There are some standard practices on how to soften and shape a baseball glove that haven’t been exactly user friendly.
First off we have to establish that breaking in a glove and shaping it are different all together.
Breaking In A Baseball Glove
Breaking in a glove gets the leather of the glove game ready through softening the glove. Softening the glove can be best accomplished by using a good glove oil made specifically for leather baseball gloves.
Breaking in the glove takes a little water and a break in tool such as a bat or small mallet to help soften the leather. Add some glove conditioner and some good catch and you’ll have a game ready glove within no time.
Shaping A Baseball Glove
Shaping the glove is a lost art when it comes to the modern glove. The thicker old school gloves were very padded and very flat. So, the art of shaping was born with the thought of bending the fingers inward to give it more of a curved feel.
This made sense to players with those gloves because it would constantly stretch back out due to the thickness of the leather and the lack of shape in the design process.
This practice was adopted and practiced for years, but for the modern glove it defeats the purpose of getting the right shape.
Newer gloves with a much sleeker design allows the fingers to be much more pliable and the shape is built into the design. So curling the glove inward actually gives it too much of a curl to the end of the fingers (that is especially bad for the correct shape for infielders).
When fielding a ground ball the glove should feel more like a square shovel that allows the fingers of the glove to touch the ground without curling.
So, think in terms of a dust pan, straight with open fingers to allow for more surface area for the ball to enter the glove.
In essence, curling the glove inwards actually takes away from the modern shape of the glove that was already achieved through the new design.
So, if you look out on a field and you see an MLB player tugging on their glove and notice the direction they work in it - this will be in a motion of opening the glove outwards, not curling it inwards.