Learn the techniques to properly break in your glove this season and have your mitt game-ready for those big plays.
Every baseball or softball player has a special connection to their glove. It's what allows you to make those big, game winning plays. A lot of effort has gone into shaping that mitt to make it the perfect tool and it all starts with the break-in.
Regardless of level of play, all ball players should break their glove in before playing. This ensures your mitt is comfortable to use and moves well with your hand. After all, it should act as an extension of your hand. You want cohesion to avoid unwanted stiffness and rigidity. It also allows you to create a better pocket to secure the ball.
There are several tips and tricks to break in your new baseball or softball glove. With the help of these, you can break-in your mitt for the perfect fit and feel.
WORK OUT THE MOST RIGID PARTS
Once your glove is saturated with warm glove oil, bend the thumb and pinky back forth to begin breaking in the stiff areas of your mitt. The goal here is to loosen up the tough bits. Squeeze the thumb and pinky together. Pull the web top to stretch it a little. Repeat the process six to eight times before your glove is completely dry.
SOFTEN BY USING
Just like any other leather product, your mitt should start to soften up with more use. You can speed up this process by using a wooden mallet or five pound neoprene dumbbell to pound the pocket. You should pound the webbing as well to create a night valley the ball can fall right into.
This process can also easily be accomplished by throwing a ball repeatedly into the pocket before your glove dries. This also allows the continued use to form to your hand, allowing seamless play and the ultimate break-in.
SHAPE THE GLOVE
Put a ball into the pocket and wrap your glove with two or three rubber bands. The bands should be wrapped snug, but not tight. While wrapping, form an "X" shape as they overlap each other to get full coverage. Let your glove sit like this for five to six hours. This process allows your glove to begin taking shape when it dries and prevent it from reverting back to it's natural shape.
Pound the pocket again after your remove the bands to further work it more.
USE IT, PLAY CATCH
One of the more obvious, and fun, ways to properly break-in your glove is to just use it. Play catch as much as possible not only for practice, but so your mitt can form to your hand over time. Playing catch day after day is going to be the best way to make sure your glove breaks in properly.
CONDITION THROUGHOUT THE SEASON
First, remember to store your glove in your house -- as opposed to the trunk of your car or the garage -- for longer life and to maintain better conditioning. Secondly, don't forget to care for your glove throughout the season by applying a small amount of glove oil or conditioner every so often. It's also a good habit to treat your glove before you store it away at the end of the season.
A premium glove oil we recommend is Sarna Baseball's Glove Oil for breaking gloves in. If you're looking for a conditioner for maintenance, then Sarna Baseball's Leather Conditioner is a prime choice.
BONUS NOTE: Use conditioners and oils sparingly. Over-caring for your glove can be detrimental by making your glove heavier and actually shortening it's life span. Roughly three to five treatments per season should be enough to keep your equipment in top-notch condition.
Need to pick up a couple of tips to improve in the off-season? Brush up on our top 5 baseball performance tips on Our Blog.