While there really is so much out there on Catcher’s Mitts and how to break them in, it didn’t really look like there was a need for another guide. That is, it didn’t look like it until you read some of the awful ideas put forward by people who obviously don’t know what they are talking about, or just want to ruin everyone else’s gloves. Because of the huge amount of misinformation, let’s start with a quick list of the “Do Not Try” items, just to save you some grief.
First of all, never ever submerge your glove in water. Some would have you believe that this is a quick way to soften the leather, but in truth you run the risk of drying out your glove and causing it and it’s laces to get brittle and crack. So unless the idea of prematurely aging your glove appeals to you, avoid this one like the plague.
Never heat your glove with a hair dryer, oven or microwave.
This is a big no-no as it will once again dry out your glove, ruining the natural oils and moisture in the leather and causing it to break down incredibly fast. When you heat up your glove, you are bringing all the oils to the surface, and while it feels smooth and pliable to start with, this won’t last.
Avoid buying pre-broken in equipment. Not only does it not last as long, the fit isn’t as good as if you’ve done it yourself. Breaking in your equipment should be your job, to insure that it sits exactly the way that works best for you.
Now that we have covered the 3 top Catcher’s Mitt Don’ts, Let’s focus on the Do’s.
- The best way to break in your Catcher’s Mitt is to get out there and play with it. Natural usage is the number one way to insure it sits exactly the way you need it to, and as a bonus side effect, you get all the practice and experience. But if you want to speed up the process a little, a few additional tips will help you along.
- Always wear a batting glove or something similar when using your catcher’s mitt. This will insure that you don’t get any sweat or hand oils and dirt into your leather and speed up its aging. This also softens the faster pitches and keeps the sting to a minimum.
- Remember to tighten your laces routinely. Having your equipment at its best fit, will insure that it breaks in perfectly for your usage needs. This also insures that as the leather stretches, it still sits right.
- Lastly, always keep a ball in it when you aren’t using it. It will insure that you have a nice deep pocket that fits the ball exactly. Using a conditioning oil or cream while you are doing it does help the leather soften faster, but like all shortcuts there is a slight draw back. As the glove absorbs the oils it becomes slightly heavier, but for some it is worth it in the end.
Now that you understand the best way to break in your mitt, you may want to check out out list of the best mitts available. Combining a quality mitt with these tips should help you have long lasting and efficient equipment.