Catchers: you know how important it is to have a well-broken-in mitt. A good catchers mitt can be a valuable tool for any player. The key is to break it in properly so it will be durable and perform at its best for years to come. While true, sometimes you might be unsure of best practices for how to break in a mitt. In this article, we will discuss Schmidty's process for breaking in a catcher's mitt:


  1. Wear and Move the Mitt
  2. Shape with Ball/Mallet
  3. Use Machine for Pocket Formation
  4. Play Catch and Squeeze
  5. Condition and Tighten Laces
  6. Continue to Work and Maintain Mitt
  1. Wear and Move the Mitt

When you first get a new mitt, it is important to wear it as much as possible. You can do this while watching TV, playing video games, or just hanging out. This will help break in the leather and get it ready for shaping. You can also move your fingers and hand inside the mitt to help it form to your hand. You want the mitt to have a good shape before a ball ever hits the leather. We do this by working the thumb and pinky of the glove to set the pattern for when we really start breaking in the mitt. Personally, we like to move the entire thumb side of the glove while bending the pinky down and in (see video below).

  1. Shape with Ball/Mallet

The next step in breaking in your catcher's mitt is to shape it. You can do this by placing a ball inside the mitt and wrapping the mitt around it or by forming the pocket with a glove mallet/bat. You can use a rubber band or strap to keep the ball in place. This will help the mitt form a pocket and maintain its shape. Make sure to use a ball or mallet that is the size of a baseball/softball. While shaping the pocket, you want to make sure it is deep and will give the ball every opportunity to "stick" in the pocket instead of rattle around when it hits the glove. We tend to form the pocket closer to the thumb than directly in the middle of the mitt.

  1. Use Machine for Pocket Formation

After shaping and starting the break in process, using a pitching machine to help break in your catcher's mitt is a great idea. It allows you to catch the ball at different speeds and angles. When using the machine, we recommend that you don't start by squeezing the mitt. Just let the ball impact the pocket (sweet spot) and don't try to catch it with the rest of the glove. This will help form the pocket while maintaining the shape in other parts of the glove. If you don't have access to a machine, playing catch is definitely okay!

  1. Play Catch and Squeeze

After using the machine to help break in your catcher's mitt, it should start to form and hinge on its own. Once this happens, you can begin playing catch or continuing to use the machine, but this time while squeezing the glove. Every pitch or rep, make sure that you are resetting the laces and shaping the mitt to how you like it. If you don't have access to a machine, playing catch is definitely okay!

  1. Condition and Tighten Laces

After your catcher's mitt is broken in, it's important to maintain it properly. Condition the leather regularly and tighten the laces as needed, but not too tight. This will help keep the leather supple and the mitt's shape intact. You may use a leather conditioner of your choice, but we've always liked Huberd's Shoe Grease. Make sure to wipe off any excess conditioner after working in to all areas of the mitt.

  1. Continue to Work and Maintain Mitt

Once your catcher's mitt is broken in to your liking, it's important to continue to use it regularly. Play catch, use the pitching machine, and catch bullpens to keep the leather supple and the mitt in good shape. Regularly condition and clean the mitt to keep dirt and oil from accumulating. Don’t just throw the mitt in your bag - place a ball in the pocket to help maintain it's shape or carry the glove outside of your bag. When your mitt is the star of the position in terms of equipment, you want to make sure that it lasts and will perform day in and day out.

To wrap up, while breaking in a catcher's mitt takes time and effort, it is well worth it to have a mitt that is durable and performs well. Follow these tips and your mitt will be broken in properly and ready for years of use. Remember to condition and maintain your mitt regularly to keep it in top shape. For some other perspective on shaping and the break in process check out this video of Shigeaki Aso (Wilson Glove Legend). If you have you're own process feel free to implement anything from this article that might help! We're always happy to offer guidance on this process!

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