Advise: Breaking in Your Baseball Glove

Advise: Breaking in Your Baseball Glove
Getting Off To A Good Start - Breaking in Your Baseball Glove

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The Bottom Line Break your glove in the right way when you get it, and it'll be your friend out on the field.

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As those of us who are all mothers know, motherhood brings a lengthy list of jobs we must fill. Some we are all prepared for. The maid, the chef, the boo-boo kisser. The confessor, the nurse, and the chauffeur. But then, there are some that we never really anticipated. In my house, one of these is the equipment manager. With children that play, or have played, soccer, baseball, softball, football, basketball, volleyball, and tennis, it has become a job of mighty proportions.

Having not played most of those sports myself, I had a lot to learn. First how to buy the right stuff to begin with. But then once we had it, had to take care of it, and teach the children to, so that the equipment would last through the season, and maybe even long enough to pass on the next child in line.

When we first began baseball, our first purchase was a glove. I learned quickly that the first step in owning a glove is breaking it in correctly. Do so, and you have a great piece of equipment which will serve you well, help your game, and have a longer life. Fail to do so, and you risk owning a piece of equipment which falls short of expectations.

There are two main goals in breaking in a glove. First you want to soften the leather so that it is pliable 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.

Having not a clue, I relied on the advice of others to acquaint myself with the process. Many thanks to the countless patient coaches and store clerks, who taught me everything I know.

1. First, buy a good glove. Certainly you're not going to want to spend oodles of money on a glove if your child's first season might be their last. Or if, as with anything, growth might force a quick castaway. But certainly, if you buy a cheap glove, that's what you'll get.

2. Lubricate the glove with foam shaving cream, the kind that contains lanolin. Take a very small amount, and put it on a soft, clean cloth. I usually use 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.

3. Let the glove dry overnight.

4. Take another soft, clean cloth, and wipe the glove thoroughly. Go out and play a good game of catch with your child. The impact of the ball on the glove begins the process of molding and stretching the leather to conform to the hand and the ball with your child's catching style.

5. Take a ball, and place it in the glove, in the area where the ball will be caught. Many people recommend using a softball for this purpose. Take a rubber band and keep the glove tightly closed around the ball for a day or two. Make sure you keep the glove in an area without temperature extremes, as this can hurt the leather.

6. Take the glove out each day, and play catch with it for at least a few minutes. This regular workout will continue to soften the glove, and form the best possible individually fitted catching machine. Each night, when you put the glove away, continue to place a ball in the mitt and secure it. Continue this for at least 2 weeks.

Following these easy steps will leave you with a great feeling, great working glove.

A word of caution. During my information gathering experience, I was given some bad advice about gloves, which will hurt the leather. Please don't do any of the following:

~ Bake or microwave the glove - doing so will damage the leather
~ Soak the glove in water - again, will damage the leather
~ Use Vaseline instead of shaving cream - will saturate, rather than lubricate the glove, and negatively effect performance

Have a great baseball season!



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