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Softball Gloves - Articles > Breaking-in Your Ball Glove - Myths and Truths


7 Dec 2010

Lots of Strange Suggestions

There are lots of young folks on line these days asking all sorts of questions. Recently I have seen a lot posts and questions asking How Do I break in my new softball glove or baseball glove. Many want to know how to do it in a few days. To be honest, it can be done. But in most cases you won't like the results you get. It may soften up and let you catch the ball but it won't last.

I see so many suggestions for putting the glove in the oven. Or in the microwave and cooking it like a roast.

Ok - the leather may have come from a steer but come on now, get serious. That is only gonna dry it out and stress the lacings so much they will break early.  The manufacturer has spent a lot of effort and research in tanning the hides to make them the best for ball gloves.
 

But that's how my "Glove Guy" does it

I know there are a lot of MLB guys that have a"glove guy" that has all kinds of tricks to soften a new glove. They dunk 'em 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 definitely soften up a glove. But you gotta realize those are MLB guys - they can afford to own 10 or 12 new $250 gloves every year. So if one gets ruined it doesn't matter to them.  They are usually signed to a contract with a glove maker and get free gloves anyway.
 

Ok - You Want My Suggestions

SO here are my suggestions for breaking in your new glove. I Have done lots or research and am also drawing on experience.

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 am talking about. There are usually laces there.
   Some gloves have grooves or markings instead of laces.
   - Work the laces on top of the web too, 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 tight. Use an ace bandage, big rubber bands, or just put it under your
    mattress over night. Oh and pre-wrap works great too.
     - This will form a nice pocket just where you need it by morning.

3. Play catch - a lot of catch, 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 up.

   - 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 the pocket when not using your glove. Wipe it clean after playing too.

5. More Play Catch - as much as you can.

  If it is Still really Stiff...

6. Rub some good quality glove conditioner in the pocket/palm and up onto the web. Also on the laces on top of the web. These tend to   
     be really stiff. Then fold over the seams some more.
   ** Good conditioners: Akadema glove conditioner, Pecards, Lexol.
    - These are my favorites, there are other good ones out there.
    
7. Put glove in plastic bag after applying the conditioner.
   Find a warm place. A window sill or in your car if its summer.
   *Not the oven please.  
   The heat helps open the pores of the leather letting the
   conditioner work in better.
   - Room temperature is usually enough warmth to do the job.
   - Hey, you could snuggle up with it like a teddy bear...

8. Pound a ball into the pocket or use a mitt masher. You get much more leverage using the mallet.
   - You can make one with an old softball and a dowell rod or broom stick.
    - Cut the broom stick to about 12-15 inches long.
    - Drill a hole throw the softball.
    - Insert a screw through the ball into the broom stick.
    - Make sure it is tight - check it often.

  - Or you can buy one a mitt masher online.

9. Always set your glove down on the bench or grass with palm facing down. This helps keep its shape better.
 
10. Always keep a ball in the pocket when not using the glove.

      In case I forgot to mention it -  Play Catch

11. Here is a video from Akadema showing how to break in one of
    their Made in USA Patriot Series gloves.

Remember - If you do it right the first time, you won't have to do it over again!

 

 

Brad Henks

Pro Quality Lace - Pro Quality Gloves - For Serious Players

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