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Mound Preparation
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SCOTT D

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October 6, 2011 – 2:15 pm
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Okay this may seem like an odd question, but here it goes. I have noticed at the High School level there is a tendency for young pitchers to dig a hole in front of the rubber. It seems odd because it takes away the height advantage a pitcher has by essentially lowering the mound by several inches. In addition, you confine the foot to a hole which makes an ankle kick (and 3x) nearly impossible. Now, what recourse does an opposing pitcher have to address this situation without violating rules. Can a pitcher use a rake or other instrument between innings to fill in the hole that another pitcher created. Or do you have to do a Mark “the bird” Fydrich (just dated myself) and only use your hands to prepare the mound? Brent, coach, and DC can stop laughing now!!!!

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Coach Robo
Broken Arrow, OK

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October 6, 2011 – 2:59 pm
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Pitchers who dig a hole in front of the rubber drive me crazy.  There's nothing in the NFHS rules about working on the mound between innings.  I have on very rare occasions insisted that the mound be worked on because it was in such bad shape or even unsafe to the pitcher.  But, bad mounds are unfortunately a part of amateur baseball.  If you made too big a deal out of it too often, you'd annoy the umpires and that's worse than a bad mound.  I tell my guys to find a spot on the rubber they can be comfortable on even if it's not where they usually work from.  Sometimes that means just barely touching a little corner of the rubber to get away from the holes.  Umpires don't care about that and understand when you show them the shape of the mound.  If it's his home field and no one is taking care of the mound, tell him to volunteer to be in charge of mound maintenance.  I'm sure they won't mind.  A well-maintained mound doesn't tear up as easily as a neglected one. 

I saw a kid melt down in a state tournament game last year because he didn't like the mound.  I used it as an example to my players on how to deal with adversity. 

I'd love to hear a better answer from someone.  Bad mounds can impact a game. 

My son saw a video of Fidrych on his hands and knees working on the mound this year and thought it was hilarious.  The Bird and I are about the same age.  We both had big years in 1976, but for some reason he got all the publicity…   

Proud father of a U.S. Marine (HOME from Afghanistan)

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
Mandeville, LA.
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October 6, 2011 – 3:58 pm
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When I am pitching I always work on the mound in between innings before I start the inning. I pull dirt into the hole and then become a human tamper. I jump up and down with my feet together and pound the dirt into the hole. This usually holds for most of the inning and then I do it again each new inning.

I love how I am the youngest guy here. I was actually born in 76!

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SCOTT D

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October 6, 2011 – 8:06 pm
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I initially chocked up the “hole” thing to little league. Where kids wanted to imitate the way the pros would dig their spikes into the clay. That is where I first noticed it. I was just surprised to see it carry up to higher levels, where it takes away a distinct advantage (mound height) that a pitcher has over the hitter. I was even more surprised that High School coaches dont seem to point this out to their pitchers, “Hey knucklehead, fill in the damn hole”. Also, some fields dont even have a rake to prep the mound before a game. Good point about adversity coach robo. I am going to give my kid my small hand held garden rake to put in his baseball bag……

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Darrell Coulter
Bonne Terre, Mo

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October 6, 2011 – 11:25 pm
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My Friend it’s really not that funny,  I have pitched on some brutal mounds and it can effect the outcome of a game. 

I have seen pitchers lose their mind because of the condition of the mound.  And like Coach I just move them a little to where they can get comfortable.  As far as I know, outside of driving the umps crazy, fix the mound as needed.  

But know this, It can become a serious mental hurdle if you let it.  If the other team’s pitcher knows it is bothering you he will dig it out every inning.

I ask pitchers all the time what the are digging for.  

It’s not for pitching, unless they are trying to launch the ball over the backstop.  I do know why most coaches don’t say anything, they don’t know any different.  

But I also agree that amateur mounds are usually left alone or left to part time park workers to maintain.  

It is usually the same with most bullpen mounds, if they even have them.  It’s just one of those problems that there isn’t an easy answer for.  But I agree with Coach it can be a great learning tool on how to make adjustments and how to learn to compete even in less than ideal conditions.  Which every pitcher will encounter somewhere along the way.

I always try teach that it’s the little things about pitching that usually creates the biggest hurdles to success.

I always have the pitcher’s I work with fill out a little worksheet I put together “Who’s In Control?”

I make them write out what they are in control of and what they can’t control.  One thing that I never see, but I always try to make sure they understand, Is the Other team’s field and mound.  You will play on bad fields and mounds and you must prepare for them, not use them as an excuse.  You just have to compete. Sounds simple enough, but it can be hard.

As frustrating as it can be, there are some things you just can’t control. Just make sure that the home field mound is in as good as shape as possible even if you have to do it yourself.  Which I have on many occasions.

Ok, I did laugh a little on the inside. 

Just thinking about how the mounds in every Houston Astro’s Minor League Park in the 80’s was like throwing off the side of a mountain. They had to be at least 2 to 3 inches higher than any other mound in the minor leagues.

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Zedoryu
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October 7, 2011 – 7:52 am
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Yea, amateur players dig holes only to think that they’re imitating major league pitchers. As Brent said, I would dig a hole to make sure I have a rubber to push off. Sometimes I try and put some dirt back into the hole by digging another hole beside it so that it fills the hole I need to stand on. 😀 if it’s too deep obviously. I also try and level it out so that I don’t have a bumpy mound.

       

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SCOTT D

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October 7, 2011 – 2:43 pm
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DC

 

I see your point, but I would much rather have my pitcher go into an opposing park and spend as much time as he needs to prepare the mound. First, it tells me he knows what he's doing. And second, it tells me he has a little bit of arrogance or attitude which a pitcher needs. I like a kid who lets everyone know, that this mound is my house, its my space, I own it! If some dork wants to dig out the hole I just filled in- then I just got into THEIR head. They are more worried about me than I am about them. And I'll just fill in the hole again and prepare that mound exactly how I want it.  I think young kids that take this approach develop an edge.   

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Darrell Coulter
Bonne Terre, Mo

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October 8, 2011 – 6:28 am
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SCOTT D,

 

I agree 100%.  If you have a pitcher that is that confident and don't use it as an excuse when he don't pitch well then I love that attitude.  Sounds like my kind of pitcher.  I loved going on the road and pitching.  There is no better feeling then beating someone at their home park.  

That's what competition is all about.

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