At this point, you’ve probably invested a good amount of money into buying a nice glove. So, it’s important that you make taking care of that glove a top priority.
That means breaking it in well, maintaining it during the season, and caring for it in the off season. It’s also important that you not mistreat your glove.
Many players become attached to the glove that they purchase, and the only way to ensure that you can enjoy that attachment for years at a time is to properly care for the glove in every way.
Doing a quick internet search will provide dozens of possibilities for breaking your glove in.
Many of these are “quick” solutions to breaking the glove in and will actually hurt the glove more than it will help.
Let’s start with what you should do to break your glove in, and then we’ll move onto a list of ideas that I would never consider using.
The best ways to actually break in your glove are the tried-and-true method of playing catch until you can feel the difference. That is, play catch until the glove has loosened up sufficiently for game use.
This is the best way to break in a glove because it allows the glove to mold around your hand, so you’ll feel that it fits perfectly when it’s broken in.
Another useful method for breaking your glove in is to use a small hand weight or glove mallet to hit the glove and work the leather.
This isn’t ideal because the added abuse can shorten the life of your glove.
Some consider this as abusing your glove, but your mechanically working with the glove to loosen it up. This won’t deteriorate the leather like some methods listed later.
Finally, glove wraps are a popular form of trying to break in a glove.
A glove wrap involves putting a ball (typically a softball) inside the glove, then wrapping a large rubber band around the glove to hold it snug.
When I did this as a child, I would then put the glove under my mattress to add weight. The pressure would help break the pocket in.
Both of these ideas come with draw backs, however, they’re useful because they speed up the break-in process without actually destroying the glove.
Below is a list of practices you could find with a quick internet search. However, I would avoid them at all costs.
- Cook your glove
- Steam your glove- water is bad for your glove
- Use water to soften the leather- If you don’t want your glove wet, why would you soak it to help loosen it up for game sue?
- Use oils that aren’t suggested by the manufacturer (linseed oil, mink oil, petroleum jelly, etc.)
These will all help with a quick break-in of your glove, but you run the risk of destroying the leather and shortening the life span of your glove.
After breaking your glove in, it is ready for regular use in games. How do you care for a glove that is regularly used?
You must consider how to maintain the leather, how to properly store and clean your glove after games, etc.
You should make it a point to routinely care for your glove. Putting in a little extra effort in between games could add years to the life of your glove.
It is important that you make it a point to clean your glove after every game.
That is, take a dry rag or cloth and wipe the glove down to get rid of any extra dirt and moisture resulting from the game.
This seems pretty minor, but keeping the dust, dirt, and grime off of your glove can really extend its life.
Usually at the end of the season I use leather cleaner to help give my glove a special shine.
I feel a lot better about a freshly cleaned glove sitting in the corner than I do something that has just been wiped off.
The important thing is to note that you cannot do this on a weekly basis.
It’s also important to note that you need to use the leather cleaner sparingly.
Using too much leather cleaner can actually damage your glove.
While keeping your glove clean and dry is important, you should also put serious consideration into where you store your glove.
Keeping your glove in your baseball bag won’t be ideal as it is dark, dirty, and possibly moist.
This means that the moisture could be eating away at your leather for weeks at a time. Ideally, you should consider keeping your glove in a room that is used regularly.
That is, a glove is best kept in a room that you would regular spend time in so that the temperature and moisture are reasonable.
The final key component of maintaining your glove is to reshape it and tighten in during the off season.
The best way to do this is to put a ball in the web of your glove and secure the glove with a piece of twine, a rubber band, etc.
This will hold the glove in place as if you were squeezing it shut to catch the ball. While the glove is “closed” you should pull the webbing tight and retie it at the end. It is best to use a square knot as they are most likely to hold the shape.
Doing this keeps your glove tight; meaning you have less pieces stretching out during a game.
Keeping your glove tight will allow for the supports to work at their best potential.
In summary, caring for a glove is quite a simple task if you know the secrets. Gently break the glove in- being too rough with your glove is only going to damage it.
Never forget that your glove is like a person and needs proper care. Don’t leave your glove in conditions that you wouldn’t be happy living in- not too cold, not too hot, dry environment.