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A backyard pitcher's mound is helpful for players at all levels. Children on recreational teams may not have the opportunity to learn to pitch from a regulation-height mound, which puts them at a disadvantage when trying out for a competitive team. For those who play competitively, a backyard mound offers the ability to try out new pitches and remain in top form during the off-season.
Mark the center of the pitcher's mound 60 feet, 6 inches from the apex of home plate. Drive a stake into the ground with a mallet at the center point of the pitcher's mound. Tie a 9-foot string to the stake and pull it taut. Walk around the stake in a circle, keeping the string pulled tight, spraying landscaper's paint to mark the circle as you go to create the outline of a regulation mound 18 feet in diameter.
Remove existing sod, grass or turf within the circle with a shovel. If the sod is particularly tough, water it heavily and cut it into 1-foot strips with a spade. Rake the circle and tamp it down with a hand tamper.
Mix clay and water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Work with specially formulated mound clay or a clay and dirt combination.
Pour a 1-inch layer of clay over the entire circle and tamp it down. Continue adding clay one inch at a time in concentric circles within the mound to create an even slope. Tamp down each layer before adding the next. Regulation mounds slope upward toward the center at a rate of 1 inch of slope per 12 inches of distance. Create a flat spot approximately 5 feet in diameter and 10 inches from ground height, which will become the plateau.
Place the 24-inch-long pitching rubber on the flat spot so that it sits 18 inches behind the center of the mound and 6 inches back from the beginning of the plateau.
Flatten the plateau around the pitching rubber. A regulation plateau measures 5 feet long by 34 inches deep. Carefully tamp down the clay to ensure that the pitching rubber is secure.
- Backyard pitching mounds are prone to erosion. Cover the mound with a tarp when it is not in use. Check the mound regularly for dips or soft spots and add new clay as needed.