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Breaking-In Your Ball Glove – Myths and Truths
I want it now
There are a lot of young people online these days asking all kinds of questions. Recently I have seen many posts and questions asking how to break in my new softball glove or baseball glove. Most want to know how to do it in a few days. To be honest, it can be done. You can quickly break in a glove, but in most cases you won’t like the results you get. It might soften and let you catch the ball, but it won’t last.
BBQ Softball Glove
I see so many suggestions to put the glove in the oven. Or in the microwave and cook it as a roast. Ok, the leather can come from a steering wheel but come on, seriously. That will only dry it out and stress the cords so much that they will break early. The manufacturer has put a lot of effort and research into tanning the hides to make them the best for ball gloves. Do what they suggest.
My “Glove Guy”
I know there are a lot of MLB guys who have a “glove guy” who has all kinds of tricks to soften up a new glove. They dip them in buckets of water, oil and all kinds of stuff. They cook them in the oven or microwave. Heck I’ve even heard about them dousing them with WD-40 and running over them with the car.
Those will certainly soften a glove. But you have to realize these are MLB guys – they might have 10 or 12 new $250 gloves every year. So if one gets destroyed, it doesn’t matter to them. They are usually signed for a contract with a glove maker and get free gloves anyway.
So here are my suggestions for breaking in your new glove. I have done a lot of research and also draw on experience.
My Brand New Glove
When you first get your new softball glove home.
1. Fold the glove over the seams several times to soften them. Ball gloves are made with natural breaks along the inside of the fingers, and another along the thumb side. Those are the seams I’m talking about. There are usually sides. Some gloves have grooves or markings instead of laces.
– Also work the laces on top of the web, they will be stiff. Doing this over and over should loosen the glove a lot.
2. Put a softball or baseball in the pocket and wrap it tightly. Use an ace bandage, large rubber bands, or just put it under your mattress overnight. Oh and pre-wrap works great too.
– This will form a nice pocket just where you need it in the morning.
3. Playing catch – lots of catching, with hard throws.
– Go to the batting cage, put on your helmet and catch the balls instead of hitting them. Take the fastest balls you can safely catch. Do this a few times and your glove will soften.
– Keep folding the glove over the seams several times to soften them. Just keep doing this while you play catch. Work the laces above the web a lot too.
4. Remember to wrap a softball or baseball in your pocket when you’re not using your glove. Also wipe it clean after playing.
5. More Catch – as much as you can.
** If it’s still really stiff…
6. Rub some good quality glove conditioner into the pocket/palm and up onto the web. Also on the laces on top of the web. These tend to be really stiff. Then fill the seams a little more.
** Good conditioners: Akadema glove conditioner, Pecards, Lexol. These are my favorites, there are other good ones.
7. Put the glove in a plastic bag after applying the conditioner. Find a warm place. A windowsill or in your car if it’s summer. The plastic bag holds the moisture in for you.
* Not the oven please.
The heat helps to open the pores of the leather and allows the conditioner to work better.
– Room temperature is usually enough heat to do the job.
– Hey, you could cuddle with it like a teddy bear…
8. Punch a ball in the pocket or use a mitt masher. You get a lot more leverage with the masher.
– You can make one with an old softball and a dowel rod or broom stick.
– Cut the broomstick to about 12-15 inches long.
– Drill a hole throw the softball.
– Insert a screw through the ball in the broom stick.
– Make sure it is tight – check it often.
– Or you can buy a mitt masher online.
9. View the full article Breaking-in Your Ball Glove – Myths and Truths
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