Youth Glove vs Adult Glove Question (Rawlings Liberty Advanced)

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Mar 17, 2023
Hello forum. I am glad I found this valuable resource. First time poster and new member here. Yes, I did use the search function and read some threads before posting this!

My question is thus:

My daughter plays 9U travel fastpitch. She plays Pitcher and Shortstop and is tall / muscular for her age. She is 4' 7" and weighs 75 lbs.... turning 9 next month (plays up a level). She is a very good player and is very strong for her age. She needs a new glove. I want to know if it's OK to get her an 11.75" Rawlings 2023 Liberty Advanced Color Series, or buy a youth glove that she will almost certainly grow out of in a year or two. She trains 6 days a week, has great nutrition, and is growing like a weed.

I found a review that listed pros and cons for the Liberty Advanced... a con was that it was "designed for smaller hands"... a pro was that "it comes 70% broken in".

I called Rawlings and a Customer Service Rep directed us to an R9 and said she was not ready for the Liberty Advanced. She is about the size of an average 10.5 year old. Can someone chime in and help me figure out if I am jumping the gun by purchasing an adult glove? By the way, our organization has a 20% Off Dick's coupon this weekend... and we can get the Liberty for $159.99 plus tax instead of $199.99 plus tax. Free steaming as well. Is the steaming OK to do?

I know she would like the colorway options of the Liberty... which had a bit to do with the brand / model selection admittedly. IF folks here say it's ok to proceed with this glove, I would love to have it customized, but that option is only available if you buy through Rawlings... and we don't have the extra time to wait, and it would cost $60 more than going with the Dick's price.

Sorry for all the questions. Appreciate everyone's help. I have seen alot of knowledgeable replies by folks such as Annasdad, and others. Wishing all of your daughters a great start to the Spring Season (unless my daughter is the mound... then I would have to wish upon them a parade of whiffs...) Just kidding. (not really).
Aug 15, 2021
You'll probably get some great glove advice from glove experts here. My 2 cents is that Liberty is to expensive and more glove than an 8 year old needs. You'll have plenty of things to use that money over the coming years. Also don't steam the glove. You'll should work it with a mallet, ball and just playing catch.
May 16, 2016
Rawlings gloves come in one of two hand stall sizes. Standard and Youth Pro Taper.

The Standard Liberty Advanced are definitely not "designed for smaller hands". I use a LA Softball catchers mitt, because it fit my bucket Dad hands the best of any I tried on.

I imagine most of the gloves you would find in a brick and mortar store are Standard.



DFP Vendor
Jun 29, 2021
At that age, you can save the money and go with the R9 or the LA. The R9 is a step below the LA, and it won't last as long. If you take good care of it, expect two years out of the R9. With the LA, expect 3-4.

There are several vendors on here who can save you money off retail, myself included, but the Dick's price is competitive with the coupon.

Both gloves will break in pretty quickly, so they should be good in a few weeks. I agree that you should not steam the mitt. A mallet and having a catch are the best things you can do to break it in. Also, avoid putting your hand in the finger stalls. You want it broken in to fit her hand, not yours.
Jul 29, 2013
North Carolina
So today she's 8, right? I'm the worst person to ask advice for a glove for a 8 year old, they tend to not like bricks!

Here's my take, at her age only two things matter....snug fit and her ability to easily close her glove, that's it, period! Don't get hung up on how long this new glove will last, it don't matter, the next coming years so many things change! Her body, her size, her hand size, her playing ability, her outlook towards softball, and on and on!

Get something cheap that works for her now and replace it when needed. And if you want to step it up some, I'd contact Jeff at Bradley Gloves and tell him your situation, tell him about your DD and see what he says.

And like a few of the guys have already NOT steam it, and always keep your hand and her coaches hand out of it!! It's amazing how some coaches feel they just have to stuff their Bear paw inside of one of their players new ball glove??

So using an 11" ball, what size glove have you been looking at? I'm thinking 11.5", but 11.75" at the very largest!
Jun 8, 2016
Look at the Bradley Igniter series gloves. They have 11.5” gloves which should be fine for an 11” ball.

My 8 YO son has a 10.5” version which fits his smallish hand nicely.
Last edited:
Sep 19, 2018
So today she's 8, right? I'm the worst person to ask advice for a glove for a 8 year old, they tend to not like bricks!

Here's my take, at her age only two things matter....snug fit and her ability to easily close her glove
Don't forget she might want to like the color.
Feb 14, 2019
As Pattar suggested, look at what Bradley has to offer. They seem to last about two years of extensive use for my DD. The leather is good quality, but doesn't take forever to break in; the fit is excellent and they're reasonably priced.
Oct 26, 2019
My 12yo DD has an 11.75” youth pro taper LA and loves it. She has had it since she was 9. The attached pic is before & after we had it relaced and conditioned this past winter.


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