Every hockey goalie loves to get new equipment, however once on the ice, there is an adjustment period, especially when you have to break in a goalie glove. Much like baseball players who use the same beat up old mitt for years, goalies often try to avoid buying a new glove for as long as possible, as it is easy to get attached to an old glove. When you do finally have to buy a new glove, here are some tips on how to break it in.
- Your goalie glove
- hot washcloth
- Hot Washcloth method. This is the first way to break in a goalie glove. When you first get your new glove it will be very stiff and probably won't want to open or close completely. One thing you can do to loosen it up a bit is try and heat the glove with a hot washcloth. Place the hot wash cloth where the break of the glove is. The break is the section of the glove that folds when it is closed. Be careful to wring the wash cloth off before you use it on the glove, as soaking your glove is not a good idea. While this method is a great way to loosen the glove before you play with it, it will not break in the glove in on its own. It needs to be followed up by one of the other methods listed below.
- Under the mattress method. This is the most common way to break in a goalie glove, aside from just using it. To do this first take a soft ball and place it in the pocket of the glove. The pocket is the part of the glove with webbing made of either durable string or skate lace. Next shut the glove. Make sure when it is closed that it is folded along where the glove's break belongs. One way to do this is to put your hand into the glove and close it, then take your hand out and make sure to keep it closed in the same position. Once the glove is properly closed, take either string, hockey tape, or anything else comparable that you can fin, and tie/tape around the glove to make sure it stays shut. Once this is done place the glove under your mattress for a while. Note: You probably won't be able to sleep with your glove under your mattress as it will make a huge lump in your bed, so make sure you take it out before you go to bed.
- Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. While the above mentioned ways will help you break in your new goalie glove, the most important thing you can do with your glove is repeatedly use it, both on the ice and off. Work on opening and closing it. Have a friend throw tennis balls, pucks, or anything else at your glove so you can work on catching with it. Also, make sure when you are waiting for a shot in practice, or even when you are just sitting at home working on your glove, that you are working to make sure that you can hold it all the way open as well as closed. A glove is most effective when its entire catching surface can be utilized. The only way this can be assured is if you can keep it open all the way before the shot comes.
In conclusion, while breaking in a new glove can be hard work, in the end it's always worth it. Just remember, any player on the ice can do something to make the crowd go wild, but only a goalie making a huge save can make it go silent. Here's to hoping you and your new glove will have many of those moments.