One of the most important pieces of equipment needed for getting proper softball or baseball practice is having a sufficient pitching mound.
The problem with this which commonly arises however, is that getting a pitching mound which is permanent is often a hard task.
On top of this, maintaining a pitching mound can be difficult, as well as expensive.
That is why we have put together this guide to make it, so you will know how to make a round pitching mound which is portable, so you do not have to worry about this problem.
You may be wondering how much it will cost to make your own pitching mound, and this article will make it, so you can make one for under $150 if you use the correct materials and methods, and this will lead to you saving around $200 if done properly.
If you are looking to make your own pitching mound, and want to save money and effort while doing so, this guide is perfect for you, so keep on reading!
What Is A Pitching Mound
If you are not completely sure what the actual definition of a pitching mound is, this section will help you out.
In a typical softball or baseball game, a pitcher will need to stand on a ‘dirt hill’ as they are pitching, and this dirt hill is officially called a pitching mound.
This pitching mound is defined by having a flat base which will be not be over 10 inches above the ground, and on top of this its floor will have a rubber plate.
The front of this pitching mound will also have a downslope which can be no longer than 6 feet.
History Of The Pitching Mound
If you want to know how the pitching mound originated, this section is dedicated to this. The story starts in 1860 and baseball has begun to be a more well known sport.
However, it is still a far cry from what it is now and many rules which define it now are still missing, as well as the pitching mound being absent. The pitching area was instead being defined using a flat plate instead.
The idea of the pitching mound was first thought up in 1893 and this was when baseball players started using a rubber plate with the goal of raising the ground for the pitcher which would give a pitcher the advantage of getting a more fast pitching speed.
The use of a pitching mound became something which was regulated by the MLB in 1914 and at this point the pitching mound was supposed to be 15 inches above the ground.
At the present time, the pitching mound is supposed to be 10 inches in height, and it must have a slope angle which descends at one inch a foot, over the length of 6 feet.
There are many baseball focused clubs and businesses which aim to reduce the price of maintaining a pitching mound, and this is why so many of them are now using a round and portable pitching mound to solve this problem.
Before this no one had imagined the prospect of a pitching mound which could even be portable, the idea was made by a creator called John Montgomery Ward.
Why You Need A Portable Pitching Mound
Pitching mounds are a necessity as a training tool and for this role can be incredibly useful. By having this tool, you will have more facilities than a permanent standard pitching mound will be able to provide.
You will also be able to save money through the lack of need for any expensive maintenance. This means your players will be able to use it for a long time without need for upkeep.
On top of this, installing a permanent pitching mound will also be a quite expensive construction project and will need to be maintained by a specifically trained individual.
As well as this, each league has its own different dimensions for dirt mounds, because of this mounds will be inspected and usually rebuilt before standardized games, which is a time-consuming and expensive procedure.
This is why so many parks and stadiums are now opting to use a portable pitching mound instead as they do not need frequent rebuilding.
Portable pitching mounds are also useful if you are in an area with unpredictable weather.
With a permanent mound you will be unable to practice in certain weather conditions, but if you are using a portable mound, you have the option to practice whenever you want.
You will be able to place the mound in any place large enough to use it in and start practicing.
When looking at all of these reasons and drawbacks from using a traditional permanent pitching mound, you can understand why portable pitching mounds were such a success upon their release.
Different Pitching Mound And The Size
When you are considering making or buying a portable pitching mound, you will need to make sure to think over what size you will need, as different sizes will suit different scenarios and situations better than others.
The different sizes which are common are:
- 6 inch portable pitching mounds are best for age groups that are under 11 years of age.
- 8 inch pitching mounds are ideal for players which are between the ages of 12 and 14
- 10 inch pitching mounds are what are recommended for any groups that are aged 15 and over, that is why these are the most common.
You will want to make sure that your pitching mound is the correct size for the context it will most commonly be used in.
Buying Vs Building A Pitching Mound
Of course this guide is focused on making your own pitching mound, but you do always have the option of buying one for a variety of reasons too.
There are many pros and cons which are definitely worth considering when making this decision, and when it comes to decisions like this people too often overlook factors outside of cost.
Some of the most important factors which should be considered are:
- Building a portable pitching mound yourself is good if you know the fundamental skills of woodworking. You will need to have the time as well as the right tools, as well as knowledge of how to use both the materials and tools which are needed. This will be an enjoyable experience if you have this, but if you do not, this can be troublesome and will maybe not be worth the excessive knowledge needed to learn the fundamentals.
- Building a portable pitching mound will be incredibly satisfying, and if it is something which will get constant use, you can be satisfied that it is something which you have made yourself. However, if you are not confident with it, you will be responsible for if it fails, and will not be able to claim any refunds.
- It is nearly always more expensive to buy a portable pitching mound than it is to make one with your own skills. This means you do not have to compromise on any features of the mound, but you will be sacrificing significantly more time.
- Making and maintaining your own pitching mound can be quite troublesome and if you are not willing to put the correct amount of effort into the process, you will likely not get desirable results.
Please closely consider these reasons why you should or should not make your own portable pitching mound as you will definitely regret not closely considering them if you do not.
Tools Which You Will Need To Build A Portable Pitching Mound
You will want to make sure you have all the tools which are needed to make a pitching mound before you start the project.
You will not need to buy all the tools as some can be rented, but having everything beforehand will help massively:
- A circular or table saw
- A large spike as well as screws
- An electric screwdriver
- Measuring tape
- Safety glass and gloves
- Sand paper
- Good quality staples
- Strong wood glue
- Liquid nails
Recommended Materials Needed For Making A Pitching Mound
The materials needed for making your own pitching mound are:
- A clamp set
- Roll of turf
- Caster wheat 2p
- A rubber plate which is good quality
- Width 4f/Length 10f 5p Plywood board
Planning A Portable Pitching Mound (The Measurements)
For a 6 inch portable pitching mound the correct dimensions are:
- 6 inches high above the ground
- The standing flat base will being 40 inches long
- The backboard is 48 inches long
- The front slope is 72 inches long as well as wide
- The front end slop is 2 inches high
- And the base length will be 96 inches
Features Wanted For A 6 Inch Portable Pitching Mound
There are a few features you will want to make sure to have when making your own 6 inch portable pitching mound:
- You will want to make sure you have a strong foundation, if it does not, there is a chance that it could start to bend and warp due to the weight of the pitcher’s body.
- You want to ensure to put a rubber layer which is under the ground touching section of the frame, this will make sure the mound grips onto the floor. Using a rubber layer like this will also ensure that the floor is protected from any scratching which could damage it.
- You want to try to design your portable pitching mound in an origami style, this will make sure you are able to fold it once it is not in use and put it away whenever you need to.
- You want to use a good quality as well as smooth turf to make your pitching mound, this will make sure the pitcher will be able to stand on it comfortably.
- You want to ensure the mound plans using wheels, this makes it significantly easier to carry around when you are trying to move it yourself.
Procedures For Making A Portable Pitching Mound
When looking at making a portable pitching mound, the most important thing to know is the procedure of making each part of the mound to ensure that you get the best results possible and do not make any mistakes.
Make sure to thoroughly read the next sections before starting any work, so you will know how to make each section and ensure you have all the correct tools and materials before you start any work on it.
Front And Rear Part
- Firstly you will want to take the plywood piece which you are using and make it 48 inches in length and then 6 inches wide. The easiest way to get a straight cut on this is to utilize a table saw if you have access to one.
- After this you will want to take your second board and copy the same cut from before, with the exception of making a height space, to do this you will need to have a 2 inch width.
After this section you will have the two pieces of the plywood which you will need to use. These two pieces are going to be used for both the back end, as well as the front end of your pitching mound.
- For this step you will want to use 4 8 feet length and 6 inch width boards. Using these you will want to place one of the boards in front of you. One of these boards will be the left side and then another will be the right side of your plywood (looking from your POV)
- Then you will want to get 24 inches of length off of the left end, and then mark this point. After this you want to draw a line which goes straight from this point and then take it to the end. Because this is a pitching mound which is 6 inches, the starting point will be 6 inches high. The line will descend towards the right, and will then stop 2 inches high.
- Then you want to cut the board on a straight line and do this using a table saw, doing this will give you the best pitching mound angle of slope.
Looking at the plywood board you have, it will have 4 main components, these are:
- The first component being the 6 inch tall rear end
- The front end plywood is 2 inches high
- The base which is flat is 24 inches in length
- And then there is the 72 inch long slide which will have a 2 inches high end.
You will then want to repeat this process to ensure you have 3 shapes which are identical which will end up being use as the support for the mound.
Stand Base And Slope
- You want to get a plywood board and then make it 24 inches in length and 48 inches in width. This piece is to be used as a standing base, and the other piece will be utilized for the downwards slope, you want this piece to be 48 inches wide and 72 inches long.
If you want to ensure that your pitching mound is even more stable, you will need to get more supportive boards to prop up the center.
- To get this you want 21 boards which are rectangular with the dimensions being 5 inches wide and 11 inches long.
Round Portable Pitching Mound Step By Step Plans
Before you start putting together the pieces which you have prepared, you want to ensure that you have used some sandpaper to smooth off any rougher edges as well as any rough pieces.
First you will want to place your front and back parts of your mound in a parallel position to themselves, after this screw your 4 center pieces for support in a horizontal position to your back and front boards.
Next you want to screw your standing plat as well as the slope onto the top of your base. Doing this you will want to ensure that your wooden boards will be perfectly aligned.
You will also need to be very careful about the slope angle you have for your pitching mound.
To ensure that you have as much stability for your structure as possible, you want to place in your secondary support pieces under your mound and place one in every gap of one foot.
You want to make sure these are touching your standing base and will then slope with the support beams of the center. Make sure these are aligned horizontally, and the plywood pieces are flush on each side.
Then you should make a pitch while you are working on the mound to get a feel of if it will need more support beams.
After this you will want to add 2 caster wheels onto the rear board and make sure that this wheel will be able to properly touch the ground so transporting your portable mound will not be difficult.
Then you want to start cutting your turf into lengths of 8 foots and 48 inches wide then you want to use your glue to attach the pitching mound onto the turf.
Make sure to do this carefully. Once this is done you can attach the rubber plate onto the center of the standing base area.
Finally, you will want to apply your liquid nails onto all of the joints where it is needed. Once this has been done you want to add a rubber layer which is thin onto the bottom of your pitching mound.
This will make your pitching mound more stable as well as protect your surfaces from getting scratched by it.
Concerns To Keep In Mind When Making A Portable Pitching Mound
When making your own portable pitching mound there are some points which should be kept in mind.
- If there are any issues with your measurement, the edges of the pitching mound may begin to stick up and if this begins to happen you will need to work out what has caused this issue. Make sure there are no pebbles or mud in the edges.
- When you are picking your pitching mound up, ensure that you are holding it at the correct angle, so the wheel is carrying more weight than you are.
- Make sure that this pitching mound is always going to be placed on level ground.
- Do not start using this mound right after making it as you need to let time for the glue to settle first to make it durable enough.
- Do not stand on it wearing metal spiked boots.
Hopefully this article has conveyed the skill needed to make your own portable pitching mound and the reasons why it is worth doing.
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