How do you break in your baseball glove? Do you strike your glove daily using a bat until it breaks in? And do you know how to steam a baseball glove at home? Some players also opt to let the glove break in naturally as they use it. On the contrary, you may apply oil or even put it in the oven. All these methods may take at least a month before the baseball glove finally breaks in.
But, if you want to break in your glove like a professional in minutes, consider steaming it. In this guide, we will show you how to steam a baseball glove at home in time for your next game.
Wash, Dry and Hit the Glove
Start by washing your glove in mild soap. The soap gets rid of any oil on the glove's surface. Let the glove dry out in the sun. Afterward, use a mallet to hit the edges and pockets. Ensure you are wearing the glove halfway and keep it open as you hit it. This approach prevents creases from forming in the middle of the pocket. Instead, it reinforces the formation of the pocket. Continue hammering the glove for a minute. Check and confirm that the finger sections are soft and uniform. This step ensures the glove closes properly after steaming it.
Apply a Pre-conditioner
A pre-steam conditioner helps in opening up the pores in the gloves, ensuring the steam reaches further into the glove. Also, since your glove has no oil on the surface, the pre-conditioner assists in keeping it moist and free from cracks. Hence, it quickens the break-in process. Most professionals prefer conditioner comprising of Lanolin and Vitamin E. This combination quickly softens hard leather to its original flexibility without degrading the material.
Use a spray bottle to soak the glove with the pre-steam conditioner. You can use a rag in place of a spray bottle. Ensure the conditioner gets to the strings, pockets and the rest of the glove. Wipe off any excess conditioner on the glove.
Steam the Glove
Follow the user guide in setting the steamer. Then, put your pre-conditioned glove in the glove steamer. Let it steam for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how soft you want it to be. Once the time set is up, remove your glove from the steamer.
Hit the Glove
Use a mallet to hit the glove at the hinge and pocket points. Concentrate on areas where you want the glove to be soft, to suit your baseball position. A middle infielder’s glove needs shallow pockets to enable the player to release the ball quickly during relay throws and double plays. Therefore work the mallet more on the lower part of the pocket. This approach will make the pocket lower, ensuring you catch and release the ball with ease.
On the other hand, a catcher’s glove is the most difficult to break in. Aim at achieving deep pockets that will give the glove a unique finger position. This way, all fingers will move to one spot when catching the ball.
If you are breaking in an outfielder’s glove, aim at keeping the thumb and pinkie straight. Doing so ensures the glove remains long, able to cover ground during a defense. You may have to return it to the steamer for another round of warming. As you hit the glove, rub in some more conditioner all over the glove. Then, put the ball in the glove pocket.
Overall, it takes about 20 minutes to get the glove all soft and ready. Once you feel satisfied with the look of the gloves, lock the ball in the glove’s pocket using the strings. This step will give the glove its complete shape. Let the glove stay like this for at least 48 hours.
How to Steam a Baseball Glove at Home FAQs
Q. How long should I steam my glove?
A. Steam you glove for 1 to 15 minutes. The steaming time depends on the type of glove you have.
Q. Can the steaming process cause permanent damage to a baseball glove?
A. No. The steaming process does not spoil your glove. It instead helps in getting your glove in a game ready form.
Q. Which other softeners can I use to precondition my baseball glove?
A. Mink oil, Vaseline and tanner’s glove oil are equally effective in softening the glove.
Advancements in technology have transformed the way baseball players break in their baseball gloves. We now have baseball glove steamers that are easy to use from the comfort of your home. These steamers will warm the glove and loosen it in minutes. Make use of your favorite glove softener to prepare the glove for the steaming process. Give the glove its shape by hitting it all around as you concentrate on the key areas. This process is an easy yet effective way of how to steam a baseball glove at home.