All aspiring softball players should own a high-quality glove first. The problem, however, is how stiff softball gloves are when still brand-new. That is why the owner needs to break in the glove first so it will be softer and more flexible despite its extra-wide structure. You may wait until the glove gets softer naturally, but that will take a really long time. One cannot practice softball well with an uncomfortable glove. Worry no more for we are here to give you tips on how to break in a softball glove:
The following are interesting ways on how to break in a softball glove using heat:
Funnily enough, this method might change your mind about your issues as a car owner during summer. We all know that cars can get super-hot when parked underneath harsh sunlight. Take advantage of this by leaving the softball glove in the trunk or on the dashboard for a couple of hours. This is one of the safest heating methods for you do not have to put the glove under direct sunlight. The car’s compact space is enough to trap heat for softening tough leather.
This is also highly recommended for baseball gloves. It is another safe source of heat. Since softball gloves are wider than baseball gloves, you need extra effort. Turn the softball glove from time to time to make sure that all surfaces are exposed to steam. Additionally, since softball gloves have deeper pockets, insert a ball in the sweet spot to perfectly form it. To make it easier for you to keep the ball inside, wear the glove. That is just a small sacrifice to ensure that the result will be satisfying.
Safer than the microwave but riskier than steam and natural heat, ordinary ovens can be used for breaking in softball gloves. Just be careful that the oven’s intense heat will not damage the glove. A three-minute stay inside a 300-degree oven is enough to work wonders for your glove. However, as expected, there are mixed reactions when it comes to this technique. It is all up to you to risk it.
Putting a softball glove in a microwave oven is definitely the most dangerous method here. However, if you want a faster effect without the availability of a conventional oven, the microwave is your only hope. Let’s face it – steaming and putting the glove in a hot car takes minutes or hours while microwaving it will only take seconds.
Most people who followed this technique soak the glove in water first. They just shake off excess water before putting it in the microwave.
To be more specific about the dangers of microwaving softball gloves, the leather might warp, melt, crack, shrink or even burn. Never try this process if your glove has metal components. Despite the risks of microwave, some professional athletes are still encouraging it.
Impact & Pressure
Here are tips on how to break in a softball glove using impact or pressure from tools and even your own body:
As a form of maintenance, whenever your softball glove is not in use, insert a ball in its pocket before you store it. You may wrap the glove with bands to keep the ball secure inside. Even after successfully breaking in a softball glove, it is still possible that its texture and form will change over time. So, you have to make this method as a regular thing.
To be more specific about wrapping a softball glove with a ball in it, shoelaces, twine and thick rubber bands can be used. However, these tools leave imprints. It is still better to resort to wide fabric bands such as elastic bandages. Also, remember that the direction of the wrap should in an “X” shape. Ensure that the wrap is very tight.
Hitting a leather glove with a mallet is a thing for many professional athletes and other experts in the sports industry. If you do not have a mallet, you may use a bat. Your areas of focus should be the glove’s centermost part of the palm and the gap between the forefinger and thumb.
It may sound funny but massaging a softball glove with oil can be effective. Using the right kind of conditioning oil, only put a small amount on a sponge or washcloth and rub it all over the glove. Exert more force as you rub the applicator on the glove’s laces, fingers, and palm. Aside from making the glove softer, the oil can also make it resistant to scratches, scrapes, dirt and strong impact. To avoid making the leather heavy with oil, never go excessive during application.
If you want to have a “productive” sleep, fold your softball glove around a ball and put it under your thick mattress. Your weight will press the glove for hours. You also release body heat that can warm the leather. One night is enough for this. However, if you want a more flexible glove, make it two nights.
It is crucial to put a ball inside the softball glove’s pocket. If you would not follow this, you would just flatten the glove instead of forming it.
A mallet is enough to hit the softball glove in all the right places, but the process is too monotonous. Go the extra mile by using your aggression to stomp, kick and punch the glove. Just avoid the laces or stitching since these sections are weaker than others. Additionally, there are still limits so better stick to your fists and feet.
Why not have fun while breaking in a new softball glove? Just by constantly playing catch, you will be able to break in the glove. The results or effects will take a long time to emerge, but at least you get to enjoy the process. Besides, you can practice your catching skills at the same time with this method.
Just a quick tip, whenever you catch the ball, squeeze it so you will eventually form the kind of pocket you want – shallow or deep.
How to Break in a Softball Glove
Learning how to break in a softball glove is almost the same as breaking in a baseball glove. However, softball gloves are wider and have deeper pockets, so you need to open your mind for additional tips. In addition, we are aware that we mentioned a lot of methods above which possibly made you confused. So, we suggest that you should decide first whether you prefer heat or pressure techniques. Carefully think about the pros and cons of each method.