A good glove is important for doing well at baseball, and as every professional baseball player will tell you, it’s important to build a connection with your glove.
This only comes with time and a lot of practice sessions, but you need to break in your glove so that it feels comfortable and fits naturally into your hand. Every seam and crease need to be worked into place after making countless snags, grabs and catches.
There’s a considerable amount of effort that goes into shaping your baseball mitt, and it all starts with how you go about breaking-in your baseball glove.
Players of every level are advised to break-in their glove before playing as that ensures the glove moves well with your hand and feels natural. The glove should fit snugly and feel like an extension to your hand.
Once you break-in the glove, any unwanted rigidity or stiffness will be eliminated from the glove. A glove that has been properly broken in will make it easier to scoop balls and help you catch those hard-hit line drives with ease.
Why You Should Break in Your New Glove
Most people try to play with their new glove without playing with it before, which is why they end up dropping catches, with balls popping out of the glove unexpectedly.
It is harder to catch a ball with a new glove, and in a game like baseball where you need quick reflexes, you don’t want to be playing with a glove that makes it harder to catch the ball.
A properly broken-in baseball glove will close naturally around the ball when it goes into it. You won’t have to make much of an effort to open and close the glove. It will have a slightly curved shape on the sides without you forcing it into that shape, and you’ll have a better feel of the ball in the glove.
There are two main actions you need to consider to break-in a baseball glove properly:
- Glove memory – when you perform an action on the glove repeatedly, causing it to take a shape that is conducive to catching a ball, and the glove stays in that position naturally.
- Repetitive actions – when you perform repetitive actions against the glove, like catching balls.
Both actions help speed up the process of breaking-in a baseball glove. There are more tried and tested methods that will let you break-in your new glove.
Four Methods for Breaking in Your New Glove
1. Glove Mallet
There are special mallets designed for breaking-in baseball gloves, and this method is just like playing catch with the glove.
The only difference here is that the repetitive action of the mallet as it strikes against the leather of the glove will start to soften the glove and will cause the glove to take a shape that is easier for catching baseballs.
You’ve seen a lot of professional players and other baseball players throwing a ball repeatedly into the glove, and even though it may seem crazy, it’s one of the best ways to break in your glove.
It has the same effect on the glove as it would when you play a game of catch with someone and is also a great way to relieve stress and improve your catching technique.
3. Playing Catch
Playing catch is the easiest and most popular way to break-in your new baseball glove, and it is the most natural way to do it as well.
The action of the ball repeatedly smacking against the leather will soften the material and give it shape.
Plus, there is the extra benefit of sharpening your baseball skills when you’re playing catch with someone.
4. Practice with It
By now, you must be aware that the repeated action of the baseball being caught in the glove and striking against the leather is what gives it shape and softens the glove.
You should practice with your glove as much as you can when it’s still new so that it gets broken in when you’re playing practice catch with your teammates or friends.
Take to the field in your new glove and practice picking up ground balls and field balls that are flying towards you.
What About Glove Steaming?
When reading up on the best ways to break in a baseball glove, you may have come across several methods, and one of them involves steaming the glove. It’s considered to be the best method after playing catch with your friends.
One benefit of steaming your glove is that it relaxes the seams and the leather to get it game ready. The glove steaming process involves applying a glove conditioner to the glove to open pores in the leather.
Then steam the leather to around 150 degrees and break in the glove using a glove mallet. Apart from steaming the glove, you can also apply glove conditioners and oils to soften the leather. However, keep in mind that you can’t apply Vaseline, mink oil, olive oil, and petroleum jelly.
There are conditioners made specifically for leather used in baseball gloves, and all you need to do is apply a light coat to the glove and rub it.
There are no shortcuts to breaking in your baseball glove. However, with practice and going through many rounds of catch, your new glove should be ready for action in no time. So, try these methods and let us know what method you prefer for breaking in a baseball glove.
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