A properly broken-in ball glove is your greatest asset on the field. It’s supple, easy to fold, and keeps your grip on the ball while providing easy transfer to your throwing hand. Of course, breaking in your glove can be a real chore. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. A few simple steps will give you the flexible, easy-to-use glove that you want.
1. With the finger side tilted upward, pour warm water into the pocket and palm of the glove. Let it sit for a minute or two so that it dampens the leather and helps to stretch it.
2. Hold the glove upright with the backs of the fingers facing you. Hold it by the thumb and small finger and squeeze, pulling each side back and forth to soften the heel pad.
3. Grasp the glove by the top of the thumb and the pinky. Pull to stretch it out. You’ll probably notice the webbing and finger tops stretch out, but don’t worry too much. They’ll shrink back a little as they dry.
4. Get a mallet, open the glove, and use the head to reform the pocket. Make sure you know where the pocket should be located and the depth that you want based on your playing position.
5. Close the glove and lay it on the ground (grass preferably). Now, repeatedly hit it with the mallet on the thumb side. As you hit it, move the glove back and forth with your other hand. Flip the glove over and repeat the process on the other side.
6. Grab the glove by the thumb and index finger. Squeeze the webbing together to form an S and then press down hard. Hold it for several seconds. This will loosen the top web laces and make it easier to open and close the glove.
After the last step, give your glove a try – it should be much easier to fold and catch with. If it’s not quite play ready, repeat the steps above. Note that step three may make the top finger lace looser than you like. To avoid that, just don’t pull quite as much. Augment these steps by playing catch with the glove to finish breaking it in.
Once you’re done, you should have a broken-in ball glove that’s ready for game day.