No player who plays baseball or softball goes without their glove. Every wrinkle and seam has been made by catching, grabbing, and snagging many times. When you first get your mitt, the work put into molding it all begins with the break-in.
It is suggested that players use their new gloves before playing their first game. Breaking in your glove is important since it may ensure that it is comfortable and that it glides smoothly with your hand. You should feel as though your glove is an extension of your hand. Rigidity or stiffness may be reduced by breaking in your glove. In addition, it may help secure the ball more firmly in a pocket.
New baseball and softball gloves may be broken in many different ways. You can modify your fit for a season’s worth of celebration-worthy catches with these techniques and suggestions. Follow these steps to help you get the ideal fit and feel in your glove.
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How to Break In a Glove
To get your mitt game-ready, you need to know how to properly break in your glove and be able to do it in no time.
Moisten The Glove’s Leather
Allow the replacement glove to soak in hot water (usually about 150 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few minutes. To prevent damaging the leather, do not put your glove in the microwave or use detergents to soften it. Other applications include applying a tiny quantity of glove oil with a sponge. Don’t apply any of the glove oil on the glove itself. When it is applied directly to the problem area, it may be intensified to the point of making that area wet and heavy.
Work The Most Rigid Parts Of Your Glove
To begin breaking in your mitt, gently bend the thumb and pinky back and forth from each other, then away from each other. When doing anything with your hands, squeeze your thumb and pinky together. Squeeze the palm liner. Slowly pull the webbing in order to make it a bit longer. Before your glove is fully dry, repeat this procedure six to eight times.
Soften The Glove
Your glove should soften with time. By using a wooden mallet or 5 lb. neoprene dumbbell, you may assist soften your glove to make it easier to catch the ball. The dual process of pounding the web as well as striking a design where you want your glove to shatter will generate a crease where you want your glove to crack. Also, any unnecessary creases in the fold may be smoothed out, creating a beautiful valley for the ball to fall into, as well as ironing out any undesirable wrinkles. In the event that you don’t have a mallet or dumbbell, it may be a good idea to toss a ball into the pocket about 30 times before the glove is completely dry. For an even better break-in, pounding the pocket also helps the leather mold to your palm.
Shape The Glove
The general method for putting a ball in the pocket is to first wrap your glove with two to three rubber bands. Musically, they should fit snugly, but not too tightly, and the formation of a “X” shape is appropriate. Allow your glove to dry completely before handling the glue again. You will keep your glove’s form as it dries by using this. After you’ve picked up the ball, pound the pocket a second time to push the pocket even deeper.
Just Play Catch
Properly breaking in a baseball or softball glove is the most fun method to do so, and the best way to do so is to play catch as often as possible. A round of catch serves to create your glove, and as you catch, the leather loosens. To break in to your hand structure, playing catch a lot is the greatest option. There is no oil, lotion, or pummeling therapy that beats a good old throw.
You may also rely on DICK’S Sporting Goods for more ideas. Using the in-store glove steaming service to enhance the playability of your mitt in a flash is the best way to restore their integrity.
Conditioning The Glove Throughout The Season
Also, keep in mind to store your glove at home for longer life and to help keep it in excellent shape. Also, be sure to regularly add a little bit of oil or glove conditioning lotion to your glove’s leather to help it stay supple. Taking care of your glove is also a wonderful habit to get into when you put it away for the offseason.
One more bonus tip: For the best results, don’t use conditioners and oils liberally. Additionally, excessive concern about your glove’s care may negatively impact its condition, because oils can make your glove heavier and have the effect of shortening the glove’s lifetime. It should take about three to four treatments per year to maintain your equipment in pristine condition throughout the year.
No shortcuts exist to a well-broken-in softball or baseball glove, but the following suggestions will assist to ensure that your new mitt is ready for action on the field quickly.
Thanks for purchasing your new merchandise! The high price of top-quality leather gloves says that you care about the game and are prepared to become better. If you care for and preserve your new glove, it will be at your side for many seasons to come.
Why Do Baseball Gloves Need to be Broken In?
Leather is one of the most versatile materials available because of its longevity. New leather that has been freshly finished is usually firm as a board, and baseball glove leathers are no different.
It is no different when you’re dealing with a brand-new glove, and trying to catch a ball. They have a tough time closing completely, and the ball bounces right out.
Clothing intended to be game-ready off the shelf requires no preparation, whereas clothing manufactured from real cowhide or steerhide requires pre-softening. The break-in time may range from days to weeks, depending on the quality of leather.
This stated, the work of breaking in a genuine leather glove will be well worth it since it will provide you superior shape and function compared to synthetic materials.
How to Break in a Baseball Glove – The Right Way
Even though Nomar Garciaparra was a member of the Boston Red Sox, he only had one rule: no one else’s hand was permitted in his glove. Nomar’s rule is very universal among high-level baseball players.
Why? Leather breaks in to the shape of your hand and becomes more pliable so it will better suit your motions. When it comes to a glove, you want one that fits your hand like an extension of your arm you completely forget is even there.
In other words, the easiest method to break in a new glove is to catch baseballs with it. There is a method to glove construction. With time and repetitions, your glove will conform to your hand, offering a personalized fit and a pocket that is tailored to your catching style.
To speed up the process of softening a leather glove, you may use certain shortcuts, but they won’t be as good as using the proper techniques. In order to have the most comfortable, highly performing glove, you must use it until it becomes broken in. Additionally, using catch to break in a glove does not damage the leather, which is one of the potential risks mentioned in this article.
Do all you can to catch a ball with your bare hand, regardless of whether you’re wearing a glove. You can expect it to take time, but the rewards will be immense.
Manhandling is the fastest method to break in a glove. If you watch Shigeaki Aso of Wilson Sporting Goods breakdown the process in the video below, you’ll learn how to improve your glove craftsmanship.
What you’ll need:
A bucket of hot water (not boiling)
A soft surface (a pillow or carpet)
Glove mallet/glove hammer
Before we get into the details, it’s important to note that, regardless of Aso’s professional reputation, his technique has some controversy around it.
Aso is a leather craftsman who makes the world’s best gloves. He has a good grasp of what he’s doing. To counteract this, aso utilizes water, which is effective but may result in brittle leather if not applied properly. Once you decide to do things this way, just follow the directions exactly — and know that your mitt may be damaged if you make a mistake.
One kind of glove hammer features a ball-like end at the end to help create the pocket, while the other is just a flat-ended instrument that you use to hit the glove.
With this technique, it is important to first boil the water and then pour it over the glove to be broken. This allows the leather to stretch out and become more flexible. To ensure that the glove is not too saturated, do not soak it.
You should provide the maximum amount of pressure on the yellow circle region, which is outlined in the image below, by using the glove somewhat damp. This region must be flexible (because the glove has to close to catch a ball).
Using the various techniques mentioned above, discover how to break in your new baseball glove. Now, it’s time to explore the absolute do’s and don’ts (under any circumstances).
Don’t: Microwave or Bake It
Food can only be cooked in a microwave or an oven. Leather gloves are not edible. We must prevent the microwave or oven from getting the glove in it.
Ovens may be said to have a softening effect on leather, as some people believe. On the other hand, heat is known to make leather more pliable. The heated air in an oven is quite dry, to say the least.
A glove that is baked dries out the leather since it has absorbed moisture from the material. It is ready to be used after it has cooled down (and sometimes, brittle).
Don’t: Leave Your Glove in the Car
When you leave your car in the sun, it becomes heated. Instead, some individuals have likened these “mobile ovens” to conventional ovens, and as a result, putting a glove on a hot dashboard is being compared to the safe ways of microwaving or baking it.
On the other hand, you will get comparable outcomes (as indicated above): When no glove conditioning solution can help, the glove is said to be ‘dried out’.
Don’t: Use Shaving Cream
If you’re looking to break in a new glove, try shaving with Barbasol shaving cream. Lanolin, an oil that originates from sheep, was a key ingredient in shaving cream back in the day.
As an added bonus, lanolin is an excellent leather conditioner. However, virtually no shaving lotion is now made with lanolin. Just a little quantity of Barbasol shaving cream, but not significant.
What every shaving cream has in common is a big pile of synthetic and unnatural ingredients, many of which were not specifically formulated to cure leather.
Using shaving cream while attempting to break in a new pair of gloves may provide unexpected results.
Since you are probably aware, a well-conditioned glove is the enemy of a dry glove. Shaving cream, like heat, has compounds that remove moisture from leather. Furthermore, the leather’s fibers may actually be weakened by some of the chemicals.
Don’t: Put Your Glove Under a Mattress
Like glove wrapping, the mattress technique requires pushing the glove into the closed position to make it more flexible. While the two methods are not the same, their outcomes are far apart.
One method for gentle stretching of the leather along the crease is to wrap your glove with rubber bands or thread. With the mattress technique, a flattened leather pancake will be the result.
Whether there is a ball in the pocket or not, gloves should remain semi-firm and retain their form. The heal, or the stiff leather bar at the base of the palm, is a crucial component of a glove’s design, therefore it is essential to keep it as compressed as possible while you have your glove below your mattress.
When a glove is broken in the correct manner, the power of the ball striking the pocket usually pulls the glove into a closed position, so you hardly have to squeeze it to catch the ball. Creasing the heel will provide a floppy mitt; you’ll have to actively compress the ball to keep it in.
Willingness to experiment with different types of mitts may have a significant impact on your game. However, one cannot become a great defender just by wearing gloves. The selection of a glove that fits well and feels correct may allow you to have more confidence on the field and help you produce plays in a cleaner and more consistent manner.
To go to a higher level, you must invest in better equipment, and high-end baseball and softball gloves cost between $300 and $400. If you want to save a few dollars, but don’t want to skimp on quality, look for the model that is “mid-grade” or just below “elite” quality. You’ll be spending between $150 and $250 on a good leather glove.
Many players and parents (particularly those who are purchasing their first high-quality glove) want to know how to care for it, which is why there is an emphasis on gloves that can be properly cared for. And, of course, breaking it in correctly is important, too.
The method to break in a baseball glove is to do it properly and know that it will serve you well for many years. Sadly, there is a lot of inaccurate information about which techniques are appropriate and incorrect, and it is essential that you be very cautious if you don’t want to cause more damage than good.
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