Breaking in a baseball glove is essential so it will fit comfortably around your hand. If you fail to do so, the glove would be so stiff that it would be unbearable to wear it for the whole game. Additionally, discomfort leads to clumsy handling, not allowing you to do your best. Some people actually wait for the glove to eventually get soft, but there are faster ways when you know how to break in a baseball glove.
The following are different suggestions on how to break in a baseball glove:
There is a special foam treatment formulated for baseball gloves. It is usually found in stores selling sporting goods. Its effect is so intense that the natural way needs six months to achieve the same results. Here are the steps on how to break in a baseball glove using foam treatment:
Lather the foam treatment around the baseball glove. Do not leave any surface unattended, even the back part. Leave the glove for several minutes so it can thoroughly absorb the foam.
To make the foam treatment more effective, heat the baseball glove in an oven for four minutes under 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, to protect the glove, place it on a cloth-covered baking sheet. Also, use the oven’s top rack only. The four-minute duration is crucial to avoid damaging the glove.
After taking the baseball glove out of the oven, leave it on the kitchen counter to let it cool down. However, make sure to leave a little bit of warmth for the next step. Before anything else, wipe off the foam treatment’s residue.
Now, for the next step, wear the warm baseball glove. Get the ball and insert it into the glove’s catching spot. Keep moving your hand in many different ways possible so the glove can finally break in. Make sure the ball will stay in the same spot. Do this for 10 minutes or even more than that until the glove totally cools down.
Just a heads-up, a lot of baseball glove manufacturers do not recommend using oven heat and foam treatment to break in gloves. You really have to be careful in choosing the right treatment. You should also be particular about the oven’s temperature and the duration of heating. Chemicals and intense heat can eliminate leather’s natural flexibility. They may be effective at first even if you do it the wrong way but over time, the glove will excessively dry out and become stiffer than ever.
This time, let’s discard the foam treatment and focus on heat instead. Heat alone can soften the glove and make the process of break-in easier. Check out the method on how to break in a baseball glove using heat from microwave ovens:
Leave the baseball glove in the microwave for not more than 60 seconds. You can also choose to be faster than that. If you smell steak, that is only a signal to get the glove out of the oven pronto.
While the baseball glove is still warm, throw the ball into its sweet spot as hard as you can. Do this for several minutes. It does not matter if you are alone. Just use one hand to throw and the other to catch in close proximity. Be happy when you notice the glove’s softness.
Forget about chemicals and microwave, let’s go to a more natural way of heating the baseball glove. Steam only uses evaporated water. Find out how to break in a baseball glove using steam:
First, apply a sufficient amount of proper conditioning oil all over the baseball glove. Conditioning oil is either sprayed or coated depending on the brand. It improves, softens and preserves the quality of leather. Feel free to put more oil on the laces. Leave the glove for several minutes to absorb the conditioner. Afterwards, use a small towel to wipe oil off the glove. Make sure the glove is dry yet soft to touch.
You can actually use other conditioners if you do not have a baseball glove conditioning oil. Lanolin shaving cream is one of the cheaper yet still effective alternatives. Also, when we said “sufficient amount,” we really meant it. Too much conditioner deteriorates leather’s quality. Make sure to use an amount enough to coat the glove.
Use a tall pot to avoid splashes of water. Also, choose a rack that is wider than the pot’s rim or mouth. Place it above the pot. To start, heat the water first. Once it starts to steam, put the baseball glove on the rack. To trap the steam, cover the glove with a curved lid or a big bowl. Let the steam soften the glove for two to five minutes. The range depends on your preference on how soft the leather should be.
Use another towel to dry the glove. You should notice already that the glove is more flexible than before.
From the idea of heating, let’s proceed to hitting the baseball glove with a mallet. This step can be unconvincing for it sounds too harsh for leather. However, many experts recommend this. The mallet makes sure that the glove will have a better form for comfort and flexibility.
What you need to do first is fold the baseball glove lengthwise. The thumb part should be on top. By hitting it with a mallet, the glove starts to bend which is fine. Hit the sections you can see. There are tips, however, on where you should hit to meet your preferences. If you want a deeper pocket, hit the section near the laces. On the other hand, for a shallower pocket, hit the palm section.
Keep hitting until the folded baseball glove easily opens and closes. Additionally, open the glove so you can hit the other side where the pinky is. Play catch immediately to guarantee good results.
By the way, if it is not a hassle for you budget-wise, you may ask the store if it offers a steaming service for baseball gloves. It may be free of charge, in fact, when you purchase the glove from the store itself. If none, simply search online.
Let’s save the most natural way for last. Keep the conditioning oil but this time, we are going to use the heat of sunlight rather than steam, microwave, and high oven temperature. The following are steps on how to break in a baseball glove with sunlight after you apply conditioner:
To make the baseball glove flexible, insert a ball right in the sweet spot or where the ball usually lands when caught. The spot is basically in the upper part of most spacious area. Next, tightly wrap the glove with big, wide rubber bands. Make sure the ball will never fall out of the glove. Strings and twines are not recommended for they are so thin or wiry. They easily leave imprints.
Leave the wrapped baseball glove in direct sunlight for a couple of hours. Do not leave it on a surface that easily conducts heat such as a metal table or chair. You do not want to cook the glove.
After removing the baseball glove from direct sunlight, unwrap it and remove the ball. Enhance the glove’s form even more by punching the pocket and manipulating the glove to open and close repeatedly. Again, play catch to improve the natural form and feel of the glove.
Surprisingly, you have to wrap the glove again with the ball inside it. But this time, store it for a couple of days in a hidden place that is dark and dry. The main reason for this is how mild sunlight is compared to other sources of heat.
How to Break in a Baseball Glove
In summary, heat is essential for breaking in a baseball glove. However, there are different sources available based on your urgency and preference. You may also use foam treatment and conditioning oil to enhance the effects of heat, but remember to only choose the right brand that will not damage leather.
In line with this, you may also check out our tips on how to break in a softball glove.