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Nothing is worse than putting on a new, stiff softball glove as you head out onto the field. If you just acquired a new softball glove, you're probably searching for the best ways to break it in. We've done all the necessary research to provide you with simple and easy ways to break in that new softball glove of yours.
To break in a new softball glove, use one, or a few of, these simple methods. Your glove will be broken in in no time if you:
- Heat the glove in the oven
- Apply oil to soften the glove
- Leave the glove in a hot car
- Leave a ball in the glove when you’re not using it
- Use the glove to play catch
- Get aggressive with it
If some of these methods seem confusing, don't get overwhelmed. In this guide, we'll dig deeper into each method with helpful steps and information. Let's get to it, shall we?
Methods To Break In A New Softball Glove
You have plenty of options to get that glove broken in. Keep reading below to find the best method for you.
Heat In The Oven
If you need to break in a softball glove quickly, consider using your oven. This method is safer than using a microwave oven. Do not keep your glove in the oven for any longer than fifteen minutes; be sure to set a timer so you don't accidentally leave the glove in the oven for too long.
For this method, simply preheat your oven to 300 or 315 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your oven reaches the desired temperature, you can turn the oven off. Place the softball glove on a cookie sheet and leave it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
You can rub some oil or shaving cream into the glove to condition it before putting it in the oven. If you do this, make sure you only keep your glove in the oven for three minutes. This is long enough to let the oil soak in and soften the leather. Be sure to let your glove cool off before using it.
If you want to soften your new softball glove with oil, you can use mink oil, tanner's glove oil, or glove manufacturers oil. You can also choose to use an oil-based ointment like Vaseline. Lubricate the glove with the oil of your choice by putting a dime-sized amount on a soft, clean cloth or sponge. Then, rub it into the palm area, fingers, and stitching of the glove.
Glove oils help to break in your glove by softening the leather. But that's not the only benefit of using oil on your glove. Once the oil sets in, it can protect your glove from hard impacts, dirt, and scrapes, too.
When lubricating your softball glove, be sure to treat the stitching and webbing of the glove with oil since these parts of the glove absorb most of the strain from catching and gripping softballs.
Go easy on the oil. Use only enough oil to lightly coat the glove. Wipe away any excess oil because too much oil can oversaturate the leather. This runs the risk of making the glove heavy and easy to crack.
Wilson Pro Stock Mink Oil Paste
Leave The Glove In A Hot Car
If you're looking for a simple route, this might be the method for you. Simply leave your new glove on your car's dashboard or in the trunk for a few hours. This method is effective due to the heat. The heat will alter the leather, and the humidity will naturally loosen the glove, improving its flexibility.
Do not leave your glove in the direct sun. The sun's harsh rays will cause damage to the glove's leather. We suggest leaving the glove in a car that is sitting in a hot garage. This way the sun cannot hurt the glove and no damage will be done. It's foolproof!
Leave A Ball In The Glove When Not In Use
Another simple way to break in your new glove is to leave a ball in it at all times. Leaving a softball in your glove will help the glove conform around the ball permanently. This method is great because your glove becomes the exact shape you want it to be so that you can catch and hold onto a softball.
A quick tip: when your glove is brand new, wrap the glove with the ball in it with bands to help it keep the shape and conform to the ball quicker. After doing this a few times, the rubber bands will no longer be necessary, and you can just leave the ball in the glove on its own.
Franklin Sports Softball
Use The Glove To Play Catch
This strategy is great because it allows you to do two productive things at once. If you are in need of breaking in your new glove and improving your game, try out this method! It is both fun and helpful. If you play catch frequently, you will be able to break in the glove quickly.
This method is also great because you do not run the risk of damaging your glove’s materials like you can when using excessive amounts of heat and oils. To break in the glove effectively, catch the softball by squeezing and enveloping it with the area around the thumb and forefingers (the pocket).
Get Aggressive With It
This method allows you to get your aggression out while breaking in your new glove. You can soften up your softball glove by kicking it, punching it, stomping on it, jumping on it, throwing it against a wall or the ground, or hitting it with a softball bat.
For more tips and tricks from a professional softball player, check out this video:
This softball coach recommends softening and conditioning the leather with a foam product or a conditioner. You can loosen up the seams so that you can squeeze the glove easily so you can catch and hold onto the ball.
A simple way to tell is if your glove looks like it has a softball in it even when it doesn't. Wear your glove a lot, squeeze the glove a lot, and work the glove with your hands (natural oils). The importance of playing catch is greatly emphasized. When storing the glove, keep a ball in it and keep it at room temperature.
Bad Methods For Breaking In Your Softball Glove
When it comes to breaking in your new glove, there are a few things you should stay away from. For one, do not have someone else break in your new softball glove for you. You want the glove to mold to the size and shape of your hand, not someone else's. While it may seem minor at first, it can greatly impact the way you play.
Another thing to remember is the importance of breaking in your softball with a regulation-sized softball. Make sure the ball you use to break in your glove is the same size as the ball you will play with during games and practice. You do not want your glove to conform to the wrong size ball.
If you break a softball glove in using a baseball, the pocket will not be big enough when you start playing with softballs. And if you break your glove in using a ball that is bigger than a softball, the formed pocket will be too large, causing you to not be able to hold onto a softball when you catch one.
How Do You Break In A Softball Catcher's Mitt?
If you need to break in a softball catcher's mitt, all of these methods will work. However, you might need to do these methods for a longer period of time or multiple times because a catcher's mitt is much thicker than a regular softball mitt.
Now you know everything there is to know about breaking in your softball glove. You can play catch, use heat, use oil, or even use your own fist! And if you want to know more about sports, check out How To Hike Without Getting Tired [7 Crucial Tips!]
And if you have even more sports-related questions, be sure to check out How To Add Grip To Basketball Shoes [5 Crucial Tips].