How to break in new baseball glove?
When I first picked up a baseball glove as a youngster, I did not know how to care for it. I tried oiling it and throwing it against my garage door. I can’t remember what else I tried, but thankfully the baseball coaching staff had some common sense. They got me into the practice of cleaning and breaking in baseball gloves correctly.
Of course, I am going to teach what I’ve learned, and hopefully, you’ll get your baseball gloves to become game-ready all the time.
Let’s get started!
How To Break In New Baseball Glove
Bought baseball gloves but didn’t know how to break them in?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. The baseball glove might seem like a simple leather piece of equipment, but the truth is, there’s a lot more to it. There are many things that baseball players can do to make sure that their gloves last long and perform well during their games.
Noticeably, any baseball player often goes through the break-in process without knowing what they are doing. And that somehow inhibits the gloves from exhibiting their true capabilities.
With the right tips and guidelines on how to execute this crucial procedure, one will be able to ensure that their baseball gloves will serve their purpose well throughout every game-in or outside the diamond.
There are a number of ways you can break in a leather glove. Here, I will show the most tested-and-tried method.
Step 1: Moistening The Glove
Start this process by pouring warm water (up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit or 76 degrees Celsius) on any area or part of your glove that you want to become soft. Applying heat to leather can do the trick in softening its fibers. But just because this is an accepted process doesn’t mean that you can also try microwaving your leather gloves and mitts.
At the same time, you should never try using detergents, too, in softening baseball gloves. I am pretty sure that many of you have heard or seen someone do this. But for the sake of your precious leather gloves, don’t do so. These rough methods can just break and wear the leather.
If you want to oil the glove, make sure that you don’t apply it directly. Just use a sponge or clean cloth and pour the prescribed amount of oil on it. After that, you can start running the sponge or cloth to all parts of the glove. If you pour oil directly into the glove, it will cause the leather to become heavy and soaked. It might even alter the leather’s texture and color.
Step 2: Working The Hard Parts
After you have applied the oil or warm water to the leather glove, it is time that you do some dirty work. Specifically, what you need to do is to bend and move the pinky back to each other. After that, pull them away again. Just repeat this process because it helps in breaking these rigid parts of the glove and mitt. You can also squeeze the pink and thumb together to ensure that they can be softened.
Meanwhile, you should also compress the palm liner and shove the back fingers downward. Doing this would help these parts stretch and break their stiffness. You are also free to pull the webbing upward so that it can stretch, too. Repeat these procedures up to eight times or before your baseball gloves dry entirely.
Step 3: Softening The Baseball Glove
Similar to other leather items such as boots and coats, your leather baseball glove should begin to soften after using it frequently. Of course, if time is not in your favor, then you can always hasten this procedure. And to achieve this, you would need the help of a wooden mallet or similar tool. In fact, a 5-pound neoprene barbell should be able to help you here.
With the use of these tools, start pounding the pocket of your leather baseball glove. The pocket is the region where you catch your ball. Hence, it should have enough softness and responsiveness to stop those wild and speeding balls.
Also, don’t forget to hammer the webbing of the glove, too. In this way, you will be able to create a fold that will serve as the area where the glove would break. If you can accomplish this, you would be able to produce a deep valley where balls can fall securely and tightly. Use the mallet or dumbbell to remove the wrinkles and creases within the pocket. Always remember that a smooth pocket works well in catching balls. By battering the pocket, the glove will easily conform to your hands for a nice and snug fit.
But what if you have these tools? Well, you can try to be a little innovative here. Get your favorite baseball ball and throw it to the pocket 40 or more times before the glove gets dry. That should do the trick!
Step 4: Shaping The Glove
This time, you need to make sure that the glove retains the shape that it should have. A properly shaped baseball glove helps a player get the right fit and feel when playing the game.
To do this, you simply need to insert a baseball ball inside the glove’s pocket. After that, put three to four rubber bands around the glove, effectively wrapping it tightly. Make sure that the rubber bands are wrapped as tightly as possible. Moreover, you should overlap them so that they create an X-shape.
Once you finish encasing the rubber bands, leave the baseball glove for at least five hours. This extensive period will enable your glove to get into its ideal shape after it dried. Simultaneously, it will prevent the glove from reverting back to its original structure. If you want a foolproof result, hammer the glove’s packet again after removing the baseball ball and rubber. By this time, your pocket should have a good shape and feel.
Step 5: Playing With The Glove
Of course, I always believe that it is not enough that you just condition the glove by oiling and pounding it. For old-timers and long-time baseball players, one of the most natural ways to break in a glove is by playing with it. Specifically, just catch balls as much as you can. Don’t worry if you do it for a day or a week. Until you don’t feel that the leather glove is soft yet, just continue to play catch!
Throughout this repetitive process, your beloved baseball glove or mitt will gradually conform to the shape of your hands. At the same time, it will cause the fibers of the leather to stretch and loosen, allowing it to become flexible and durable at the same time.
Don’t get tired of doing this. After all, it also helps in your practice. Besides, isn’t it fun to catch balls? For baseball players, that’s a delightful experience that they are looking forward to.
Always remember that there is no cream or oil that can surpass this method. Your leather gloves can attain their full game-ready potential if you actually use them during practices or games.
If you have time and money, you might try visiting stores and facilities that have glove-steaming services. These amenities will enable your glove or mitt to get into their top form without having to spend too much energy.
Step 6: Continue Conditioning The Glove
Always remember that the quality of your baseball glove depends on how you take care of it. Specifically, it remains in its top condition if you clean and maintain it regularly. There are also essential procedures that you need to abide by to guarantee that the glove remains game-ready and durable for multiple seasons.
One of the things that you need to do is to store the baseball glove properly. Just don’t place it anywhere. If you are not using it, make sure that it is not exposed to the elements. Water and heat can cause serious damages to the leather, especially if there is prolonged exposure. A soft glove can get stiff again if it gets wet and dried repetitively.
In each season, make sure that you apply oil or cream to the glove regularly. Before you stash your baseball gloves, make sure that you oil them, too.
Why Do You Need To Break-In New Baseball Gloves?
Buying a brand new baseball glove can be very exciting, but it is also extremely important to make sure you break the glove in properly. A lot of people buy their gloves without ever giving any thought to breaking them in because they believe that there is no need to mess with something that is already perfect when you first get your hands on it.
Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying and using a baseball glove. The reality is that every new baseball glove has its own unique qualities, just like every person. That means that most gloves are going to require some work before they are game-ready. This might seem backward at first glance because if the gloves need time to form, then why would manufacturers even bring onto the market gloves that are not ready to go right out of the box?
The truth of the matter is that it would cost a lot more money and resources for manufacturers to produce a glove that was ready to play when you first got your hands on it. Because of this, they have come up with what they call a “pre-production breaking in” phase, which can take anywhere from one week to multiple weeks depending on how much work has been put into making each individual glove. In this period, the glove has been broken, but not fully.
The first thing we need to discuss is the problem that occurs if you don’t break your baseball glove in the correct way. When you first buy a new glove, chances are it will be stiff. This is because most gloves are made out of leather, and getting leather soft enough for game conditions can take quite a bit of time and effort. Even though this seems bad at first glance, there really aren’t any reasons for concern since what has happened is perfectly normal.
Unfortunately, many players make the mistake of trying to use a stiff baseball glove at practice or even during actual games without thinking about how much it could affect their performance negatively because they don’t want to dirty their new glove with sweat. You need to know that improper use will ruin your glove no matter how much you spend on it.
And while it is true that some gloves will last longer than others if they aren’t used properly, a good baseball glove can be ruined in as little time as one season if you do not take proper care of it.
A baseball glove must be broken in or “seasoned” for the best performance. The break-in period is when the leather softens from its new, stiff feel to a comfortable and playable condition.
The breaking-in process takes anywhere from 20 games to 200 games, depending on your own personal usage of the glove and how it’s cared for.
Breaking in a glove is not an exact science, but there are basic guidelines that will help the process along. If you follow the steps that I have listed above, you should be able to break in your baseball glove within a short period. Of course, the time needed for the leather baseball glove to get into shape depends on how tough the glove is and how much use it will be in actual games.
As long as you know how to break in new baseball glove, you can guarantee that nothing will inhibit your performance.
That’s it for the meantime. Don’t hesitate to ask me anything that is related to baseball. Drop your questions in the comment section below.