A cup is one of the most overlooked, yet critically important pieces of protective equipment that you wear behind the plate.
This post goes into detail about cups for Baseball players, with reviews of our top four picks for catchers.
Our top overall pick is a tough, good quality cup. Keep scrolling to learn more...
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Best Cups for Catchers
Why Cups Are Important for Catchers
A cup is something that is pretty easily overlooked when the typical person first thinks about catcher's gear. Yet it is no less important than any other piece or protective gear, such as a facemask, chest protector or leg guards.
Simply put, cups are designed to protect a male's groin area from impact and injury caused by a baseball or other hard object.
One question that we hear a lot, especially from younger catchers, is this: do I have to wear a cup?
Our answer is, always, yes.
Leading healthcare authorities like the American Urological Foundation and Geisinger Health support this answer, as they write clearly about the importance for all males participating in contact sports to wear cups.
Considering that catchers have the most physically demanding (and most risky) position on the diamond, it becomes even more obvious that catchers need to always wear cups when playing behind the dish.
This is what it looks like when a catcher does not wear a cup and gets hit.
You do not want to be that guy, trust me.
How to Wear a Cup
Wearing a cup is actually pretty straightforward - you simply insert it into a pouch built in to a special supporter.
The types of supporters that you can use range from a jockstrap to compression shorts, to special briefs and even compression pants.
The choice of which type of supporter to wear is up to you. However, our preference is compression shorts, so that's what we'll be showing below.
What is a Catchers Cup?
A catchers cup is literally a cup that is worn by a Baseball catcher. Manufacturers do not currently make cups specifically for catchers, yet - due to the nature of the position - catchers should typically choose as their cup only the strongest and most high-quality cups available.
Throughout this post we use the term "catchers cup", and this is what we're referring to.
Best Protective Cup for Baseball Catchers
In our view, the best protective cup for Baseball players today is the Diamond MMA cup. This is an incredibly strong cup that can withstand a beating and still hold up well.
All of our picks for the best catchers cups currently on the market are:
- Diamond MMA (top overall pick)
- Shock Doctor Titan Alloy Flex (runner-up pick)
- Shock Doctor Ultra Pro Carbon Flex (best pick for affordability)
- The Comfy Cup (top pick for young catchers)
Below, you'll find reviews of these top picks for overall safety, for budget shoppers, and for very young catchers.
Read on to find out more...
Top Pick: Diamond MMA Cup
Our overall pick for the best protective cup for Baseball catchers
Although "MMA" is in its name, don't let that turn you away. This cup is high quality and tough, earning our top pick as the best overall cup for catchers.
Originally intended for use in the ring, MLB players are increasingly turning to this cup. Names like Willson Contreras, Kris Bryant, Jason Kipnis and Tim Federowicz are among its users among professional ballplayers.
Also, check out this video (look at the chair, and see the end...) showing legendary catcher Yadier Molina with the Diamond MMA cup! Hey, if it's good enough for Yadi...
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Getting back to the cup's specs, the Diamond MMA cup has a patent pending design that uses rigid polycarbonate polymer material as its core component. The blue outer edges are made of rubber, which helps to prevent major chafing and excess movement.
Speaking of that, one of the main things that stands out about this cup is that it really doesn't shift - especially when it is paired with the 4-strap compression shorts. This is so important for catchers, who are constantly crouching, throwing, standing, etc.
Lastly, the cup is long enough to cover the occasionally vulnerable areas underneath the scrotum, and it does so comfortably.
Practically has no shifting or movement
Made of very strong materials
Rubber edge for comfort
Designed to disperse shock away from point of impact
Costs more than the traditional cup
Front and Back Picture of a Diamond MMA Cup
Runner Up: Shock Doctor Titan Alloy Flex Cup
Our runner up cup pick for catchers
Shock Doctor is one of the world's leading manufacturers of sports protective equipment. The toughest cup they make is this one, the Titan Alloy Flex Cup.
The Titan Alloy is built with multiple protective layers, with a stainless steel alloy as its outermost layer. Despite its durability, it is relatively lightweight.
When struck, the cup is designed to distribute shock away from the point of impact. It is also designed, of course, not to break, as some plastic cups have been reported to do when violently struck.
The perimeter of the cup is an encased gel, keeping it from shifting too much and making it pretty comfortable to wear. In fact, several buyers have commented about this cup's high level of comfort.
However, one of its best overall qualities is that it is still a fairly affordable cup, making it a good option if you want a blend of cost and quality.
Comprised of numerous protective layers
The outermost layer is made of steel
Has a gel edge for comfort
Made to be shock dispersing
Protrudes a bit more than traditional plastic varieties
Brief Video Review of the Titan Alloy Flex Cup
Top Budget Pick: Shock Doctor Ultra Pro Carbon Flex
A solid low priced option for those on a tight budget
The Ultra Pro Carbon Flex cup uses three different layers to protect your groin from impact. The way it's built is intended to transfer shock away from the point of impact.
This cup has a curved yet flexible design with it's outer edge made of a comfortable gel material.
One characteristic to note is that it is more narrow between the legs than some other cups, which is something we like. It can be very uncomfortable when crouching behind the plate if you're wearing a cup that's too wide.
Arguably it's best selling point, however, is that the Ultra Pro Carbon Flex is incredibly affordable. If you are on a budget and need a cheap cup that's going to do the job for most ballplayers, then this is for you.
The Ultra Pro Carbon Flex cup currently comes in four different sizes based on age. Small is for kids aged nine or younger, medium for ages 10 - 14, and large and extra large generally for those 15 and older.
It has three layers for protection
Comfortable gel based edge
Is more narrow than some other bulkier cups
It's very affordable
Tends to run on the larger size
Does not use carbon fiber material
The Three Different Layers of the Ultra Pro Carbon Flex Cup
For Little Kids: Comfy Cup
Our pick for very young kids playing behind the plate
The Comfy Cup was designed by an 8 year old ballplayer who didn't care for the hard, plastic cup that he was forced to wear and wanted a more comfortable alternative.
The base material on this cup is a tough, "molded polyuerethane" foam. It has a mesh liner and a soft trim. It is amazingly lightweight, which no doubts contributes to the comfort factor.
This cup is also very flexible, so it bends and contours to your body much better than a "traditional" cup. It is also breathable, especially for a cup. The final "plus" is that it's very affordable.
Keep in mind that this cup is best for very young ballplayers, especially for those wearing a cup for the very first time. Its comfort will help them to get used to wearing a traditional cup. (Note: The manufacturer says it's for ages 7 - 11).
However, this cup does not stand up well to fast, direct hits and therefore is not recommend for kids catching fast pitching.
Once kids are playing at the level where pitches are coming in harder, we'd recommend moving to one of the stronger cups showcased above.
Super lightweight and breathable
It is flexible and does not restrict movement
Designed for kids, by a kid
Not the best choice for kids who catch fast pitchers
Brief Video Review of the Comfy Cup
Thank You for Reading!
We hope that this post and our reviews were helpful to you.
If you have any questions for us - whether it's about cups or catching in general - don't hesitate to reach out by heading over to the Contact Us page or by sending an email to scott [at] catchershome [dot] com.