If you will takethe advice outlined in this post on How to choose a youth baseball glove,
then you probably found the right glove for your child. The next step is to
break in that glove so that it is easier to handle and use.
There are several ways to break in a
new baseball glove. In fact, if you ask a dozen different Major League players
how they do it, you will probably get a dozen different approaches. However,
there are some common practices that you can follow to achieve your ultimate
The first step is to condition the
leather, and this is the step that be in conflict the most among players, but
the objective is to soften up the leather so that it is not so stiff and hard
to squeeze. To begin with, you will need a conditioner.
Many glove manufacturers will recommend their own brand of oils, but you can
use a variety of products and the cheapest product is a can of plain old
Barbasol shaving cream.
Only use this method with steer hide
leather gloves, NOT Suede or Vinyl, or Synthetic gloves.
You will need 2 cans of Barbasol, a
5 gallon bucket, and some paper towels. Shake one of the cans of Barbasol
shaving cream for a few seconds then empty its contents into the 5 gallon
bucket. Place your new glove into the shaving cream and then take the second
can of Barbasol and empty it on top of the glove. Let it sit for a day and all
the shaving cream will melt. When you pull out the glove it will look messy so
use the paper towels to pat down any excess shaving cream.
You will notice that the shaving
cream absorbed into the glove and the laces and this will soften the leather.
The next step is to shape the glove. You do this by placing a ball inside the
pocket and then wrapping the glove with a couple of rubber bands or shoelaces.
Once this is done you can place it out of the way and let it sit in room
temperature over night.
The next day, take the rubber bands
off the glove and you want to work the pocket by hitting it with a baseball
mallet. I have found that the best product for this is called the Ergo Glove
Mallet which sells for about $27 on Amazon. There are some cheaper ones out
there but the way they are designed you will be busting up your knuckles on the
glove laces because the handle is just not long enough. The Ergo Glove mallet
lets your hand be above the glove and avoid the beating on your knuckles. With
your baseball mallet, just hit the pocket for about 5 or 10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can just play catch for 5 or 10 minutes
but this is assuming your child can catch well and already knows how to control
a glove. It’s the best method for older children, but the kids that are 4 – 8
are still learning the mechanics and it will be harder and take longer to break
in that pocket. I would recommend using the above mallet, and if not that then
a rubber mallet may do the trick as well.
Parents, the point is to work that pocket in the way that a ball will hit it so
it is easier for your child to catch. DO NOT let
your adult hands stretch out the glove and misaligned the pocket. Let your child
do the pounding with the mallet and they will get a feel for how the ball will
hit the glove.
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