As a softball player, you know how important it is to have a comfortable and well-fitting glove. A properly broken in glove can help you make more accurate catches and improve your overall performance on the field. However, breaking in a new softball glove can be a time-consuming process that requires patience and attention to detail. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to break in a softball glove, so you can get the most out of your new equipment.
Understanding the Types of Softball Gloves
Before we dive into the process of breaking in a softball glove, it’s important to understand the different types of gloves available on the market. Softball gloves can be classified into two main categories: infield gloves and outfield gloves. Infield gloves are typically shorter and lighter, making them ideal for quick reflexes and quick transfers from your glove to your throwing hand. Outfield gloves are typically longer and have a deeper pocket, making them ideal for catching fly balls and grounders.
Preparing Your Softball Glove for Breaking In
Before you start breaking in your softball glove, it’s important to prepare it for the process. This involves removing any tags, labels, or stickers that may have come with your glove and cleaning the leather to remove any dirt or debris. To clean your glove, you can use a soft cloth and a leather cleaner specifically designed for sports equipment.
Softening the Leather with Heat
One of the most effective ways to break in a softball glove is to soften the leather with heat. This can be done by using a hair dryer or a heating pad. If you’re using a hair dryer, set it to low heat and hold it about 6 inches away from the glove, moving it in a circular motion over the entire surface of the glove. If you’re using a heating pad, place the glove on top of it and wrap the glove in plastic wrap or a plastic bag to trap in the heat. Leave the glove on the heating pad for 10-15 minutes.
Molding the Glove to Your Hand Shape
Once the leather of your softball glove has been softened with heat, it’s time to mold the glove to your hand shape. Start by inserting your hand into the glove and making a fist. Make sure your fingers are spread apart as much as possible and that your thumb is pointing straight up. Use your other hand to gently press down on the fingers and thumb, working the leather into the shape of your hand. Repeat this process several times, until you feel that the glove is fitting snugly on your hand.
Playing Catch and Stretching the Glove
The final step in breaking in a softball glove is to play catch and stretch the glove. Start by playing catch with someone else, gradually increasing the distance between you as you throw the ball back and forth. This will help to loosen up the leather and shape the glove to your hand even more. You can also use a mallet or a rolled-up magazine to gently stretch the pocket of the glove, working the leather in different directions to form a deeper pocket.
Breaking in a softball glove is an essential part of the process of owning and using a softball glove. It can take some time, patience and effort, but the result is worth it. A well-broken-in softball glove will provide comfort, protection and improved performance for the player.
The most common method of breaking in a softball glove is to oil it and then bend it in different directions. This helps to soften the leather and makes it easier to form to the shape of your hand. The gloves can also be stuffed with newspaper, baseballs or other materials to help hold their shape and accelerate the breaking-in process.
Another way to break in a softball glove is to use it regularly. The more the glove is used, the softer and more flexible it will become. It’s important to use the right techniques when catching and playing with the glove, as improper usage can damage the leather.
It is also important to take care of your softball glove, especially during the breaking-in period. This includes storing it in a cool and dry place and keeping it away from direct sunlight, as well as regularly conditioning it to keep the leather soft and flexible.
In conclusion, breaking in a softball glove is a process that requires time, patience, and effort. By following the proper methods and techniques, you can ensure that your softball glove is well-broken-in and provides you with the comfort, protection and improved performance you need on the field. With a little love and care, your softball glove can be your trusty companion for many games to come.