Youth Baseball Gloves

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There are few if any restrictions on youth baseball gloves. The point, after all, is to encourage children to get involved with baseball (or any sport for that matter), not to hold them to ludicrous standards that should only be applied to pros. If you're a parent who's taking your child shopping for his or her first glove, this bears mentioning, for it allows you to focus on the most important aspect of youth baseball gloves: comfort.

The biggest gripe from youth players just getting started with baseball or softball is that their gloves are too large, too small, or too difficult to manipulate. In the first two instances, there's nothing you can do short of buying a better-fitting glove. In the third case, however, you do have some recourse. Loosening pockets and "breaking in" gloves is not only an option for junior leaguers, it's practically a right of passage.

Breaking In Youth Baseball Gloves

Anyone who's ever witnessed a young player (or a pro) smacking his or her fist into a glove's webbing has seen this procedure in action. Sure, pocket-slapping is usually a form of encouragement; just notice how often it's accompanied by impassioned pleas to the pitcher or hitter to "strike this guy out" or "take it deep." These kids are on to something, though. The right combination of oil (such as flaxseed or linseed), pressure, and repetitive pounding can quickly turn the most intransigent pockets into jelly (which is a good thing).

A lot of glove-makers also manufacture glove conditioner that, if used in conjunction with the proper heat and pressure, can help work in stubborn pockets. One popular way that kids break in youth baseball gloves is by placing balls inside the pockets, then lacing up the gloves to help conform them to this new shape. When left overnight in this position, a glove can be transformed quickly into a field-ready tool. Successive nights of this will help loosen up rigid leather straps and mesh even faster.


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