How to Break in a Youth Baseball Glove

I always felt bad for kids who showed up at practice in the spring with a youth baseball glove that looked like it just came off of the shelf at the store. It usually meant more work for me to show the player how to use this brand new glove. It is usually still brand new looking because it hasn’t been used very much. It also is new looking because nobody had broken it in for the player either.

Now there is probably a good reason for not having your kid’s glove not broken in, but I couldn’t think of one myself. It may have to do with my great love for youth baseball and baseball in general. My kid’s music teacher may think the same thing about me, I’m sure.

But anyway, having a glove that is not broken in or not broken in right, is a big disadvantage for young players. It is not easy to catch a baseball with this kind of a glove. Sometimes the player had not played baseball much either, so this makes even harder for the player. They see these other kids throwing and catching with relative ease,and want to do the same right now! Getting a glove for Christmas gives you time to get it broken in. When the player shows up at spring practice with a price tag still on the glove thats a little bit different.T hat’s when you a Youth Baseball Coach must be able to give them the crash course in getting that glove broken as quickly as possible.

Gloves themselves come in a wide range of prices and qualities.Better quality gloves of good leather will be noticeably harder to break in. They will last longer and perform better than cheaper models however.A good baseball glove reasonably cared for should last at least 3 years.Cheap little plastic tee ball gloves will not last that long,along with player growing out of it in 1 or 2 seasons.

There are many ways to break in a glove. I’ll give you my version.

First thing I do is take the glove, stretch, pull and bend it for as many minutes as I have time for.I’ll do this several times BEFORE I ever put anything on the youth baseball glove. This starts the break in process and opens up the leather somewhat to receive whatever glove treatment you use.

Let me state here that the absolute best method for breaking in a glove is to actually use it as much as possible. I always put some kind of treatment on first though.

So back to the break in methods. Next I apply a generous amount of any type of glove treatment and work it in as long as I can tolerate. Glove treatment is usually not as oily as say petroleum jelly. It soaks in faster and treats leather better, according to the bottle. Any product containing waxes or silicones should be avoided as they seal the leather pores.

Some people will not like this part of my glove break in.Others will swear by it. I will apply some heat to the leather. There are several ways to do this. Just be smart about it and apply only enough to help your treatment soak in better. Too much heat is bad for leather. I will not give any other details than that. Use common sense here. It is not required for a proper break in. So if aren’t comfortable doing this, don’t use heat.

I will then apply another light coating of petroleum jelly this time and spend some time working it in. I will also turn the glove inside out to help soften the leather. I will do this several times, sometimes leaving the glove overnight turned inside out.I am trying to get the glove to close easily and evenly not on an angle.I will put a couple of hours total time into the glove over a 2-3 week period.

I also use the age old method of leaving ball in the pocket of the youth baseball glove and tying it shut with rubber bands, string,a belt, whatever. Important note: form the pocket of your glove just right at the bottom of the webbing, not right in the middle of the glove. This will protect the players hand and fingers on a scorcher line drive or any throw. Train your youth baseball players to catch the ball in this pocket out of the way of your palm and fingers.Work the ball in and out of this pocket area by throwing it in and out of the glove from close range. Just walk around the house for a few minutes once in awhile slamming the ball in and out of the pocket that is right at the bottom of the webbing.

Be sure to work over the webbing a lot make it soft and pliable. This will help your player catch more balls and hang on to them. Be sure to use a sharpie and put your players name inside the glove also. Try to remember to lightly clean the glove once or twice during the season and apply a light coating of glove treatment the night before your game if possible.

Here’s one last tip for breaking your glove quickly. Go to the batting cages near you and instead of hitting catch some fastballs in the glove. This is for parents only.

I hope this article will help any newcomers to this great game of youth baseball as well as seasoned veterans. I’m open to any other ideas. Reach me at please also check out my free 7 part youth baseball coaching e-course at Thanks Coach Chip

Hello My name is Chip Lemin. I’m a long time youth baseball coach who loves to promote this great game of youth baseball. Promoting sportsmanship in this game of youth baseball is something that really needs I feel. I have a free e-course that will give you some solid coaching information along with great help on the inter-personal relationships we must have to be good youth baseball coaches.

Things such as parents, travel baseball, getting parents to help out, how to communicate better to parents and players, just to touch on a few. This course will help to organize practices like an elite coach. How to motivate players and other coaches with your positive attitude. It really is not very hard to be a great coach when you know what to do.Best of all you will learn how to have fun with these great kids that you have the privilege of coaching. Do yourself a favor and check it out, it’s free,you will get 1 part every couple of days in your e-mail. Coaching can be fun and rewarding if you have a plan in place first, and you have an idea what you are doing.


One Response to “How to Break in a Youth Baseball Glove”

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