If you've been looking for the fastest and most efficient way to learn how to break in a baseball glove, you're in the right place.
Below, you will find the four fastest ways to break in a baseball or softball glove, some things to avoid while breaking in a glove as well as answers to the internet's most common questions about softening baseball leather.
One of the best feelings in the world is getting a new baseball glove. It's the feeling of new leather, and the "new baseball glove" smell that reminds you why you love the game as much as you do.
How do you take your skills to the next level? It's simple.
You take aim of the type of player you need to be, and then you put in the work.
Not in the future, but right now.
In many ways, how we do one thing is how we do everything. How we treat our equipment, and our process to reaching peak performance, for example, are opportunities to take pride in our craft.
Breaking in a baseball glove is no different.
Here are some ways to do it quickly, but also the right way.
1. Hydrate & Soften
Moistening the glove’s leather a little is a good start to breaking in your new leather. You can start by carefully taking a bit of warm water from the faucet and carefully soaking a rag that you will dab over the area that you want to make soft. However, you will want to avoid putting your glove in the microwave.
Intense heat, especially dry heat can dehydrate and crack the leather.
To keep your leather soft, supple, and hydrated, you can also apply glove oil in small amounts by using a sponge or repurposed rag.
Important: Keep in mind never to put the oil directly on the glove. Chances are that the oil will be concentrated on one point resulting in the glove becoming heavy and soaked.
2. Work Your Way Through The Rigid Parts - Steering Wheel Method
Hold the glove like a steering wheel, with one hand grabbing the thumb area and the other hand grabbing the pinky. Then pull up and down in a "milking the cow" motion.
This will help increase the range of motion while decreasing the stiffness of the leather. Do this a few times before and after playing catch, as well as anytime after hydrating the leather.
3. Use a Glove Mallet - Hammer Method
Like other products made from leather, your baseball glove will soften over time through extended use. If you want to speed up the process of softening the glove, use a wooden mallet. Also, you can use a neoprene dumbbell that is light enough to hold with one hand. Ideally around 5 pounds.
With a solid grip on the weight or mallet, pound the pocket where you will catch the ball. Focus mainly on the deeper pocket, a bit of the web, and the outside parts of the glove.
For middle-infielders, it's important not to make the pocket too deep since the ability to transition the ball from glove to hand quickly is a main priority.
For middle-infielders, it's more important that the glove is easy to open, rather than easy to close.
4. Use a Glove Wrap or Mold - Mold Method
To attain the ideal shape of the glove, you can put a ball in the pocket while wrapping it with an athletic wrap or mold.
After softening or rehydration of the leather, allow the glove to sit in this wrap or mold for about four to five hours. As a result, the glove will start to achieve your desired shape when it becomes dry.
After taking it out of the wrap, you can use the mallet or play catch to reinforce the new mold.
5. Use It, Use It, Use It - Old School Method
If you want to break in the glove properly, simply play catch with it as much as possible. As you work in daily catch and long-toss, it will slowly adapt to the shape of your hand.
Practicing catch with the glove frequently is the best way to ensure that the glove will break in and take the structure of your hand.
What You Shouldn't Do While Breaking In Your Glove.
Now that you know how to break in your new baseball glove, you should know what not to do as well.
1. Never Put Your Glove In The Oven.
Because gloves are made from leather and are prone to crack, it is better to keep them away from microwave. A little bit of heat can help, but the right kind of heat. Usually, the sunlight that you get from playing catch is enough to do the trick.
2. Be careful With Using Shaving Cream
Unless you have shaving cream with Lanolin which will help to lock in moisture, it's best to stick with oils and conditioners that are specifically designed for baseball glove leather. Lanolin has Vitamin E which helps with keeping leather hydrated, and it seems many of the shaving cream products on the market have this key ingredient.
Common How To Break In A Baseball Glove Questions
How do you break in a baseball glove fast?
In my opinion, the quickest way to break in a baseball glove is a blend of the Steering Wheel, Mallet, and Old School Methods.
Use the mallet to break up the stiffest parts of the glove. Use the steering wheel method, to reinforce the range of motion, and then use the glove until it forms into the shape you want.
How do MLB players break in their gloves?
Each player has their own method to their madness, but it usually involves some type of leather softening and mild temperature increase to improve the range of motion of the leather.
Should you wet a baseball glove to break it in?
Small amounts of warm water only on the parts of the glove that needs softening is fine. What you don't want is a drenched glove that takes over a week to dry and could weigh down the leather for good.
How long should it take to break in a baseball glove?
It really depends on the amount of time you spend with it. If you're using it daily, and reinforcing the range of motion with a mallet or wrap, you can get it to game ready in about a week.
Does oiling a glove help break it in?
Small amounts can but the most important thing you can do is soften the leather through daily use.
Can you use WD 40 to break in a glove?
Small amounts will work to break in a glove as long as it's only applied to the parts of the glove that need to be softened.
How To Break In A Baseball Glove Conclusion
The whole process of breaking in your glove may take some time depending on how much effort you put into it every day and the type of products you use to soften the leather.
At the end of the day, what helps the most is adding your own unique process that allows you to take 100% ownership of your equipment.
The skill set we want to learn is responsibility. When you love the game, the game will love you back.
The results you strive for on the field should reflect the process you have off the field.
Breaking in a baseball glove should be fun!
Do you have a way of breaking in your glove that wasn't shared here? Would love to hear about your process. Reach out and share your approach to breaking in your leather!
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