How To Break In A First Base Mitt: A Comprehensive Guide


Whether you have bought your own first base mitt or you are introducing your child to the sport, knowing how to break in the mitt is important. When you first purchase a baseball mitt it will be stiff and uncomfortable. 

The mitt’s leather is new, so it will be hard and stiff. It is necessary to soften the leather so that your mitt becomes supple and comfortable to play in. If you do not properly break in your mitt, you will be unable to catch the ball. 

If you use a mitt that has not been softened or broken in when you are playing, you will have difficulty in catching the baseball as there is no soft area for the ball to land in and you will be unable to close the mitt. 

Once a mitt is properly broken in, it will be easy to close as the ball lands in it, making you much more likely to make more catches in your game. Most players have a different method for breaking in their mitts, so keep reading to find out more. 

Tips To Breaking in Your First Baseball Mitt

Breaking in your first baseball mitt is one of the most important things that you will do before your first game. If you don’t break in your mitt beforehand, you will find difficulty in catching the ball during the game. 

Nearly every baseball player will have a different and unique way of breaking in their mitt, but this guide will help you break in your first one. The main thing to do is to moisten and soften the leather before you play your first game. 

It is important to remember that breaking in your mitt will take some time, so be patient and make sure to allow enough time before your first baseball game of the season. 

1. Soap your mitt

The first step in breaking in your first mitt is to rub it with soap. Saddle soap is recommended to easily soften the leather of your mitt. Begin by slowly rubbing a small amount of the soap all over the mitt with a clean cloth. 

Use a circular motion to rub the soap all over the mitt. There is no need to worry about rubbing too much, however, do not use more soap than necessary as it may serve to weaken the leather.

If you do not have or cannot find saddle soap, try using Vaseline, glove oil, or baby oil. 

2. Form the Mitt’s Pocket

Once you have rubbed soap all of your first baseball mitt, put your hand in the mitt, and hold a baseball in the pocket of the mitt (the area between your thumb and your index finger).

Then, close your hand inside the glove and tie around the glove and the ball to keep it in position, then remove your hand. Keep the glove tied in this position for a few days before you take off the string. 

This step will help to ensure your mitt has a good pocket, which will help you make more catches on the field. If you are a first baseman, this is especially important for catching lower throws or strong hits.

3. Soften the Mitt

Once you have untied and removed the string, take away the baseball, and place your hand inside the mitt. Open and close your hand a few times, with the glove empty. 

Hold the baseball with the mitt, and repeat, opening, and closing the glove a few times. Repeat this process a few times a day for about a week. This will help to soften the leather of the mitt and mold it around the baseball.

4. Soften the Mitt’s Fingers and Edges

Next, you want to soften the mitt’s fingers by bending the fingers of the glove. Place your hand inside the glove and bend your fingers. Bend the edges of the mitt while your hand is inside.

Then, take your hand out of the glove and bend the edges a few times. Repeat this process a few times a day, every day for a week. 

5. Break Down the Leather

Break down the mitt’s leather by placing the mitt on the floor and hitting it with your baseball mitt. Turn the mitt over to ensure you have softened all sides. Hitting the leather will help to break it down and soften it. 

6. Practice

Practicing with your mitt is one of the fastest and easiest ways to break it in. Once you have completed the above steps, play with your mitt as much as possible. 

Put your hand in the glove and ask your friend to throw a baseball to you. The more you practice with your new glove, the quicker it will soften and break it. 

The warmth and oils from your hand will help to soften the leather of the glove over time. Breaking in your glove through practice will help to ensure your glove perfectly fits your hand. 

Even if you can’t find someone to play with, throw the ball into the air and catch it while you are watching tv. 

What Can You Use to Break In Your Baseball Mitt?

When you first buy your baseball mitt, it will be hard and stiff, making it difficult to catch a baseball. It will take time and patience to soften the leather of your baseball mitt. 

There is a range of oils and softeners to help speed up the process of breaking in your first baseball mitt. These materials help to soften the leather by breaking down its fibers. 

It is important to remember to be cautious with the amount of oil or softener that you use on your glove. Using more than the recommended amount of softener could weaken the leather of your glove. 

Whatever product you choose to use whether it be a mitt conditioner, lanolin oil, shaving foam, or vaseline, make sure to only use a small amount so that you do not serve to weaken the leather. 

Follow the proper guidance for each product to ensure that the mitt reaches its highest possible performance and lasts for the maximum possible time. 

1. Mitt Conditioners

If you have bought your first baseball mitt, it is necessary to take some time to soften it before you step onto the baseball field. Softening your glove will help to create a soft pocket for the baseball to land in. 

Softening and breaking in your glove is vital if you want to make those important catches on the field. Mitt conditioners are products that are specifically made for this process. 

Many different brands and sporting manufacturers produce their own mitt conditioners. They differ from normal oils because they contain ingredients that help to soften as well as protect the leather. 

Mitt conditioners work to soften the leather, by breaking down the fibers and making it more supple, as well as clean the leather and protect it from moisture and impurities. 

Conditioners are one of the most expensive products designed to break in your mitt, so they may not be an option for some beginner baseball players. However, they usually work better than most other products. 

Some mitt conditioners are made for different types of leather depending on its grade. Using a leather conditioner will help to speed up the process of breaking in your first baseball mitt.

2. OIL

Oil such as lanolin is often used to break in the leather of a baseball mitt and make it more supple and comfortable for the player. Lanolin oil is a substance that comes from sheep and is regularly used in this process. 

Most mitt conditioners and oils contain lanolin oil because of its softening properties. It is perfect for breaking in baseball mitts because it softens and protects the leather from moisture and impurities. 

Using a mitt oil such as lanolin oil helps to keep your mitt supple over years of use. Lanolin oil is usually included in most mitt oils, however, you can use pure lanolin oil instead if you want to use all-natural ingredients.

If you choose to use lanolin oil alone, you will avoid the additional chemicals included in mitt oils that serve to clean the mitt. It can be purchased in many sports shops as well as in most hardware shops.  

3. Shaving Foam 

Shaving foam is a cheap alternative to normal, more expensive mitt softening products. Shaving foam is designed to soften the skin before shaving, and it works in the same way to soften the mitt’s leather. 

Shaving foam softens and moisture your mitt in the same way as skin to speed up the process of breaking it in before your first game of the season. Avoid any shaving products that contain perfume or alcohol. 

Those products that include perfume or alcohol might dry out the mitt and weaken the leather. Normal perfume-free shaving foam is the perfect alternative to lanolin oil or classic mitt softeners. 

4. Vaseline

Vaseline is another normal household product that you can use to help break in your new mitt if you don’t want to splurge on expensive mitt softening products. 

It contains ingredients that work to soften and moisturize the skin, which also helps to break down leather fibers too. The mineral oils in Vaseline are highly effective at softening leather. 

Vaseline also works to protect and seal your glove to protect it from moisture, and impurities, as well as to prevent it from drying out in hot summer conditions. 

Make sure to use only a small amount of Vaseline and slowly work it into the material of the glove. If you use too much of the product straight away, it won’t effectively sink in and will just make the glove sticky. 

How To Applying the Softener on Baseball Mitt?

No matter what leather softener you choose to use to break in your first baseball mitt, make sure to carefully follow the recommended guidelines. Use the product sparingly, start with a small amount first. 

Whether you decide to use a traditional mitt softener, lanolin oil, shaving foam, or Vaseline, follow the correct usage guidelines. Apply just a small amount to a clean cloth first and build it up slowly. 

Begin with the center and use circular motions to apply to the rest of the mitt. Apply the softener to every surface of the glove including the back and between each finger. Take time to work it into the leather.

Only apply more product if needed as you work to apply it to the edges. As soon as the whole mitt is coated in the product, use a new clean cloth to take off any excess remaining.

Applying too much product to your glove can mean too much soaks in and your glove becomes heavy and uncomfortable to play with. However, make sure you have used enough to lightly cover every surface. 

Then place a ball inside the mitt and tie it with string as mentioned earlier. Leave it for a few days like this, before molding the leather by hitting it, stretching it, and practicing catches with it every day. 

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To Sum Up… 

You have just bought your first baseball mitt, and you are excited for your first game of the season, but the mitt is too stiff. Make sure to be patient and take the time to properly break your mitt. 

Use the tips in this article to make sure that your new glove perfectly molds to your hands. A soft and supple glove will ensure you make as many catches as possible on the field. 

Rub a softening cream or oil over your mitt, allow it to mold around a baseball for a few days, before stretching the leather by hand. Then, find a friend to practice with and start using your new glove. 

The more you practice with your new glove, the sooner you will be ready to take it onto the baseball field. Practice with it every day and soon it will mold perfectly to your hand.

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