A baseball glove is a piece of equipment that is special to the player it belongs to. Just picking it up can bring back a rush of memories- of amazing highs and disappointing losses. At some point, though, that glove was brand new and wasn’t a perfect fit. It was stiff and awkward to use and needed to be broken in. Here are some professional tips to help you break in your new baseball glove.
Expert Tips on How to Break in a Baseball Glove
Make the glove more pliable with some water
Your first step is to do your research to make sure you’ve chosen the right glove. As The Baseball Stop states, ‘The best baseball gloves change based on need and position. An outfielder needs a larger glove than an infielder. A pitcher needs the most basic glove as he isn’t doing much fielding.’
Once you’ve got the correct glove, you’ll need to break it in. A stiff glove can be made a bit easier to use if you just moisten it a bit. Some hot water poured over the glove will help to loosen up the leather in any areas that feel like they are not very pliable. You don’t want to microwave the glove, though, and you should not use any detergents or other chemical substances to wet, lubricate or loosen the glove. Make sure the water is only about 150 degrees Fahrenheit for the perfect loosening effect.
Artificially soften the glove
Your glove will become less stiff over time as you use it more and more, but you can speed up the process. Just use a wooden mallet, a single dumbbell or another very strong, heavy object to pound the glove. Work the areas where you want the glove to be more pliable and force the glove to loosen up. This may take a while, but it will give you an instantly usable glove that feels soft and natural rather than rigid and uncomfortable.
Break it in with leisurely play
Don’t wear your new glove to an important ballgame. You’ll be at an immediate disadvantage for a while. Instead, use your spare time to work the stiffness out of the glove with some games of catch or another leisurely activity.
This is a natural way to get your glove used to your hand and make the glove bend properly in all the right places. It’s also a lot less work than some of the other methods, helping you to achieve what you want without putting in a lot of monotonous activity.
Use a conditioning oil
There are conditioning oils that you can use to make the glove much easier to play with. This isn’t something that will work quickly, but over time, it can have an effect on the glove and help it to become more pliable. Oil and conditioning cream can be used sparingly throughout your baseball season to work the glove to a more pliable state. You don’t want to soak the glove, though, as that is going to cause damage to the material and make it practically unusable.
Using too much oil can make your glove too heavy and can weaken the leather. You’ll be harming your investment with this improper oil usage. Just take your time and let the oil do its job over a series of months before you should expect the glove to be usable.
Don’t use it in the pro games
Until your glove is pliable just the way you like it, you should not be using it during pro games. Don’t expect your glove to be usable for any professional matches or even for training. If you try to train vigorously with a stiff glove, you can hurt your hand and simply give a poor performance. It is going to hurt your training and affect your team negatively. Just leave the glove off during the important games until it is properly broken in.
Wear it down with a ball and mattress
One simple and tested method of putting some wear into the glove and loosening it up is to place a ball into it and then store the glove with the ball under a mattress. Leave it there for a few days and let the glove start to work around the ball. This will wear down the glove a bit and reduce the stiffness. It’s not the quickest way you can break in your glove, but it definitely works, and it won’t require nearly as much effort as these other methods we have mentioned so far.
Steam the glove
This is another method that baseball players have been using for a long time. Just put your glove to steam for minutes or hours at a time. Just boil a pot of water underneath a glove you have conditioned with oil or cream, making sure to remove the excess. Place the glove on a rack above the boiling water and let the hot steam work its magic.
Patience is key
Your glove will eventually become a lot more comfortable to use. You just have to be patient and use one or more of these methods over a long period of time. Some of these work better or faster than others, so experiment a bit and see what works for you.