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Breaking in Baseball Gloves: Do’s and Don'ts

Breaking in Baseball Gloves: Do’s and Don'ts

So, you’ve just picked up a new baseball glove for the upcoming spring season, which will be here before you know it, and you’re excited. This is understandable - getting hot new gives even the most seasoned players at least a twinge of excitement.

There’s just one small problem. You want your new glove to be ready to play with as soon as you hit the first practice of the season. Well, even though it’s still January, you can make that happen. You just need to know the difference between what to do and what not to do!

First, Let’s Cover the Don'ts

Alright, we’ll get the things you shouldn’t do out of the way first. Here are some popular “methods” for helping to break in new baseball gloves that, well, really, should never have even been ideas in the first place. They’re terrible for the glove, will generally damage or destroy it, can compromise its performance, and will ultimately cost you money.

  • DON’T run over it: Some old salts will tell you to run over your glove with a car or a truck. That new glove is stiff, so you need to bend it to your will, but this is not the way to do it. Guess what’s rough? The road is rough, and if you drive over the glove on the road, you’ll cause serious abrasive damage. Also, in case you were wondering, you’re never going to come into a situation during a game where you’d be simulating “getting hit by a truck.” At least, not really. Do not drive over your mitt or glove.
  • DON’T bake it, microwave it, or pour hot water on it: Some others will tell you heat is the trick and will tell you to bake your glove, microwave your glove, or to pour hot water on it before trying to form it. Alright, the long and short of this is that the heat damages the leather fibers, and microwaving is worst of all. It will destroy the lacing, cause the leather to shrink and become brittle, and overall shorten the life of the glove. Cold water is ok for wet forming a glove, but hot water will cause the leather fibers to string and deform. It’s bad news.
  • DON’T overtreat it with oil, even neatsfoot oil or beeswax: A little bit of oil is not a bad thing, as it can protect the leather from drying out and cracking over time. Too much oil, however, will make the leather too soft, will stain or discolor it, and will cause damage over time since it will basically never go away. Be sparing in your use of oil - too much is bad.
  • DON’T overexpose it to heat: Too much heat is bad for a glove, even though it can make it workable. That’s why some people will tell you to leave your glove in a hot car or to store it near heat. Sure, in the short term it will make the leather more supple, but in the long term, it’s damaging. That’s bad news for a glove.

So, What Can You Do?

Alright, so there’s quite a list of things you should never do to help break in your new baseball gloves. Here are some of the things you can do.

  • DO play with the glove - that’s the secret sauce: This is it. This is the secret to success. Do you know how everyone always says there isn’t one? Well, here there is. Just play with your new glove. Wear it in. Stretch it. Practice fielding with it. Snag fly balls. Play catch with it. The more you play with your new glove, the more it will become supple and form to the contours of your hand. It’s not a fast track, but it’s the tried and true method to success.

However, if you really want to speed up the process, you can also try the following two methods to speed up the break in period.

  • DO store a ball in the pocket and apply pressure: You can store a ball in the pocket and apply pressure to the glove if you want to speed up the break-in. you can wrap the glove in strong rubber bands, or place it under a stack of books or a mattress. This will help it to form to the shape of a ball slowly, without too much stress.
  • DO use a glove mallet (if you want, but it’s not entirely necessary): You don’t need to use a glove mallet to beat your new glove, but as long as you are sensible about it and don’t use hot water, it might make the process of break-in easier.

There you have it - what you can do and what you shouldn’t do. The key takeaway here is that the secret to success is to practice. The more you practice, the better your skills will become and the more your gloves will form and break in.

You’re in the right place for high-quality baseball gloves, too. We carry some of the most popular glove brands in the industry, from Rawlings to Wilson to Louisville Slugger gloves and everything in between. We have lots of types of gloves, too, (even batting gloves) so whether you’re out for an outfielder’s glove or a catcher’s mitt, get to shopping. You’ll find what you need, but if not, call us at 1-888-540-BATS.

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Comments 1
  • Willis

    I understand keeping a ball in the glove with rubber bands wrapped around it helps break in/form the pocket. But is there any reason that you can’t continue to keep a ball in the pocket with a rubber band after it’s already broken in?

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