Last updated on June 21st, 2023 at 11:09 am
A baseball glove is the most integral part of a baseball or softball players’ life, and they tend to have a special connection with their mitts. Although it is imperative to choose the right baseball glove according to your skills and position, breaking in a baseball glove is mandatory in each case. As most leather baseball gloves are pretty stiff, a little breaking in is required to ensure that your glove is game-ready. This will probably make you wonder how to break in a baseball glove. Therefore, we have mentioned various ways and tips to get it done quickly that are discussed below.
Even though it takes quite a time to shape the glove according to your style to become completely comfortable with it when you have chosen the glove according to your position or playing style, the next step is to ensure that it fits you perfectly and is comfortable. Breaking in the glove makes you customize your baseball glove according to your hands, enhancing your game performance. It can eliminate any stiffness from the glove and create a hand pocket to catch the ball efficiently.
As most of the efficient baseball gloves might cost you a couple of hundred dollars, players or parents of the young players worry about breaking in a new baseball glove or taking care of it. Breaking in the baseball glove properly promises comfort and enhances game performance and the long life of your baseball glove. However, it is essential to know the effective ways to do the task to avoid ruining your favorite glove. So, we have listed below all the information you will need and the best way to break in a glove for your convenience.
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Importance of Breaking in the Baseball Glove
If you have ever used a brand new baseball glove made out of actual cowhide or steerhide, you might be aware of the importance of breaking in a baseball glove. But if you haven’t experienced any such thing, you might know that leather is pretty stiff. Considering the stiffness and rigidity of the leather, it is almost impossible to squeeze in a while catching. Also, it will bounce the ball back as if it is some brick. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to make a catch with a new stiff leather baseball glove.
The breaking in time of the leather baseball gloves might vary depending upon the grade of leather that they have been manufactured from. It can take some days or even weeks if the leather is more thick and rigid. A variety of baseball gloves can be seen in the market made out of synthetic leather, which is pretty easy to break in or even some of them are game-ready, i.e., they do not require any breaking in.
Step-by-step Instructions on Breaking in a Baseball Glove
Now that you have your hands on your dreamy perfect baseball glove, it is time to customize it according to your hands so that you can perform some extraordinary catches. Without wasting any more time, let’s dig into the instructions on breaking in a baseball glove.
Moistening the Glove
The first step of this procedure is to moisten your baseball glove. Various baseball glove oils are available in the market that can help you in this step. Put a small amount of the glove oil on a sponge and apply it on the stiff part of the glove or the part you want to soften more. Ensure that you do not use the glove oil directly on the glove, as it can be very concentrated and might leave your glove heavy and wet.
Another way of moistening the glove is by pouring a small amount of hot water on the stiff part of your glove. This is relatively a more accessible and more convenient way to moisten the glove. Also, it is essential to notice that you should avoid placing your baseball glove inside the microwave oven and not use detergents on it. These factors might cause damage to the glove.
Treat the Stiffest or Rigid Parts of the Glove
Now that you have saturated your baseball glove with glove oil or warm water, the next step is to work on the stiffest and most rigid parts of it. For this purpose, you will have to bend your thumb and pinky finger. First, you will have to pull a pinky finger towards each other and then away from each other. It is done on the stiff parts of the glove and is the best way to break in a glove and soften the rigid features.
Once your thumb and pinky are in position, squeeze them together and push down your back fingers while squeezing the palm liner. Now, stretch the webtop by pulling it. Make sure you repeat this process around six to eight times before your glove dries out. This technique has proven very beneficial in treating the rigid parts of leather baseball gloves.
Softening the Baseball Glove
It is a fact that all the leather products soften up with use. Therefore, the more you use your leather baseball glove, the more it will soften up, but this process can be time-consuming. To cut short this softening period, you can use a wooden mallet or five lb. neoprene dumbbell to shape the pocket where you would catch the ball. Also, pound the web to create a fold where you want to break in the glove. With this, you will have a pleasant valley or pocket to catch the ball. Now that you have your fine bag created make sure to iron out all the undesirable wrinkles to get a fine pocket finish.
If you don’t have a mallet or a dumbbell, you can also use a ball to soften the baseball glove. For this, you will have to throw the ball into the pocket of the glove continuously for around thirty times before your baseball glove dries out. The pocket also ensures to conform the leather according to your hand, thus providing a comfortable feel that will lead you to your high performance in the game.
Shaping the Baseball Glove
The breaking in of the glove involves the shaping of it as well. Shaping your glove will help to create a good pocket that will enhance your performance as a catcher. To shape your baseball glove:
- Take a ball and put it in the pocket that you have already created in your glove.
- Tie three rubber bands around your glove in an ‘X’ shape, overlapping each other.
- Make sure that these bands aren’t too tight.
After you have tied your glove with bands, let it sit for around four to five hours. This will help keep the pocket shape of your glove even after your glove dries out. Even after removing the ball, you will have to pound the pocket once again to help maintain the delicate shape of the ball you wanted to create. With this shape, you can effectively enhance your performance in the game field along with feeling comfortable.
Practice with your Glove
Although the techniques mentioned above can effectively help you to break in your baseball glove, nothing can still beat real practice. As we have talked about above, the leather softens up with extensive use; therefore, if you want to break into your glove finely, make sure to practice a lot with it. You can play catch consistently to break in your leather baseball glove, which will help adjust it according to your hand and make you comfortable.
Playing catch with your glove both indoors and outdoors will get you familiar with the glove as well as the glove will also get acquainted with your hand and gaming style. No doubt oils, creams, and other tips help break in the stiff gloves, but for actual game experiences, the real tossing cannot be beaten. So, if you are not satisfied with the glove oil or cream and nothing makes you feel comfortable enough, this might be the way to go.
Make Sure to Condition your Glove Throughout
Breaking in the glove for once is not enough; it is essential that you consistently take care of your baseball glove. Conditioning a baseball glove with a glove oil or cream now and then during the season is essential as it ensures that your glove is clean and protected and adds to the durability of the glove. So, make sure to condition your glove once in a while so that you can get the best performance from it.
Moreover, it would help if you also considered placing your baseball glove at a safe spot or inside your home when not in use. Because keeping the glove in your car or garage can cause damage to the leather and the glove. This will help maintain your baseball glove that will, in return, improve its life span as well. Also, you should make sure that you treat your glove before you put it away during the offseason.
Things that Shouldn’t Be Done While Breaking in a Glove
You can find many ways on the internet that promise an efficient breaking-in of leather baseball gloves. But all of them are not as effective and also might cause severe damage to your glove. Now that you know how to soften a baseball glove, we have listed below some things you should avoid while breaking in your glove.
Do not put it in a Microwave or Bake it
No doubt, if you microwave your leather glove for a while, you will see it soften up, but as the hot air inside the oven is dry, it will significantly damage the glove once it is out of the microwave oven. Also, if you bake your baseball glove in an oven, all moisture will be sucked. And when your glove dries up, it will become tough and even brittle.
Do not leave the glove in the car
Like an oven, people think that as cars also get heated up when parked in the sun, it might be suitable for your gloves. This is not the case, and it will dry up your baseball glove to the extent that it won’t be fixed by any of the glove oils or conditioners.
Do not put your glove under a mattress
It is also a well-known trick that the glove gets shaped due to pressure under the mattress. People might think it is similar to the wrapping of the glove with the rubber bands method, but it is not. If you put your glove under a mattress, all you will have will be a flat leather glove.
Do not use shaving cream
In the past times, shaving creams were highly recommended to break in the gloves. It was because they contained lanolin, natural oil known for conditioning leather or conditioning a baseball glove. But with time, the ingredients of shaving creams have changed, and now they contain a bunch of chemicals that might be harmful to your leather gloves.
Q: How do you break in a glove?
To break in a glove ASAP, you can put hot water onto the stiff part and treat it with your thumb and pinky finger. Now, put a glove oil onto it using a sponge. Place a ball inside the pocket and tie the glove with rubber bands; now, let the glove sit for a while. Steaming the glove can be a straightforward and quick way to break in, but it is terrible for your glove’s fabric.
Q: How do MLB players break in their gloves?
All the MLB players, along with other professional players, use all kinds of unconventional methods to break in their stiff leather baseball gloves. Some of them place the glove in hot water, some tie them up with rubber bands, while some treat them with conditioners and oils.
Q: What is the most accessible baseball glove to break in?
The baseball gloves made with top-grain are not just the easiest ones to break in but are also high performance and durable.
Q: What should you not break in a baseball glove?
Avoid using the steam method and microwaving or baking your baseball glove. Also, do not use shaving cream. Make sure that you do not apply the glove oil/conditioner directly to the baseball glove while breaking in. Avoid placing the baseball glove under the mattress.
If you are a baseball player and have been playing for quite a while, you will be aware of the importance of breaking in a glove. You cannot play the game if your glove is stiff or rigid. Also, breaking in the glove provides comfort and increases the lifespan of the glove. To clear your confusion on how to break in a baseball glove, we have mentioned above some of the most effective ways. So, get your glove ready and treat it to be your next favorite baseball glove.