The first thought after purchasing your catcher’s mitt is ‘how you soften this mitt up for gameplay?’ If you Google for the different ways to soften it up, you will find a lot of results which many of them should be avoided.
Here are some ways I found how to break in your catcher’s mitt that you should avoid:
- Avoid oils. Many people say to use it but there are some consequences that come along with its use. Using oil can make your mitt heavier due to it being soaked into the leather. There is also the side effect of have oil everywhere in the glove and get into the wool cloth wrist padding if you have one.
- Please don’t nuke it! I have never known anyone to do this and there is a reason why no one does. Putting your catcher’s mitt in the microwave will dry out the leather and most likely make it frail. Your laces will shatter causing you to spend money repairing it.
- Keep your mitt away from your car! I have seen people suggest driving a car over a mitt to shape it. If you stop and think about it, you’re running a ton of weight over your mitt. Why would you spend so much money on a catcher’s mitt just to run it over? Especially if the glove happens to sit in the wrong shape, you might be regretting it.
The best ways I have found to break in a catcher’s mitt are these:
- The best way will always be to play catch with it. Or if you want to hasten the process, catch bullpen sessions having a pitcher throw fastballs at it. Doing this will have you formed a great pocket by having the baseball repeatedly thrown into it. You will also have the glove form to your hand by using it while it is taking its shape.
- One method that has been around a long time is where you place a baseball into your mitt and tie a string, rubber band, or anything that can close it to form around the baseball. Doing this will help shape the mitt to the shape of the ball and form a pocket. Before doing this make sure you place the baseball in the correct spot to form the pocket. After tying the mitt around the ball, you can also put it under your mattress and give it a little compression to help speed it along.
- Lanolin-based cream should be used if you want to just a substance to help soften your mitt. What makes this different from oils is that it will not soak into the glove.
- The final suggestion I have is to use force to help create your pocket. You can achieve this buy using items such as hammers, a baseball bat, or use your fist to pound your mitt to form your pocket. Make sure you’re hitting the right spot for your pocket.