Maintain the pitcher's mound

Maintaining Your Baseball Field Mound
 
Maintain the pitcher area properly to reduce injury.
 

 
What you're going to do

The pitcher’s area takes a beating in games and practice.

I think a lot of coaches in little league and PONY league never pitched or they wouldn't possibly expect their players to use such bad mounds.

It is critical to maintain the pitcher area properly to reduce the potential for injury. So, fix it. Maintain it.

 

How you do this
  1. Sweep or rake the loose material from the landing area and top of the mound. This allows the hard ground to be exposed. The landing area is the place where the pitcher land with his lead foot.

  2. Lightly moisten the exposed hard ground and the loose material to ensure the dirt will bind when packed back in the holes. Let it set and absorb for few minutes if you can.

  3. Rake the loose, but moistened, material back in the holes.

  4. Tamp this loose dirt into the ground. Use a tamp or the smooth back of a field rake.

  5. Rake down the newly repaired areas as well as the rest of the mound.

  6. Water the entire pitcher’s area.

  7. Once the pitcher’s mound is completely prepared for the game, you can cover it with a tarp to maintain a proper moisture level.


Tips & Hints
  1. In some cases, clay bricks are used to establish a firm
    throwing area. These moist clay bricks are a very acceptable
    material because they have not been hardened by heat,
    like bricks used in construction.

  2. Bags of powdered mortar clay work also. Remove about 3 inches of dirt in the posting and landing area of the mound. Moisten the ground. Dump some powdered clay in. Let it set a minute to absorb the water. Rake it around. Repeat moistening, adding powdered clay, raking it in, until the level is almost back to normal. Cover with the baseball dirt that was removed. Tamp it in.

  3. Turface, a calcined clay product, makes a great top dressing for the mound. A high school size mound requires two bags for adequate coverage. The turface helps prevent slipping in damp weather and gives the mound a nice, professional, finishing touch.

  4. Make sure your pitcher's rubber is level, in the proper position, and is really the right distance from home plate and the proper height. Measure distance from the back point of the plate to the front of the pitching rubber. The proper little league distance is 46 feet. The proper high school and college distance is 60 feet 6 inches. 

  5. Take care of your bullpens too. They are often ignored.

Mistakes to avoid

  1. Ignore mound care. The biggest mistake. It seems to be common when a field is shared by many teams and leagues.

  2. Not providing access to the tools and hose to take care of the mound.

  3. Just fill in the landing holes with dry dirt. That doesn't help. Unless... your sprinklers totally soak the dirt area at night for at least 20 minutes and then you have hot, sunny weather the next day to bake and harden the dirt. Otherwise, just filling the holes with dry dirt is worthless. No pitcher wants to have that. It provides no good footing at all.

  4. Not having a table top to your mound. A mound is not supposed to look like a bump or a hill on the field. It needs a large flat area at the top and then gradual sloping to the grass. Otherwise the thing is actually dangerous for a pitcher. For example, a high school size mound should have a top that is 3 feet by 5 feet and level.

  5. Mound height is wrong. Next to the wrong distance from homeplate to second base, this is the most common mistake. Many mounds are not the right height. I worked on a little league field where the mound was 8 inches too high and a college field where the mound was 2 inches too low. Fix these. The players will have a better baseball experience and one that is more consistent.  Wrong mound height or distance from homeplate is one of the most common mistakes on the field.

give your pitchers
good footing



A horrible PONY
league mound


Same mound after
it's rebuilt





covered to manage
moisture content





Calcine clay product


topdressing helps
maintain moisture and
a professional finish



maintain the proper
distance, height,
and level





the bullpen - ignored



you're kidding...you
expect me to warm
up on this?



now that's a bullpen!


Baseball Dirt Maintenance
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