Breaking In A Baseball Glove - A How To


I still remember my first baseball glove.  It was a Spalding.  I was five years old, and happy as a clam.  I was however terribly confused.  Why you ask?  Well, this thing didn’t look like the floppy broken in versions that I watched on the skilled hands of Ozzie Smith and Barry Larkin.  This thing was rigid.  I asked my dad if it was broken.  Silly five-year-old question.  But a legitimate one.  My dad looked down at me and said, “Son, it just needs to be broken in.”  I played baseball for the next 18 years of my life, straight through college.  I learned every trick in the book on breaking in a baseball glove.  I am happy to pass my knowledge along to you.


Step 1:  Buy a glove that suits your needs.  If you’re buying for a young player, just about any glove will do, but as you move on there are specialized versions depending upon the position played.  I have written an article on which glove is used for which position here.


Step 2: Put the glove on your hand, grab a baseball, sit down on the couch and watch some TV.  No, it’s not quite that easy.  Take the ball and throw it into the glove 200 times.  What this will do is begin to develop a pocket.  If you jump right into having a catch with the glove you will likely develop an oddly shaped pocket since you will be catching it awkwardly.  Do this for a week.  If you do the math that’s 7 days of 200 close range throws into the new glove. 


Step 3:  Buy some Dr. Glove foam.  Don’t use oil.  Glove oil weighs down the leather and causes the glove to gain weight.  A heavy glove is a tough glove to work with.  Soft hands are made with swift movements.  How swift can you be with a glove that’s twice its intended weight?   Breaking in a baseball glove isn’t rocket science, but these are little tips that will help you get to a point where your glove is one with you.  Dr. Glove is similar to shaving cream in texture.  Squirt a bit into the palm of the glove and work it in with your hand.  This will lightly loosen up the leather and allow for easier pocket creation.  Your baseball glove will now start to feel more comfortable on your hand.


Step 4: After you apply the Dr. Glove each day, perform the self-throw couch break in method for another 200 throws.  Once done, grab a handful of rubber bands and wrap the ball in the glove.  Leave it like that until the next day and repeat the process for another week.  7 days.


Step 5:  You are now two weeks into the break-in process.  I would expect that your baseball glove is breaking in nicely at this point and is ready to see some legitimate use.  Find a friend, preferably one who has some prior baseball experience and ask him or her to have a catch with you.  A willing mother or father would work just as well.  This will allow you to get a feel for the glove.  This is by far the most important step in breaking in a baseball glove.  Everything leading up to this point was intended to get us comfortable catching a thrown ball.  If for some reason you can’t find a partner to have a catch with, simply go outside and throw the ball in the air 200 times.  It will gather enough steam on its way down to simulate a thrown ball.  Get a feel for how the ball lands in the baseball glove.  It will become more and more comfortable as you do this. 

Step 6: Go Play Ball, and maintain that beautiful piece of leather that you spent breaking in.  Treat your glove well, and it will treat you to many years of continued use.