As a softball catcher, having the right gear is crucial for playing the game effectively. One of the most important pieces of equipment is the catcher’s mitt. A well-broken-in catcher’s mitt not only provides comfort but also increases your chances of catching those tricky pitches. Breaking in a catcher’s mitt can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right techniques, you can get it done in no time.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to break in a softball catcher’s mitt to ensure that you are ready to perform your best on the field.
Why Is It Important To Break In Catcher’s Mitts?
Breaking in a softball catcher’s mitt is important for several reasons:
Comfort: Breaking in a catcher’s mitt helps to mold it to the shape of your hand, making it more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. This can help reduce hand fatigue and make it easier to control the mitt.
Better Fit: Breaking in the mitt can also help it fit more snugly on your hand. This is important for catching, as you want to be able to quickly close the mitt and secure the ball in it.
Improved Performance: When a catcher’s mitt is broken in, it becomes easier to control and handle the ball. This can help improve your performance on the field and make it easier to catch pitches and prevent stolen bases.
Longevity: Breaking in a mitt also helps it to last longer. If a mitt is used without being broken in, it can become stiff and rigid, which can lead to cracks and tears over time. Breaking in the mitt helps to prevent this and can extend its lifespan.
- Softball catcher’s mitt
- Baseball or softball
- Glove oil or conditioning oil
- Soft cloth or rag
- Glove mallet or rolling pin
- Leather softener or conditioning cream
Steps In Breaking In Softball Catcher’s Mitts
- Start by using your mitt for regular catch with a friend or family member. This will help loosen up the leather and make it easier to form the pocket.
- Use a softball for break-in. A softball is smaller and softer than a baseball, which makes it easier to form a pocket in the mitt.
- Soften up the leather with oil. You can use a leather conditioner, saddle soap, or mink oil. Rub the oil into the leather until it is evenly distributed.
- Fold the mitt in half and hold it together by wrapping a rubber band around it. This will help the leather conform to the shape of the ball.
- Place a softball in the mitt and use a mallet to gently pound the ball into the pocket. Be sure to pound the ball evenly all around the mitt to form a deep pocket.
- Repeat the process until you are happy with the shape of the pocket. You may have to repeat the process several times to get the pocket to form properly.
- Once you are happy with the pocket, play catch with the mitt for an hour or so. This will help the leather settle into the pocket.
- After you have played catch for an hour, remove the ball from the mitt and place it under a heavy weight overnight. This will help the leather retain the shape of the pocket.
- Repeat the process as needed until the mitt is broken in and the pocket is formed to your liking.
- Not playing catch regularly: Playing catch helps break in the mitt and forms it to your hand.
- Oiling too much: Over-oiling can damage the leather and cause it to become too soft.
- Not using a mallet: A mallet can help shape the pocket and prevent over-stretching.
- Not storing properly: Store the mitt in a cool, dry place to prevent cracking and drying.
- Neglecting to condition the leather: Regular conditioning helps keep the leather supple and prevents cracking.
Breaking in a softball catcher’s mitt is a process that requires patience and dedication. It is important to use the right methods to avoid damaging the mitt and to ensure that it fits comfortably on your hand. Whether you choose to use oil, conditioner, or break-in kits, it is crucial to follow the instructions carefully and to allow enough time for the mitt to fully break in. With the right approach, you can have a well-worn, comfortable mitt that will help you perform at your best on the field.