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How to Make your Pitching Mound as Safe as Possible
April 10 , 2007  --  Issue 5
Better Fields for Better Play
Jim Reiner

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.

Let's look at three things you can do to make the pitching mound as safe as possible.

1. Build a solid base for your mound

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.

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.

2. Align your mound properly

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. 

3. Use a topdressing on your mound

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. Water is your most important maintenance tool

And lastly, don't let your mound turn to dust and look like it was target practice for grenades.  I mean don't let the foot areas become holes filled with fine dust.  Dust like flour dust.  Yuck. 

Soak the mound before use.  Work the moist dirt into the holes.  Tamp it in with a tamp or the back of the field rake.  Lightly moisten the area again before play.  Give the pitchers firm footing.  Water does it for you.

Have fun!

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

Jim Reiner
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide

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