The popular game of baseball is probably played and loved by every generation today. If you are a baseball lover too, you might know how much fun it is to play a game of baseball. However, if you are a field owner or have a lawn to play baseball, you would know difficult building a pitching mound is.
A pitcher’s mound plays an important role in the game and this is the reason it requires the most attention in the field. While you might sometimes ignore the necessity of a nicely built pitcher’s mound, it is always required to keep it maintained and perfectly built.
The reason for this is obvious. Your pitcher will not be hurt or injured while playing in a field with a properly built pitching mound. Also, it will allow everyone to enjoy the game rather than concentrating on a bad pitching mound for safety purposes and would also give you a home-field advantage.
What Will You Need?
Before you jump on how to build a pitcher’s mound, you need to know what materials will be required in the process. Here, we have got you a detailed list of what you will need while building a pitching mound. All these materials and tools together will make your work much easier and simple. Moreover, the pieces of equipment required to build a pitcher’s mound are quite simple and easy to find.
You will need a square-faced shovel or spade, a large nail or spike, a plateau frame, a mound slope board and a two-foot carpenter’s level and a carpenter’s square. You will also need a pick, wheelbarrow, specialty packing clay and a landscape rake. Tamp, four-foot 1″ × 4″, mound clay, measuring tape and a four-sided rubber will also be needed. After you have all these materials and tools, dig in more to know the process.
Building a Pitching Mound
Let us get started on how to build a pitcher’s mound. For most fields like a high school or a professional field, the front of the pitcher’s plate (rubber) should be measured 60 feet 6 inches from the apex of the home plate. Now, the top of the pitcher’s plate should be 10 inches higher. The pitcher’s plate is also 24 inches long. Here are a few steps you can take to obtain proper distance, height, and alignment.
- For the pitcher’s rubber length, take a pencil to mark a line down at the center.
- From the topmost point of the home plate, take a string to the second base peg.
- Now you will have to mark the front of the rubber. For this, sink a spike after measuring 60 feet 6 inches from the apex of the home plate.
- Use a transit level to obtain a reading off the home plate. Make sure that the top of the pitching rubber should be 10 inches above the home plate, you can add or reduce the height of the mound.
- With a measuring tape, square the rubber’s position and measure the corners from the home plate to the corners of the pitcher’s rubber (on both left and right sides). If these measurements come equally at both sides, they will be squared. If you are building a mound from scratch, it is advisable to put a solid block under the rubber so that it does not shift.
Building the Collar of The Mound
After you establish a good pitching rubber in place, it is time to give it a nice outline. Keep reading to know how you can get a great 9-foot radius easily.
- From the front of the pitcher’s plate, measure a precise 18 inches and drive a spike. Make sure that it goes exactly in line with the very center of the pitcher’s plate because this makes the center of the mound.
- Attach a string to the above-told spike and measure 9 feet from it.
- Make the final outline by circling the mound by keeping the string taut. Make this circular outline with 18 feet diameter.
- Now, to establish a permanent mound outline, remove the turf from the outline you made previously with the help of an edger or a spade.
When you build a pitcher’s mound, it should be surfaced in slope with a leveled and firm plateau and not built like a sharp peak. The plateau should be leveled with the top of the pitcher’s plate and should be 5×3 feet in measurement.
- Place the plateau frame on the pitcher’s mound.
- The inner frame should be placed in such a way that it leaves 6 inches in the front, 24 inches in the back and 18 inches at both sides of the rubber.
- Take a nail and trace the inside of the frame in the clay.
- Now, remove the frame carefully from the mound.
- Remove the existing soil from within the outline to a considerable depth with a pick. One layer of blocks will be needed for all kinds of levels. When it comes to the clay, it should be 4 inches thick for younger and smaller players and 6 inches thick for professional or high school players.
- When you put in the new clay, it must bond strongly with the existing soil. For this, you can scarify the soil at the base of the hole. You also need to scarify or loosen up the soil in the edges of the outline you made. Use a square-faced shovel or a spade for this.
- Place back the frame in place. You can also re-measure now to assure yourself.
- Once the frame is set up in place, you can add blocks or professional mound clay.
- Here is where products like Turface professional mound clay and MoundMaster Blocks come into action and help you. These are the recommended professional products you can completely rely on when building a pitching mound professionally.
- If you use the surface professional mound clay, add a layer of an inch at a time and tamp to add firmness. Instead of tamping, you may also use a vibrating asphalt compactor. It will save a lot of your time and energy. Scratch the existing soil and mix with the layer of clay you added to make a strong bond. Repeat this process of tamping the layers of clay until you reach the height you want.
- If you are planning to use the MoundMaster Blocks, dig in the ground up to 2 to 3 inches deep. Place the mound master blocks into the hole. Make sure that the blocks are placed around half an inch deeper than the rubber. Once they are set in the right place, water them, and smear their seams together with the pieces of the blocks soaked in water or with a trowel.
- When you tamp the front of the plateau, do not tamp carelessly with too much pressure because it may disturb the rubber.
- After completing the process of construction, slowly remove the plateau frame keeping in mind that you do not break the edges.
- Once your mound is made, cover it with a light coating of infield mix over the clay. You can take the help of a rake for this process and products like Turface MVP league.
The Mound Slope
Building a pitching mound with a proper slope is important to ensure the safety and movement of any of the bases around. The general rule for a pitcher’s mound at considerable height claims that the slope from the edge of the plateau to the edge of the mound can be dropped by an inch at every one foot. Follow these simple steps to attain a good slope.
- Start outlining the landing area from the front corners of the plateau and go outward towards the turf. You can do this with a large nail or spike.
- Loosen the existing soil with a pick to ensure that the mound-building soil bonds well with it.
- If there are any lumps, remove them with a shovel or rake to assure good work further.
- Take the 1″ × 4″ and place it on the top of the rubber and extent it to the right edge of the plateau. Place this board in such a way that it goes parallel to the rubber and the four-inch surface of the board is on the surface.
- Along the right outline of the landing area, place the ten-foot 2″ × 4″. Place it in such a way that its top gets placed on the four foot and the bottom of the ten-foot board gets placed at the base of the mound along with the edge of the turf. The ten-foot board should be placed on its side so that the mound supports its two-inch side.
- Dump a mound clay’s wheelbarrow on the left side of the ten-foot board.
- Now it is time to spread materials along the length of the board. If you find any extra substance around the board, it is recommended to remove it as it might cause extra build-up that will make the board too heavy to move.
- After spreading even materials, you need one more person to do the further process. One person must handle the top of the ten-foot board near the pitcher’s rubber. Another person’s duty will be to handle the bottom of the same board at the edge of the mound.
- Start moving the ten-foot board up and down in a sawing motion over the four-foot board. Make sure that you keep the ten-foot board precisely on the four-foot board so that no damages occur to the edges of the plateau. So, this movement must be done carefully and with complete control.
- While doing this short sawing motion, slowly move the board to the other side of your outlined landing area in a clockwise motion. While in this moving process, you might notice some low spots in the surface and these low spots need to be corrected.
- For this, get the board on the right side of the low spot and bring the mound-building clay to your board in front of that low spot. Now, begin with your previous sawing motion again. Repeat this process for every low spot you find.
- After the completion of sawing movement all over the plateau and the mound, you can measure the slope accuracy of the mound with the help of a mound slope board.
- Once you are sure that your landing area has been built accurately, aggressively tamp the area to add more firmness.
At last, add MoundMaster Blocks or Turface Professional Mound Clay in the high worn areas.
Condition the Mound
After building a pitching mound, you would want to make it last longer in the same way. For this, you can use products like Turface MVP league or Turface Pro League and lightly cover the mound with it. Use a landscape rake for this process. These products will keep the mound moist and slippery-free. Once you use a bag or two of the products on your mound, use a hand roller and roll the mound.
At last, cover the mound with a tarp. This tarp will retain the moisture in your mound and will not let it go dry. Also, it will help prevent washing into the turf. No matter which type of mound you plan to build, whether the bullpen or field mound, both should be taken care of in the same way.
When Are You Getting Started?
If you have yet not planned on building a pitching mound in your field again, it is time that you do. Understanding the importance of a good pitching mound and maintaining it is crucial for every person who loves baseball. It provides a safe and enjoyable game to every player. So, step out in your field and give that pitching mound a fresh look today.