The Best Way to Break In Baseball or Softball Glove
During my second year of coaching Little League, I lost my baseball glove. I got caught up in the post-game chaos of the dugout: a brief talk to the kids about the game, having the players pick up after themselves, chatting with parents and making sure nobody left behind any gear. Everyone except me. The glove was gone the next day. I knew exactly where I left it. I checked the lost and found. Nothing.
So mid-season I bought a new glove and had to break it in fast. The best way to break in a glove is to use over and over again until the glove feels like an extension of your body. That means playing a lot of catch, which is a good thing, but there are times when you are alone and there is no one to play catch with. Glove oils and leather conditioners certainly help but the glove needs to be used until it feels natural for the player.
This is a tool created for those times. I never gave it a formal name, I just call it the glove whacker. The idea is that it mimics the act of catching a hard-thrown baseball. This is different than tossing the ball into your glove. The handle of the tool allows you to generate force that is similar to a ball thrown with force.
Materials required: old baseball, old screwdriver, tape, and a J-shaped garage hook or a very long screw like a 10-inch timber screw.
I used a rubber-coated garage hook and I bent it straight using my bench vise. Then I drilled a hole in the baseball that was a little smaller than the screw end of the now-straightened hook. I screwed it into the ball and then lined that up with the screwdriver shaft and taped them together. That's it.
The main appeal of this tool is that you can be breaking in your glove during any down time: riding the bench in the dugout. In the car on the way to the game or on the bus. When you go for a walk or when watching TV. It's actually a pleasant but very mindless activity but the reward is a better broken-in glove. Just whack that ball into the pocket of the glove over and over again and soon you will be able to feel the glove conforming to the grip and shape of your hand.