When you hold a brand-new softball glove – the smell, the texture – everything feels incredible. But after a few hours, you’ll realize that the fresh glove is strangling your hand. Fastpitch softball glove needs to be ready for the game or you’ll never get a 100% from it.
Now, it’s all good if you’re playing some catch in the backyard. But what if you have an important game coming up? Well, there are a few ways to break in a fastpitch softball glove:
- The natural catch continuously method
- Use force to break it in
- Using heat
- Using steam
Let me tell this right off the bat that the safest and simplest method is to play catch and give it time. However, emergency games call for emergency break-in techniques. So, you might need to get creative even if it compromises the durability of the glove a little bit.
I’m going to talk about all the different methods in detail to give you a clear idea about different break-in techniques. Both the methodology, benefits, and drawbacks will be outlined. So, before you put all your eggs in one “break-in” basket, make sure you read everything about it.
Note: You can use the same principles to break in a slowpitch softball glove as well.
Why It’s Important to Break in A Fastpitch Softball Glove
Even a ball pen and your clothes need to go through a break-in process. The pen performs way better once it’s broken in and your clothes feel more comfortable. Similarly, top fastpitch softball gloves will remain uncomfortable as long as you don’t break it in.
If your glove isn’t fully ready before the big match, there’ll be consequences.
You can ignore the stiffness of the glove to some extent. However, the longer you keep wearing it, the more you’ll feel this mental itch that you simply can’t shake. So, breaking a fastpitch softball glove in is essential because-
- The glove will perform at the highest level
- You’ll feel really comfortable with the glove
- The glove will fit your hand’s shape
- The glove won’t feel like an accessory instead it’ll feel like an extension of your hand
How to Break in a Fastpitch Softball Glove Naturally
A glove won’t be broken in on its own if it’s sitting around and left alone after purchase.
- The first method you can try is practicing catch with the glove. This process takes time. But trust me – this method is very safe because all you have to do is catch. And that’s what the glove is meant for anyways.
- In this way, the material of the glove will remain intact and will not face any damage before it is actually used. If you use this method, I would suggest trying to make a pocket by squeezing the ball with your thumb and forefingers which makes it easy to catch.
A Little Aggressiveness Will Help
If you don’t want to dedicate your time solely to break in the glove, this second method is for you.
- Take your glove and bend it, twist it, pull, squeeze or roll it with both of your hands. This way, you can make the materials of the gloves loosen up and break it in.
- You can do that while you are reading, watching TV, etc. Saves a lot of time, right?
- A pro tip would be to use a little bit of oil in your palms which will work as a conditioner and help to soften the glove.
- You can choose the third method which I am going to suggest if you have the heart for assaulting your new glove. This is not a job for the faint-hearted. Start hitting your glove with a bat, jump on it and do whatever you want to do with the person who used to bully you in high school (try not to run it over, calm down).
- It may seem like the glove will be damaged, but it is highly unlikely except for the delicate parts like the stitching. So, try to avoid those areas while using this method.
I Have a Match in a Fortnight (Using Heat for Quick Break-in)
Using heat to break in the glove is a very common practice as it’s quick. This method is also applied by professionals. You can either use a microwave or a baking oven.
You Can Never Be Too Careful
While using the microwave oven, the risk gets higher as it can shrink the material and destroy it. But if used correctly and with caution, it can give faster results compared to the other methods.
- First, you have to soak your glove in water and wring out the excess water, finish the process by putting the glove in the oven for 40-50 seconds.
- Avoid putting the glove longer than that because the glove can melt or get damaged and also avoid this method if the glove contains anything metal.
- You need to preheat the oven to 280-300 degrees if you plan on using the traditional baking oven.
- A conditioning agent like oil or shaving cream will help to soften up the material, especially leather. The trick with this method is to make sure the glove is cool enough to touch and play catch with it for a while after the process. This will help the glove to form the shape easier. Again, be extremely careful while using these methods.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
Using heat is apparently risky. But the safest among these is to steam the glove. It does not need any soaking or conditioning.
- The easiest way to do this is to wear the glove and hold that above boiling water. The steam will soften the glove. Make sure to change sides and steam each part. If the process is done by holding a ball in your hand, it will be easy while using it because of the pre-shaping.
- You can also keep your glove in a car trunk for a few hours on summer days. The heat will soften up the glove.
- Lastly, a technique almost everyone swears by, keeping a softball in your glove whenever you are not using it. This method ensures that it will maintain the desired shape.
How Long Does it Take for a Mizuno Fastpitch Softball Glove to Break in
Mizuno fastpitch gloves take approximately a week depending on the method applied. I have used the steaming technique as it is the quickest and safest method around. At first, I steamed the glove over boiling water several times at intervals of 2 hours. I have applied the traditional catch playing technique and after a week the glove was completely broken in. It may take a couple of months for the glove to break in if the steaming is omitted and the glove is only used for catching and practicing.
My Favorite Mizuno Softball Glove
Mizuno MVP Prime Fastpitch Softball Glove
Mizuno MVP Prime Fastpitch Softball Glove is a glove specially designed for female players. The bio-soft leather makes the break-in process much easier as the material itself has a perfect balance of oil and softness with a smooth professional finish. You’ll have an excellent grip and firm control over the ball. The 11-13-inch size range of this glove makes it user-friendly in any of the infield and outfield positions.
- Type: Infield/Outfield/Pitcher
- Leather: Bio-Soft Leather
- Size: 11.50-13 inches
- Throw: Right and Left Hand
It’s not just a fastpitch softball glove. Any new sports equipment takes time. You have to get used to how it feels and the glove will eventually feel like an extension of your hand.
However, waiting for the glove to break in naturally is a patience test. Not everyone can hold the fort and keep playing catch until the glove becomes game-ready.
So, people often steer towards quicker methods – steaming technique, heating, steaming, roughhousing, and oiling. But there’s a catch. If you’re not careful, you risk ruining the glove. So, make sure you follow the steps carefully. If you’re still skeptical, consult a pro baseball player or a coach. They’ll show you the way.
Once the glove is ready, you can notice the change. Anyways, that’s all I have about fastpitch glove break-in techniques.
Just remember – only use quick methods when it’s necessary, be careful with how you’re treating the glove, understand the steps of each break-in method and follow the procedure accordingly.
With that said, I hope you found everything you need to know about how to break in a fastpitch softball glove. Cheers!