and Triumphs of a Young Pitcher
8, 2007 -- Issue 12
Fields for Better Play
Today I want to
talk about a common problem young pitchers face. Not about their
mechanics. Not about their fitness. And not about their
The problem is the mound itself and the pitching rubber.
Because so many mounds (and fields as well) are not kept up, the mound
begins to look like a bump with this white rubber thing sticking up
at the top and a drop off behind it.
So, here comes a young man who wants to pitch. He doesn't know
where he is supposed stand up there or how this is supposed to work.
Neither does his dad.
First he finds out he is supposed to put the foot of his balance leg
in front of, and against, the rubber. But at the age where pitchers
use the full windup, he actually steps down when he steps behind the
rubber. This is very awkward and makes him look goofy.
A couple of dads
and coaches have seen so many mounds like this that they actually
think this is the way it is supposed to be... the rubber sticks up
about three inches and there's a steep drop off behind it.
Who will save this young man from messing up his pitching career?
With a mound like that, he can't even begin to work on proper mechanics
and mental focus. He's fighting the very thing that is supposed
to be helping him.
I bet most bullpens
end up looking like this too... if not worse.
Let's say you want to fix this. Obviously it needs more dirt.
A clay mixture is best. But even some infield dirt mix dumped
on the mound will help. How about putting a couple wheelbarrow
loads on the mound?
If you do this,
do it in layers. Water the dirt between layers to get it to
pack down and stick. Keep doing this till the dirt is level
with the rubber and the mound includes a small table top area all
around the rubber. Pack it with a tamper or with the back of
the field rake.
Turn what has
been a trial for the pitcher into something he can triumph with.
A decent mound. Am I obsessed with the mound? Yes. And
the batter box too. These two areas get the most use and require
the most maintenance for competitive play.
By the way, that
boy and his dad who didn't know how to use the mound... that was me
and my son back when he was 11. We figured it out. He's
a college pitcher now.
Yours for better
play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Baseball Field Renovation Guide
here for details about making your mound safe for your pitcher.