Hearing the loud pop of a baseball when you catch it perfectly in your glove is one of the most satisfying things for a baseball player. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me explain.
If you have ever seen a baseball game in a field, I’m sure you have occasionally heard a loud popping sound come out of the glove as an infielder makes a perfect catch.
The main reason this happens is that as a baseball makes its way into the glove’s pocket, it pushes the air out instantly. And as the air pushes out of the glove, it results in a loud and satisfying pop.
But to hear the sound, you need to catch the ball perfectly in your glove. So, in essence, the sound that you hear is a clear indication of your skill as a defensive player in the sport.
So, how do you achieve it consistently? And while I have given you a general idea of why the pop sound comes up, is there anything more to it? I will discuss all these questions in the article. With that said, let’s get right to it.
What Makes a Baseball Glove Pop?
I remember the first time I managed to make my baseball glove pop. I was caught completely off-guard, and I blankly stared around the field, trying to find the source of the noise. A baseball pop sounds close to gunfire, or rather like a backfire from car exhaust. And I naturally assumed the sound came from the cars parked outside the fence.
Later my coach came up to me and said that I was doing well, and he was impressed at that amazing catch I made. That’s when I realized what the sound was all about. And I started practicing tirelessly to replicate that sound in practice.
You see, even a rookie player like me at the time can make their glove pop by accident. But doing that in a consistent way, as the pros do, is difficult. To do that, you need to make precise catches.
In baseball, the average speed a player pitches the ball is between 50 to 60 miles an hour. However, MLB pitches can easily exceed that, throwing the ball at close to a hundred miles an hour with their pitches. When a batter makes a solid connection to the ball, it will rebound at a much greater speed naturally.
When the ball is hurling through the air at breakneck speed, and you manage to catch it properly, the ball forces the air that’s inside the pocket of the gloves almost instantly. The air makes contact with the ball first, and then the baseball pushes its way into the glove’s pocket.
As this clash of air and ball takes place in the glove’s pocket, friction happens. And that friction leads to creating a loud, cracking noise that’s known as the glove’s pop.
The sound level depends mostly on the speed of the ball when it comes in contact with your baseball glove. And depending on the quality of the glove, the sound intensity might change.
Do All Baseball Gloves Pop?
No. Glove pop is something that’s restricted to proper leather gloves only. And with high-end baseball gloves, the popping sound is usually louder and more pronounced. If you have a synthetic baseball glove instead of a real leather glove, you won’t be able to hear your glove pop even when you catch the ball perfectly.
The reason you hear the popping sound more commonly in professional games, even with a stadium full of people, is partly due to the skill of the players but also because of the higher quality of gloves that the professionals use. Long story short, the better the leather quality, the louder the popping sound. So investing in a better glove for yourself is never a bad idea if you want to hear it pop.
How Do I Make My Baseball Glove Pop?
The first step to learning how you can make your baseball glove pop is to learn how to catch the ball perfectly. Of course, this requires some skill and experience, but the most important thing here is perseverance.
You need to position the glove properly and practice playing catch every chance you get. In addition, getting a good grasp on the basics, such as learning to wear your glove properly and using the right web pattern in your glove, depending on your playing position, can also help you towards your goal.
To make your baseball glove pop, you should try to catch it in the pocket between your thumb and index finger. The pocket of the glove is where air can hole up. And to hear the pop, the ball needs to push the air and cause friction when you catch the ball.
Positioning your body correctly, depending on the trajectory of the ball, is essential for you to catch the ball properly. You also need to have a good stance when fielding.
The correct way to stand when catching a baseball is to have your legs apart around the width of your hip. Your knees should be bent slightly. And your body should face the ball, and you need to stand on the balls of your feet as you catch the ball.
Make sure you keep a close eye on the travel path of the ball. This takes practice and good vision. Over time, as you become more skilled and gain more experience, you will be able to track the ball easier when a batter makes a solid connection to the ball.
If you practice proper catching techniques, you should be able to make your glove pop whenever you make a catch.
How to Make My Glove Pop Better?
As I said already, the key to making your glove is to make perfect catches. And to achieve that, you need skill, dedication, and a whole lot of hard work. But sometimes, your glove might just refuse to pop even when you catch it properly.
Well, that usually happens when your glove becomes old and too worn down. To maintain your glove’s popping capacity, you need to maintain your glove regularly. Let me give you a couple of quick tips to make sure your glove pops properly when you play with it.
· Break Your Glove In:
Leather gloves, at least the ones that are good, usually require breaking in before you can use them in your games. An unbroken glove feels stiff and uncomfortable to wear. But a side-effect of an unbroken glove is that it will not pop properly. So to make sure it pops, you need to break in your glove properly.
· Clean it After Each Use:
Whether you are coming home from practice or a competitive game, you need to put aside some time to clean your glove. A dirty glove wears down a lot faster than a glove that sees regular cleaning. Investing a few minutes in cleaning up your baseball glove after each use can help it last longer and pop better.
· Keep the Glove Dry:
A wet glove doesn’t pop as well as a dry glove. So, if you are playing baseball in the rain, you can forget about hearing your glove pop. Besides, keeping your glove wet for a prolonged period can damage the leather. So, make sure you dry off your baseball glove and use leather conditioners if it gets wet.
Is it Safe for a Baseball Glove to Pop?
Now I’m sure there’s a solemn thought at the back of your head – is it really safe for your glove to pop? And I get it – the sound can seem somewhat scary. It’s natural to worry whether it will damage your favorite, expensive baseball glove.
But as scary as it might sound, the popping sound is actually nothing to worry about. On the contrary, if your glove is making a popping sound when you catch the ball, it means that you are catching the baseball in the correct part of the glove.
So don’t try to avoid making the popping sound when you are catching a ball. Even if it sounds a bit scary, your glove is completely safe. Of course, that’s assuming you already take proper care of your baseball glove in between games and practice sessions.
A Few Words of Wisdom
Glove pop, when it happens, is extremely satisfying. But as a player, I believe that making a solid catch is the true reward here. Sure, the sound feels nice, but as long as you can make the catch reliably, I think you can call yourself a winner.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to make your leather baseball glove every chance you get. By trying to get the glove pop, you will, in turn, become better at defensive plays. So going after the pop is never a bad idea.
I hope my in-depth article on why baseball gloves pop could give you a clearer picture of what the sound is all about. Good luck!