For those who are just getting started in baseball, one question that quickly comes up is “what should I wear to baseball practice?” Some coaches have a strong preference for what their players wear to practices, some coaches have general guidelines, and some coaches don’t care at all. If this is your first time being on the team then you might be wondering what baseball players wear to practice.
In general, baseball players should wear a hat, t-shirt, cleats, and long pants to practice. The long pants can be either baseball pants or sweatpants that allow the player to slide during practices. Some optional pieces of clothing include sliding shorts and jewelry.
For the rest of this article, I’ll cover the clothing items that players of all levels should wear to baseball practices as well as some of the optional articles of clothing. I’ll also go over some of the preferences coaches can have when it comes to dressing for baseball practices, both from what I’ve experienced and from what I’ve heard while talking to other players.
What All Players Should Wear for Baseball Practices
After playing baseball on multiple teams for multiple coaches, I know from experience that different teams have different preferences on what to wear for baseball practices. The clothing items that seem to be fairly universal across all teams are that players wear a hat, long pants, cleats (if outside), and an appropriate shirt.
Baseball hats are a traditional part of a player’s uniform and they should be worn to every practice.
If you’re a player who already has a team hat, then wearing a team hat is the most appropriate hat to wear to practice. If it’s towards the very beginning of the season and team hats have not yet been distributed to each player, then any normal baseball hat will do the trick.
Sometimes, coaches will allow their players to wear any kind of baseball hat to practice. This approach can be beneficial for players who accidentally forgot their team hat and are just using any baseball cap they can find for practice.
The view on wearing a team hat to practice vs a non-team hat can vary from coach to coach. If this is a concern for players then they’ll want to chat with the coach to make sure everyone understands what’s expected.
On cold days, most coaches allow their players to wear beanies instead of baseball hats. Some teams hand out beanies with their team logo on them, but really any type of appropriate beanie will work on those cold days.
On rare occasions, a team will have practice jerseys assigned to them. But for the vast majority of teams out there, it’s very common for a player to wear any type of appropriate t-shirt to practice. It’s also very uncommon for baseball players to wear their game jerseys to practice.
Ideally, players will wear a normal t-shirt that they don’t mind gets dirty from sliding. Shirts can also get small holes from diving in practices so players should wear shirts that they are ok with replacing if something were to happen.
And most of all, the shirt should be an appropriate shirt. Meaning, no shirts with foul language and no shirts with inappropriate images. And, although this is uncommon, I’ve also heard some coaches go as far as not allowing shirts with music-related themes.
On cold days, players can wear hoodies or other long sleeve shirts. These will follow the same general guidelines as t-shirts, which is that they must have appropriate language and images on them.
When in doubt about what type of apparel is expected, be sure to check with your coach.
Baseball cleats are a necessary part of any baseball player’s uniform and should always be worn to outdoor practices. If the practice is indoors, regular tennis shoes should be worn.
The cleats players use in practice can be the exact same cleats that a player would use in a game. Unless playing at a highly competitive level, it is very uncommon for baseball players to have multiple pairs of cleats.
When wearing the same cleats to practice that you would use in a game, you’re allowing yourself to get comfortable with the cleats you have while also breaking them in before using them in a game.
Long pants are required for any weather in baseball. In the game of baseball, players need to be ready to dive and slide during any play so wearing longs pants is a must.
The long pants that are worn to baseball practices can be sweatpants, track pants, or traditional baseball pants. Basically, any type of athletic pants can be worn that will allow the player to comfortably slide and dive.
Jeans are not considered athletic pants and should not be worn to baseball practices.
On occasion, coaches will give players a heads up that they are able to wear shorts during one day of practice. Coaches may decide to let their players wear shorts because the practice is inside or because it’s way too hot outside and they’re not planning on doing any type of drills that require players to slide. But overwhelmingly, coaches will require their players to wear some type of long, athletic pants to practice.
Optional Clothing Players can Wear to Practices
Sliding shorts are very common for baseball players to wear in games, but not all players wear sliding shorts during practices.
If a player decides to wear baseball pants to practice, then sliding shorts may be a good idea. But if a player has some other type of athletic pants they are wearing and they feel more comfortable without sliding shorts, then sliding shorts would not be necessary for that player.
Wearing sliding shorts to practice can be classified as a player’s preference.
When playing baseball, some players like to wear jewelry while others don’t. Some coaches allow their players wear jewelry while others don’t. On that same note, some baseball leagues allow players to wear jewelry during games while others don’t allow it.
If you’re in a league that allows players to wear jewelry during games, then the decision on whether or not to wear jewelry usually comes down to player’s preference.
For example, I had a necklace in high school, but I would remove the necklace before each game and before each practice because I was worried it would get damaged or it would accidentally fall off. Today, I’m playing in a few adult baseball leagues and I’ll practice and play while wearing my wedding ring. I don’t notice my wedding ring while I’m playing and it hasn’t fallen off my hand in any games (so far).
Some Coaches Have a Preference on How Their Players Dress for Baseball Practice
Most baseball coaches have only a handful of general rules to follow when their players are dressing for practices. If you’re participating in a baseball league like T-Ball, Little League, or High School then following the general guidelines above on what to wear will usually be all you need to know to get you ready for practice.
Although on occasion, players in any level of baseball could run into a coach who has a strong preference for what their players wear to practices. These specific rules are sometimes not known until the first few days of practice.
There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of coaches who have a strong preference for how their players dress for practice. To give you an example of what some of those scenarios could be, I’ve written down what I’ve witnessed as a player and what I’ve heard other people say their coaches required for practices.
Long-Sleeved Shirt to Every Practice
When I was playing baseball in high school, my coaches required all baseball players to wear long-sleeved shirts to practices. Regardless of whether it was cold outside or there was a heat wave, all players on the team were required to wear a long-sleeved shirt to all practices.
This seemed odd to a lot of the team because our game jerseys were short-sleeved shirts, but this is how our coach wanted our team to dress for baseball practice.
Practice Jerseys that Match
Some players have played on teams where their coach wanted everyone to wear matching jerseys to practice. This jersey was different from the game jersey – this was a separate practice jersey that all players would wear during each practice. In this instance, the coach liked the idea of the team dressing like a team during practices.
Shirts Always Tucked In
In another instance, a coach wanted the entire team to tuck in their shirts during practices. The motivation behind this rule was that because players needed to tuck in their shirts during games, they should also practice with their shirts tucked in.
Game Uniforms Worn for All Practices
In a more extreme example, one coach required the team to wear their actual game uniforms to every practice.
Personally, I’ve never been on a team or seen another team where the coach required his players to wear game jerseys to practice, but from what I’ve heard, this coach had the philosophy that you need to practice like you play. So if you’re going to play a game with a certain uniform, you should also practice in that uniform.
I have a feeling this type of rule is rare when it comes to dressing for practice in baseball, but I think it’s a good example of how different coaches have different philosophies when it comes to baseball practice.
Although this can certainly vary from coach to coach, one general rule that is probably more common than others is that some coaches don’t want their players wearing any jewelry to practices.
The reasons can range from coaches not wanting kids to break their jewelry, to coaches not wanting a finger to accidentally get caught up in another player’s jewelry, or that the rules prevent players from wearing jewelry during games.
As it turns out, there are a lot of leagues below the MLB that have some type of rule around wearing jewelry during games. If you’re in a league that has rules around not wearing jewelry during games, then it would make sense to not wear that jewelry during practices.