How to Break in a Baseball Glove
Breaking in a Baseball Glove
Your baseball glove is a part of you, and how you break it in can mean the difference between a glove that serves you well, and one you'll pitch into the trash. Getting it off to a good start will reward you with a well-performing, comfortable glove. Some baseball gloves are pre-broken in, but for a custom fit it's best to do it yourself. You'll know your new glove is broken in right when it's comfortable and performs well.
Breaking in a baseball glove can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to half a season, depending on how often you use it. With patience and a little know-how, your glove will endure many seasons. There are basically three phases to breaking in your new glove. You'll need to:
- Condition the leather
- Shape the glove
- Use it!
Condition the Leather
The first thing you'll want to do when breaking in a baseball glove is to soften it. You can do this by lubricating it. A new leather glove will feel very stiff at first. You'll need to apply a special glove conditioner. Lexol and Kelley leather products are good; they condition the leather without coating it and weighing it down. Put a little of the oil on a sponge or clean cloth and apply it to the hinge and palm areas, fingers, back, and strings of your glove. Work it in, and then remove any excess oil. Lubricate your glove a couple times a year to keep it soft, and prevent cracking.
Now, work your glove. Put your glove on and flex it at the hinge, the spot that allows your glove to open and close, usually found at the base of the little finger pad, near the heel. Remove your glove, and gently keep folding your glove back and forth at the hinge. Do this several times, or as often as it takes until it softens.
Shape the Glove
Next, you'll want to shape your baseball glove. Place a ball inside the glove, and securely wrap it with a band to form a pocket, and store it overnight at room temperature. You should always store your glove when you're not using it, and get in the habit of tucking a ball in the pocket and wrapping it securely to retain its shape.
These first two phases of breaking in a baseball glove prepare your glove for use. And now you're ready to use it!
Break it in
Now you should just get out and play a lot of catch in your new baseball glove! Use your glove at least once a day, because this will help to form the pocket for a custom fit. Some people like to use a special round mallet to prepare the pocket of the glove for catching the ball. Others like to punch it. Either way, the idea is to form a nice deep pocket for catching the ball. While you're playing, keep flexing your glove at the hinges as often as you can, even between catches, until opening and closing the glove feels natural and comfortable.
Hopefully we've covered some helpful tips for breaking in a baseball glove. Remember, the three phases of breaking in your glove are: softening the leather, shaping your glove, and using it. It could take a couple weeks, or up to half a season depending on how often you use your glove. In any case, when it comes down to baseball there's nothing like a great, custom-fitting baseball glove.