If you pitch and you are serious about playing baseball or softball, you will want to practice throwing from a pitching mound. Throwing from flat ground is fine when you are playing for fun or playing at lower levels. However, to really get a feeling for throwing and practice in a game-like situation, using a mound is necessary. Throwing from an elevated area on a field feels completely different from throwing at the same level as the batter. In order to authentically recreate the feeling of pitching during a game, you will need to build a pitching mound.
Framing the Pitching Mound
Building a pitching mound might seem as easy as just piling up dirt to elevate the ground, but of course it is more challenging than it seems. It is important to get the measurements of the mound correct, so you can create a genuine in-game situation. You will first need to measure the diameter of your mound. To create a regulation pitching mound, cut a piece of rope nine feet long. Attach it to the center of where you want your mound. Attach a screwdriver to the end of the rope. Walk in a circle around the center point where the string is attached. You should have created an 18 inch diameter circle when you have completed the walk.
Next, create the material needed to actually build the mound. You can use the soil in the area, but mixing dirt, sand, and clay creates a more authentic texture for the mound. The materials should be mixed in equal parts. If you live in an area where the dirt is very dry, you can wet the mixture to make it easier to work with. Baseball ground’s crews sometimes wet soil for pitchers and reshape the mound. They also add extra sand if the mound is particularly muddy.
Measure and Test
Determine how high the pitching mound is in the league in which you play. The regulation height is usually 10 and a half inches for adults, but you want to be exact so you are practicing on an authentic mound. Once you have built the mound to the proper height, you will need to use a shovel to pack it and shape it. There should be a flat top on the mound, so you have a place to stand comfortably. The flat space is roughly five feet wide to allow for a wind up and pitch landing.
Once the mound is flattened on top, you can install a pitching rubber. This is a six by 24 inch rectangle of rubber that is about two inches deep in the mound. It gives steady footing to the pitcher’s back foot and helps them determine where they need to stand on the mound.
To get a feel for how accurate you were making your mound, throw a few pitches at your playing field and then practice immediately after on your home-made mound. If pitching feels the same, you have likely done a good job recreating the shape of the mound.