How to break in a softball glove

It’s really no surprise that buying the best softball glove is a significant part of your softball game being successful. Nearly half of the time you play is spent trying to catch a softball in the field.

If you can’t catch a softball well, you’ll have a severe game deficiency.

In addition to helping you pick up ground balls, a nice glove will assist you to grab hard-hit line drives and the occasional pop fly. These are all hard-to-do things if you don’t have a correctly broken in softball glove.

Should you know how to break in a softball glove?

Most people make the mistake of playing softball with a brand spanking new glove they have just purchased.

That’s not, to say the least, a very smart idea.

And if you do it, you’ll discover that balls pop out of your glove suddenly, and even a slow hit softball, you’ll have a much harder time than usual. You don’t want to play with a glove that will make it hard for you to catch the ball in a sport like softball that needs fast reflexes and excellent hand-eye coordination.

So make absolutely sure that you take the time to correctly break in any brand new glove that you bought before using it in a game.

Here’s a little more info as to why breaking in your new softball glove is essential before using it and several distinct methods of breaking in a softball glove.

Why you should break in your softball glove before using it

Perhaps it’s best to explain why you should do it before we tell you how to break in your softball glove. So you’ll know better what the tricks we’re attempting to teach you’re going to do. Then you’ll understand how to best apply the tricks and tips you’re learning.

Try visualizing this as you read it in your mind.

I’m going to embellish a bit here, but I think it’s important to help make my point about why breaking in a softball glove is so important before using it. Think of these two things; a plywood board and a piece of net.

If you throw the ball at the piece of plywood board it is rigid so the ball just bounces off of it and it’s impossible to catch the ball unless you use your other hand to trap it. That is exaggerated but similar to the result you will get with a softball mitt that is not broken in.  When you throw a ball into the net it is absorbed by it and it stays in the net easily because it naturally wraps around the softball as it enters it. Well, the latter is exactly how a broken in softball glove works.

So you’re looking to benefit from being able to naturally absorb a ball into it by taking the time to break into your brand new softball glove. A correctly broken in softball glove will include some of the following features:

  • When a ball comes into it, it will naturally close around a ball.
  • Opening and closing your hand will take little effort.
  • The softball glove will tend to remain in a slightly curved form on the sides, even if there is no force to do so.
  • A broken in softball glove will give you a better feel for the ball.

So as you try to break in your brand new softball mitt, look for these things to understand you’re on the correct path to effectively break it in.

What if you use your new softball glove before breaking it in?

If you’ve been playing softball long enough, you’ve likely heard the term ‘ error’ used when a person has made a gaffe when they’re fielding a softball that’s hit. Well, if you’re not accustomed with the word and you’re using a brand new softball glove in the field without breaking it in, you should get to know this word because it’s something that’s going to happen to you quite often.

Catching a softball with a glove that hasn’t been broken in is incredibly hard. That’s why softball players take the time they need to break into multiple gloves. So if the glove they’re using breaks in the course of the game they’ve got another one that’s already broken in. So be intelligent and make sure you break in your latest glove before you use it.

Why the material of the softball glove matters when breaking it in

Glove material is of the utmost importance when it comes to breaking in your softball glove. You want a leather glove made of the softest possible leather. The general rule here is that a shorter break-in period for your glove relates to the softness of the leather.

Don’t use gloves containing a bunch of synthetic or hard animal hides like rawhide. While these gloves will be cheaper to buy than leather gloves, they will either take a long time to break in or simply can not be broken in at all.

How to speed up the process of breaking in a softball mitt

Each method has some tricks that can accelerate them and when you break in your softball glove, it’s no different. Here are a few items that in most instances will accelerate breaking in your new glove.

Use softball glove oil or foam

Glove oil is another way to make your softball leather and other materials softer to make your glove easier to break in. The only thing you want with glove oil is to avoid overdoing it, because it gets greasy and it is difficult for a softball to caught with your glove. When applying glove oil, a nice overall rule is to stop when the material in your glove no longer readily absorbs the oil.

Even after your glove is broken in, glove oil is also used as it will assist extend your softball glove life too. Use only approved oils and foams your softball glove, regardless of what others might say.

Bring the heat

Heat tends to make more supple even the toughest glove materials. This can be water, hot air or even sunshine. Heat will make bending and shaping your glove much easier as you try to break it inas soon as possible.

How to break in a softball glove

Two primary factors help a softball glove get broken in correctly. These are repeated actions against the glove like the constant fielding of softballs in which the glove will develop a memory. The memory of the glove is when you do something to keep a softball glove in a form that is much better suited to catching a softball when it is hit.

Both these items are going to speed up breaking in your softball glove considerably.

Different ways to break in your softball glove

These are some time-tested methods to break in your glove by leveraging repeated actions.

In this post we’ve referenced several times it’s the repeated activity of a softball moving into and out of your glove playing a big portion of breaking into your fresh glove. There’s no better way to get the action your glove needs to help break it in than using it in practice.

Most individuals play catch and throw it with their partner when they practice, play several games and practice fielding as well. All this helps to break in your glove correctly as you use it. Practice as many times as necessary with your new glove before using it.

Top methods to break in your new softball glove

Here are some proven ways to break in your glove using repetitive motion techniques:

Practice with your new softball glove

This article has stated many times that a softball going in and out of the glove is an important part of breaking the new glove. There is no better way to get the action required to break a glove than actually using a glove.

When most people play the softball, they play catch with their teammates, throw lots of balls and practice on the field. All of these help break the glove properly during natural use. Practice as much as possible before using a new glove in a game.

Play Catch with your new softball mitt

You can break in your glove just by playing catch. Due to repeated movement of the ball, the glove material begins to become more flexible.  There is also the added benefit of improving your softball skills while playing catch.

Playing catch with yourself

You may have seen someone throwing a softball in their own glove. This is a very good way to break a new softball glove, so it’s not an uncommon technique. In fact, it is similar to playing catch with someone because it has exactly the same effect. Not only this, it can also be a good way to relieve some stress.

Use a glove mallet to break in your new mitt

Did you know that they make a special mallet to break in softball gloves. The principle behind this method is similar to playing catch by yourself. Here we begin to shape the glove so that it makes it easier for the mallet to repeat the movement of the mallet hitting the glove and making it easier to hold the softball. This method works much better than one might think to break in a softball glove.

This next sequence of softball glove methods are all related to the creation of the glove memory to make the softball easier to catch:

Glove straps for breaking in a new softball glove

This is a simple way to say that, even if you aren’t using your glove, your glove is in a position to catch it. A number of the techniques to break a softball glove focus on this.

These are belts that can be purchased at any sporting goods shop selling softball gloves. This is also made by most of the manufacturers selling softball gloves. They work rather than break in a glove because they are great to use when you are storing your softball glove for an extended period of time.

To do this, just place a softball in the pocket of your glove and wrap your glove around softball like if you caught a softball. Then take your strap and wrap it around the softball glove to keep it there to help break it in.

My old man’s way of breaking in a glove

This technique and the above-mentioned belt technique show certain similar characteristics. My father’s trick does it better at a lower cost. He was a decent ballplayer back in the day, playing professional softball in the minor leagues for several years. My father discovered this trick from some of his team’s veterans to break in a softball glove.

This is how it’s done and I’m going to add even a modern twist to it that I finally learned.

  • Put your glove for 3–5 minutes in a bath full of warm water, then take it out of the water.
  • Get an old bat and also find a shoestring.
  • Insert the softball in the glove pocket and fold the softball glove.
  • Next the shoestring will be taken around the outside of the glove and tightly tied, keeping the glove firmly wrapped around the softball you left in.
  • Place the fingers on the glove downward for several days, so it drips dry and dries dry.

I can personally vouch for how well that this method works and it will be a great first step in breaking in any new softball glove that you own. It does a tremendous job of creating glove memory so you can catch a softball much easier.

Break in a softball mitt with glove steaming

Personally, I’m not a large supporter of a softball glove being formed with heat such as sunshine, a microwave oven or using an oven. This said, I’m an enormous supporter of heat to break in a softball glove. One of the greatest ways to heat your latest softball glove is to use steam. It is both safe and convenient for your glove.

Here’s how it works:

  • On a hot stove, put a large pot of water to boil. Put a grill over the top of the water while it is heating up. When the water begins boiling, you can put your glove on the grill to begin letting the steam heat it up.
  • During this process turn your glove occasionally and ensure no part of the glove is in contact with the water underneath. Turn the glove until you feel it hot on the outside and inside of the softball glove.
  • When it is warm all over, dry the glove gently to get off any moisture from the surface.
  • Use a glove mallet all over the softball glove. While doing this, place strong emphasis on the pocket of the glove. That should make it easier to open and close your glove when you catch a softball.

What to avoid when breaking in a softball mitt

We discussed about using glove oil to assist breaking in a glove as well as using heat. However, you should avoid heat and oil at the same time. These two methods do work, but in some cases they are not supposed to be done simultaneously.

For example, oil your glove and place it in a hot oven. If you’ve ever cooked, you know how baked food is cooked and you’ll do exactly that to your glove. Do this and you can guarantee that your laces in the glove will need to be replaced and your glove can also be ruined too.

Don’t leave your glove wet for a long time. Most of the techniques to break in your glove required water use and it really helps to soften and to break in your glove. You want to prevent it from being wet for a long time. It will be too heavy to use and you can also see signs of mold.

Therefore, after wetting your glove make sure to use a fan, dryer, hair dryer, or any other methods you have to help dry it as quick as you can.

Quickly break in your softball glove

You now know why breaking your softball glove is so important before you use it. Knowing how to correctly break in a softball glove is something you’ll use again and again. It’s not really so difficult it requires a little time, but as soon as it’s broken in, you’ll appreciate using your new softball glove with ease. So don’t delay, get your new glove broken in, so you can use your new softball glove during your next game.