Breaking in a custom baseball glove can take time and patience, but having a glove that fits perfectly and performs well on the field is worth it. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you break in your leather fielding glove quickly and effectively. We will cover the different methods for breaking in a glove and tips on maintaining it once it has been broken in.
Breaking In Your New Glove
A custom baseball glove is an investment that deserves special attention to ensure it lasts a long time and performs well on the field. Whether you've just purchased a new custom glove or have an old one that needs re-broken in, we'll give you all the information you need to get the most out of your glove.
Choosing the Right Glove
When choosing a custom baseball glove, the first consideration is the type of leather. Genuine supple cowhide leather is more affordable and durable to withstand harsh conditions. However, Kip leather is recommended for players aged 13 and up, as it is a softer leather that provides comfort and durability.
After deciding on the type of leather, selecting the correct size glove is essential. The glove should fit snugly on the player's hand, with the fingers able to reach the ends of the glove. Sizing charts are relative to hand size, with a general rule of 10" -11 1/2" for ages 7-9, 11" -12" for ages 10-12, and 11" -12.5" for ages 13 and up.
A player should consider their position. Deeper pockets are used at third base and in the outfield, while closed-back gloves are mainly used for the outfield to add strength to the wrist of the glove. You can find open-back gloves in most infield positions to make the wrist more mobile and flexible. Webbing is used primarily in the infield to let dirt and debris fall through the glove, while trapeze webbing is mainly used in the outfield.
Players can also customize their gloves with unique color options but should consider the demands of their position. First base and catcher's mitts typically require closed webbing, while an index finger pad can be added to provide additional comfort when catching balls in the infield.
Breaking in a New Baseball Glove
Breaking in a new baseball glove is essential to ensure it's comfortable and practical. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Soften the leather
Apply a small amount of glove oil to the glove.
Rub the oil into the leather using a soft cloth.
Allow the glove to sit overnight.
Stretch the glove
Place a baseball or softball in the pocket of the glove.
Fold the glove around the ball and tie it closed.
Leave the ball in the glove for several days.
Shape the pocket
Remove the ball from the glove.
Use a mallet to pound the pocket area of the glove.
Repeat this process until the pocket is shaped to your liking.
Play catch with the glove
Put the glove on and play catch with a partner.
This will help to break in the leather and make it more flexible.
Alternative Methods for Breaking in a Baseball Glove
There are several alternative methods for breaking in a baseball glove, some of which can be quicker or easier than the traditional method. Here are a few options to consider:
Using a microwave
Place a small amount of water in a sponge or cloth.
Put the sponge or cloth inside the glove.
Microwave the glove for 25 seconds.
Take the glove out of the microwave and shape it with your hands.
Note: Be careful not to overheat the glove, which can damage the leather.
Using a glove steamer
A glove steamer is a tool designed specifically for breaking in baseball gloves. It uses steam to soften the leather and make it more pliable. Some sporting goods stores offer glove steaming services, or you can purchase a steamer for home use.
Using a weighted ball
Instead of using a regular baseball or softball, some players prefer to use a weighted ball to break in their glove. The added weight can stretch and shape the leather more quickly. However, be cautious with this method as it can cause damage to the glove if done improperly.
Maintaining Your Baseball Glove
Once your baseball glove has been broken in, it's crucial to maintain it properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Here are a few tips:
Clean your glove regularly
Use a soft cloth to wipe down the glove after each use.
Avoid using harsh chemicals or soaps that can damage the leather.
If the glove gets wet, allow it to dry naturally and avoid using a heater or other heat source.
Store the glove properly
Store the glove in a dry, cool place.
Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight, which can dry out and damage the leather.
Use a glove conditioner or oil periodically to keep the leather supple.
Re-break in the glove if necessary
If your glove starts to feel stiff or loses shape, you may need to re-break it using one of the above methods.
Following these tips ensures that your custom baseball glove is comfortable, effective, and long-lasting. With a bit of time and effort, you'll be able to break in your glove and enjoy it for years to come.