The importance of a proper mound

I’m starting a completely different thread using the following post from Coach Baker because I didn’t’ want to disturb the thought in the other thread, but wanted to discuss a subject I agree must be one of the most neglected aspects in amateur baseball.

I honestly don’t know how much impact mounds have on soreness, but I don’t think there should be any doubt as to their effect on the pitchers using them. And what never ceases to amaze me, is the depth of the lack of the most simple understanding of the rules about mounds by not just fans, but by so many amateur coaches, players, their parents, the umpires, and administrators as well.

Here’s one reason. Although to someone who’s set up lots of mounds, its fairly easy to spot one that’s incorrectly set up, for most people its difficult because the measurements being dealt with are so small. FI, if the length between any two or all bases were off by just 10%, it would be immediately obvious to everyone because 10’ would really be noticeable. Plus, once base pegs are set, its pretty unusual for them to change.

But, on the big field, 10% of a mound height is only an inch in height, or 6/10ths of an inch in 6’ of slope, and that slope is changing with every pitch. IOW, its just very difficult to notice without using some kind of measuring device, and that could run from a laser level to one of these beauties. Personally, I’ve had a lot of good luck using 2 metal stakes, a hammer, 100’ of line, a line level, and a measuring tape to at least get mounds very close to the rule requirements.

But the real problem isn’t actually making the mound comply with the rules, its making administrators, coaches and umpires understand how important a factor it is in how the game is played. You can walk into any bullpen or any game mound and know very quickly whether or not the people in charge understand the importance of a mound.

I remember when the mound was fifteen inches high, and I never had any trouble with that. Even with me being a sidearmer, I could throw my pitches on a downhill plane, and batters used to scream blue murder because it added this element to the breaks I used to get on those pitches. One thing I would suggest is that when a pitcher is working on a particular pitch s/he should keep throwing on flat ground to a mininum and switch to the regulation mound as soon as possible.

The problem isn’t the height of the mound at all. As long as the slope is correct, the only difference is a very slight timing adjustment to the RP to get the pitch to end up in the same end location. The problems come when the slope changes. When that happens, all kinds of timing problems occur.

I had loads of problems with a mound that was about 15 inches at 54 feet last summer, caused me to throw very weird, I walked 3 or 4 in the 1st 2 innings…worst start ever!