Flaring a baseball glove makes the pocket flat and shallow. It creates a larger catching surface. Most baseball players will not like to have a flat pocket. But the infielders need to transfer the ball faster. Therefore, they need a flatter glove pocket. If you want to make the glove pocket shallow and flat, you need to flare it. In this article, I am going to discuss how to flare a baseball glove. If you want to improve your game by adjusting the glove, then this article is going to be important for you.
Table of Contents
What you need to flare a baseball glove?
When you are sure that you need to flare your baseball glove, make sure you have all the necessary items during this process. You need glove oil, a baseball, an oven, and shoelaces while flaring the glove.
- Baseball glove
- Glove oil
How to flare a baseball glove step by step?
If you think that flaring the baseball glove can benefit you in the game, only then prepare for it. It would be best if you did not do it only out of a whim. Baseball gloves are expensive. A professional glove will cost you around 300 to 400 bucks. If you want to cut the cost, you still need to spend around 200 dollars. Therefore, before flaring your baseball glove, make sure that you will be comfortable with it. If you have not purchased your glove yet, opt for the pre-flared glove rather than doing it by yourself.
Another important point to note is that there can be specific instructions from the manufacturers that you need to follow while flaring the glove. Check whether you have any instructions and follow them. Below is the step-by-step process of flaring a baseball glove.
Here is a quick overview on how to flare a baseball glove:
- Preheat the oven
- Oil the glove
- Place the glove in the oven
- Check its flexibility
- Stretch it out
- Build the pocket
- Repeat as needed
1. Preheating your oven
Before using an oven, you should preheat it to ensure the uniformity of the temperature. Preheat your oven setting the temperature at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Work on the next step right after you finish preheating. This is an important step when flaring a baseball glove.
2. Oiling up the glove
The next step for flaring a baseball glove after you preheat the oven is greasing the glove. Greasing may take some time. Therefore, make sure to place the glove into the oven right after the preheating is complete. You may use any baseball glove oil for greasing. But make sure whether the manufacturer has any recommended oil. You do not want to damage your glove using the wrong oil. Take a small amount of oil and apply it to the fingers, laces, and back of the glove. This step is also necessary when you break in new gloves.
Do never use water to soften your glove. It is a big no. You should also avoid everyday oils such as petroleum jelly, olive oil, hair oil, and so on. These are not suitable for use on leather.
3. Put the glove in the oven
The third step for flaring a baseball glove is putting the glove in the oven. Please put it on the oven rack and apply the minimum temperature possible. Do not apply high temperatures for a long time. You should not heat the glove for more than five minutes at a time.
4. Check the flexibility
After you heat up for five minutes, get the glove out of the oven and check whether it is flexible or not. If you do not find it mobile enough while shaping it, place it in the oven again for flaring a baseball glove, apply heat for a couple of minutes, and check the mobility. If you do not find it mobile enough, then apply heat for a minute again. Continue this process until the glove becomes adjustable.
5. Stretch out the glove
Work on thumb and pinky finger stalls for flaring a baseball glove. Once you have applied the right amount of heat, you will find that it has become flexible when stretching it out. Using the flexibility, stretch out the finger stalls until it conforms according to your hand grip. Continue doing this until it is Ok with your personal preference. Apply the right amount of pressure while stretching it out. More pressure will result in a more pronounced flare.
6. Building the pocket
When you are satisfied with the grip, and the glove flared as per your desire, you will need to create the pocket. You may take a baseball and put it inside the pocket of your glove. Then take a shoelace and tie it around the pocket, keeping the ball inside. Now keep it overnight to form a shape of the thumb and pinky finger stalls. Pockets created this way will be more defined. When you break in or flare a baseball glove pocket is very important.
7. Repeat if needed
You may require to repeat the whole process for flaring a baseball glove I have discussed above more than once. If you find that the flare is not satisfactory, then you may apply heat treatment again. Then you may stretch out the glove again and try to achieve the required flare. Sometimes it may take several days to get the job done.
Who flares their baseball gloves?
Most pro players, meaning MLB players, flare their baseball gloves when they make errors. However, this kind of flaring is different from what we talked about above on how to flare a baseball glove. Here, flaring a baseball glove means you open the glove at the fingers, thus not allowing the ball to go into your hand. This doesn’t mean they performed badly; it just means they might have been angry or frustrated.
You have learned the steps on how to flare a baseball glove, but really, you should be asking yourself, “Why do I need to do this in the beginning?” The technique of flaring a baseball glove is beneficial for players, especially infielders, and outfielders. It provides a player with numerous benefits, and we will be looking at the five most common ones right now.
Here are five key benefits of wearing a baseball glove:
- Improved ball visibility: By flaring the glove, the wider opening allows fielders to have better visibility of the ball as it approaches. This enhanced visibility helps fielders track the ball more effectively, resulting in better fielding and catching opportunities.
- Enhanced glove “pocket”: Flaring the glove creates a larger and more secure pocket in the center of the glove. This expanded pocket provides a bigger target area for catching the ball, increasing the chances of successful catches and reducing the likelihood of the ball bouncing out of the glove.
- Increased catching surface area: The flared edges of the glove create a larger catching surface area. This means fielders have a greater chance of making contact with the ball, even if the catch isn’t made directly in the pocket. The increased catching surface area allows for more successful catches, especially when dealing with challenging or poorly thrown balls.
- Better ball transfer: When fielding a ground ball or receiving a throw, a flared glove can aid in quickly transferring the ball to the throwing hand. The wider opening makes it easier to secure the ball and transition it smoothly from the glove to the hand, enabling faster and more accurate throws.
- Added confidence and comfort: Flaring a glove can improve a player’s overall confidence and comfort level on the field. The wider opening provides a sense of security and ease when catching the ball, instilling confidence in fielders. Moreover, the flared shape can provide a more comfortable fit, allowing players to have a natural and relaxed grip on the glove.
In the end, you also need to keep in mind that you can’t go around flaring each and every glove you get. Every glove comes with its own build, and you should read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Should I flare my glove?
Flaring of the baseball glove has pros and cons. It is just about your liking or disliking. If you flare out your glove, it will create a wider and flatter pocket. Therefore, if you are a two-handed catcher in the third base position, you will get some advantages by flattening the pocket of the glove. However, if you want to receive the ball into the deep pocket, you may want to have the fingers of the gloves straight. It depends on your fielding position and how you would like to play.
Do I need to apply heat while flaring my glove?
It is not mandatory. Applying heat softens the glove and makes it flexible quickly. However, there is a risk of getting the glove damaged if you do not apply the heat properly. Therefore, apply the lowest temperature possible for not more than five minutes at a time.
What kind of oil should I apply to my glove?
Not all kinds of oil and grease are compatible with all kinds of baseball gloves. Therefore, check whether your manufacturer has any recommendations. You should use the best quality glove oil, conditioner, grease, or cream while flaring the glove.
Should I prefer a pre-flared glove?
Usually, the infielders flare the glove to increase the surface area. It increases the transition time of the ball from glove to hand. Thus, the infielders can throw the ball quickly. In contrast, the glove of the outfielders should not function like that. They need the glove that will act as a trap for the ball. If they flare the glove, the enhanced surface area will help the ball to escape easily. Therefore, it will be a disadvantage for them.
Flared, rolled, or curled – there are different arrangements of the fingers. You may like a deeper pocket or a flatter one. Infielders, outfielders, or basemen may also have their personal preferences. If you prefer a flared baseball glove, then I would recommend having a pre-flared one. If you are shaky, then better not to try it by yourself. Otherwise, you may damage your precious expensive baseball glove. I hope this article has given you a clear understanding of How to Flare a Baseball.