Before you learn to swing the bat properly, the first thing they teach you in baseball is how to catch and throw. For kids and many first timers in the game, it is important to know that you need to break in your baseball glove before you start using it. You will learn quickly that in owning a glove is to break it in correctly. Do this and you will have a great piece of equipment which will serve you well, help your game, and have a longer life. Failure to do so means you risk owning an equipment which falls short of expectations.
There are two reasons why a glove has to be broken in. One is because you want to make sure that you soften the leather so that it is comfortable enough to use and moves well with your hand. The other goal is to form a pocket or molding an area in the palm of the glove which will catch the ball tightly, yet not so tightly that the ball won’t slip out easily when you need to throw it. But nevertheless, most people will tell you that the best way to break in a glove is just by using it.
After you’ve purchased the glove you want, you need to soften the leather. You can use a number of different oils and lotions to soften the leather of your baseball glove. Most people use shaving cream (preferably with lanolin), but you may also use others like Vaseline, mink oil, tanner’s glove oil, glove manufacturers oils, saddle soap, etc. Lubricate the glove with your lube preference, say shaving cream. Take a very small amount, and put it on a soft, clean cloth like a dish towel. Rub the shaving cream into the glove, being careful to use just enough to lightly coat the glove. Make sure it is rubbed in well, and no globs remain. Let it dry overnight. A word of caution when using oils, creams and soaps. Do not put too much as this will make the leather deteriorate faster and ruin your glove.
Now you need to form the pocket of your glove. Using a clean cloth, wipe your glove thoroughly after letting it dry overnight. Go out and play a game of catch with someone. The ball’s impact begins the molding and stretching process of the leather so it will conform to your hand and the ball with your catching style. A popular practice for forming the pocket of your baseball glove (other than playing catch) is to place a baseball (others say a softball is better) in the pocket and tie the glove shut with shoelaces, string or even a belt. Keep the glove tightly closed around a day or two and make sure to keep the glove in an area where the temperature is not extreme as this can hurt the leather. Use the glove each day and play catch with it for at least a few minutes a day. The regular work out will continue to soften your glove and form the best possible mold for your catching style. Put the glove away for the evening and continue to place a ball in the mitt and secure it. Do this for at least two weeks.
Follow these easy steps and you’re on your way to a great baseball season!