properly is essential to making sure you're safe in the game. Knowing what to look for and how to find the perfect fit is the first step. Keep in mind, from a safety standpoint, generally the higher the price, the better the helmet. Players in high school, college, and beyond should always look for a helmet with high-density foam, since the speed and force of the game at this level is much greater, meaning any impact to your head could be much more dangerous.