The first thing you will need when breaking in your glove is shaving cream. Look for one with lanolin; that’s the ingredient that conditions your leather and keeps it looking new. You will want to loosen up the string on the outside of your glove. To do that, place the back of the glove on your knee, grip the glove by its thumb and the pinky, and push the palm of the glove outward against your knee.
Don’t be afraid you’re going to hurt your glove. A glove is very tough when it’s brand new; the leather is really stiff, and the strings are extremely tight. Repeat this 10 or 15 times. Then, get your shaving cream and put a quarter-sized dab in your glove. Keep working it in with your fingers until the pocket is covered and soft.
The next step is to break in the pocket. Grab a bat and, using the end of the barrel, pound the glove in the spot where you want your pocket to form. The end of your bat will be roughly the same size as a baseball. And that’s how big you want your pocket to be. You can do this while holding the glove in your hand, between your knees or on the ground. Once you get your pocket broken in, the rest of the glove will fall into place around it.
Now, squirt more shaving cream on the pocket. You can put as much as you want until you get that pocket nice and soft. Put shaving cream on the rest of the glove to protect it, but you’ll only need to do that a few times.
Forming a pocket in your glove by loosening it up will make it much easier to catch balls. You should stay away from glove conditioners sold in sporting goods stores. They’ll soften up your glove, all right, but they end up ruining it in the long run by opening up the pores in the leather and allowing dirt to get inside.
Lastly, before you go to bed every night, get two baseballs. Put the first one in the glove where you like your pocket. Some people like it right at the base of the web. Then put the second ball right below it. Close the glove as tight as you can – like a clam – around those two baseballs. Then get a sock and wrap it around the glove, tying it as tight as you can. Make sure one ball stays where you like your pocket and the other stays just below it as you tie off the sock. This technique will shape both the middle and the bottom of the glove. When you wake up in the morning you should have yourself a real pearl of a baseball mitt.