With summer coming to a close, baseball and softball players find themselves creeping into the dreaded “Off-Season”. What to do during this boring, game-less time? Well, many players take advantage of the down time by breaking in a new glove for the upcoming season. With plenty of time until those cleats hit the dirt again, the off-season is ideal for softening up that brand new, stiff glove. But with this, many players, coaches and parents find themselves wondering, “What is the best way to break-in a new glove?”. Hopefully we can shed some light on this popular topic.
Things to Consider…
You can hop on Google, enter a search how to soften a baseball glove, and you will find multiple pages claiming to know the best and worst ways to soften a new glove. You may even find some demo videos from MLB players and experts. But what makes some of these methods right and some of them so wrong? Which method really IS the best? When going through and considering a method, you may want to consider who is providing the testimonial.
Many Major League players will say that baking their glove in an oven or using a microwave has served them best for getting a quick, effective break-in for their mitt. What they usually fail to mention is that the manufacturer will send another glove at the drop of the hat, should the player need one. So, if baking or nuking their glove takes a turn for the worse – no worries! – another glove will be there in no time.
Something else to consider is the material that the glove is made of. Top-of-the-line baseball and softball mitts, that are usually the toughest to break-in, are made of high quality leathers. LEATHER. How would you treat leather seats in a car? Leather furniture in a house? Leather shoes or purse? Hopefully, you didn’t answer any of the following: “drench it with water!”, “smash it!”, “pour motor oil on it!”, “rub shaving cream into it!”. Those methods and materials are in no way designed to treat leather. Why treat a leather glove in a different manner than a leather sofa? Sure, the glove will be exposed to worse conditions than a couch – outside in the dirt, possibly mud and even the occasional rain – but that doesn’t mean that leather isn’t leather and shouldn’t be treated with care.
So What’s the Best Route?
The best route to go about when trying to soften your glove is probably what the manufacturer of the glove – the people that chose those materials and put it together – recommends. Most glove companies have developed their own type of glove conditioner for the specific leathers that they use. These oils and conditioners have been specifically manufactured for use on glove leather – so you can probably assume that it would be one of the safer resources to use when it comes to applying anything to the glove itself. Glove oils and conditioners are designed to soften and keep the leather of your mitt clean, preserving the life of the glove when used correctly. Now, this doesn’t mean gob the entire bottle or container onto the glove at once. These oils and conditioners are effective, but concentrated, so use sparingly. Usually, just a thin coating will do the trick, as the leather will soak up the nutrients to keep its healthy sheen and life.
As far as developing a pocket and feel that is right for you, the best way is also the most time consuming – just play with it. Play catch. Catch balls from a pitching machine. Throw a ball into your glove when watching TV. The glove is designed to catch a ball, not to take a beating from a wooden mallet or lay flat underneath a mattress at night. When not actively shaping the glove, make sure to keep a ball in the glove to keep the pocket formed. Just place the ball in the pocket where you would prefer and wrap it up. Some manufacturers offer glove wraps or large rubber bands to do this. WebGem offers an entire “Glove Care System”, for which you can check out our Demo of their product HERE. If you don’t have access to any of those, a bandana or belt will probably do the trick.
Certainly, there are going to be nay-sayers and people that have their own opinions on which is the right way and which is the wrong way – to each his own. Want to get started on getting that new glove game-ready? Check out our Glove Accessories page for all of the extras you may need for the process. Not quite sure which method is right for you or maybe which glove care system, conditioner or wrap to purchase? Contact our Customer Service Department for help.
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